Oh my gourd! Pumpkin-picking time has arrived. From autumnal oases in the city to acres of fresh air in the country, welcome to pumpkin patch season in Southern California. Our list will have your weekends filled with family-friendly fall fun, questing for the perfect pumpkins for carving, baking, decorating and so much more.
Sept. 16 to Oct. 31: Bates Nut Farm
If you are nuts about pumpkins, then Bates Nut Farm is the pumpkin patch in Southern California for you. Over 90 years ago, Bates Nut Farm got its start growing walnuts and, now, not only are nuts from all over the world sold here, but so are some of the best pumpkins in the state. Featured weekend entertainment and festivities vary throughout their pumpkin patch season, including the Bates Pumpkin Festival Craft Fair and the 32nd Annual Scarecrow Contest.
Cost: Parking is $10 per vehicle on the weekends; free on weekdays. Tickets are available for activities, like hayrides and the straw maze.
For more information: batesnutfarm.biz.
Sept. 16 to Oct. 31: Pumpkin Polar Palooza
Pumpkin Polar Palooza is a family-friendly fall haven filled with straw-lined walkways and pumpkins galore. Visitors can also enjoy the Funzone’s 50-ft. slide, bounce houses, obstacles and a petting zoo with goats, pigs, ducks, chickens and bunnies. The family-owned business offers a movie in the patch every weekend night at sunset. Bring a chair and blanket to enjoy a movie under the stars among the pumpkins. Films include Coco, Monsters Inc., The Addams Family and Casper.
Cost: $2 entry free per person; ticketed attractions are available.
For more information: www.pumpkinpolarpalooza.com.
Sept. 16 to Oct. 31: Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
From wagon rides and U-pick pumpkin fields to arts and crafts, festival games, barnyard educational exhibits, corn maze farmer golf and the famous pumpkin cannon, Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch offers daily fun for the whole family. This year, the patch celebrates it’s 25th anniversary with 25 percent off admission the first two weeks, from Sept. 16 through Sept. 29.
Cost: Admission starts at $20.
For more information: www.tanakafarms.com.
Sept. 22 to Nov. 5: Carlsbad Strawberry Company
Great photos are a hallmark of the Halloween season, for families, couples and friends, and Carlsbad Strawberry Company’s Pumpkin Patch offers the perfect setting to capture the picture-worthy smiles and joy of the season. After finding the perfect pumpkin in the U-pick patch, visitors can also visit with, feed and pet Shetland sheep, Nubian goats and bunnies before taking a tractor ride, strolling marigold fields and taking their best shot in the corn maze.
Cost: $10 per person; some activities are an additional cost.
For more information: www.carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com.
Sept. 22 to Oct. 31: Live Oak Pumpkin Patch
Live Oak Canyon has pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins! This authentic family-friendly experience has all the excitement of the harvest season on an actual working farm. Enjoy rides, games and a corn maze. Savor the tastes of the season from over 20 food vendors ranging from ice cream to turkey legs, pizza and beer. Picture-perfect spots include the flower gardens and rustic staged photo areas. Special events throughout the season at this pumpkin patch in Southern California include local days, train ride days and kids buy-one-get-one.
Cost: Admission for children starts at $5 and $10 for adults.
For more information: liveoakcanyon.com.
Sept. 23 to Oct. 31: Peltzer Pumpkin Farm
Peltzer Pumpkin Farm is a picturesque pumpkin-picking haven and a yearly tradition for families in Southern California. Visitors can enjoy U-pick pumpkins, a train ride, carnival games, mini John Deere carts, shaved ice, face painting, a tractor garden, gem panning and pumpkin painting. Say “cheese” during photo opps with free-range chickens and next to the Peltzer family’s century-old tractor collection. It’s IG-worthy rustic-chic.
Cost: Admission starts at $2; single tickets start at $1 for attractions.
For more information: www.peltzerfarms.com.
Sept. 29 to Oct. 31: Pumpkin Station
Del Mar, Rancho Bernardo, Mission Valley, National City and Bonita
It’s pumpkin season so let the adventure begin at one of Pumpkin Station’s five locations, or make a field trip of it and visit them all! Enjoy the time-honored tradition of strolling a living pumpkin patch, exploring a living corn maze, admiring sunflowers and hitching a hay ride. Families will enjoy the kiddie slides, giant slides, inflatable play centers, petting zoos and game zones. All locations have free parking and admission; outside food is welcome and pumpkins are priced based on size.
Cost: Free admission; ticketed attractions are available.
For more information: www.pumpkinstation.com.
Oct. 5 to Oct. 29: Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch
Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch offers a wide selection of pumpkins, gourds and squash. Founded in 1987, this pumpkin patch in Southern California is a woman-owned, sustainable business that has become a fall tradition for families. Aside from searching for the perfect pumpkin, guests can enjoy Pumpkin Village, Mr. Bones Super Slide, giant rocking horses, Tipi Village, Itsy Bitsy Spider Lounge, straw maze, petting zoo, pumpkin decorating, dance spider bounce, rainbow slide and face painting. There is also live entertainment throughout the season.
Cost: $10 to $30, depending on the date and time; ticketed attractions are available.
For more information: mrbonespumpkinpatch.com.