It’s autumn. The season for costumes, candy and - pumpkins. And with Halloween creeping up, it’s time to find the perfect orange orb to carve up for your holiday decorating. To help you in your search for the “Great Pumpkin,” we’ve harvested a list of venues brimming with gourds of all shapes and sizes along with other family-friendly autumnal activities.
ABC Tree Farms & Pick of the Patch Pumpkins: Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, through Oct. 31. Visitors will find pumpkins, gourds, pumpkin accessories, snacks and beverages. Free admission. There is an admission fee for inflatable amusements for ages 2-14. Prices range from $10 for 30 minutes and $15 for 60 minutes. All-day passes are available for $25. Discount coupons are available on the website. 4000 Plaza Drive, Oceanside. abctreefarms.net/california/pumpkin/location/oceanside.
Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch: Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays; 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 13, 20 and 27, through October. This family farm is a Halloween haven of pumpkins, hayrides, straw maze, petting corral and pony rides. Live entertainment, barbecues, food trucks, rock climb, bounce house, slide and other family events are offered each weekend. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Free admission; $5 cash-only parking on weekends. 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center. (760) 749-3333 or batesnutfarm.biz
Big Horse Corn Maze & Harvest Festival: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, through Oct. 30. The maze will be closed for maintenance Oct. 9 and 16. Weekend activities include hay rides, bounce houses, pumpkin bowling, animal zoo, pig races, duck races, gem mining, corn cannon, face painting, rock wall, zip line, free contests, pony rides (starting Saturday) and more. $9 maze entry; $13 maze entry plus three activities; children 2 and under are free. Big Horse Feed & Mercantile, 33320 Temecula Parkway,Temecula. (951) 389-4621 or bighorsecornmaze.com
Bonita Pumpkin Farm: Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 12; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 13-31. Along with pumpkins, there’s a petting zoo, tractor hayrides, corn maze and picnic area. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for hayrides and corn maze. 5354 Sweetwater Road, Bonita. (858) 566-7466 or pumpkinstation.com
Boomont Park Fall Festival & Haunt: .Open 5 p.m. to close Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through Oct. 31. This festively decorated adventure park offers a U-Pick pumpkin patch and painting, Zombie Laser Tag maze, Spooky Giant Dipper roller coaster, superhero zip line and rock wall, costume contests, free trick-or-treating and live performances. Free admission and parking; cost of rides and some activities varies. 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego. belmontpark.com/BoomontPark
The Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Oct. 31. Along with a variety of pumpkins, this seaside patch offers tractor rides, corn maze, pumpkin painting station, story time, face painting, live entertainment and local vendors on the weekends. Carlsbad Strawberry Fields, 1000 Cannon Drive, Carlsbad. (760) 603-9608.
Del Mar Pumpkin Station: Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., through Oct. 29. This pumpkin station offers two giant slides, a game zone, rides, including an antique carousel and a petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for rides, giant slides, inflatables, play center and petting zoo. Del Mar Fairgrounds, east parking lot next to the driving range, 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. (858) 566-7466 or pumpkinstation.com
El Cajon Pumpkin Station: Open 3 to 9 p.m., through Oct. 31. East County residents don’t have to travel far for their pumpkins. This station also offers slides and rides, a game zone, play center and Ferris wheel. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for attractions. Parkway Plaza Shopping Center, 415 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon. (858) 566-7466 or pumpkinstation.com
Farm Stand West and Fran’s Original Farm Stand: Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Oct. 31. Pick your own pumpkin. Free admission. Farm Stand West, 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido, (760) 738-9014; Fran’s Original Farm Stand, 1980 Summit Drive, Escondido. (760) 504-0101 or thefarmstandwest.com
Fall Harvest Festival & Boutique: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 28-29. This holiday fair showcases local artists, bakers, craftsmen and jewelers plus hayrides and a barbecue lunch. Free admission. Farm Stand West, 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido. (760) 738-9014.
