The 10 Best Apple Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia

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There are dozens of charming Blue Ridge Mountain towns in North Georgia, each of which has a certain something for which they are widely renowned.

For example, Helen GA is known for its Alpine-influenced architecture and Bavarian-style restaurants.

Dahlonega GA is known for being the site of the first major U.S. Gold Rush, while Blue Ridge GA is known for upscale restaurants and the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

The small town of Ellijay GA is best known for its apples and wineries. In fact, apples have had such a huge impact on the city’s economy, Ellijay is widely regarded as “the Apple Capital of Georgia.” 

Along with a variety of apple-themed festivals that are hosted in Ellijay, there are a ton of apple orchards in the area. This is partly due to the town’s lower elevation, which makes the weather ideal for agriculture.

Many of the North Georgia apple orchards offer apple-picking opportunities, as well as fun activities such as hayrides and farm tours to make your visit even more memorable.

You can also pick up a variety of other produce at many of the orchards, and some offer homemade goodies like jams, jellies, and fresh-baked apple pies.

So if you want a fun (and delicious) day trip from Atlanta GA, read on for our list of the best apple orchards in Ellijay GA, including some history and information about activities at each.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Ellijay GA & Gilmer County

Best Apple Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia Guide

  1. Red Apple Barn 
  2. Hillcrest Orchards and Farms
  3. B.J. Reece orchards
  4. Aaron Family Orchards
  5. Penland’s Apple House
  6. Panorama Orchards & Farm Market
  7. R&A Orchards
  8. Mack Aaron’s Apple House
  9. Mercier Orchards
  10. Bella Orchards

 

Red Apple Barn - Ellijay apple orchards
Photo courtesy of Red Apple Barn

1. Red Apple Barn

3379 Tailscreek Road, Ellijay GA • 706-635-5898

Official Website

After Marvin Pritchett planted his first orchard of 100 trees in Gilmer County in 1965, then 500 more the next year, the Red Apple Barn was built to sell apples from in 1971.

The operation has expanded a bit over the years, but it still remains in the family more than 50 years later. The Pritchetts run the business on the principles of customer satisfaction, quality merchandise, and friendly service.

If you’re keen on apple-picking in Ellijay GA, the Red Apple Barn offers u-pick on weekends in September, October, and November.

In terms of varietals, visitors can pick Arkansas Black, Cameo, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Golden Supreme, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Stayman Winesap apples. 

Along with your paid u-pick admission, you also get a tractor ride to and from the orchard, a yummy apple cider doughnut, and a cup of apple cider.

There are also weekday farm tours available, where guests can take a tractor ride by the hayfield, to the orchard, through the pumpkin patch and flower garden, and then back to the barn.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Pumpkin Patches in North Georgia to Visit

Hillcrest Orchards - apple orchards in Georgia
Photo courtesy of Hillcrest Orchards

2. Hillcrest Orchards and Farms

9696 Hwy 52E., Ellijay GA • 706-273-3838

Official Website

Hillcrest Orchards is a family-owned business run by Janice Lynn Hale along with her daughter, Kristin, and grandson Jackson.

Since 1946, the Hale family has been offering their guests a fun and diverse farm experience that includes Georgia apple picking, wagon rides, cow milking, swimming pig races, and more.

Additional fan favorites include the petting farm, kiddie corn maze, and wagon rides. 

The types of apples you can pick in Hillcrest’s u-pick orchards include Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Rome Beauty, Arkansas Black, Granny Smith, Goldrush, and Yates.

They’re open for u-pick apples from September to early November, but visit early in the season if you want to ensure they still have your favorite apple varieties. 

You can also buy other types of apples (such as Pink Lady) in the Hillcrest Market, along with sweet treats like fresh-baked apple pies, apple fritters, and cider doughnuts.

