Field of pumpkins

Guide To The Best Pumpkin Patches In San Diego

With the arrival of fall, a favorite activity is visiting a pumpkin farm to pick out that perfect pumpkin to carve. Of course, you could buy one from the store but that’s no fun! Instead, make a day of it and visit one of the best pumpkin patches in San Diego.

This time of year, the evenings are starting to cool off (somewhat), pumpkin spice lattes are back, and choosing a pumpkin to carve a Jack O’ Lantern is something to look forward to!

All of the pumpkin patches listed are throughout San Diego County and are the best to experience.

What makes visiting a pumpkin patch even more fun is that there are other activities varying from corn mazes, apples, apple cider, hayrides, photo opportunities, and petting zoos.

There are pumpkins of all sizes at the best pumpkin patches in San Diego like this small white pumpkin
There are pumpkins of all sizes!

And you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy it as there is something that sparks that feeling of autumn’s arrival and the upcoming holidays for everyone.

“Oh my gourdness, it’s autumn!” – unkown

Note: Most of what I would consider the best farms are outside of the city area of San Diego mainly due to space. If you want that true pumpkin farm experience then you need to get out of the city!

For more info on where to stay and things to do in San Diego read my post 15 Best Things To Do In San Diego.

After you carve your pumpkin, save the seeds and roast them!
After you carve your pumpkin, save the seeds and roast them!

Tips For Visiting Pumpkin Patches In San Diego

  • Even though it is October, the weather in San Diego can get high temperatures that feel closer to summer. Wear layers so that you are ready for hot or cold.
  • For those warm days make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat as you walk through the fields.
  • Bring your camera as there are several fun photo opportunities.
  • After you carve your pumpkin, save the seeds and roast them in the oven with olive oil and garlic salt for a tasty snack! Bake at 325 F for 20-30 minutes.
  • Bring cash as it might come in handy.
  • When picking a pumpkin to carve, look for one with a stem of 1-2 inches and a flat bottom. Press your fingernail into the pumpkin and if it makes a scratch it isn’t the one!
Can you believe the biggest pumpkin on record is over 2500 pounds?!
Can you believe the biggest pumpkin on record is over 2500 pounds?!

Fun Pumpkin Facts

  • The largest pumpkin in the world weighed over 2500 pounds!
  • Pumpkins are 90% water, so pretty healthy… And no not the form you have in your latte!
  • You can find over 45 different types of pumpkins.
  • Pumpkins contain a good source of potassium and vitamin A. Oh and it is a fruit!
  • You can find pumpkins grown on every continent except for Antarctica.
  • Every part of the pumpkin can be eaten, even the stem!
  • Pumpkin pie comes in at second place as America’s favorite pie behind apple pie.
  • Did you know that the pumpkin capital of the world is Morton, Illinois?
A decorative photo booth covered with pumpkins
What do you look for when picking out a pumpkin?

Pumpkin Patches In San Diego

1. Bates Nut Farm

As far back as I can remember, my parents took me to Bates Nut Farm every year as a child. Picking out a pumpkin to carve a jack o’ lantern for Halloween was an exciting day.

Pumpkins for sale at Bates Nut Farm
The lone pumpkin…
A huge pile of bright orange pumpkins
Oh my gourd!

I hadn’t been back for many years and when I did, there was a bit of nostalgia of my childhood. Bates Nut Farm has been one of the best pumpkin patches in San Diego for over 50 years and is the place to be every October.

The tractor ride goes around the pumpkin patch
There goes the tractor ride…
A section of large pumpkins against the corn field
These are the big boy pumpkins!

Although the highlight of visiting is the pumpkin patch, there are numerous activities such as hayrides, a corn maze, petting corral, pony rides, food trucks, and music on the weekends.

Could this huge pumpkin be Charlie Brown's the Great Pumpkin?
Could this be Charlie Brown’s the Great Pumpkin?
These pumpkins have an unusual pattern and a tan color
These pumpkins have an unusual pattern and a tan color

You can grab a wheelbarrow and go off in search of a pumpkin of your choice! There are several varieties such as Big Macs, Cinderella, Ghost, minis, and squash.

I love the rainbow colored stripes against the white on this pumpkin
I love the rainbow colored stripes against the white!
Bates Nut Farm has been a favorite to pick out a pumpkin for years...
Bates Nut Farm has been a favorite pumpkin patch for years…

And before you leave, walk over to the farm store where you will be greeted by all kinds of nuts…

Even the small pumpkins have interesting patterns and colors
Even the small pumpkins have interesting patterns and colors
The Bates Nut Farm store has all kinds of goodies you can take home with you!
The Bates Nut Farm store has all kinds of goodies you can take home with you!

