- Pick fresh fruit from blooming orchards
- Enjoy a homecooked meal in a country kitchen
- Hike through the surrounding natural area
A little over 90 miles east of Los Angeles, you'll find yourself deep in the Inland Empire. Continue along the I-10 to start your day trip in Oak Glen, on the edge of the San Bernadino National Forest. This natural area is best known for its abundant orchards, where visitors flock in fall to spend a day in the fresh air picking apples, sampling homemade cider, and enjoying Southern California's outdoors. In summer, berries are the delicious attraction.
Year-round, Oak Glen offers visitors a beautiful natural reserve for hiking and a picturesque backdrop for many events. If all the talk of farm-fresh produce is making you hungry, the area also boasts a country kitchen and market where you can not only pick your perfect bushel but also enjoy a home-cooked meal and bring some local products home with you. Head to Riley's Farm at Los Rios Rancho for a complete day of country living. In summer, homemade preserves, jams, and other goodies line the shelves of the market. Get there early to beat the heat and fill a basket with fresh-picked berries right off the vine.
After Labor Day, the crisp air of fall arrives and brings apple season with it. With an array of seasonal activities like wagon rides, live music, and fresh cider pressing, it's a great way to spend a full day. Start your morning grabbing a basket and heading into one of the orchards to pick apples right from the trees. Spend an hour amongst the trees enjoying the cool air and rich smell of fresh apples. After, head to the old-fashioned cider press where you can spend another hour learning how to press your own gallon to quench your thirst.
At the farm-to-table kitchen, known for their slow-cooked meats and fresh-made pastries, take time to enjoy a homemade lunch. Savor the food and the atmosphere. A slice of apple pie for dessert is a must!
In the afternoon, head out for a walk around the nature reserve or botanical garden. With abundant nature trails, ponds, and wildlife, you can spend another hour working off your delicious lunch before heading back to the orchards. Why not end your day with a wagon ride around the property? Spend a half an hour on a horse-drawn wagon driven by one of the local proprietors, enjoying sweeping views of the apple orchards and chatting with your driver to learn about the history and daily life of the farm.
After grabbing your bag of freshly picked fruit, be sure to pick up some homemade goods at the market before making the drive back.