The beautiful Ranunculus flowers

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The Flower Fields In Carlsbad: The Best Visitor Guide For 2024

One of the best things about spring beside the longer days and warmer temperatures are flowers! In spring, flowers of all sorts are blooming all over the world and that is no different in Southern California. The Flower Fields in Carlsbad have the most spectacular flower fields and are a delight to see each spring.

You will notice the colorful hillside of flowers in the distance well before you approach the famous Carlsbad Flower Fields.

I’m local to the area, so I look forward to when spring arrives each year. It means the hillside of the flower fields come alive when they start blooming resembling a vibrantly colored painting.

No matter how many times I visit the flower fields I never get tired of seeing the gorgeous Ranunculus blooms.

An array of colors looking out at the rows of Ranunculus flower blooms at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California.

The Flower Fields are one of a kind and something that you will not see elsewhere like this.

It is magical being surrounded by thousands of bright flowers, to see the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy the salty beach air all at once.

So, if you are wondering what to do in Carlsbad, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about visiting the flower fields with this handy guide!

Tip: If you are looking to spend some time on the beach, learn where the best beaches are in my post 15 Most Popular Beaches In San Diego.

And if you are craving some epic tacos that San Diego is known for, visit Ultimate Guide To The Best Tacos In San Diego!

Standing among rows of gorgeous Ranunculus flower blooms and Pacific Ocean in distance at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

Best Time To Visit The Carlsbad Flower Fields

As I already mentioned, springtime is the prime time to visit the flower fields but it does vary from year to year a bit. That’s mother nature for you!

Although the exact timing of the flowering can’t be predicted, generally the season is from March to the beginning of May.

For the 2024 season, the Flower Fields will open up on March 1st, 2024 and run through May 12th, 2024.

A close-up view of a several Ranunculus flowers in a variety of colors at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

A zoomed in close up of a bright pink Ranunculus flower blooms in Carlsbad, California.

But if you are looking for the prime time to visit the flower fields at Carlsbad Ranch, then mid-March to mid-April is the best. During this window, you are likely to see the most flowers blooming with more variety of colors too.

This year the flower fields will open on March 1st, 2024 but to get live updates, you can go to their website here.

Tip: Wondering what else there is to do in Carlsbad? Visit my post 25 Fun Things To Do In Carlsbad, California to find out!

Carlsbad Flower Fields Tickets

For the 2024 season, you NEED TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKET ONLINE IN ADVANCE! Visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields site to purchase.

You can not buy tickets at the flower fields, so plan ahead!

For additional purchases once you are at the flower fields such as the tractor ride need to be made using your credit card. No cash accepted.

What Kind Of Flowers Will I See?

In many places in the world like the Netherlands, you are primarily flower hunting for tulips in the spring. Not here!

No tulips to be found here but no worries as you won’t care once you get a glimpse of the 1,000’s of flowers in numerous shades of the rainbow.

A wide angle view of rows each a different color of the Giant Ranunculus flowers at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

Now that I have built up the suspense, the flower to be seen at the Carlsbad Flower Fields are the Giant Ranunculus!

Ya I had to check the spelling on that one a few times… Officially they are called the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus and are native to Asia Minor (Turkey & Armenia).

The colorful Ranunculus flowers paint a rainbow as workers pick flowers in Carlsbad, CA.

The Giant Ranunculus is also known as the Persian Buttercup which likes being in full sun and prefers mild winters.

This makes Carlsbad a perfect spot as the temperatures never get too hot and has a constant ocean breeze.

They also need very well-drained soil and are planted on a slope below the Grand Pacific Palisades Hotel.

A zoomed in view of Ranunculus flowers also known as the "Persian Buttercup" in pink, yellow, and red colors.

When you get up close to the Ranunculus flowers, they almost look fake as they appear too perfect.

Resembling a crepe-paper flower, the Giant Ranunculus might look like a rose flower at first. But don’t be tricked, there are no rose flowers present!

Get A PDF Of This Guide For Your Trip

For your convenience, you can download a copy of this Carlsbad Flower Fields guide or print it to take with you. It includes pictures and links within the article. It’s ad-free and handy for on the go.
Carlsbad Flower Fields Travel Guide

Buy Your Carlsbad Flower Fields Travel Guide PDF Today!

History Of The Flower Fields

If I didn’t live nearby, I would probably think this was a small patch of flowers. But it is not, in fact the Flower Fields cover 50 acres!

A few acres are actually used for other types of flowers but almost all the flowers are the Giant Ranunculus aka “Persian Buttercups”.

Workers in between the rows of Ranunculus flowers with a row of yellow, orange, and red as the Carlsbad Flower Fields are a working ranch.

The hillside covered in gorgeous Ranunculus flowers has been a favorite of North County San Diego. These exquisite blooms have drawn people from all over the world to come visit for over 60 years.