The farm started out with walnuts but you can now buy pistachios, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, and peanuts to name a few. You can take home not only nuts but dried fruit, fudge, jams, salsas, teas, and an assortment of gifts.

Hours: Open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. The farm closes on October 31st, 2021.

Cost: Weekdays admission is free but, on the weekends, parking is $8.00.

Address: 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center, CA 92082

2. Carlsbad Strawberry Company

I know what you are thinking, you are in the pursuit of a pumpkin, not strawberries! The Carlsbad Strawberry Company might be known for strawberries in the spring and summer months but in the fall, you can find a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and tractor rides here.

A scarescrow and pumpkins look inviting to the pumpkin patch
Welcome to the Carlsbad Strawberry Company!
Sign with the various activities listed and arrows directing
Which activity first?

Ever felt like shooting apples out of a cannon? Well, you can at this pumpkin patch where you can buy a bucket of apples to shoot out of an Apple Cannon or air compressor in hopes of hitting a target.

Step up an see if you can shoot an apple to a target!
Step up an see if you can shoot an apple to a target!
A huge pumpkin sitting among vines in the pumpkin patch
In search of the right pumpkin…

If you are looking to relax a bit then hop on and take a tractor ride that makes a loop around the fields, past the lagoon and freeway.

A scarecrow among stacks of hay and pumpkins
I think this scarecrow is asleep on the job…
Entrance to the corn maze
See how fast you can master the corn maze…

And lastly, you can have fun wandering the corn maze in the hopes of not getting lost! Even though they are open daily, more activities and food can be found on the weekends. There is a bouncy area for kids, a ton of tables, some food stand/trucks, and restrooms available.

A stand to sell pumpkins with decorations
Many fun pumpkin and Halloween props to take photos with!

Hours: Open daily Sunday – Thursday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm with the last day of the pumpkin season being November 8th, 2021.

Cost: Admission is $5 and there is a fee for the various activities such as the Apple Cannon (12 apples for $20), Tractor Ride ($10 for adults and $7 for kids), and Corn Maze ($10 per person). On Friday and Saturday evenings you can enter the haunted Field of Screams in the corn maze for $25.

Address: 1050 Cannon Road, Carlsbad, CA 92008

3. Julian Farm & Orchard

If you are in search of crisp mountain air and fall foliage head up to the adorable town of Julian. Located a little over an hour east of San Diego is an old gold mining town that has become the mecca of apple picking and apple pies!

Make a day of it in Julian picking out a pumpkin!
Make a day of it in Julian picking out a pumpkin!

Just because apple picking season is coming to an end, there is still plenty of reasons to visit Julian in the fall. Head to Julian Farm & Orchard for a fun pumpkin patch experience and pick out a pumpkin or two…

So many varieties of pumpkins big and small...
So many varieties of pumpkins big and small…

Set in the mountains of Julian, the Julian Farm & Orchard is the perfect setting for selecting a pumpkin. Plus, you can enjoy some apple pie post picking your pumpkin that makes for an awesome day trip from San Diego.

Slice of original apple pie with a scoop of ice cream
Get a slice of original apple pie with a scoop of ice cream in the town of Julian

Hours: On Friday the pumpkin patch is open from noon to 4:00 pm but no other activities. Open Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and other activities available such as hayrides, cider press, animals, and axe throwing. Closes for the season on Oct. 31st, 2021.

Cost: On weekends you need to purchase 10 tickets at $1 each that can be used on the various activities offered. Kids age 2 or younger are free. There are picnic tables to enjoy a packed lunch.

Address: 4381 Highway 78, Santa Isabel, CA 92070

Tip: If you are interested in finding out what else there is to do in Julian, take a look at my post How To Spend The Best Day Apple Picking In Julian.

4. Pumpkin Station

There are multiple Pumpkin Station locations in San Diego County to choose from. This location in Escondido has a corn maze and sunflower fields on top of a pumpkin patch!

It truly encompasses everything fall-related. The address is in Escondido but most refer to this area as Rancho Bernardo or RB.

The Pumpkin Station has plenty of fun cut out photo boards to take pictures with
Plenty of fun cut out photo boards to take pictures with!
So many pumpkins to choose from...
So many pumpkins to choose from…

This is a fun pumpkin patch as there are a lot of activities to keep both kids and adults busy with the corn maze, hayride, animals, sunflower fields, and many painted photo boards that make for silly shots.

Entrance of corn maze field
Who’s ready to enter the corn maze?
Wandering the corn maze...
Wandering the corn maze…
View of a row of corn in the maze
I may have taken a few left turns too many…
Corn on the stalk
Corn on the stalk

I’m a sucker for beautiful flowers so when I heard that there are acres of sunflower fields, I knew I had to go. Cut as many flowers you want to make a cheery bouquet to take home along with your prized pumpkin!

