It may be too early for colored leaves, but there’s another reason to head to the north Georgia mountains — it’s apple picking time!
The town of Ellijay in Gilmer County is the center of Georgia’s apple-growing region – it produces 600,000 bushels of apples each year, according to the local Chamber of Commerce. But Habersham County and other neighboring counties are not far behind.
During October, many orchards open their gates so you can have a real farm experience — complete with petting zoos, hayrides, and activities for the kids.
If you don’t want to pick your own, you’ll find farm markets at the orchards, along with small roadside stands and farmers selling apples or fresh cider from the backs of pick-up trucks.
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Apple Festivals in 2023
(See below for you-pick orchards!)
Georgia Apple Festival
The Georgia Apple Festival is an annual event that takes place over two weekends in Ellijay.
This 2023 festival dates are:
- October 14th & 15th
- October 21st & 22nd
- Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults.
Kids age 12 and under are FREE.
The festival includes hundreds of vendor booths that feature fresh apples and all kinds of apple products: fried apple pies, fritters, cider, jelly, etc. You’ll also find vendors with handmade, hand-crafted items, as well as many on-site demonstrations of how things are made.
Apple Arts on the Square is an extension of the festival this year. It takes place in downtown Ellijay on festival weekends, and the free shuttle runs between the Square and the fairgrounds. You’ll find vendor booths selling arts, crafts, and food.
There is usually a parade and antique car show each year, but we don’t yet have 2023 dates and times for those events.
In past years, there has been a play area for children and live music. We don’t have details about this for 2023, but you can look for updates on the Apple Festival Facebook page OR the Apple Festival website.
The Ellijay Lions Club Fairgrounds is located at:
1729 South Main Street
Ellijay, Georgia 30540
Parking is very limited at the Lions Club Fairgrounds, so please use the shuttle parking lots, which in past years were located at:
- Gilmer High School
- Gilmer Middle Schools
- Ellijay Elementary School
- Mountainview Elementary School
The shuttle will take you to the festival and back to your car. Shuttles begin operation a half hour before the festival opens and run at least a half hour after the festival closes.
NOTE: The website has not yet been updated with 2023 shuttle info, but we’ll verify this info soon!
Apple Pickin’ Jubilee
The Apple Pickin’ Jubilee takes place at Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay.
It occurs every Saturday and Sunday from September 4th through October 31st, 2023.
The hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission is $18 per person, including kids (walking age and up).
The list of activities and entertainment included with admission is seemingly endless:
- apple picking (purchase picking bags and fill them)
- bluegrass bands
- clogging performances
- pig races
- jumping pillow
- cow milking
- apple tree maze
- giant slides
- corn maze
- moonshine museum
- enchanted forest trail
- pedal carts
- wagon rides
- and more…
There is also a wide variety of food available at the cafe: hot dogs, burgers, barbecue sandwiches, carnival foods, and sweet treats. The farm market sells a wide variety of apple-based food products, crafts, toys, t-shirts, and more.
Hillcrest Orchards is located at:
9696 Highway 52
Ellijay, GA 30536
more info here
U-pick apple orchards
Please remember that the availability of fresh produce isn’t guaranteed. We recommend checking with the orchard before you go — please call or visit the website or Facebook page for updates on hours and apple varieties currently available.
♦ Hillcrest Orchards
9696 Highway 52
Ellijay, GA 30536
Hillcrest Orchards is open daily in the fall of 2022 for u-pick and activities. Daily hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the orchard is open through October or until the apples are gone.
On Saturdays and Sundays, admission is $18 per person. Weekday admission is $12 for limited activities that include a petting farm, wagon rides, jumping pillow, kiddie corn maze, ball zone, pig race, and playground. There is also a bakery and farm market.
♦ Red Apple Barn
3379 Tails Creek Rd
Red Apple Barn is a pick-your-own orchard that is open every weekend from September through November — or until the apples have all been picked.
- Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Sundays 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
- Weekdays by appointment only
There is a $10.75 admission fee per person.
Kids two and under are FREE.
The entry includes a tractor ride to and from the orchard, plus water, cider, and a doughnut when you’ve finished picking. Also included in the fee: rock & pumpkin painting, games, picnic areas, and playground for the kids.
There is also a farm market, a u-pick pumpkin patch, and u-pick flower fields.
Visit the website for more info and the current you-pick prices.
♦ Mercier Orchards
8660 Blue Ridge Dr
Blue Ridge, Georgia
Before you go, check the Mercier u-pick page for hours and availability. The orchard says they cannot predict U-pick conditions more than a week in advance, and they will announce the open U-pick dates on their website and Facebook page.
Admission is $14 per person, plus the cost of the apples you pick. This price includes a tractor ride into the orchard, and a bag to pick into. Children age 2 and under are FREE.
2023 U-pick dates:
- Friday, Sep 22nd: 10 AM – 4 PM: Special Crimson Crisp Only U-Pick!
- Saturday, Sep 23rd & Sunday, Sep 24th: 10 AM – 4 PM
- Saturday, Sep 30th & Sunday, Oct 1st: 10 AM – 4 PM
♦ B.J. Reece Orchards
9131 Highway 52 E
East Ellijay, Georgia
Reece Orchards is open everyday through October 29th, as long as the apples are available in 2023.
FarmFun Day hours in 2023:
Monday thru Saturday — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday — 1 to 6 p.m.
A handy picking calendar online tells you which apple varieties you can expect to be ready on which dates.
There are also Weekend Farm Fun Packages that bundle up several activities — click through the link for details.
Many varieties of apples are available at the farm market, and and there is no admission fee to shop there.
There is a gift shop and concession stand, as well as a picnic area.
♦ Hillside Orchard Farms
18 Sorghum Mill Drive
Lakemont, GA 30552
Hillside Orchard Farms is open Thursday thru Sunday in 2023.
Hours are 10 to 5, except on Sunday when hours are 1 to 5 p.m.
The farm market is open for purchasing apples and other goods, but you should call ahead if you want to pick your own.
♦ Jaemor Farm
5340 Cornelia Hwy
Alto, GA 30510
Harvest Celebration festivities are available on weekends until September 29, 2023.
The farm and market is open daily September 29 to October 29.
You’re invited on Harvest Celebration dates to visit the corn maze and pumpkin patch — tickets range from $15 (weekdays) to $17 (weekends) when you buy online in advance. (The price is about a dollar higher at the gate.) Your ticket includes a hayride and farm games.
See complete hours and pricing info
♦ R&A Orchards
5505 Highway 52 East
Ellijay, GA 30536
The 2023 season for apple picking and the u-pick flower fields starts Labor Day weekend and continues every weekend through October.
The market, bakery, and cafe are open daily from 9:3o a.m. to 6 p.m.
Visit the website for more info
More fall fun:
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Friday, September 29, 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Sunday, October 1, 2023
Ellijay Lions club Fairgrounds
Hillcrest Orchards (Ellijay)