Ready to go out of your gourd with fall-themed fun and festivities? It’s that magical time of year to take the kids to a local patch to select your prized pumpkin! These patches go above and beyond the big, orange fruits by offering hayrides, corn mazes, falconry, amusement park rides, petting zoos and so much more! Read on to see where to carve out some family fun and add the perfect amount of spice to your autumn adventures!
photo: Lisa Lopez
Pumpkin Station: Mission Valley
One of five 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
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
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.
Good to know: Most pumpkin patches prohibit pooches, but dogs on a leash are welcome at Bates Nut Farm.
15954 Woods Valley Rd.
Valley Center, Ca
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–thousands are expected in this year’s crop! Lavender Hills specializes in organically-grown 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.
1509 E. Mission Rd.
Fallbrook, Ca 92028
Hours: 2-5 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sat. and Sun., and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mon. Oct. 30th and Tues. Oct. 31st.
Pumpkin Station: Rancho Bernardo
At this U-pick pumpkin spot, kiddos can enjoy an 8-foot tall corn maze and a tractor hay wagon 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.
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Pumpkin Station: Del Mar
The Del Mar Pumpkin Station is a favorite spot for San Diegans. Aside from a multitude of pumpkins, you’ll find two giant slides, jumpies, a train, carousel, swing ride, sky fighter ride, a petting zoo and much more. This location also offers the opportunity to host a party in the pumpkin patch — perfect for fall birthdays!
15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar, Ca
Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Peltzer Pumpkin Farm
This family-owned pumpkin farm is the ideal place for kids to roam the fields to pick the perfect pumpkin. There’s also gem mining, pig races, a tractor garden, a petting farm, pony rides and train rides to round out the fun!
39925 Calle Contento
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
photo: Leah R. Singer
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 Oct. 1 with lots of pumpkins for your little ones to pick through. There’s also tractor-drawn hayrides, u-press apple cider, farm animals and lots of space for picnics.
4444 State Hwy 78
Hours: Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. noon – 5 p.m.
Harbour Farm & Vineyard
Tons of fall-themed fun to be had at Harbour Farm & Vineyard! There’s U-pick pumpkins, a bounce house, gem mining, BBQ food for purchase, all-natural snow cones, music, wine tasting, frozen sangria slushies (for moms and dads), birds of prey demonstration and photo op, hay rides and a petting paddock. They also offer a falconry school experience on weekends with advanced registration. Call Terri Lockwood at 619-414-0482 to sign up.
3326 Highway 67
Hours: 10 a.m.- dusk, Tues.-Sun. starting Oct. 7th
photo: Christina Cross
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. 27!
14950 El Monte Rd.
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (closed Sun. and Mon.)
Summers Past Farms
Pick a pumpkin in this idyllic farm setting. There’s a field of pumpkins to choose from while enjoying the beautiful country life in Flinn Springs. There’s also a bounce house for the kids and a corn maze for them to enjoy at no charge. The Coffee bar will be serving drinks and the Barn store and Herbal Soap Shoppe are full of Fall décor.
15602 Olde Hwy. 80
Flinn Springs, Ca 92021
Hours: Weds. – Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Mon. & Tues.
Mountain Valley Ranch
Mountain Valley Ranch has everything kids love about a visit to the patch! A wide variety of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn, a corn maze, a corn cannon, petting zoo, hayrides (on weekends) and pony rides (all day on weekends and Tues.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m.) There are snacks and refreshments for sale on the weekends too.
842 Hwy. 78
Ramona, Cal 92065
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 7 days a week
photo: Lisa Lopez
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.
Hours: Oct. 1-12, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Oct. 13-31, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Pumpkin Station: National City
Located at Plaza Bonita in National City, this pumpkin spot includes a mini slide, car ride, train jumpie, ferris wheel, play center and more. There’s also a train ride and a petting zoo. Print a free train ride coupon here.
3030 Plaza Bonita Rd.
National City, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 1-9 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 & Beth Shea