These pumpkins are called bunch of warts for the wart like appearance on them!
These pumpkins are called bunch of warts for the wart-like appearance on them!
These beautiful pumpkins are Blue Delights for their bluish color
These beautiful pumpkins are Blue Delights

The flowers are as tall as I am if not taller and wandering the rows of flowers makes for lovely photos. To see the sunflowers at full bloom visit around the middle or later part of October.

This large pumpkin has the prettiest pattern speckled with white and peach color
This large pumpkin has the prettiest pattern!

The corn maze wasn’t too long but it is fun to make it to the end after a few wrong turns!

Hours: The farm opens up on October 1st and runs through October 31st. You can visit from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm through the 14th and to 7:00 pm until the 31st.

Cost: Parking and admission are free to roam the pumpkin fields. But if you want to explore the corn maze ($4), take a hayride ($4), petting zoo ($4), or cut your own sunflowers ($2 per stem) there is a small fee.

Address: 13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido CA 92128

Happy pumpkin picking at one of these pumpkin patches in San Diego!

Large pumkins on a bale of hay
Have a fa-boo-lous time!

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Looking For More California Travel Inspiration?

How To Spend The Best Day Apple Picking In Julian

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5 Ways To See California’s Imperial County

The Flower Fields In Carlsbad: The Ultimate Guide

10 Awesome Things To Do On Catalina Island

7 Best Filtered Water Bottles For Travel And Hiking

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  1. I love your introduction to these pumpkin patches. Who knew about the different kinds of pumpkins?!? Personally, I’d choose Julian farms. Especially if I can grab a pumpkin and an apple pie. (But no pumpkin pies??? It’s my favorite!!)

    1. It is amazing how many kinds of pumpkins there are with so many different colors and patterns. Haha yes, you can’t go wrong with the Julian pumpkin patch as you get apple pie too! They do serve pumpkin but it isn’t as common as the apple. Pumpkin is one of my all-time favorites too! 🙂

    1. Thank you! Visiting a pumpkin farm is fun as it gets you into the fall mood. 🙂 Do they have pumpkin farms near where you live?

  2. I love all these pumpkins and the Autumn scene! I’ve never even been to a pumpkin patch before,.. they didn’t have them where I grew up. Wonderful tips here Vanessa!

    1. Thanks Shannon! Ah that is a bummer you didn’t have these growing up or get to visit one when you lived here. Now you will have a new tradition to experience one day! 🙂

    1. Pumpkin patches are a bunch of fun especially the more activities that they have like a corn maze! Haha, the apple pie is pretty amazing and worth trying one day! Hopefully, it didn’t make you too hungry! 🙂

  3. Love all those pumpkin facts! And the fall festival activities are so fun – especially the corn maze…although I make sure I go early in the day as I’m a bit directionally challenged…even with a map! 😂

    1. Pumpkin patches are so fun and yes especially the corn mazes! Haha, that is a good tip to go early that way you have plenty of time to find your way out of the maze! 🙂

  4. Honestly, I’d want to see any of them! There are no pumpkin farms like this in Italy, so this would be a great day trip (plus I love pumpkins!) That apple pie looks so good too!

    1. Yes, they are all pretty fun! You will have to visit the U.S. during the fall to experience a pumpkin patch. And it doesn’t hurt to add some delicious pie to your day! 🙂

  5. Your post is making me wanna head to a Pumpkin farm right away. We had a short season this year in Canada. Hopefully, 2021 will be a great time to experience autumn!

  6. I am dying over these spots! I would love to visit one of these pumpkin patches with the mountains in the back, ugh! Thank you for the suggestions!

  7. Love pumpkins but never been on any patches, I guess they are not that common in Europe. But I hope to visit one of them someday. I like that you added fun facts about them. I would love to see the biggest one

    1. That is a shame you don’t have them but now a fun experience to add to your fall bucket list one day! Yes, it would be incredible to see the biggest! 🙂

  8. Your post inspired me to find a pumpkin patch near me and go pick my pumpkin personally. They look so charming, and make great photo opportunities 🙂

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Joanna! Have fun and yes there are so many great photo opportunities for the fall. 🙂

  9. You are really spoiled with the patches you have there. Trust me the ones in Ireland are nothing like this. Nowhere near so many pumpkins, no corn mazes. Don’t even remember any pie.

    1. That just means you have a great excuse to visit the U.S. during the fall one year to experience a big pumpkin patch! Halloween and pumpkin patches are pretty big here and a lot of fun. 🙂

  10. We just bought a bunch of pumpkins on a trip to Vermont so this post is very timely. Cool to see the different pumpkins. And nothing like a good corn maze too.

    1. Oh how fun! One year I need to do a road trip through Vermont in the fall to see those gorgeous colors and visit a pumpkin patch over there! 🙂

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