WOODSTOCK, Ill. — If you love the experience of strolling through an evergreen forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree, the perfect place is McHenry County, which grows more Christmas trees than any other part of Illinois.
It’s just an hour northwest of Chicago, so pile the kids into the car for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Look over the list below and begin your holiday tradition with a trip to one of these Christmas tree farms.
Most open the day after Thanksgiving, and some remain open through Dec. 23. All provide saws. Some have pre-cut trees, too.
Most will shake and bale your tree and help you secure it to your car for the ride home.
Many also offer wagon rides, hot drinks, snacks, wreaths and garland. All accept cash and checks; a few accept credit cards.
For driving directions and more info, check the websites or phone numbers.
Christmas tree farms
Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm, 7719 Ryan Road and 16324 Capron Road, Harvard. Nine varieties of organically grown, pesticide-free trees from 6 to 15 feet: fir, spruce and pine, from $5 to $9 per foot. Wreaths and garland, available at the farm, also may be ordered online for delivery anywhere in the continental US. Horse-drawn wagon rides, gift shop, Santa Claus, farm animals, free cocoa and coffee. Open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the day after Thanksgiving and weekends through Dec. 18 and 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 2, 9 and 16. Checks and cash. www.BensTreeFarm.com
Bill’s Friendly Evergreen Tree Farm, 3102 W. Miller Road, Spring Grove. Six varieties of pine, spruce and fir from $50. Family owned and operated for more than 20 years, this farm offers a backwoods atmosphere. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving and weekends through Dec. 18. www.BillsFriendlyEvergreenTreeFarm.weebly.com
Cal & Shan’s Christmas Tree Farm, 14216 Thayer Road and 3509 Lily Pond Road, Woodstock. Ten varieties of spruce, fir, pine, $50. Rooted live trees for planting after Christmas. Gift shop. Open one weekend only, Dec. 3 and 4. www.CalAndShans.com
Grandpa’s Christmas Tree Farm, 13616 Route 176, Woodstock. Dozens of varieties of trees in every shape and size, $56. Free cocoa and coffee, tractor-drawn wagon rides. Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Nov. 26-28. www.GrandpasTreeFarm.com.
Holly Jolly Tree Farm, 4919 Bull Valley Road, McHenry. You-cut Scotch pine, plus pre-cut Fraser fir. Petting zoo, wagon rides, gift shop, free cocoa. Open: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 10, 11 and 17. 815-385-9627.
Oney’s Tree Farm, 16608 U.S. 14, Woodstock. The oldest and largest tree farm in northern Illinois, with more than 60,000 trees on 60 acres. Fraser, Concolor and Douglas fir; Austrian, White and Scotch pine; Colorado, Norway and Serbian spruce. You-cut, pre-cut or rooted for later planting. Weekend horse-drawn wagon rides, bakery, lunch, cocoa, Mrs. Claus in her North Pole house. Wreaths, garland, decorations, gifts. Open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25 through Dec. 11. www.OneysTreeFarm.com
Pine-Apple Tree Farm, 309 Three Oaks Road, Cary. Ten acres of you-cut Black Hill and Colorado blue spruce; Scotch pine; Douglas and Canaan fir, from $65. Pre-cut Wisconsin Frazier fir. Open 9 a.m. to dusk the day after Thanksgiving and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to dusk Sundays through Dec. 18. Checks and cash. www.Pine-AppleFarm.com.
Pioneer Tree Farm, 4614 Pioneer Road, McHenry. Organically grown pine, juniper, spruce and fir for more than 40 years. All trees $50. Tractor-drawn wagon rides, free cocoa and coffee in the warming house, handmade decorations. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the day after Thanksgiving and weekends through Dec. 18. Checks and cash. www.PioneerTreeFarm.com.
Richardson’s Tree Farm, 9407 Richardson Road, Spring Grove. More than 90,000 trees on 75 acres: Scotch and white pine; spruce; Fraser, Concolor and Canaan fir. Most trees $68; select trees $29; pre-cut trees up to 12 feet priced per foot. Fresh fudge and free coffee and cocoa daily in the heated barn with wreaths, garlands, decorations and indoor restrooms. Tractor-drawn wagon rides on weekends, plus fresh donuts and kettle corn. Free shaking and baling. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 26 through Dec. 23. Checks, cash and credit cards. www.RichardsonAdventureFarm.com.