Socially Distant Fall Fun – Orchards Nearby Chicago

by Amanda on September 28, 2020

Dear friend,

I hope this finds you and yours healthy, happy, and relatively sane considering the state of the world!  

Most of us are trying to squeeze as much outdoor time from these remaining months as possible.  Mother Nature can provide us glorious warm weather one day and slapping us with freezing rain the next.  I guess what I’m saying is, “GET OUT THERE WHILE THE GETTING’S GOOD!”

I’ve always felt that to truly enjoy fall, one must come to terms with the fact that it’s really pretty basic.  Fall isn’t cool or earth-shattering, it’s about getting back to our roots and embracing the simple pleasures in life.  We’ve all had to shift into this mindset during the pandemic, and I believe it’s a silver lining in this uncertain time.

In years past, we compiled a list of action-packed pumpkin farms, but with social distancing, many of us may be uncomfortable in these situations.  This year we’ve provided you with options that may require more transportation time, but will provide lots of wide-open space.

Below you’ll find a list of apple and pumpkin farms where you can get your Autumn fix.  All have social distancing protocols in place, require masks and have reduced the number of daily visitors. 

DON’T FORGET… our 14th annual Pumpkin Carving Contest is next month, so stock up on holiday gourds to carve up for the contest.  We’ve got additional categories, prizes and more in store this year so stock up!

Kuipers Family Farm

Distance from city: 50 miles
1N318 Watson Rd., Maple Park (815-827-5200 or kuipersfamilyfarm.com)

PRO TIP: While apple picking season began Aug. 22, the pumpkin farm fun opened Sep. 19. Orchard is open for picking only Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the extra activities are open before making the drive and reserve tickets online. Please review their COVID safety procedures before visiting. Also, strollers, wagons and backpacks are not allowed in the orchard.

Jonamac Orchard

Distance from city: 70 miles
19412 Shabbona Rd., Malta (815-825-2158 or jonamacorchard.com)

PRO TIP: Jonamac’s Store & Bakery and Cider House opened Aug. 19 and apple-picking begins Aug. 29. Orchard is open for picking only Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available online. Please read their COVID information page prior to visiting. 

County Line Orchard

Distance from city: 45 miles
200 S. County Line Rd., Hobart, IN (219-947-4477 or countylineorchard.com)

PRO TIP: Apple-picking season is in full swing as of Sept. 2nd and reservations are NOT accepted, so go early or during the week to beat the crowds. Please read their COVID information page prior to visiting. 

Heinz Orchard

Distance from city: 40 miles
1050 Crest Rd., Green Oaks (847-770-3449 or heinzorchard.com)

PRO TIP: No Frills orchard. Picking begins mid-September. Many of their apples are smaller in size this year due to the weather. Check their website before visiting for updates on the ripening schedule and hours. Due to the pandemic, they will not be hosting large groups.

Royal Oak Farm

Distance from city: 76 miles
15908 Hebron Rd., Harvard (815-648-4141 or royaloakfarmorchard.com)

PRO TIP: 120 acres with 16,000 apples trees and 30 varieties makes this possibly the biggest orchard near Chicago. Make sure to check out their updated schedule of apples when ready for picking as many are not predicted until early October.

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