The best way to spend time with your friends and get the full fall experience is heading to an apple orchard for the weekend! I love apple picking, the delicious smells of various baked goods, hay rides and, of course, the animals!

What better way to spend a weekend with your friends or family?

Apple picking with good friends on a crisp fall day, eating caramel apples and enjoying hayrides sounds like a great idea to me. Fall activities are my favorite, and apple orchards happen to be one of the cheapest, and in my opinion, the best way to enjoy a nice fall day.


Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21


Lucky for us in Winona, we don’t have to travel too far to experience a fun orchard. There are a multitude of apple orchards in the Winona area! In fact, there are so many orchards to choose from that I personally have not been to all the orchards in the surrounding area.

Here are some of the best ones to check out over the next few weeks.


1.  Ecker’s Apple Farm

I have been to this orchard twice over the past two years when my family has come to visit. Ecker’s has the best caramel apples, and the orchard is absolutely beautiful! It is just across the bridge in Wisconsin, but it’s not as far as it seems.


Student holding up caramel apple.

Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21


2.  Hoch Orchards & Gardens

I personally have not had the chance to visit this one yet, but my friends have and they said it was great. It’s located in La Crescent, Minnesota, and it’s a large family farm. There is also a winery at this apple orchard and many organic goods.


3.  Ferguson’s Orchards

This orchard is also in Wisconsin, but only a very short drive away. They not only have apples, but also pumpkins, delicious homemade food, apple cider and baked goods. The last time I visited, I was able to channel my inner kid on the hay ride around the scenic orchard.


Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21


4.  SouthWind Orchards

You only have to take a quick half hour drive to Dakota, Minnesota, to find yourself at a very scenic and cute orchard. I have been to this orchard once with my friends and it has horses, yummy apples, and such pretty views.


5.  Van Lin Orchards

Van Lin is another place I have not yet gone to but after looking at photos, I really want to! It is also in La Crescent, and just like all other orchards, they have apples galore! There is much apple picking to be done in those huge fields with nine different types to choose from.


6.  Shefelbine Orchard & Pumpkin Patch

This orchard is only open on the weekends. However, it is pretty cheap to get in and you can get pumpkins and apples to bring home with you! From what the reviews have been saying on Facebook, the honey crisp apples they have for picking are mouthwatering. This is definitely one that I want to check out in the near future!


Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21


Hopefully everyone is able to take a little homework break this weekend and enjoy some time with friends eating yummy baked goods, apple picking, drinking hot apple cider, and enjoying the fall air and the gorgeous colors.

Since I have moved to Winona, visiting apple orchards every autumn has become a tradition for my friends and I. Over the last few years, we have been to many of the local orchards and they have never failed to be fun.

Make sure to take a lot of pictures, eat a lot of apples and deserts, and go on the hay rides! You will regret it if you don’t get your friends together and visit one (or a couple) of these orchards during this fall season.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good honey crisp apple? Especially when it’s dipped in caramel…


Updated by Hailey Seipel (07/02/2019)