The 5 best local spots for prime pumpkin, apple pickin’

    With its advantageous location in the Tar Heel State, residents of Charlotte are treated to favorable weather year-round, and are able to enjoy each season to the fullest. Now, with summer over and autumn in the air, many locals may be making a trip to area farms and orchards in order to stock up on beautiful pumpkins and ripe apples, as well as enjoy scenic hayrides.

    Whether you recently decided to buy a house in Charlotte, or are planning an extended tour of the area, you might want to plan a visit to any of the following five farms near the Queen City this season. These local businesses offer patrons the opportunity for a perfect family outing, and can help you fall in love with autumn all over again.

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    Justus Orchard

    Boasting two acres of pumpkin patches and hundreds of apple trees, this orchard is the perfect place to visit on a fall day. Visitors can not only sample freshly baked apple cider donuts and fried apple pies, but also leave with crates full of tasty seasonal produce. Although it’s estimated that there are 7,5000 different kinds of apples grown throughout the world, the only type native to North America is the crabapple. However, this business – which is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. – prides itself on its wide selection of varieties. Learn more about the many flavors available for purchase at justusorchard.com.

    Carrigan Farms

    Established back in 1902, this farm has been treating guests to its famous 45-minute pumpkin patch hayrides for 38 years. Every year, tens of thousands of pumpkins are grown here. As they are about 90 percent water, pumpkins typically range in size and shape – but guests of this farm can always find the one that is the absolute perfect fit for them. The business is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit carriganfarms.com.

    Aw Shucks Farms

    Looking to do more than just pick out the perfect pumpkin? This farm offers its guests access to a custom designed cornmaze, pony rides during the weekend and spooky storytelling – all in addition to its many pristine pumpkin patches. Feeling brave? Be sure to check out the 13 acre haunted trail, which is open from dark until 11:30 p.m. nightly. The farm is open every weekend, but hours vary. To plan your trip accordingly, head to awshuckscornmaze.com.

    Hodges Farm

    Individuals who decide to visit this farm can find themselves the perfect pumpkin amid its 10 acres of patches, and can also enjoy participating in horseback riding lessons. Open daily from 9 a.m. until dark, this business offers its guests the opportunity for a relaxing day in nature. In addition, this farm is open through the holiday season, as it also sells Christmas trees. For more information, visit hodgesfarmnc.com.

    Rural Hill

    The heaviest pumpkin on record from this place weighed in at 2,009 pounds in 2012, but what’s even more impressive is this business’ Amazing Maize Maze. Those seeking real adventure can expect to encounter exciting twists and turns around every stalk at all hours of the day, as the maze is open both during daylight hours and the nighttime each weekend. To see the hours of operation, visit ruralhill.net.

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