Fall is here! In Cumming, that means crisp air, colorful leaves to spice up your Sawnee Mountain hikes and walks on the Greenway, and weekends packed with family-friendly festivals and activities. It’s the perfect time of year to head to North Georgia to pick apples and pumpkins, go for a hayride and even meander in a giant sunflower field.
Take the family on a day trip to North Georgia for some apple pickin’ fun! Hillcrest Orchards and B.J. Reece are located down the road from each other in Ellijay and for a set price, both offer loads of family fun.
Come to Hillcrest Orchards for the Apple Pickin’ Jubilee, which runs on weekends through Oct. 29. Admission includes more than 20 activities! We easily spend 3 hours on our visits here. Watch live pig races, play miniature golf, take a pedal tractor along the trike track, play in the Apple Tree Maze, pet baby goats at the petting zoo and even milk a cow. You can purchase a U-pic bag along with your festival entry and come home with a bag of freshly picked apples.
Before picking apples, my kids love to jump on the giant bouncy pillow, take a few spins around the orchard from the tractor-pulled cow ride and slide down the 50-foot tire slide. Another highlight is trekking through the woods and along the creek on a nature trail filled with scenes from nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
When you finally make it to the apple picking portion, choose from Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Candy Crisp and several other varieties. There are plenty of apples at the perfect height for little hands. Make sure to stop in the bakery to pick up some melt-in-your-mouth apple cider doughnuts, apple fritters and fresh apple cider!
U-pick apple season and family fun on the farm runs from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily through Oct. 29. One price includes admission to everything. Visit the petting farm, go on a wagon ride and a scavenger hunt through the corn field and shoot the apple cannons. A lot of the activities here are similar to those at Hillcrest. You can’t go wrong at either orchard!
Before you leave, pick up an apple pie from the bakery. There are half a dozen flavors, including some sugar-free versions, plus pumpkin rolls, caramel apples, homemade breads and so much more.
This family-owned farm located in North Forsyth County is the best local spot for seeing farm animals, picking out the perfect pumpkin, going on a hayride and enjoying a picnic. There are friendly, adorable farm animals on both sides of the road and kids can feed them some grass or a cup of animal food that can be purchased inside the fall harvest shop/barn.
Walk a little farther into the property and step inside the giant, charmingly decorated barn, filled with pumpkins ranging in size. Grab some edible pumpkins perfect for making pies, fresh apple bread, and local honey, jams and jellies
There are plenty of wooden wagons outside the barn to transport your orange autumn veggies and your little ones. Inside the barn, buy your hayride tickets and food to feed the catfish in the pond that the tractor will visit during an open-air, straw-filled excursion. The tractor will stop at the lake for some catfish feeding and you will see hundreds of Christmas trees being grown. Make sure to come back later in the year to search for and cut down your own
There are several picnic tables providing beautiful views of the property if you choose to stay for lunch. We had my daughter’s second birthday here and it was the perfect setting – and free!
Burt’s Farm is located near Dawsonville, half a mile south of Amicalola Falls State Park. We like grabbing lunch at the Burger Bus in Ball Ground and then taking scenic backroads to Burt’s.
Hop aboard a hayride around the pumpkin patch and through the woods on a 2-mile excursion. Along the way, you’ll go through a covered bridge filled with singing pumpkins. At the end of the ride, you will get a glimpse of Amicalola Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
After the hayride, pick out pumpkins ranging in size from 1-150 pounds. Snap a photo of the farm’s two most famous pumpkins, Autumn and Gordy. (You can see them on the hayride!)
Don’t leave without visiting the “barn” store for fresh baked pumpkin pie, candied popcorn, funnel cakes and deep fried pumpkin rolls.
Fausett Farms Sunflowers
In case you missed visiting Andersons Sunflowers in early July, this is another amazing spot that’s home to sunflowers every year! Located just south of Burts Pumpkin Farm and Amicalola Falls, this more than 150-year old, family-owned farm is home to 30 acres of sunflowers. While you’re there, add on a mule drawn wagon ride! Horse lovers can even bring their horse and enjoy miles of trails on the property.
Uncle Shuck’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze
Just off 400 in Dawsonville is a 12-acre field of tall corn known as Uncle Shuck’s Maze. The maze comprises roughly 4 miles of twisting-turning trails – and dead-ends! Make it a family-friendly competition to see who can find all the checkpoints and make it out of the maze the quickest. An average journey will take as little as 30 minutes to complete one maze, or as long as two hours to complete both mazes.
In addition to the maze, there are pumpkins, a towering goat walk, hayrides along the Etowah River, and a haunted maze and bonfires in the evenings.
Scottsdale Farms Nursery
Located in Alpharetta on 65 acres, Scottsdale Farms is filled with fun for the kids. Start by seeing the pigs and chickens, then walk through the barn and grab lunch and King of Pops to eat on the covered patio out back. In the back of the property, visit with the goats, play cornhole, go on the wooden swing and enjoy the playground. There are fun family events held here often so check the website for details.
Pumpkins are priced as marked, but at Warbington Farms you can also enjoy the fun park and corn maze for one admission price. The Fun Park includes a “hey” ride, petting zoo, giant inflatables, tire yard, corn crib, roller slides, swings and more! Check the events calendar for upcoming events. We had my daughter’s third birthday party here and it was perfect!
Every year in early September is the Annual Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park. Shop the works of 400 artists and crafters while enjoying live entertainment, a children’s corner, crafter demos and more.
Through Oct. 29, come to Stone Mountain Park for the Pumpkin Festival, featuring Spookley’s Funtastic Kid’s Carnival filled with traditional boardwalk games and inflatables. The festival includes a pumpkin patch, pie eating contest, parade, storytelling and more.
Play at the Park at Fowler Park is another annual festival we love. Enjoy family entertainment, food trucks, hot air balloon tethered rides and more!
Every year, you can capture the story of your family’s fair adventure with a professional mini session by Brandy Craig Photography.
Written by Sarah Johnson for the September issue of Up in Cumming Magazine. Slight edits made to this digital version.