Cutting down our own Christmas tree at Kelly Tree Farm is one of our favorite family activities during the holiday season, but finding the perfect tree can take some work. If you’re wondering where to go this year, here are ten Iowa tree farms where you’ll find the best Christmas trees!
You’ll Find the Best Christmas Trees at these Iowa Tree Farms
We like to support our local farmers who understand that a tree helps provide Christmas memories for families. They make the trip to the Christmas tree farm an experience our kids will remember for years. There are dozens of Christmas tree farms in Iowa, with lots of opportunities for creating memories. One of the best things about the holiday season is finding the perfect Christmas tree, taking it home and decorating it.
In our family, that means I have to let go of some of my perfectionist tendencies and remember to put up the fragile ornaments. I have a hard time doing both, but somehow we still manage to have a good time hunting for the perfect tree each year. Here are some of the Iowa Christmas Tree farms we’ve been to, plus a few more across the state!
Kelly Tree Farm – Tipton
My kids adore Kelly Tree Farm. From the barn, to the rabbits, to the search and cutting, we always have a great time there. The only problem for us as late Christmas decorators, is that we sometimes don’t make it there in time. Christmas tree hunters will likely have only two weekends to search for that perfect fir at the Kelly Tree Farm outside Clarence (near Tipton). With almost five decades of raising trees, the Kelly plans to open for the season Nov. 23-24 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and anticipates trees will be sold out by the following weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. While most people enjoy finding and cutting their own tree for the holiday season, the farm will have plenty of precut trees ready for purchase.
While at the farm, don’t forget to visit the Kelly Tree Farm’s rabbits. They’re eagerly awaiting your arrival. Kelly Tree Farm’s Clarence location will have evergreen available for holiday decorating too. So, while you grab your coat, gloves and saw, remember that Kelly Tree Farm accepts cash and checks only. Credit and debit cards cannot be used for purchases. And make sure to get there early in the season. Kelly Tree Farm often runs out of trees!
Up North Pines – Quad Cities
Quad Cities-area residents can bundle up the kids, grab a thermos of hot chocolate, and head off to Up North Pines in search of the season’s Christmas tree. With 10 acres of pine trees available, Up North Pines has a lot of trees available to cut fresh from the ground. As they march through the rows of trees, it’s common to see cattle! We have found fun trees at Up North Pines too, and my kids love the animals there as well.
Opening Black Friday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) for their 20th season, Up North Pines will be open 1-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends until Dec. 15. In addition to Christmas trees, the farm sells wreaths.
Barnes Tree Farm – Iowa City
Selling pines and firs in the Iowa City area since 1991, Barnes Tree Farm offers visitors a charming view of the countryside. With about 10 acres of trees available, visitors can enjoy a walk while they search for the perfect tree. They open Thanksgiving Friday (9am-4:30 pm) and then Saturdays (9 am.-4:30 pm) and Sundays (10 am-4:30 pm). Barnes Tree Farm’s dates will be Nov. 23-25, Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9. You may want to check their Facebook page for any changes.
With Iowa having dozens of options for you to find THE tree for your holiday, make it a fun outing by taking advantage of the activities and attractions offered by area Christmas tree farms. The experience you have today will create a holiday memory for years. So, stay warm, have fun and good luck in finding the perfect Christmas tree.
Strautman Tree Farm – Cambridge
With thousands of trees to choose from over 90 acres, finding the perfect fir or pine to decorate for the holiday season may be the most challenging part of a visit to Strautman Tree Farm in Cambridge, about 30 minutes north of Des Moines. The family farm ranks among the most popular Christmas tree farms in Iowa. Strautman Tree Farm opens for business Saturday, Nov. 17 and will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Dec. 23. Precut trees are available in a heated shed for people who don’t want to cut their own.
As you stroll around the farm, you may want to warm up with hot cider and cookies at the gift shop. You can also purchase ornaments and wreaths at the holiday gift shop, which is open daily until 5 p.m.