READ MORE: Apple Picking in Georgia: The 10 Best North GA Apple Orchards to Visit

BJ Reece Orchards in Ellijay GA - Ellijay GA apple picking
Photo courtesy BJ Reece Orchards

3. B.J. Reece Orchards

9131 Highway 52, East Ellijay GA • 706-276-3048

Official Website

Rated as one of Georgia’s top “fun getaway” destinations, B.J. Reece Orchards is as entertaining as it is beautiful.

The family-owned orchard is surrounded by the beautiful North Georgia mountains, and offers plenty of activities.

There are 30 different varieties of apples spanning 120 acres. Some popular favorites include Red Delicious, Crimson Crisp, Mutsu, Rome Beauty, Fuji, and Ginger Gold apples. 

If you’re visiting for an authentic Ellijay GA apple-picking experience, their u-pick season starts just before Labor Day weekend and runs through October. 

Group reservations are available where you can purchase activity bundles. They include things like a wagon ride through the farm, a cow-milking demonstration, and a visit to the petting farm!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Ellijay GA

Aaron Family Orchards
Photo courtesy of Aaron Family Orchards

4. Aaron Family Orchards

8350 Hwy 52E, Ellijay GA • 706-273-3180 (Aug-Dec) or 706-273-8456 (Jan-July)

Official Website

In order to bring in extra income for his family, Shafter Aaron started construction on what would be known as “Aaron’s Apple House” in 1938.

The business originally focused on the wholesale and retail sale of agricultural products, and has since been passed down from generation to generation.

Today, the Ellijay apple orchards are owned and operated by Alan Aaron, Shafter’s grandson.

U-pick isn’t available here, but they do have an assortment of freshly picked apples in bins for purchase.

These include Detroit Red, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Cameo, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Ozark Gold apples.

Along with exploring the beautiful farm and orchard, you can also visit their store. It has a variety of goodies ranging from jams and jellies to ciders, with custom gift baskets available starting at $25.

READ MORE: Hiking & Camping at Fort Mountain State Park Near Ellijay GA

Penland’s Apple house
Photo courtesy of Penland’s Apple house

5. Penland’s Apple House

41 Talona Mountain Road, Ellijay GA • 706-635-5110

Official Website

With two locations in Ellijay, Penland’s Apple House operates daily from 9 am to 6 pm, from June through November.

They are a family-owned and operated orchard that has been growing apples in the state of Georgia since 1936!

At this Ellijay apple house, you can buy fresh apples, peaches, and veggies, as well as ciders and jams.

They also have a variety of mouthwatering baked goods, including homemade fried pies and apple fritters.

All in all, it’s a great spot to stop by for a quick treat if you’re in the area.

READ MORE: Carters Lake Camping, Cabins, & Boat Rentals in Ellijay GA

Panorama Farm Market - Ellijay GA apple orchards
Photo courtesy of Panorama Orchards and Farm Market

6. Panorama Orchards & Farm Market

63 Talona Spur, Ellijay GA • 706-276-3813

Official Website

Panorama Orchards & Farm Market was launched by the Stembridge family, who originally grew apples in the rural Gilmer County community of Ella Gap.

In 1965, the business became a partnership between Joel Stembridge and his son Gene, who changed the name to Panorama Orchards. 

Although you can’t pick your own apples here, there are over 20 different varieties of apples available for purchase. 

If you visit from August to October, you’ll find varieties such as Detroit Red, Gala, Blonde, September Wonder, and Ginger Gold. 

Late-fruiting varieties like Granny Smith, Mutsu, Cameo, and Stayman Winesap can be bought towards the end of the season, from September almost to Christmas (as long as supplies last)!

They also have a market that sells tasty treats like fresh cider, apple brandy cake, and fried pies. And everything is made from scratch in the market kitchens, using fresh fruit from the orchard.

READ MORE: North Georgia Christmas Tree Farms Where You Can Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

R&A Apple Orchards in Ellijay GA
Photo courtesy R&A Orchards

7. R&A Orchards

5505 Hwy. 52, East Ellijay GA • 706-273-3821

Official Website

The story of R&A Orchards began in 1947, when Leonard and Della Payne planted the first apple trees in their Gilmer County orchard.

