By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 29, 2023 at 11:02 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

Whether you’re looking for a weekend activity to enjoy with your kids, gathering apples for seasonal baking or homemade caramel apples, there’s nothing like spending part of a beautiful day at the local apple orchard.

While there are plenty of orchards within 20 minutes of Milwaukee on this list, you’ll also find gems a bit more far-flung. They’re perfect for a short weekend road trip to view the fall colors.

Before you go, be sure to check each orchard’s website for hours and a listing of what’s ripe and ready for picking!

Orchards for the pickin'

Apple Barn Orchard and Winery
W6384 Sugar Creek Rd., Elkhorn

This family-owned orchard features 13 varieties of apples throughout the season, each with its own unique character. Pick-your-own apples are available on a “pay per bag” basis, so you only pay for what you’d like to pick. Be sure to stop into the winery and shop to peruse the seasonal offerings. Pre-picked apples are also available.

Apple Holler
5006 S Sylvania Ave., Sturtevant

Apple Holler features 76 acres planted with 30 types of apples, plus pick-your-own pears. The family-fun zone also has a gift shop, bakery, an on-site restaurant, corn maze and more. Pre-picked apples are also available for purchase.

Appleland Farm Market
4177 WI-57, Fredonia 

At Appleland, customers can choose from over 15 varieties of apples, some harvested and available at the market and others on the trees and ready to be picked. The farm also features a playground, pumpkin patch, farmers market and more. Don’t miss the apple cider slushies!

Barthel Fruit Farm
12246 N. Farmdale Rd., Mequon 

Barthel offers a market with freshly picked apples, plus you-pick through the end of October. Guests can choose to pick a peck (about 10 lbs) of apples or a half bushel (20 lbs) at a time. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase sweet treats from their bakery food truck or relax at the Barthel’s beer garden open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. 

Brightonwoods Orchard
1072 288th Ave., Burlington 

While Brightonwoods does not offer a pick-your-own option, there are numerous reasons to pay a visit. The drive to the orchard, which is located on one of Wisconsin's scenic Rustic Roads, is memorable in and of itself.  Once you’re there, you can stop by their orchard store to purchase what’s fresh from the 150+ heirloom apple varieties grown on the farm. Kids can explore the orchard’s magical two-story treehouse and visitors are welcome to take a stroll through the orchard or explore the farm’s wooded trails. Guests can also stop in at the AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery to try some perry or hard apple cider made with Brightonwoods’ apples. 

Wisconsin Field to Fork cookbookX


Pick up a copy of Lori Fredrich's new cookbook "Wisconsin Field to Fork: Farm Fresh Recipes from the Dairy State" to read more about local farms like Brightonwoods Orchard and get the recipe for Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe's delicious Apple Thyme Tart!


Door Creek Orchard
3252 Vilas Rd., Cottage Grove

Pick apples, walk on nature trails and hang out with sheep at this orchard located just an hour from Milwaukee. Due to demand, guests are asked to sign up for pick-your-own apple slots on Saturdays and Sundays (see the website for details).

The Elegant Farmer
1545 Main St., Mukwonago

Head to this classic Mukwonago stop for the Smiley Barn and stay for the apples. The Elegant Farmer market is open daily, but the apple picking starts in September and runs through most of October. Check out the onsite corn maze and be sure to pick up a famous “Apple Pie In A Bag” to take home with you.

2227 Fitchburg Rd., Fitchburg 

Head to Epelgaarden for an experience with a tough of Norwegian flair.  The farm features selv plukk (U-Pick) apples plus a Farmstore, brat barn (try their cider brats!) and children’s play area. Guests can also enjoy horse drawn hayrides and fresh pressed apple cider.

Gierach Orchards
9616 W. Bonniwell Rd., Mequon, WI 53097

Among the newer orchards on our list, this family-friendly spot began offering pick-your-own apples in 2019. The picturesque farm also features a pick-your-own sunflower field and a sales barn where they sell cider, free-range poultry, pre-picked apples and more. 

Honey Creek Orchard
8210 Pioneer Rd., Cedarburg

Honey Creek Orchard offers pick-your-own apples along with apple cider donuts and pumpkins. The orchard offers plenty of entertainment for your little ones, including the opportunity to interact with some of the animals on the farm.

Jacobson Orchards
25911 Malchine Rd., Waterford
Pick your own apples on Saturdays and Sundays during the season or purchase already picked apples from the orchard’s retail store. Guests can also enjoy the farm’s pumpkin patch and corn maze.

Jelli’s Market
N5648 S Farmington Rd, Helenville 

Pre-picked apples are available daily in the store, and family apple picking is offered multiple afternoons a week beginning in September. Pick-your-own pumpkins and a corn maze are also available for fall enjoyment.

Old Homestead Orchard
7814 Raynor Ave., Franksville

Pick your own apples or sunflowers at this orchard which has been going strong for over 75 years. The kids will enjoy grain sandboxes, ride-on toys, repurposed farm equipment climbers, and a poultry zoo. Purchase hot dogs, apple cinnamon brats and cider doughnuts and enjoy a lunch outdoors at the orchard’s picnic tables. Be sure to check their website for details on weekend festivals like Popcorn Fest, Pumpkin Fest and more.

Peck & Bushel Organic Fruit Co.
5454 County Road Q, Colgate

It’s tough to grow apples organically in Wisconsin, but Peck & Bushel has developed a formula that works, and the orchard grows bigger and better every year. As a bonus, the orchard is among the most picturesque in the area, thanks to its location in the vicinity surrounding Holy Hill. Enjoy apple picking every weekend during the season, as well as an on-site market and bakery. 

Rim’s Edge Orchard
W220N10540 Amy Belle Rd., Germantown

Rim’s Edge Orchard grows 20 apple varieties which ripen at various points throughout the season. Be sure to check out their bakery and shop which features honey made onsite by resident bees, frozen cider pops and caramel apples. 

Westons’ Antique Apple Orchard
19760 W. National Ave., New Berlin, (262) 679-1862 

Explore the wonders of rare, antique apples at this orchard which has fought to preserve over 100 varieties of oft-forgotten varieties. While you’re not able to pick your own apples, you can purchase them at the onsite market. Guests can enjoy a fascinating orchard tour to learn more about the apples and the historic grounds which are a well-preserved example of a typical turn-of-the-century farm. Call ahead for more information. You can also check their Facebook page for their onsite market hours and other locations where their apples can be found.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.