While it may be tempting to spend a few bucks at your local grocery store to bring home a few jack-o-lanterns, why not give your kiddos a pumpkin-picking adventure they’ll remember for years to come? If you’re looking to pick a few pumpkins, enjoy a hayride, or navigate a corn maze, there’s something for everyone at one of San Diego’s many pumpkin patches and u-pick farms throughout the county.

pumpkin patch

San Diego

Pumpkin Station: Mission Valley
One of six designated Pumpkin Stations in Southern California, the Mission Valley Pumpkin Station is conveniently located right next to the Westfield Shopping Mall. Not only do they boast rows and rows of prime pumpkins already gathered from the field, but they also have a variety of fun kids rides and activities including: a petting zoo, inflatable slides, a jumpy house, and a ferris wheel.

1640 1/2 Camino Del Rio
San Diego, Ca
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Suzie’s Farm
Take the family to Suzie’s Farm that specializes in organic produce including pumpkins. The cornerstone event of Suzie’s Farm pumpkin harvest season is their annual Pumpkin Palooza. Kids can pull their pumpkins right from the vine in the field where they are grown. Pumpkin Palooza takes place Oct. 17.

1856 Saturn Blvd.
San Diego, Ca
619-662-1780
Online: suziesfarm.com
Hours: Open Saturdays, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

bates-walking-to-the-patch

North County

Bates Nut Farm
From Big Macs to jack-o-lantern varieties, acres of pumpkins are the hallmark of Bates Nut Farm. Located in Valley Center, Bates is known for its tractor hayrides, farm animals and petting zoo, country store, and of course, pumpkins. Each weekend in October features a special event: scarecrow contest, doggie dress-up contest, arts and crafts fair, and Farm Education Days.

15954 Woods Valley Rd.
Valley Center, Ca
760-749-3333
Online: batesnutfarm.biz
Hours: Open Daily through Halloween 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Lavender Hill Pumpkins
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense pumpkin farm, then look no further than Lavender Hills. This family-operated pumpkin farm doesn’t host the traditional carnival rides or petting zoos, but they sure do have a lot of pumpkins–over 3,000 are expected in this year’s crop! Lavender Hills specializes in pumpkin varieties that produce unusually large or unique pumpkins. Look for the behemoth North Atlantic Giant or the rather petite Jack B. Little pumpkins growing right on the vine. Open October 3-31.

1509 East Mission Rd.
Fallbrook, Ca 92028
760-715-8495
Online: lavenderhillpumpkins.com
Hours: Wed.-Fri., 2 – 5 p.m., Weekends 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch
This pumpkin patch lets you pick the pumpkins right from the vines. From jack pumpkins to giants, there’s lots to be found. There’s also fun with pumpkin painting, a corn maze and hay rides (Fri.-Sun. only). The patch is open daily, from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

1050 Cannon Rd.
Carlsbad, Ca
760-603-9608
Online: carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com

Pumpkin Station: Rancho Bernardo
At this U-pick pumpkin spot, kiddos can enjoy an 8-foot tall corn maze and a tractor ride. There’s a picnic area for families and lots of farm animals running around for your little ones to pet!

13421 Highland Valley Rd.
Escondido, Ca
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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East County

Julian Mining Company
Who knew there would be awesome u-pick pumpkins at a mining spot? While this historical hotspot is best known for its Civil War Reenactments and Gold Rush days, the Julian Mining Company also hosts its own u-pick pumpkin patch. Pumpkin u-pick starts Sept. 29 with lots of pumpkins for your little ones to pick through!

4444 State Hwy 78
Julian, Ca
Online: julianminingcompany.com
Hours: Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch
Oma’s Pumpkin Patch has been a San Diego tradition for many years. The farm features pumpkins, hay rides, a hay bale maze, petting corral, a playground, and lots more fun for the entire family. For a mere $10, each kiddo who visits Oma’s Farm receives a water bottle, Jack Patch Pumpkin, and participation in all farm activities. The patch opens Sept. 29!

14950 El Monte Rd.
Lakeside, Ca.
619-390-2929
Online: omaspumpkinpatch.com
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (closed Sun. and Mon.)

Pumpkin Station: El Cajon
The El Cajon Pumpkin Station is conveniently located at Westfield Parkway Plaza Shopping Mall. Not only do they boast rows and rows of prime pumpkins already gathered from the field, but they also have a variety of fun kids rides and activities including: a petting zoo, inflatable slides, a jumpy house, and a Ferris wheel.

415 Parkway Plaza
El Cajon, Ca
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 1 – 9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

2008_bates2

South Bay

Pumpkin Station: Bonita
This farm offers tons of pumpkins, a corn maze, tractor rides, and a petting zoo with some super friendly goats. With some pumpkins still growing on the vine, let your kiddos try and pluck one from the patch themselves. Or, select one of the pre-picked pumpkins ranging from $2-$20.

5354 Sweetwater Rd.
Bonita, Ca
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Oct. 1-11, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Oct. 12-31, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Pumpkin Station: National City
Located at Plaza Bonita in National City, this pumpkin spot includes a mini slide, dino jump, and play center. There’s a picnic area for families and lots of farm animals running around for your little ones to pet!

3030 Plaza Bonita Rd.
National City, Ca
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Where does your family go to find that perfect pumpkin? Tell us in the comments below.

— Leah R. Singer (photos too)