If you are searching for a peach orchard in the heart of Illinois (that happens to have apples, too), visit Okaw Valley Orchard near Sullivan
Okaw Valley Orchard makes a great day trip for families looking for a delightful late summer or fall day
When it comes to apples, we know of many wonderful options to pick our own or snag a fresh-picked peck near Champaign-Urbana. But it was the quest for a similar experience related to peaches that led us further afield to Okaw Valley Orchard, near Sullivan, nestled among the Amish communities of Illinois with which many C-U families are familiar.
All about the peaches
Peach season runs earlier than apple season and Okaw Valley Orchard opens toward the end of June. You can follow the orchard on Facebook for updates related to offerings, special events and hours as the season rolls on. Peach season peaks at the end of July, and Okaw Valley Orchard holds a “Peach Party” to celebrate. You can get peach treats any day they are available (before they run out!) this time of year and we tried several of them.
Don’t miss the peach slushies and peach donuts (pictured below). Out of all the peach treats we tried, these were our favorites and made the road trip that much sweeter!
The orchard store is full of baked goods and assorted treats. Everything we tried was delicious, but if you’re looking for one more thing to add to your shopping cart, the apple cider donuts topped with glaze were the favorite in our group. Also offered: special gluten-sensitive and dairy free apple donuts throughout the season (usually by pre-order). You can also find blueberries and apples here, when in season.
Something unique about this orchard is that there are fruit trees nestled all over the property. There are signs politely reminding people not to pick from these trees — like the ones on the playground — and we loved the ambiance and shade the fruit trees offered on our visit.
What else is there to do at Okaw Valley Orchard?
There was a large area for kids of all ages to play on our visit. We saw many toddlers and preschoolers, and the big kids scurried up the treehouse stairs to try out the largest attraction at Okaw Valley for themselves. The slide at the treehouse came with a cautionary warning, and we would echo the sentiment: The slide is fast and STEEP. It is recommended for ages 5 and up, one person at a time, feet-first only. We would add to remind kids to keep their arms in, much like you would if you were going down a water slide.
There’s a sand play area, lots of swings — including some rope swings we know are popular with families seeking sensory-friendly playground equipment — and giant tires and tubes for kids to climb. The playground is shaded and very close to the store. We could see families spending a long time letting their kids play here during a visit.
Apple season brings U-Pick apples along with some other fun things. Watch the Facebook page for the hours for “Larry’s Grill,” where you can get burgers and hot dogs at the orchard. Things wind down in November, but they stay open a few days a week to sell baked goods and holiday pies.
The Okaw Valley website had detailed driving directions and cautioned that Google Maps might not be perfectly accurate; however, we followed Google Maps to test that out and had no problems finding the orchard.
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