Autumn in New Jersey means sweater weather, hot cider, bonfires, hayrides, pumpkin, and apple picking.

For many, apple picking turns into a family day of fun complete with activities, corn mazes, festivals, music, and more.

According to the U.S. Apple Association, in 2021 the top 10 apple-producing states were Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio, and Idaho.

But New Jersey has some of the best apple orchards, too. So much so, that two of them made the “Best of” list from Travel + Leisure.

NJ apple picking best family fall fun 2017
NJ Bucket List: fall apple picking in New Jersey for 2017 (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media)

Demarest Farms, Hillsdale

Located at 244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale, Demarest Farms, which was founded in 1886, ranked 7th on the publication’s Top 18 Places to Go Apple Picking in the U.S.

This pick-your-own farm offers pick-your-own apples, pumpkins, and peaches during their respective seasons. Reservations must be made in advance for both apple and pumpkin picking. Hayrides will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

General admission is $7 per person (age 2 and over). The price includes parking, entrance to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, and a playground.

Each apple bag holds approximately 10 to 12 pounds. It costs about $15 for a bag to hold the apples that you pick and roughly $12 for the largest pumpkin you pick.

Demarest Farms also offers spooky movie nights and The Orchard of Lights Halloween Light Show. According to the website, you can take your vehicle on a guided tour through 32 acres of brilliant Halloween light displays, while enjoying farm-fresh goodies like cider donuts in the farm market. Then, warm up by the fire pits where you can make your own S’mores and hot cocoa.

apple picking
Mike Brant - Townsquare Media

Terhune Orchards, Princeton

The apple orchard located at 13 Van Kirk Road, Princeton is the 8th best orchard for apple picking, according to Travel + Leisure.

The family-owned and operated farm has a pick-your-own, store with fall favorites like cider donuts, fresh-pressed cider, tons of Jersey fresh produce, a winery, farm animals, and more.

According to its website, Terhune Orchards, with 250 acres of land, attracts thousands of visitors every year for apple picking, pumpkin picking, and other family-fun activities.

At Terhune Orchards, the dwarf apple trees are easy for anyone of all ages to reach. Crisp, juicy apples that are ripe for picking include Jonathan, Fuji, Empire, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Cameo, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Macoun varieties.

Apples are by-the-bag. All guests 4 years and older can purchase a bag at check-in.
You can also pick pumpkins at the patch located on Cold Soil Road. Saturday and Sunday admission is required to the pumpkin patch.

Every weekend until October 30 is filled with fall family-fun activities. Make a day out of it from 10 am. to 5 p.m. Visit the barnyard animals and the adventure story barn, enjoy pony rides and corn mazes, as well as pedal tractors and the children’s play area. There are also duck races and hands-on fun in the little tots’ farm store and junior mechanics shop.

The newest addition to Terhune Orchards this year is “Adventure Barn.” Walk through this life-sized storybook adventure. Learn about pumpkins in fairytales and science.

Happy apple picking!

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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