Christmas tree shopping can easily span an entire day, especially when some tree farms host a catered picnic on the mountains, as well as the opportunity to explore an elf village, pose for family pictures with Santa, and sip free apple cider and hot chocolate. Other popular activities at tree farms include going for a hayride, writing a wishlist to Santa, and creating holiday decorations. Most of these delightful tree farms are conveniently located near many North Carolina vacation rentals. Here are the eight best Christmas tree farms in North Carolina.

1. Shady Rest Tree Farm, Glendale Springs

Choose from over 30,000 trees at Shady Rest Tree Farm, which is located in Glendale Springs. There are a variety of tree types, including White Pine, Fraser Fir, and Colorado Blue Spruce. The farm has three ways to purchase trees, which include ordering a live Christmas tree on the online store, visiting a tree farm in person, or visiting a farm anytime during the year and then request one to be shipped to you before the holidays. Trees, garland, and wreaths are all shipped the same day you order.

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2. Greene Family Tree Farm, Boone

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina, Greene Family Tree Farm offers beautiful views while you search for the perfect tree for your family. Enjoy a weekend hayride, see farm animals, and have free hot chocolate and apple cider. Visit the Christmas Shop to find holiday decorations and homemade bakery treats. You can choose to cut your tree yourself or have it cut and loaded onto your car for you. Greene Family Tree Farm is also conveniently located near three North Carolina High Country Ski Resorts, which could make for a fun day trip after picking out your tree.

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3. Daniel Christmas Tree Farm, Dunn

Take your children to find a Christmas tree along with meeting three loving Dwarf Nigerian goats named Dasher, Noel, and Merry at Daniel Christmas Tree Farm in Dunn, North Carolina. Kids can also ride Tootsie the Train through the farm, meet Mrs. Claus, and then participate in a scavenger hunt if they are age 12 or under. The activities are free of charge during the Christmas season and are available on weekends until 5:30 pm or on weekdays by appointment.

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4. Smoky Mountain Christmas Tree Farm, Jonathan Creek

Smoky Mountain Christmas Tree Farm is located in Jonathan Creek near Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The farm is known for its’ Fraser Fir trees, which are a type of tree that has extremely long needle retention. Each tree is hand sheared by a tree specialist with 35 years of experience. Trees range in size from three feet to 10 feet.

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5. Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm, Apex

If you’re looking for a small family owned farm that has been in the business for over 20 years, head over to Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm in the city of Apex. Some of the different tree types they have are Eastern Red Cedar, Virginia pines, and Carolina Saphire. Visit the Tummy Trimmings concession area for cider, mini donuts, jam, and hot chocolate. You can also search for unique gifts at Diana’s Christmas Shop, go on a weekend hayride, or custom order a handmade decorated wreath, garland, or bow.

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6. Tom Sawyer’s Christmas Tree Farm and Elf Village, Glenville

With over 80 acres of land, Tom Sawyer’s Christmas Tree Farm and Elf Village has a wide selection of trees and overlooks Lake Glenville. Your kids will love Elf Village, where they can explore elf-sized Christmas houses, walk over Elf Bridge, create fun decorations in Craft Cottage, and write and mail their wish list to Santa in Santa’s Post Office. Elf Village also features holiday storytelling, opportunities for beautiful photos on antique sleighs, and s’mores by the fire pit. You can also see Santa on the weekends and go for a horse and carriage ride. The farm, which is located in Glenville, opens the week before Thanksgiving this year.

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7. Sugar Plum Farm, Newland

In addition to offering a variety of Christmas trees, Sugar Plum Farm in the city of Newland is a great destination for families to spend the day since they offer hands-on activities, such as creating a door wreath from a Fraser Fir and trout fishing. You can also take a eat peanuts and apples as you take a hayride through the Christmas tree plantation. If you call or email ahead of time, you can schedule a picnic or barbecue that you can choose the menu from. Picnics overlook the pond and offer amazing views of the mountains and Christmas trees.

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8. Helms Christmas Tree Farm, Vale

At Helms Christmas Tree Farm in the town of Vale, you can take a family photo with Santa, send the kids on a fun train ride, and select a custom-made wreath up to six feet. Choose from six varieties of trees and then have your tree loaded and secured to your vehicle for you while you enjoy snacks, apple cider, popcorn, hot chocolate, and s’mores. The farm is open year-round for picnics, tours, and wagon rides. If you’re in the area during the summer, you can go blueberry picking from early June to the beginning of September.

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