Picking apples and stocking up on apple cider at a local farm has been our family tradition for over 20 years. Even when I wasn’t living in Michigan I would schedule a trip home each fall so we wouldn’t miss a year.

Back then it was all about my nephews and getting photos of them in the orchards every year. But my dogs are part of my family and I want to include them in any activities that I can. Visiting apple orchards is the perfect fall outing (and photoshoot, of course) for everyone.

A few tips for any apple orchard/cider mill outings:

  • Keep your pup on a 6′ leash. Many locations won’t allow retractable leashes and I personally wouldn’t mind if they were banned every where.

  • Don’t forget bags to pick up after your pup, be considerate of all the other families that will be walking through the orchards. And many orchards only have trash cans at their buildings so you may need to carry it for a bit. Check out a doo loop if you don’t already have one (made in the USA).

  • Bring water and a bowl for your pup to drink from. Picking apples is thirsty work and you won’t want to share your cider with them.

  • Have Benadryl on hand in case your pup gets too close to a spicy sky raisin (bee).

  • Although dogs should be able to eat an apple or two with no issues you may want to bring your own high value treats to get their attention for the obligatory orchard photo!

  • Make sure that you and your pup are protected from bugs and bring some sunscreen.

  • A wagon is handy for carrying your pup if there’s a long walk to the orchards, and it’s handy for the apples/pumpkins as well!

I also recommend going early in the day when it’s cooler and not as busy.

Shepherd dog lying in an apple orchard in fall

I’ve reached out to many of the southeastern Michigan apple orchards to confirm their dog-friendly status. I’ve compiled a list, including hours/location and my check list of everything that you should plan to bring with you for the perfect dog-friendly outing. If your favorite spot isn’t on this list let me know at Jen@FireflyPetPhotography.com and I’ll update it (they may not have responded to my request for info or I may have missed them).

Just fill in your name/email below to have the list sent to you for easy viewing.


Orchards that are service dog only: Alber Orchard and Cider Mill, Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Spicer Orchards, and Wiard’s Orchard.

P.S.  It’s possible to have your Firefly photography experience at an apple orchard instead of a regular park!  Just connect and let me know that’s your preference.

P.P.S.  Another great family tradition is to visit a Christmas tree farm for your holiday photo opp. Let me take your family photo at a stunning tree farm near Dexter, MI. Space is limited, all the details are available here.