You might also hear the fields referred to as The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch which is the same location.

Ranunculus flowers with a row of dark red, yellow, orange, pink, white, and a multi-colored row in front.

Although the Ranunculus flower got its start about 100 years ago in Southern California, it was Edwin Frazee who created the wonder you see today back in 1965. His love for cultivating clearly shows today with the bright shades of the flowers.

Me taking a selfie with rows of gorgeous Ranunculus flowers behind me in Carlsbad, CA.

A close up view of orange Ranunculus flower blooms and the palm trees of the hotel beyond in the background in Carlsbad.

In the beginning, there was only red and yellow but after carefully selecting seeds that created different colors, he would replant those the next year.

Eventually, his work and passion evolved to the 13 shades you see scattered on the hillside at the Flower Fields.

The land at the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields has always been owned by the Ecke family but in recent years they teamed up with Armstrong Garden Center (entrance to fields).

There are various events and weddings that also take place here that makes for not only a lovely but memorable time.

Can I Take Home Any Flowers?

Yes! You can definitely take home some Ranunculus flowers with you. In the Armstrong Garden Center, you can purchase freshly cut Ranunculus flowers to take with you.

But if you have a green thumb and live in a location that doesn’t have harsh winters, then you can buy Ranunculus bulbs instead.

A pale pink Ranunculus flower surrounded by darker pink blooms all in various stages of opening up.

Tip: Looking to keep your cut Ranunculus flowers a bit longer? Try adding a small amount of sugar (teaspoon) to the vase’s water to help prolong the life of the cut flower.

Carlsbad Flower Fields Hours & Admission

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, from March 1st to May 12th, 2024. Admission for Adults is $23, Seniors are $21 and Children $14.

Myself sitting on an old tractor among the fields of flowers which is a photo prop people can use at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

For those that live local and want to visit multiple times, you can even purchase a season pass. The flower fields are open rain or shine.

The good news is that it doesn’t rain a lot this time of year (most of the time) but it can get cold and a little misty being so close to the ocean.

Tips For Visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields

  • It might be tempting but no picking the flowers!
  • Don’t sit, lay down on or trample the flowers in any way please. There are designated spots you can sit or stand that make it appear you are in the middle of a bunch of flowers. Stay on the designated areas and you are good!
  • Bring your camera! But leave your drone at home…
  • No pets allowed unless it is a service animal

Beautiful orange Ranunculus flowers surrounded by pink and yellow blooms in Carlsbad, CA.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and no high heels please… You are walking along dirt paths that have uneven places at times. Remember it is a working ranch, so…
  • Bring a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses as there isn’t any shade
  • Bring your lunch and have a picnic with this travel cooler. There are food vendors but only on the weekends.
  • Bring water to stay hydrated especially if it is a hot day with this reusable water bottle.
  • Parking is free at Armstrong Garden Center but if full, you can park at the Carlsbad Outlet Mall next door.

Tractor Wagon Ride

For those that don’t want to do a lot of walking through the rows of fields, you can take a Tractor Wagon Ride for a small additional fee ($8 for adults and $4 for children ages 3 – 10). You even get some info on the Flower Fields’ history too.

An old tractor with a huge wagon that pulls you around the flower fields in Carlsbad.

The open-air wagon is pulled by a very cool antique-looking tractor that adds to the feel of a “working ranch”.

If you are just tired of walking or not very fit (just kidding!), it is a great way to see a large area of the fields. Since the large wagon is open, there are plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Note: No cash accepted, only credit or debit cards for the Tractor Wagon Ride.

Wander In The Flower Fields

Ok this is probably a given but walking the ranunculus flower fields is the main thing to do here! Have fun wandering among the different colored rows of blooms that seem to go on for miles…

Well not miles but there is a lot of space to roam and enjoy these beauties.

Walking the flower fields in an array of colors with people off in the distance in Carlsbad, CA.

A sign that says Row 5 along a dirt path between rows of Ranunculus blooms at the flower fields in Carlsbad.

As you are walking through the fields it is pretty obvious where you can and can’t walk so don’t be that jerk and trample flowers to get “that shot”.

Tip: If you want to be holding flowers in your photos, you can buy some at the garden center for that. There are also some benches and photo setups to make it fun.

American Flag Of Flowers

On the right side of the flower fields (facing Palomar Airport Rd), take notice of the American Flag! No, not flying in the air but on the ground made out of Petunias. This is one area that you won’t spot Ranunculus flowers.

A sign with a little info on the American Flag made out of flowers in Carlsbad.

Close up of the dark bluish purple flowers with white in making up an American Flag at the flower fields.

A close up of pretty blue petunias at the flower fields.

