Guide to SD County's best pumpkin patches

October conjures up frightfully festive and fun ways to celebrate the harvest season. And with Halloween creeping up, it's time to find the perfect jack-o'-lantern to carve up for your holiday decorating. To help you in your quest, here's a list of venues brimming with gourds of all shapes and sizes plus other autumnal family-friendly activities.

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch: Open daily through Oct. 31. Hayrides, straw maze, petting corral, pony rides live entertainment, BBQ, food trucks, rock climb, bounce, slide and other family events each weekend. Free admission; $5 parking on weekends. 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center . (760) 749-3333, batesnutfarm.biz

Bonita Pumpkin Station: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Petting zoo, tractor hayrides, corn maze, picnic area. Free parking and admission. 5437 Bonita Road, Bonita. pumpkinstation.com

Del Mar Pumpkin Station: Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, through Oct. 31. Two giant slides, game zone, rides including antique carousel, petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Del Mar Golf Center, 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. (858) 566-7466, pumpkinstation.com

El Cajon Pumpkin Station: Open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday through Oct. 31. Slides and rides, game zone, petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Parkway Plaza Shopping Center, 415 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon. (858) 566-7466, pumpkinstation.com

Farm Stand Fall Harvest Festival: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Features a holiday boutique by local artists, bakers, craftsmen and jewelers, hayrides, as well as a barbecue lunch. Free parking and admission. Farm Stand West, 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido . (760) 738-9014, thefarmstandwest.com/events; also Fran's Original Farm Stand, 1980 Summit Drive, Escondido. (760) 504-0101.

Julian Mining Co.: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 31. Harvest Tour, Pumpkin Patch, hayrides, apple cider, petting zoo, gold and gem mining, and more. 4444 Highway 78, Julian/Wynola. julianminingco.com

Lavender Hill Pumpkin Farm: Open 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, through Oct. 31. No carnival rides here, but families (and pumpkin purists) are welcome to pick their own pumpkins from three dozen organic varieties. 1509 E. Mission Road, Fallbrook. (760) 715-8495, lavenderhillpumpkins.com

Mission Valley Pumpkin Station: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, through Oct. 31. Two giant slides and rides, petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Westfield Mission Valley, 1640 Camino Del Rio N., San Diego. (858) 566-7466, pumpkinstation.com

Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch: Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Pick your own or shop inside the cooled barn for carving and cooking pumpkins, gourds, decorative and popping corn, farm equipment including a 1930 Model A automobile, corn maze, pony rides, petting zoo and concessions. Cash only. Free admission and parking. 842 Highway 78, Ramona. (760) 788-8703, mountainvalleyranch.com/pumpkinpatch.html

National City Pumpkin Station: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, through Oct. 31. Giant slide rides, petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Plaza Bonita Shopping Center, 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City. (858) 566-7466, pumpkinstation.com

Oma's Pumpkin Patch: Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Oct. 31 Covered hayrides, hay bale maze, petting corral, playground. General admission: $10 per child (ages 1 to 13); adult admission $5 (13 and older). 14950 El Monte Road, Lakeside. (619) 390-2929, omaspumpkinpatch.com

PB Pumpkin Patch: Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends, through Oct. 31. Pumpkins and gourds, Indian corn, hay bales, apple cider. 870 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. Free admission and parking. (858) 483-0329, pbpumpkinpatch.com

Peltzer Farms: Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. Train rides, pony rides, petting farm, corn maze, pig races, gem panning, face painting and tractor collection. Free parking and admission. 39925 Calle Contento, Temecula. (951) 695-1115, peltzerfarms.com

Rancho Bernardo Pumpkin Farm: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, through Oct. 31. Tractor hay wagon rides, corn maze, farm animals, picnic area, pick-your-own pumpkins. Free parking and admission. 13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido. (858) 566-7466, pumpkinstation.com

Stehly Farms Organics: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (rain or shine)o18. $6 at the door or $5 prepurchased online; kids under 4 are free. Admission includes a bag of goodies grown on the farm, tractor rides, petting zoo, photo area with baby animals and corn maze. There's also a farmers market, food for purchase and, of course, pumpkins. 12630 Santa Catalina Road, Valley Center. stehlyfarmsorganics.com

Summers Past Farms: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, through October. Jump house, corn maze, concession stand, pick-your-own pumpkins. Bring the kids on Saturday to the Inaugural Alpine Lions Club Dog Show from 1 to 4 p.m. Free admission and parking. 15602 Old Highway 80, Flinn Springs. (619) 390-1523, summerpastfarms.com

Suzie's Farm: This 120-acre farm will host Pumpkin Palooza on Saturday with a day of pumpkin picking on an organic, 2-acre patch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission. 2570 Sunset Ave., San Diego. (619) 662-1780, suziesfarm.com

Source: DiscoverSD

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