My family and I took a day trip today to Oak Glen. It’s a beautiful community in the mountains that’s name to fame is apples. Its busiest time of year is between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, which is when the tree’s are full of delicious apples. Most of the orchards are only open on the weekends and only during peak season but there are a few that stay open through the year. I have been visiting Oak Glen since I was very young and have been bringing my children here since they were babies. Whenever we think about taking a day trip, Oak Glen is at the top of our list.
My goal was to find home school lesson plan ideas by wandering some of these establishments and I did find teaching moments but I’m not sure I could create a whole week of lessons with Oak Glen being the field trip, it was still a ton of fun none the less.
Our first stop was Riley’s farm. It’s the first orchard you come to when you are driving in from Banning. Riley’s farm is always busy and has many activities for you to do. On the property you can visit a bakery, a restaurant, gift stores, a few you pick options, which depend on the season.
At Riley’s Farm you can learn about the Revolutionary war as well as Civil war. This includes reenactments and character involved activities. They have many places for your to walk around (watch out for snakes) and take pictures, including colonial type buildings. Being the history buff I am, I was thrilled to have options to take tours and see history re-enacted, only to find out that you have to book far in advance and have to be in a group of 30 or more. So as far as coming as a home school field trip, this venue was scratched off the list.
We did pick strawberries, made candles and then enjoyed the nice weather on the lawn while I taught my children of the use of candles and the history behind the revolutionary war. There were many employee’s dressed in colonial attire and played to that era when they spoke with you. We found all the employees to be cheerful and helpful.
Our next stop was Hudson’s Snow-line Orchard which is our favorite. It’s off the main road but there are signs directing you back. They have pick your own raspberries as well as apples. Snow-line has been the focus of an episode of California’s Gold by Huell Howser. It is famous for its old-time cider press that makes the most delicious apple cider we have ever tasted, you must take a moment to watch them use the cider press.
Snow-line is the only ones that make apple cider mini donuts. If you do not get there early, expect to be waiting in line to place your order. As you wait you can watch them make your donuts right in front of you which will have your mouth-watering, if it wasn’t already from the sweet smell as you enter the building. Make your way to the back of the building for apple wine and hard cider tasting. New this year they will be selling apple cider slushies, we got a first taste and I must say it was divine!
Snow-line has wonderful spots to picnic and usually a DJ playing old country music. We could spend all day here but we decided to move on to the center of town. Since apple season has not officially kicked off yet not everything is open but a few restaurants and shops were open and the deer were out and active. A corn dispenser is next to the deer fence and only costs 25 cents for a small cups worth. My children said this was their favorite part of their day. We have seen many deer in the wild and through our other adventures but to be able to feed them and touch the was magical to them.
I enjoy going to Oak Glen before and after their peak season because I’m not a huge fan of crowds or not finding a place to park but anytime you go, you will have a great time. There is two ways to get into Oak Glen, one route coming from Yucaipa and the other from Banning, both meet in the middle. We love that within 15 minutes from leaving the freeway, we can be up in a mountain community, surrounded by nature. From bed and breakfasts to antique stores, there really is something for everyone in Oak Glen. It’s a place to stay cool, get away from the city and be one with nature.
For times and up coming events to the orchards mentioned, visit their websites at