An apple a day keeps the vet away, which means there’s more time to play (at least that’s how the saying goes at the dog park). Leash up the pup and put on your favorite blanket scarf, because it’s time for everyone’s favorite fall activity: Illinois apple picking. Check out these dog-friendly apple orchards, and don’t furget your camera cuz you’ll be taking so many pics for the ‘gram.
1. Tanners Orchard
U-pick: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week through September; October openings are dependent on apple availability
Located in Speer, Tanners Orchard is a bit over 2 hours away from Chicago and definitely worth the drive. With over 11,000 trees in their orchard, pup’ll have to resist the temptation to mark them all. In addition to the apple orchard, there’s also a pumpkin patch so you can do two autumnal activities with one stone.
There’s a $10 admission fee per dog, with a portion being donated to The A.R.K. Humane Society in Lacon. Dogs aren’t allowed in the farm market or near any of the farm animals on site, and must be leashed at all times.
2. Appleberry Farm
9 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday-Sunday; late August through October
OK, it’s a little outside of Illinois, but hear us out: caramel apples, apple cider, and cider donuts. Take a trip up north to Cross Plains, Wisconsin, and visit Appleberry Farm! They grow more than a dozen apple varieties and offer pre-picked and U-pick options. Heck, you can make it a whole dog-friendly weekend in Madison if you want.
Dogs aren’t allowed in the berry fields or in the farm store, so bring a human buddy to stay with your Puppy Appleseed.
Times vary depending on location
Eckert’s operates several family farms, and the Belleville, Grafton, and Millstadt locations feature U-pick fields. The Eckert family has been growing apples for more than a century, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to farming America’s favorite fruit. Each farm has different apples, so you better read up in advance before pup throws a tantrum when they don’t have her Zestars. You’ll need a field access pass this year before entering, so don’t forget to plan ahead.
Leashed dogs are welcome on the farm, bike path, wagons, orchards, and pumpkin patch, but cannot be in the berry patches or veggie fields. Their Versailles, Kentucky, location only allows service animals (in case you’re heading down that way instead).
4. Christ Orchard
September-October: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Saturday
Holy moly, cheezus Christ Orchard. That’s what your bestie will be saying when you pull up to this family-owned orchard near Elmwood, about a 3-hour drive from Chicago. If pupper is here for dem apples and no frills, this is the spot. Christ Orchard of course has the staples like apple picking, pumpkins, and apple donuts, but good gourd, they even have corn, mums, fruit butters, and more.
Jonomac Orchards is an easy 90 minutes outside of Chicago in DeKalb County, and has a U-pick apple orchard, corn maze, and cider house. Unfortunately, puppers usually can’t join the fun since they’re not typically dog-friendly. But for one weekend each year, they host a Howl-O-Weekend during the last weekend of October where all the good boys, girls, and ghouls can stroll through their orchard and get lost in their daytime corn maze. Keep an eye on their events calendar for this year’s deets.
Where are pupper’s fave spots for Illinois apple picking? Woof at us in the comments, and tag @SidewalkDog in pics of your orchard adventures!