The American Flag is 300 by 170 feet and made up of red, white and blue Petunias. It really is a cool sight to see, although I’m sure the view from above would be even better. Too bad drones aren’t allowed…

Sweet Pea Flower Maze

The Sweet Pea Maze is a maze made out of you guessed it, sweet pea flowers! This is something probably more suited for kids but hey it might be right up your alley.

The Artist Gardens

Wander around and take a look at live paintings made with flowers. The flowers make known paintings come to life as the chosen medium instead of paint! What a pretty way to express an artistic message.

The flowers really do look like a painting. near the front entrance where people can hop on a tractor ride.

The Artists Garden near the entrance with a broad view of the flower fields, the hotel up on the hill, and a water fountain up close.

Flower Fields In Carlsbad Events & Activities

I love how the Flower Fields in Carlsbad hold various events and activities to showcase and celebrate the gorgeous flowers even more!

They have a calendar of events that you can look ahead to see what might be happening the day you go. Some require advanced ticket purchases and some are free.

A pretty purple Ranunculus flower surrounded by yellow, white, pink, and orange blooms.

A few that stand out as unique and fun are “Flower Flow Yoga”, “Sunset Wine Tasting”, “Arts & Crafts” and “Tea in The Garden”.

Or if you are looking specifically for taking photos, don’t miss the Carlsbad Flower Fields photography workshops!

Hotels Near Flower Fields In Carlsbad

There are two places in Carlsbad that I recommend staying and it really depends on what you are interested in doing. If you are looking to stay at a larger resort with a lot of amenities and that is super close to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad then I recommend staying at the following.

The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa– Less than a 5-minute drive to the Flower Fields. It is located up on the hill above the flowers across from Legoland.

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort – Located directly above the flower fields so it is the closest you are going to get!

The Grand Pacific Palisades up above the flower fields in Carlsbad with a front row view of the beautiful Ranunculus flowers.

If you would rather stay next to the beach and have access to more restaurants and shopping then I recommend staying in Carlsbad Village or what locals refer to just as the “Village”. Carlsbad Village is about a 10-minute drive from the Flower Fields.

In this area, you have more beach vacation rentals, condos and smaller hotels in general. Here are a few hotels that have a prime location right near the beach and to the Village.

Ocean Palms Beach Resort – located just a short walk into the Village and steps from the beach.

Best Western Plus Beach View Lodge – located directly across the street from the beach and steps to Carlsbad Village.

Where Is Carlsbad?

Carlsbad is in sunny Southern California right along the beach and a dreamy town to visit. Located in the north county portion of San Diego (SD), Carlsbad is about 45 minutes north of downtown SD.

If you would rather take your time getting to Carlsbad, I highly recommend taking the scenic Coast Highway 101.

Hwy 101 is the coastal route that will take you through plenty of adorable beachy towns that ooze a California vibe.

In true California fashion, the route north is lined with what seems like an endless amount of palm trees.

Don’t be surprised if you see a surfer or two grabbing their board and racing to catch a wave!

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad that are often just referred to as the “Flower Fields” are off of Palomar Airport Road.

This is an exit off of the 5 Freeway and off of the Coast Hwy 101 (they run parallel). From the freeway, drive east on Palomar Airport Road and turn left at the first light to enter the Flower Fields.

Rows side by side of pink and white Ranunculus blooms at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

The two closest airports to fly into when planning your trip to Carlsbad are:

San Diego International Airport (SAN)
John Wayne Airport – Orange Country (SNA)

They have very similar airport codes so make sure you are booking the right one! Start exploring the best flight deals for your upcoming trip to Carlsbad today!

And if you do need to rent a car, why not get the lowest rate by searching now and securing your booking?

Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad CA 92008

What Else Is There To Do In Carlsbad?

After visiting the flower fields in Carlsbad, get ready to explore more activities! Of course, the beach is a main draw to the Village by the Sea but find out 25 Fun Things To Do In Carlsbad, California you don’t want to miss!

A zoomed in view of a pink, red, and yellow Ranunculus flowers.

Where To Eat In Carlsbad

I could probably list 100 amazing places to eat but here are a few favorites that should leave you happy and satisfied.

If you want the complete guide on the best places to eat in Carlsbad then sign up to get a FREE checklist of all the spots you don’t want to miss!

Las Olas Mexican Restaurant – San Diego is known for insanely good Mexican food and this place has been around for years and is a local favorite. (2939 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad CA)

Harbor Fish Café – The best fish & chips outside of the UK! And no its not on a harbor, but up above the beach. Not sure why it has “harbor” in the name… (3179 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad CA)

Twenty 20 – Great food and an awesome place to have a drink to watch the sunset. Inside the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa at 5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad CA.

Windmill Food Hall – This is across the street from the Carlsbad Flower Fields with a wide selection of tasty eateries.

A zoomed view of a row of pink Ranunculus flowers with rows in yellow and red beyond in Carlsbad, California.

