The holidays are upon us and with them the joy of the season. This Christmas season, bundle up your little elves, head out to cut your very own Christmas tree and bring the fresh smell of pine into your home. Check out our list of best Christmas tree farms in the Bay Area!

East Bay

Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm

Best for: No Frills Experience but Great Quality Trees

Enjoy an outdoor experience in the East Bay hills at the Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm, where the whole family, including the kids, are invited to help saw down the perfect tree. The farm has been open since 1969 for families looking for a “woodsy” experience in the East Bay.

Good to know:

  • Cash and checks only, and set prices from $54.95–84.95 depending on type.
  • A little tricky to find (don't rely on the GPS directions).
  • No frills but very good quality and selection of trees.

Redwood Rd. at Miller Rd.
Castro Valley, CA
510-889-1992
Hours:
Opens Nov. 29 and open after that Wed.-Thu. noon-5 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Online: 
cvchristmastreefarm.com

South Bay/Peninsula

Santa’s Tree Farm and Village

Best for: Getting into the Whole Kitschy "Santa's Workshop" Vibe

If your ideal Christmas tree family outing includes train rides, life-sized reindeer mascots, and imitation Santa's Village, then head straight to Santa’s Tree Farm and Village in Half Moon Bay. In addition to 487 acres of trees to choose from, the village offers train rides, carolers, handmade goodies in the Elves' Workshop and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus the day after Thanksgiving and on weekends. Also on weekends, they have story time and stocking decorating, at additional costs.

Good to Know:

  • They offer trees grown without herbicides or pesticides.
  • They accept  MasterCard and Visa.
  • Be sure to print your $2 off any choose-and-cut tree coupon
  • Santa Visits begin Friday November 29th and continue on weekends through December 22nd, 10:30 a.m-3:30 p.m. (except December 7th, 1:30 p.m.-3:30  due to a reindeer meeting).

78 Pilarcitos Creek Rd.
Half Moon Bay, CA
650-726-2246
Hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturdays & Sundays, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; Nov. 23–Dec. 22
Online: santastreefarm.com

photo: Lemos Farm

Lemos Farm

Best for: Entertaining the Under-3 Set

If you're up for a mini-amusement park experience (with a slightly lower price tag), Lemos Farm, also in Half Moon Bay, is more than just a Christmas tree farm. It's been called a "festive holiday destination" and the site offers hay rides, pony rides, a Playtown, petting zoo and a train that winds through fields upon fields of Christmas trees for your choosing. Each experience will run you $1-8, or $20 for an unlimited pass.

Good to know:

  • Because they are only open on weekends, they are always busy—plan accordingly.
  • Parking is free
  • Yup, it's touristy (that doesn't mean it isn't fun).

12320 San Mateo Rd. (Hwy 92)
Half Moon Bay, CA
650-726-2342
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays and the Friday after Thanksgiving, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (weekends only from Nov. 24-Dec. 23)
Online: lemosfarm.coms

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Black Road Christmas Tree Farm

Best for: Chemical-Free Trees at a Good Price

Black Road Christmas Tree Farms consist of three different farms, all in Los Gatos. Each farm grows a specific type of tree, which is matched to the environment they will grow best. All trees are cultured and free of chemicals, which means that your home will not be blanketed with any sort of unhealthy off-gassing. All trees are $65 and your family will have no problem finding the perfect one because there are 40,000 to choose from!

Good to know:

  • All three locations on the same road. Farm #3 has the biggest trees, features a picnic area, feels most "forest-y" and is open 7 days a week up until Christmas Eve.
  • Farm #1 and #2 are open on weekends only.  Farm #1 will sometimes close early to prevent over-cutting.  When you visit, it is encouraged to park at Lakeside School, next to Farm #1. There's plenty of parking, plus picnic tables, a sports field and play structures for children.
  • Dogs are welcomed.
  • All trees are $65, whether you're picking a three-foot or 17-foot tree.
  • Cash and checks only.

Black Rd. (see map)
Los Gatos, CA
408-354-8472
Hours: Opens the day after Thanksgiving--Dec. 24 or until trees sell out.  All locations open around 8:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. Farm #1 and #2 open weekends only. Farm #3 is open 7 days a week.
Online: christmas-tree-farms.com

Battaglia Ranch Christmas Tree Farm

Best For: Non-Commital Cutters 

Located about 15 minutes south of San Jose, the farm has been in the Christmas tree biz for 51 years. They offer both choose-and-cut trees, and a wide selection of pre-cut trees that come from their farm in Oregon. Look for the huge 35-foot-tall Santa Claus that greets motorists on the west side of the freeway as you travel on 101. Stop by on a weekend when Santa visits the farm (see Santa's travel schedule here). But any time you come, enjoy a Christmas train ride through the farm, or make like Saint Nick on their signature reindeer ride. Food vendors set up on site as well.

