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 petting zoos to corn mazes! 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 animal petting corral, pony rides, country store (homemade fudge!) and of course, pumpkins. Each weekend in October features a special event: scarecrow contest, doggie dress-up contest, and late nights on the farm, 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
760-749-3333
Online: batesnutfarm.biz
Hours: Sep. 19th-Oct. 31st; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 8:30 a.m.- 6 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 also a petting zoo and you can cut your own sunflowers too!

13421 Highland Valley Rd.
Escondido, CA
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Oct. 1st-16th 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Oct. 17th-31st 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkins

Carve out some fun at Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkins in La Jolla. In addition to visiting this patch, other options available this year include pumpkin delivery and pumpkin decorating and carving kits to-go. Click here for all of their Covid-19 updates.

6710 La Jolla Blvd.,
San Diego, CA 92037
Online: mrjackolanternspumpkins.com

Open Oct. 3rd-31st, Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

photo: Lisa Lopez

Pumpkin Station: Mission Valley

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, a train ride and a ferris wheel. 

1640 1/2 Camino Del Rio N.
San Diego, CA
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Oct. 1st-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
858-483-0329
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.

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. They'll have pumpkins to pick, hayrides, apple cider pressing and more activities. Their plan is to charge $10/person admission (kids 2 and younger are free with paid adult) and then issue 10 tickets per person to spend as they wish on pumpkins and activities. Additional tickets will be available for purchase as well.

4444 State Hwy. 78
Julian, CA
Online: julianminingcompany.com
Hours: Sep. 19th-Oct. 25th; open Thurs.-Mon.; Thurs., Fri., Mon. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.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, wagon rides, cottonseed mountain, petting corral, a playground, and lots more fun for the entire family. For $14.50-$16.50 (depending on whether you visit on a weekday or weekend), each kiddo age 2-13 years gets admission to the farm, access to all play activities, and a Jack Patch Pumpkin. Kids under age 2 are free.

Important: All tickets must be purchased online prior to arrival.

14950 El Monte Rd.
Lakeside, CA
619-390-2929
Online: omaspumpkinpatch.com
Hours: Sep. 29th-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 of all shapes and sizes to choose from while enjoying the beautiful country life in Flinn Springs. Don't miss visiting The Barn Shoppe and Herbal Soap Shoppe while you're there.

15602 Olde Hwy. 80
Flinn Springs, CA 92021
619-390-1523
Online: summerspastfarms.com
Hours: Thurs. & Fri. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 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 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
760-788-8703
Online: mountainvalleyranch.com
Hours: Sept. 26th-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. New this year: The folks at the farm encourage you to visit on a weekday since weekends tend to get crowded and entrance to the farm may have to close until some guests leave. If you visit Mon.-Fri. you can get a $50 "Pumpkin Pass" for a family of five that lasts all season. Click here for details on what the pass includes and to purchase a pass.

Note: There's a $2 entry fee (Mon.-Fri.) and a $3 entry fee (Sat. & Sun.) to enter the Pumpkin Farm for all visitors over age 2.

39925 Calle Contento
Temecula, CA
Online: peltzerfarms.com
Hours: Opening day: Sep. 26th; Open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Pumpkin Station: Bonita

This farm offers tons of pumpkins, a corn maze, tractor hay wagon rides, train ride and a petting zoo. With some pumpkins still growing on the vine, let your kiddos try and pluck one from the patch themselves. You can also cut your own sunflowers on your visit.

5354 Sweetwater Rd.
Bonita, CA
Online: pumpkinstation.com
Hours: Oct. 1st-16th, 9 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Oct. 17th-31st, 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

––Beth Shea

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