Growing up in Georgia, when I wanted to pick apples on a fall day, I simply walked down the street to my aunt’s back yard. In SoCal, while backyards tend to be filled with oranges, lemons, guavas and avocados ripening almost year-round, apples right off the tree are harder to come by. So, if the change of seasons has you yearning to pluck some fresh fruit off the branches, consider heading up to Oak Glen for blue skies, fresh air, and some down-home family apple-picking fun.
While Oak Glen is home to many ranches and fruit farms, Riley’s is often the first to come to mind. There are, in fact, three Riley’s locations in Oak Glen. Riley’s Farm at 12261 Oak Glen Road is open Monday-Saturday and offers living history exhibits that give children a look at what Colonial American life was like. Kids can participate in archery, candle making and cider pressing, and if you want to stay overnight there is Colonial-style glamping available on the farm.
You can also pick your own apples at Rileys, but keep in mind that they sometimes get “picked-out” by early afternoon. If that’s the case, there are plenty of other farms down the road where you can fill your baskets, including Los Rios.
When it’s time to eat, Apple Annie’s Restaurant and Bakery serves home-cooked meals and a famous 5 lb. mile-high homemade apple pie. It’s located within a shopping village that includes fun activities for kids such as a train ride, bouncy slide and petting zoo. There are also several parks where you can picnic or just relax and take in some clean mountain air before heading back to the city.
Make sure to stop by Mom’s country store on your way out for fresh cider if you didn’t press your own.
Best time to go: Labor Day – Thanksgiving (visit website or call for types of apples ready)
Good for: Kids 1+
Watch out for: Traffic, pedestrians on Oak Glen road
Get there: Interstate 10 East to Oak Glen road
Wear: Pants, layers, boots
Bring: Water, snacks, bags to carry apples, picnic blanket
Nearby eats: Apple Annie’s; Hawk’s Head Tavern