Good to Know:

  • The 10-minute, narrated train ride is free for children under 3, and $4 for all others.
  • Sign up for their newsletter for coupons
  • There's also a gift shop and a custom wreath shop.
  • Food vendors are on site.

Find directions here (as there is no street address)
Hours: Nov. 29-Dec. 14, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Dec. 15-23, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 
Online: battagliaranch.com

photo: Rancho Siempre Verde

Rancho Siempre Verde

Best for: A Truly California Low-Key Vibe

If you're looking for an intimate family experience, head over to Rancho Siempre Verde, this hidden gem just south of Half Moon Bay in Pescadero. For 50 years, this family-owned farm opens for only 9 or 10 days a year, sharing their magnificent u-cut Christmas trees, eclectic collection of swings and xylophones scattered throughout the property (not to mention all-you-can-eat toasted marshmallows) and sweeping Pacific Ocean views with a few lucky, in-the-know visitors.

Good to know:

  • Cash only.
  • Dogs are welcome.
  • Pick up a pear galette or walnut pie at neighboring Pie Ranch on your way in or out.

2250 Cabrillo Highway (Highway 1)
Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA
650-326-9103
Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and the weekends of Dec. 7-8, 14-15 & 21-22; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Online: rsvtrees.com

North Bay/Marin

photo: Little Hills Christmas Tree Farm

Little Hills Christmas Tree Farms 1&2

Best For: Getting Your Santa Picture Done On the Same Day

Free apple cider and popcorn will comfort those bellies as you wander Petaluma’s peaceful Little Hills Christmas Tree Farms in search of the perfect Monterey Pine, Douglas Fir or Sierra Redwood. Families will love the old-fashioned Christmas vibe (elves, ornaments for sale and on weekends, one of the best "real" Santas around sitting in a photo-worthy throne chair). The kids can meet the resident llamas, donkeys, alpacas and more.

Good to Know: 

  • Score a coupon for $3 off your tree here
  • It's a popular site for families, so plan on midday crowds (early mornings are best to avoid them).
  • Leashed dogs are welcome.
  • Santa is there ONLY on weekends from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Including the day after Thanksgiving.

Little Hills Christmas Tree Farm
961 Chapman Ln.
Petaluma, CA
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.
Online: littlehillschristmastree.com

Grandma Buddy's Christmas Trees

Best for: Family Christmas Card Photo Backdrop

Located in Sebastopol, the picturesque barn and farm setting at Grandma Buddy's Christmas Trees has been used for numerous photo shoots, including Pottery Barn catalogs. The inside of the barn is stocked with crafts, ornaments and a mini-Christmas train village. Families can wander through the farm, which offers many different Douglas Firs growing in the field, as well as custom wreaths and garlands, and free hot cocoa and candy canes.

Good to Know:

  • The farm is better known for its charming setting than quality of trees.
  • If you go later in the day, the barn and train village are utterly magical at dusk.

8575 Graton Rd.
Sebastopol, CA
707-823-4547
Hours: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., every day from the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 23.
Online: grandmastrees.com

photo: Reindeer Ridge

Reindeer Ridge

Best for: Getting Someone Else to Schlep the Tree to Your Car 

Wander along the acres and acres of trees growing at this farm and you'll find a bevy of options, from Douglas Fir, White Fir, Grand Fir, Sequoia, Monterey Pine, Scotch Pine, Incense Cedar and Leyland Cypress all growing side by side. The best part? They provide the measure poles, tree saws and tree carts. They'll even help re-cut the trunk, cover the tree in netting and help you load it into your car.

Good to Know:

  • The hay ride, train ride, swings, zip line and farm animals, will keep the kiddos entertained.
  • Got a December birthday? Ask them about their train birthday parties.
  • Get your $5 off coupon here.
  • There's a snack bar and plenty of picnic areas.
  • Santa visits on weekends.