Aldrich Christmas Tree Farm – Belmond
Visitors to the Aldrich Christmas Tree Farm in Belmond can expect a “hassle-free” tree cutting experience. The farm’s owners encourage visitors to drive their vehicle through the tree plantation, so they can stay warm as they browse the 15,000 fir and pine trees for that perfect tree to decorate and display for the holidays. Visitors can bring the tree back to the processing center or have farm employees do it. Then, customers can enjoy hot cider and popcorn as they browse vendors’ holiday wares, while their tree is prepped with netting and tied to their vehicle. You may want to watch as they drill the tree for the Answer Stand.
Located about 40 minutes southwest of Clear Lake, the Christmas tree farm is open noon until dark daily, from Friday, Nov. 23, until Christmas Eve.
THE Christmas Tree Farm – Maxwell
You can leave the saw at home, as customers are given a handsaw to use during their visit to THE Christmas Tree Farm in Maxwell. With about 4,000 trees, featuring Fraser and Concolor firs, THE Christmas Tree Farm has opened its land to customers annually since 1998. The first trees were planted in 1992. Precut trees are also available.
THE Christmas Tree Farm opens its 2018 season 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 23. Then, it will be open 3-5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends through Dec. 18. Kids can get an early start on their wish lists, as Santa Claus will be at the farm Thanksgiving weekend and Dec. 1-2. Families enjoy making a trip to the Christmas tree farm a daylong treat. With games and treats, including free hot cider and lemonade, families can relax before heading home after they’ve found THE tree for the holiday season.
Miller Tree Farm – Runnells
For more than 60 years, Miller Tree Farm has greeted visitors seeking the perfect tree for the holiday season. With three fields used to raise a variety of trees, the Runnells farm actually opens two of them – Home Farm and the larger Deer Ridge – for customers to cut down their own Christmas tree. The East Field is used to harvest precut trees and isn’t open to visitors.
Open noon-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Miller Tree Farm opens for the season Nov. 23, and plans to close Dec. 24. However, in recent years, they have sold out of trees and closed around Dec. 15. So, you will want to check before planning your trip.
In the holiday spirit, the farm gives children candy canes and a gift bag with each tree purchase. The farm also sells wreaths, ribbons and other swag items.
Walnut Ridge Farm – Indianola
Hop aboard a miniature train (weather permitting on weekends) and enjoy a ride around the Walnut Ridge Farm before looking for your dream Christmas tree. Located near Indianola, Walnut Ridge has been selling trees since 1983. With more than 40,000 trees available – from White Pine to Blue Spruce – you’ll be hard-pressed not to find the perfect tree.
Opening on Thanksgiving Friday (8 a.m.-6 p.m.), Walnut Ridge Farm is open weekdays (3-6 p.m.), 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 18. After that date, you’ll want to give the farmers a call to see if they’re available for sales. If you prefer a precut tree, they have plenty available in a heated building featuring a holiday light display. Wreaths and greenery are also available.
Deal’s Orchard – Jefferson
Apple cider. Take a family picture at Santa’s sleigh. Gift shopping. These are some of the things you can do in addition to finding and cutting down your Christmas tree at Deal’s Orchard. The Jefferson tree farm invites visitors to stick around and enjoy the area before heading home to decorate the tree. Check out the model train as you sample apple cider and popcorn inside the Apple Barn.
Located about an hour west of Ames along the famous Lincoln Highway – aka US Highway 30 – the Christmas tree farm opens for the 2018 season mid-November and will close Christmas Eve. The tree farm will be open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. You can cut your own tree or buy precut trees.
Howell Tree Farm – Cumming
Planting their first grove of trees 55 years ago, Howell Tree Farm started selling Christmas trees in 1970. Since then, the Howells have added thousands and thousands of evergreens to their 50 acres of Christmas trees. The Howell Tree farm uses a unique approach to Christmas tree hunting, as they will cut the tree once customer decides which one they want. Remove one of the tree tags and take it back to the gift shop. For an added charge, they will also place it in a stand for you – nicknamed the “Marriage Saver” – so all you have to do when you get home is remove the netting and decide how to decorate it (adding water is something you’ll want to do).
Howell Tree Farm opens Nov. 17 and will be open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Dec. 23. The farm will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
Whether you head to Kelly Tree Farm, Up North Pines, Howell Tree Farm or another Iowa Christmas tree farm, I hope you’ll consider making fun family memories cutting down a tree this year! Do you know more Iowa tree farms that I didn’t mention? Do share!
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