This Illinois Orchard is One of the Best in the US for Apple Picking
Your weekend plans are set. A trip to an orchard that started in 1965 as a hobby, now regarded as one of the absolute best orchards in America.
Is there anything to love more about the fall season?
Even spring and summer lovers will tell you that deep down, nothing beats a fall trip to an apple orchard. In Illinois, we're so blessed to have so many great choices.
One family-owned orchard in northern Illinois just made a pretty short list of places to get your fresh apples, cider, donuts, and more.
The Top Spots in the U.S. to go for Apple Picking
Honey Hill Orchard in Waterman, Illinois made a list of only 20 orchards across the entire country.
Honey Hill started out in 1965 as a hobby for retired farmer Hawken Askelson, who just wanted to plant a few trees to provide fruit for his family.
As the story goes, Hawken was extremely good at farming and these trees were soon producing more apples than his family could use.
That's when Hawken did what most retired men do when they're not cutting the grass, he hung out in his garage and started selling his apples. Honey Hill Orchard was born.
Let's get your trip to Honey Hill Orchard planned
Honey Hill Orchard is located at 11783 Waterman Road in Waterman, Illinois (less than an hour drive southeast of Rockford).
- Early season hours arrive on Saturday, Sept. 3rd from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
- Open 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5th and Tuesday Sept. 6th.
- Open Daily from 9:00 a.m. -5:30 p.m. Starting Thursday, Sept. 8 through Monday, October 31.
On the farm, your visit will start with trip inside an 1880's converted apple barn with a loft filled with crafts and gifts.
Over two dozen varieties of apples, apple cider donuts, 100% pure apple cider, honey made by their own bees, caramel apples and fresh baked pies, too.
There's a free children's play area with a farm animal petting zoo and a straw maze. Honey Hill also offers weekend wagon rides if the weather cooperates.
The 20 top spots in the U.S. for apple picking were compiled by Yelp.
“We identified the top spots to go apple picking in the US, and then ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews between January 1, 2001 and July 7th, 2021," a Yelp representative said.
The people working here are as nice as can be, and the cider donuts are worth the hour drive from Naperville. (Matt G. on Yelp)
Went with a group of girlfriends and a couple babies and it was great! From apple picking, pumpkin patches and animals, definitely a great option, especially since you don't have to pay to get in. (Lex B. on Yelp)
There are no admission or parking fees. However, everyone over the age of 2 years must purchase a picking bag to ride a wagon and go into the picking areas
It appears that the best way to stay up to date on picking schedules and varieties is to follow them on Facebook.