We’re out of our gourds over the plentiful local pumpkin patches that are ripe for the picking. From 100 pound giant Big Mac pumpkins to mini varieties kids can hold in the palm of their hand, we’ve found where to go to find the brightest jack-o’-lantern on the block. Each of these spots also boasts plenty of farm-inspired fun from hay rides and petting zoos to corn mazes and even wine tasting! Read on for where to pick your great pumpkin this season at a pumpkin patch near you.

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, and arts and crafts fair, to name just a few.

Good to know: Most pumpkin patches prohibit pooches, but dogs on a leash are welcome at Bates Nut Farm. Plan for $5 cash only parking on weekends.

15954 Woods Valley Rd.
Valley Center, CA
Online: batesnutfarm.biz
Hours: Sep. 21st-Oct. 31st; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 11th & 18th 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

photo: Beth Shea

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 a petting zoo too!

13421 Highland Valley Rd.
Escondido, CA
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Oct. 1st-31st; Mon.-Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkins

Carve out some fun at Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkins in La Jolla. In addition to pumpkins, they offer a photo booth, spooky maze, carnival games and a Halloween costume and decoration shop as well.

801 Pearl St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Online: mrjackolanternspumpkins.com

Open Oct. 5th-31st, Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

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 train ride and a ferris wheel.

1640 1/2 Camino Del Rio N.
San Diego, CA
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Sep. 27th-Oct. 31st; Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

PB Pumpkin Patch

This Pacific Beach pumpkin patch has been serving up local farm fresh fun since 1992. Not only do they have a large selection of pumpkins ranging from mini-100 lbs., they also have a variety of fall accessories, Indian corn, gourds and decorations and a free pumpkin carving and painting area where you'll find stencils, paint kits, stickers and candles. Plus, there's free hot apple cider and free shaved ice for kids!

870 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109
Online: pbpumpkinpatch.com
Hours: Open daily beginning Oct. 1st; Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m.-10 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, ghostly Polar Bears or the rather petite Jack B. Little pumpkins growing right on the vine.

1509 E. Mission Rd.
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Online: lavenderhillpumpkins.com
Hours: Opens Sep. 27th; Check website for hours.

photo: Beth Shea

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, a train ride, antique carousel, swing ride, sky fighter ride 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
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Sep. 27th-Oct. 31st; Sun.-Thurs. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

photo: Rose George

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 Sep. 21st with lots of pumpkins for your little ones to pick through. There’s also tractor-drawn hayrides, apple cider pressing, archery and lots of space for picnics.

4444 State Hwy. 78
Julian, CA
Online: julianminingcompany.com
Hours: Weekends 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Harbour Farm & Vineyard

There's tons of fall-themed fun to be had at Harbour Farm & Vineyard! They offer hay rides, bounce house, live music, cotton candy, wine slush, wine tastings, bbq, gem mining, and 1000s of pumpkins to choose from. There's an activity wristband fee of $4/kids and $3/adults. They are open weekends and during the week, but closed Mondays.

3326 Highway 67
Ramona, CA
Online: harbourfarm.com

Hours: Opening day is Oct. 5th; Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m; Closed Mondays.

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 $12, each kiddo who visits Oma’s Farm receives a water bottle, Jack Patch Pumpkin, and participation in all farm activities. 

14950 El Monte Rd.
Lakeside, CA
Online: omaspumpkinpatch.com
Hours: Sep. 24th-Oct. 31st; 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. The Barn Shoppe and Herbal Soap Shoppe are full of Fall décor.

15602 Olde Hwy. 80
Flinn Springs, CA 92021
Online: summerspastfarms.com
Hours: Thurs.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each week of Oct.

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, CA 92065
Online: mountainvalleyranch.com
Hours: Sept. 28th-Oct. 31st; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 7 days a week

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! Tickets for these attractions are $1 each.

Note: There's a $2 entry fee to enter the Pumpkin Farm for all visitors over age 2.

39925 Calle Contento
Temecula, CA
Online: peltzerfarms.com
Hours: Opening day: Sep. 28th; Open daily, 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
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Sep. 27th-Oct 31st; Mon.-Fri.. 1-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Pumpkin Station: Bonita

This farm offers tons of pumpkins, a corn maze, tractor hay wagon rides and a petting zoo. 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. 1st-13th, 9 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Oct. 14th-31st, 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

––Beth Shea

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