Fall harvest season is underway, and apples of every variety, from Gala to Granny Smith, are finding their way into pies, donuts, ciders, spreads, and more. These delicious treats are also taking center stage at themed festivals from coast to coast, with apple enthusiasts adventuring into the Midwestern countryside and mountain valley towns for a taste of the sweet life.
Here are some of the best apple festivals to add to your travel itinerary this autumn.
Enjoy an Artsy Fest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia
For 52 years, the Georgia Apple Festival in the Blue Ridge town of Ellijay has featured everything from vendors selling hand-crafted wares to artisans offering on-site demonstrations, live music, and delicious fair food. What once started as a small-town arts and crafts show has grown to a large-scale four-day event, taking place in 2023 on Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 21-22.
Where to Stay: Enjoy a stay at the nearby Hampton Inn Blue Ridge, offering easy access to the area’s vibrant arts scene and the scenic Chattahoochee National Forest.
Go Carnival Crazy with Car Shows and Cooking Demos in Delaware
Bridgeville, Delaware’s catchy-sounding Apple Scrapple Festival is part carnival, part car show, part pageant, and a whole lotta fun. Taking place from Oct. 13-14, this year’s event offers everything from a ladies’ skillet toss competition to a cooking demonstration, trade show, kid’s play area, apple toss event, and more, making it a rousing fall fest for visitors from all walks of life.
Where to Stay: Be sure to check out the region’s thriving craft beer scene before settling into your accommodations at the ideally situated Tru by Hilton Georgetown.
Honor Harvest Season in a Riverfront Setting in Oregon
Carving the state line that separates Washington from Oregon is the scenic Columbia River, where a bounty of farms and orchards harvest their apple crops each fall. The Hood River Valley Harvest Fest pays homage to this special season in hip fashion, bringing together local growers, artisans, chefs, musicians, and craft beverage makers for an epic event that’s taking place in 2023 from Oct. 13-15.
Where to Stay: The breathtaking Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is full of wonders to explore. Take it all in from your room at the Hampton Inn & Suites Hood River.
Discover a Corn Maze, Magic, Music, and More in Minnesota
Navigate a 15-acre corn maze, embark on a joyful hayride, snack on Honey Crisp apple chips, take in a magic show, dance along to live musical performances, and more, at the Afton Apple Orchard Apple Fest Weekends in Hastings, Minnesota. The festivities take place this year every weekend now through Oct. 15, but weekday visits still allow ample time for apple picking and other seasonal festivities.
Where to Stay: Stay just 30 miles away in downtown Minneapolis to experience everything this bustling city has to offer. Book a room at the historic Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill, which boasts a modern industrial design, including exposed brick and soaring ceilings.
Pick Perfect Produce at an Idyllic Orchard in Pennsylvania
Running now through Oct. 29, Lakeland Orchard & Cidery’s Apple Harvest Festival in Scott Township, Pennsylvania provides the perfect opportunity to join in autumn celebrations located just outside downtown Pittsburgh. Here you can hop aboard a train or country carousel, cheer along during an axe-throwing competition, sample sweet ciders, pet a goat, explore the bubble barn, and tempt your tastebuds with seasonal treats.
Located in downtown Pittsburgh, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown offers a wonderful home base for exploring the city and the surrounding countryside.
Stir Up Some Apple Butter and Preserve Storied Traditions in California
Nestled in Southern California’s San Bernadino Mountains, the town of Oak Glen works to keep alive the art of community apple butter making, a tradition that dates to the 16th century when European farmers would gather their harvest to boil down for winter preserves. Today, the area’s Apple Butter Festival, which takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving, offers a chance to take part in this long-cherished ritual.
Where to Stay: Cozy up at Home2 Suites by Hilton Redlands Loma Linda, located near the San Bernadino International Airport and just a short drive away from hiking trails and outdoor recreation at Big Bear Lake.