Their daughter Ann and her husband Roger (a.k.a. R&A) kept up the tradition, and the R&A Orchards Roadside Market was opened in 1972.

The business was later passed down to their children, Rhonda and Andy. Andy and his wife Jennifer now run R&A Orchards with their four children.

Apple season at this orchard usually runs from August to early December, and u-pick apples are available every weekend in September.

You can harvest Golden Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Mutsu, Rome Beauty, and Red Delicious apples.

Even if you don’t want to pick your own apples, it’s worth a stop at the shop to pick up some of their tasty treats. These include delicious apple butter, apple cider, dried apples, and more.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Christmas Towns in Georgia to Visit

Mack Aaron’s Apple House
Photo courtesy of Mack Aaron’s Apple House

8. Mack Aaron’s Apple House

8955 Highway 54, East Ellijay GA • 706-273-3600

Official Website

Now in its third generation, Mack Aaron’s Apple House has a rich history of growing apples that dates back to 1944. 

They take pride in offering personalized service and a friendly, helpful atmosphere. Plus, they’re one of the few apple orchards in North Georgia that are open all year!

Their apple varieties vary by month, with popular ones like Detroit Red, Red Delicious, and Gala ripening in August.

Rome Beauty and Golden Delicious apples are available in September. Granny Smith and Arkansas Black apples are ready in October, while Pinky Lady and Yates apples reach their peak with Georgia’s fall colors in November.

Peaches are also available here from July through Labor Day.  

In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, they also offer a large selection of baked goods, including 10+ kinds of delicious handmade fried pies. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Treehouse Rentals in the Georgia Mountains

North Georgia Apple picking at Mercier Orchards - Blue Ridge GA apple orchards
2019 Apple U-Pick at Mercier Orchards

9. Mercier Orchards

8660 Blue Ridge Dr., Blue Ridge GA • 706-632-3411

Official Website

Although it’s based in Blue Ridge GA, Mercier Orchards is located just a 20-minute drive from Ellijay. Since it’s widely regarded as one of the best apple orchards in Georgia, we thought it should make the list!  

It’s also known as one of the region’s most beautiful orchards, located on 300 acres of land surrounded by the photogenic Blue Ridge Mountains. 

This 4th generation family-owned apple orchard has produced plentiful harvests for over 75 years. They offer great North Georgia apple picking events where your admission includes a ride on a tractor through the farm.

After the ride, you can pick apple varieties such as Empire, Crimson Crisp, Cameo, Blondee, Detroit Red, Gala, Golden Supreme, and more.

If you don’t want to pick, tours of their Blue Ridge GA apple orchards are available for $5 (kids 2 & under are free).

They also have a beloved restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, along with a variety of other scrumptious bakery items and hard-pressed beverages.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA

Bella Orchards - North GA apple orchards
Photo courtesy of Bella Orchards

10. Bella Orchards

533 Mineral Springs Rd N, Jasper GA • 678-687-9302

Official Website

Bella Orchards is a family-run farm located just south of Ellijay, in the town of Jasper GA (home to Mount Oglethorpe, the southernmost peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains).

In addition to apples, they also grow strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, pears, peaches, muscadines, and figs.

They often have u-pick opportunities available, but it depends on the season and the amount of fruit the orchard produces in a given year.

If you’re looking for a specific u-pick fruit, it’s best to call before you go. But their fields are easily accessible, and they typically don’t have long lines or wait times.

It makes for a fun afternoon out in the fresh air, and you’ll leave with some delightfully fresh fruit! –by Christina Maggitas; lead photo via Canva

 

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Christina Maggitas developed a love for nature at a young age and spent the majority of her formative years outdoors. Since first visiting the Great Smokey Mountains with her family as a child, she has always admired the beauty of the Blue Ridge region and spends as much time as she can hiking north Georgia. She has a passion for writing and storytelling with the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. Currently, Christina is a senior at Kennesaw State University where she is studying Journalism and Emerging Media.