Have fun wandering the flower fields in Carlsbad!

Get A PDF Of This Guide For Your Trip

For your convenience, you can download a copy of this Carlsbad Flower Fields guide or print it to take with you. It includes pictures and links within the article. It’s ad-free and handy for on the go.
Carlsbad Flower Fields Travel Guide

Buy Your Carlsbad Flower Fields Travel Guide PDF Today!

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Each spring the Flower Fields in Carlsbad bloom in vibrant colors! Carlsbad is a beach town north of San Diego, California with plenty of photography opportunities! Follow this ultimate guide for all you need to know about visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields! #carlsbad #carlsbadflowerfields #sandiego #california

Vanessa Shields

Vanessa Shields is the founder of Traveling Ness helping people with trip ideas, itineraries, travel planning, and boosting confidence for female travelers to take a solo trip. She has been a travel writer and content creator since 2019.

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  1. I actually tried to go here a couple years ago but it was too late in the year so we didn’t get to see any of the flowers. I definitely have a reason to go back! 😉

    1. Oh that is a bummer you missed seeing them on your last visit. Hopefully, you will get to see the Ranunculus bloom on your next visit! 🙂

  2. Those Ranunculus are so pretty and your photos are stunning Vanessa. I didn’t know that there were flowers fields like this in California. I would definitely visit if we were there in spring.

    1. Thanks Wendy! The Ranunculus flowers are so pretty and definitely a must if you are here in the spring! And meeting up with me too! Haha 🙂

  3. Oh my word, how gorgeous!!!! I had no idea there was a flower farm like this just outside of San Diego! Those colors are absolutely magnificent. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Giant Ranunculus before, but now I want to plant some in my own spring flower box!

    1. It is definitely a big attraction in North County and is right next to Legoland which is a big draw to Carlsbad too! If you visit you can buy bulbs to take home with you too. 🙂

  4. Wooow I don’t think I have ever seen Giant Ranunculus, but they are gorgeous! What huge colourful flowers! Is it crazily busy? Or have the insta-crowd not found this yet? It looks like there are few few other tourists in your photos, but I would imagine it to be super busy!?

    p.s. what do they smell like?

    1. The Ranunculus are so pretty for sure! I’ve only been to the Flower Fields during the week to avoid the crowds but it only seems insta famous in Southern California from what I have seen. Lol. But if you are ever in Southern California during the spring it is a must to see! It looks like they would be really fragrant but I didn’t smell anything. I’ll have to ask this spring if that is for all Ranunculus! 🙂

    1. I’ve been to Holland but not in the spring to see the tulips, I would love to go back. I can imagine the fields of Ranunculus do resemble the fields of tulips! 🙂

    1. Oh no, what a shame that you are allergic to them! Yes taking allergy meds and maybe just viewing the fields near the entrance would be best. Good luck if you do go! 🙂

  5. Wow, what a flower paradise! That looks amazing! Next year, it seems, that I´ll be back to California, I´ll put Carlsbad on the list for a visit! Thanks for all the information and your pictures!

    1. You’re very welcome! Oh that is wonderful, you will love seeing the flowers when you go. It is something special to see! 🙂

  6. OMG, SO. MANY. FLOWERS. I am in love! haha. I can’t believe how huge the fields are and that I’ve never heard of them! I know where I’m visiting next time I’m in SoCal 🙂

    1. Haha yes, there are a ton of flowers! I believe it is the largest flower fields for Ranunculus in the world. It is pretty spectacular to see! 🙂

  7. Wow, wow, wow! The colors are gorgeous, this is such an awesome looking place. I have never seen anything like it. My city and surrounding cities have spring flower festivals but I’ve never been to one before. This looks like it’s worth visiting though

    1. The Carlsbad Flower Fields is such an amazing place to see! You can’t help but smile and love all the bright flowers. More and more I want to go to different flower festivals especially in different areas as they are all unique in their own way. 🙂

  8. I want to visit Carlsbad so badly now! Maybe I can convince my husband to do a road trip from SF to Carlsbad for Memorial Day. We might just get the tail end of the flowers if we’re lucky. Your photos are gorgeous!

    1. Oh that’s not too far of a drive for an awesome weekend trip! I believe the fields are usually open til the beginning of May so check before you come to make sure it is still open. You will love seeing all the flowers! 🙂

  9. Those giant ranunculus are beautiful. I thought they were roses too. Botany is not my strong suit though. The field are incredible and while I have heard of them before, I don’t realise just how extensive they are. Your photos are incredible again. More great work Vanessa.

    1. Thanks John! They really do look like roses from certain angles. The only reason I heard of them was because of visiting and living so close. I’m surprised they aren’t more popular. Maybe it is the difficult name! Lol. Probably why they are commonly referred to as the Persian Buttercups. 🙂

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