3500 Mariola Rd.
Sebastopol, CA
707-829-1569
Hours: Weekdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Weekends, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Thanksgiving through Christmas. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Online: reindeerridge.com

photo: Garlock Christmas Tree Farm

Garlock Christmas Tree Farm

Best for: Riding in a One-Horse Open Sleigh, errr Carriage

There a several tree farms near each other in Sebastapol and Garlock Christmas Tree Farm is a local favorite. The free carriage rides (or tractor-hay rides when horses are resting) are a draw, as well as the free candy canes and complimentary coffee. Head into the farm’s ten acres to choose and cut one of six varieties of trees (cost: $7–$11 per foot), then visit with the ponies or hop onto Santa's lap for a photo.

Good to know:

  • While carriage rides are free, the petting zoo costs extra.
  • Picnic tables are scattered throughout the property, so pack a picnic (Local fresh pastries, breakfast burritos, popcorn and hot beverages are also offered at the snack bar).
  • Save a few bucks by printing out their $3 off coupon.
  • Leashed Dogs are welcomed.

2275 Bloomfield Rd.
Sebastopol, CA
707-823-4307
Hours: Fridays, noon-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. From the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 16.
Online: garlocktreefarm.com

photo: Frosty Mountain Tree Farm

Frosty Mountain Tree Farm

Best for: Adding Animals to Your Farm Experience  

You'll find the traditional selection of trees at this Sebastapol farm, but the true holiday fun comes in the form of hayrides, the old red barn, Santa's workshop and Mrs. Claus' kitchen. On weekends, there are always animals to visit, though the variety changes from year to year. Will it be sheep, lambs, llamas or mini horses this year? The surprise is part of the fun. Also on weekends, Mrs. Claus will visit for story time from 10–4 and Clementine the Amazing will be at the big red barn, for face painting fun from 11–4.

Good to Know:

  • Head to Mrs. Claus' kitchen for some delicious popcorn and apple fritters.
  • Molly's Coffee truck is on site on the weekends
  • Picnic and play areas are perfect for a family picnic. Your Santa's little helpers, will enjoy burning some steam and you will enjoy the countryside views.
  • Print the coupon from their site for $5 off any tree.
  • They sell trees by the foot (a better deal if you're looking for a smaller tree).

3600 Mariola Rd.
Sebastopol, CA
707-829-2351
Hours: Weekdays noon-5 p.m., Weekends and the Friday after Thanksgiving, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Online: frostymountaintreefarm.com

photo: Amy C. via yelp

Pochini's Family Farm

Best for: Low-Key Family Fun 

Families love Pochini's farm because it is family-run and they just get how it goes when you are cutting down your tree with your kids. The staff is super helpful and available to help you cut your tree, shake the needles out, bundle it up and even strap it to the top of your car. They grow primarily Douglas Fir and White Fir and offer other varieties of pre-cut trees that come from Oregon. 

Good to know:

  • They are only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday and often run out by mid-December.
  • Stop by the shop to buy some holiday decor and enjoy free hot cider, coffee and candy canes.
  • When the weather is chilly, they offer a fire pit and s'mores kits for sale.
  • Hike to the top of the property to see a fabulous view of Mount St. Helena.

18880 Hwy 128
Calistoga, CA
Hours: Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Online: pochinifamilyfarm.com

Larsen's Christmas Tree Farm

Best for: Over 100 Years of History

This Christmas tree farm started back in 1918 as a chicken farm and converted to Christmas trees in 1963. Here you'll find both choose-and-cut trees (Monterey Pine, Leyland Cypress and Scotch Pine) as well as pre-cut trees (Noble, Turkish and Douglas Fir). They keep their pre-cut trees under shade and in water to prolong their longevity.

Good to know:

  • Choose-and-cut trees are all one price so pick the one you'd like.
  • On the weekends they typically have a bake sale put on by local youth groups.
  • They are only open Fri.-Sun.

391 Marshall Ave.
Petaluma, CA
Online: petalumachristmas.com

Worth the Drive

Crystal Creek Farm

Best for: Avoiding the Crowds

This farm in Apple Hill has a large selection of groomed trees on over 20 acres of rolling hills that are perfect for exploring. Avoid the crowds as the parking is plentiful here. Tree varieties include: White Fir,  Silver Swift Fir, Silver Tip, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Blue Spruce, Nordmann Fir and Grand Fir.

Good to know:

  • Dogs on leash are allowed here.
  • All trees are $70 regardless of size.
  • Cash and checks only.
  • If you are lucky, they sometimes even have snow here!

2019 Cable Road
Camino, CA  
Online: caminotrees.com

Tip: Check farm websites for updates on weather, activities and hours before heading out.

—Monica Yavrom, Nella DuBon-Koch & Kate Loweth

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