These family-friendly North Carolina farms might sell you a pumpkin, offer a hayride, or scare you so much you pee your pants this Halloween (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Sweater weather in North Carolina (well, most of it!) means it’s pumpkin picking time!
All across the state, farms are opening their gates to families and autumn lovers to peruse their patches. You might also take part in a hayride, corn maze, or scream-worthy attraction.
Many of these patches are on working farms, so remember to respect the land, wear covered shoes, and if you can, bring reusable bags.
From the mountains to the Triangle, here are 10 places to play among the pumpkins.
Get your hands dirty by picking pumpkins right off the vine in High Country and bring your pup too!
Less than 10 miles west of Boone, Harvest boasts a new flower farm tour this year, and you can earn a free pumpkin if you complete the seven-acre corn maze. On Oct. 16, a special flashlight maze begins at dusk. Pumpkins vary in size by price and variety.
Harvest Farm, 3287 NC 194, Valle Crucis; (828) 260-0765
This 100-acre Hendersonville farm is filled with a variety of pumpkins and a mountain-view fit for grandpas and kids alike.
When you’re done with pumpkins, pick the dozen or so apple varieties still in season (U-Pick, where you pick your pumpkins right off the vine, resumes on Oct. 1), sip on apple cider, or nosh on cider donuts. Weekend fun includes a corn maze, cow train and apple cannon. A short drive from Asheville, you can bring your leashed pup along to chow down.
Grandad’s Apples and Such, 2951 Chimney Rock Rd., Hendersonville; (828) 685-1685
Located about an hour west of Charlotte, there’s more here than a corn maze. Not only can you loll about the gourd-related games and photo ops in the pumpkin patch, an official Pumpkin Festival takes place Oct. 22-23. Jack o’lanterns cost .65/pound, while pie pumpkins are pre-priced.
Feeling spooky? A haunted maze is open every Friday and Saturday in October.
Shelby Corn Maze, 120 Broadway Dr, Shelby; (704) 434-8187
Located 23 miles east of Charlotte, Riverbend is celebrating its pumpkin patch’s 30th.
Wagons take guests to and from the fields, where pumpkins ring in at .50/pound. When you’re done picking, slide around the farm-themed playground, enjoy a BYO picnic on the grounds, or visit barn animals. Only here for photo ops? The 10-foot Holstein cow’s got you covered.
Riverbend Farm, 12150 McManus Rd., Midland; (704) 622-7192
This 275-acre Mooresville property houses a quarry whose water helps irrigate their crops. While you can’t swim in it in October, you can take advantage of the on-the-vine, Jack-o-lantern-style pumpkins in Carrigan’s patch.
If spooky is your thing, visit on October nights when the place transforms into “Scarrigan Farms.” Ghouls must be 12 and older. As the website claims “if someone hasn’t peed in their pants by the end of the night, we know we haven’t done our job.”
Carrigan Farms, 1261 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy., Mooresville; (704) 664-1450
This northwest Piedmont farm, dedicated to agri-tourism, is a delightful place to pal around a patch filled with hundreds of pumpkins. For a full fall afternoon, you can take part in a wagon ride, corn maze, or petting zoo, and there’s grass-fed beef available to purchase directly from Red Hound.
Red Hound Farms, 3239 Frye Bridge Rd., Clemmons; (336) 462-3954
It’s hard to beat the scenery at Millstone Creek, where three pick-your-own pumpkin patches are home to over a dozen different varieties.
Want a green or bumpy one to go with your traditional orange oval? This Asheboro-area spot’s got it!
The Pumpkin Pickin’ Adventure admission includes the picking as well as education, pumpkin seed tasting, an apple cider slushie, hayride, and an apple cider pressing demonstration. The giant decorative pumpkins on the property as well as Granny’s Kitchen are pretty delightful, too.
Millstone Creek Orchards, 506 Parks Crossroads Church Rd., Ramseur; (336) 824-5263
An elaborate hayride that includes a turn-of-the-century church, witch house and UFO crash takes you through 14 acres of spooky woods to a pumpkin patch.
Eight pumpkin varieties, including 100-year-old heirlooms, make up the over 8,000 pumpkins to choose from. This Wake County family farm is also home to a giant corn maze, Farm Tower Fort, corn crib play barn, Super Mega Ride-N-Slide, pedal karts, obstacle course and barrel train.
Owner Robert Naylor believes his maze is the only one where you may see piglets being born—one mama recently gave birth to a litter, and her sister is due in mid-October.
Naylor Family Farm, 6016 US 401 North, Fuquay-Varina; Phone: (910) 249-2258
Open to the public on weekends, this 100-year-old farm is one of the most popular fall attractions in the Cary area.
The sunflowers haven’t bloomed yet, so those fields will be a welcome sight along with pumpkins this year.
There are two gourd options at Phillips: purchasing pre-picked carving and specialty pumpkins in the marketplace or, with admission to the Fun Park, guests have access to the pumpkin patch. In addition, this year features a new corn maze design, and at night, the property transforms into a haunted farm. (The Field of Lost Souls? Big Top Terror? Truly frightening!) Fun Park admission grants guests access to the corn maze, wagon ride, cow train, family fun park and sunflower field, while pumpkins are cash only.
Phillips Farms, 6701 Good Hope Church Rd., Cary; (919) 377-8989
Hop on a hayride (which often breaks out into song!) and head over to the pumpkin patch at this Beulaville farm, where you can snag an orange beaut for $.79/pound (minimum $4).
Located just northeast of Jacksonville, this Onslow County gem also features a “touch of country” family-style restaurant, so you can get your little ones situated at a farm table to chow down post-picking.
Mike’s Farm, 1600 Haw Branch Road, Beulaville; Phone: 910-324-3422