Julian Farms: Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through Oct. 31. Nestled in the picturesque hills of Julian is a pumpkin patch filled with vine-ripened pumpkins, tractor-drawn hayrides, archery, animal farm and petting zoo and a big tent store with farm-made goods. You can also press your own apple cider. Free admission and parking. Activities are priced separately. Highway 78 (across the highway from the Apple Tree Inn), Julian. (951) 312-9940 or julianminingcompany.com
Lavender Hill Pumpkin Farm: Open 2 to 5 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 30-31. No carnival rides or petting zoo 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 or lavenderhillpumpkins.com
Mission Valley Pumpkin Station: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., through Oct. 31. Two giant slides and rides, as well as inflatables and a petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for attractions. Westfield Mission Valley Shopping Center, 1640 Camino Del Rio N., San Diego. (858) 566-7466 or pumpkinstation.com
Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch: Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, through Oct. 31. Pick your own pumpkin or shop inside the cooled barn for carving and cooking pumpkins, gourds and decorative corn. There’s a corn maze, corn cannon, petting zoo, hay rides (all day on the weekends and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday) and pony rides (all day on the weekends and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday). Snacks and refreshments available on the weekends. Free admission and parking. 842 Highway 78, Ramona. (760) 788-8703 or mountainvalleyranch.com/pumpkin-patch
National City Pumpkin Station: Open1 to 9 p.m., through Oct. 31. This pumpkin patch is surrounded by giant and mini slides, a Ferris wheel, a play center and petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for attractions. Plaza Bonita Shopping Center, 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City. (858) 566-7466 or pumpkinstation.com
Oma’s Pumpkin Patch: Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, through Oct. 31. Along with prime pumpkin picking, this patch also provides covered hayrides, hay bale maze, petting corral, games, playground, gift shop and concession. General admission: $10 per child (ages 1 to 13); adult admission $5 (14 and older). Cash or credit cards are accepted. Van Ommering Dairy, 14950 El Monte Road, Lakeside. (619) 390-2929 or 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. This beachside pumpkin patch offers a large selection of pumpkins - from mini to 150 pounds. There’s also a designated carving station and painting area, free hot apple cider and shaved ice for the kids. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Free admission and parking. 870 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. (858) 483-0329 or pbpumpkinpatch.com
Peltzer Pumpkin Farms: Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, through Oct. 30; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 31. Enjoy the first-fruits of the season at this family-run farm. Along with pumpkins, there are train rides, pony rides, farm animals and pig races. Mine for gems or visit the tractor garden featuring a restored John Deere tractor collection. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for attractions; pig races and tractor garden are free. 39925 Calle Contento, Temecula. (951) 695-1115 or 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. There’s plenty of photo opportunities at this U-Pick patch with tractor hay rides, corn maze and petting zoo. Free parking and admission. Nominal fee for hayrides and corn maze. 13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido. (858) 566-7466 or pumpkinstation.com
Stehly Farms Organics Pumpkin Patch: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 8. This third-generation-run family farm welcomes visitors for a day of festivities, including a guided tour, petting zoo and train ride. Meander through a corn maze, take a family picture at the photo station or stop by the Farmers Market stand and pick-your-own pumpkins. There’s also a food concession, including farm-fresh pizzas, tacos, salads, smoothies and gelato. Tickets: $7 at the door; kids 4 and under are free. Cash, credit cards and debit cards are accepted. 12630 Santa Catalina Road, Valley Center. stehlyfarmsorganics.com/product/pumpkin-patch
Summers Past Farms: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, through October. Wander through the pumpkin patch and pick your favorite pumpkin during the week. On the weekends, there will be a jump house on the grass area and at the coffee bar popcorn, corn dogs, coffee and smoothies will be available for purchase. On Oct. 28, the Alpine Stagecoach Lions Club will host its third annual Trick or Treat Dog Show from 1 to 4 p.m. with guest of honor and judge Shotgun Tom Kelly. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Free admission and parking. 15602 Old Highway 80, Flinn Springs. (619) 390-1523 or summerspastfarms.com
Waterfront Pumpkin Patch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29. Enjoy scenic views of San Diego Bay as you stroll through the pumpkin patch. Activities include pumpkin decorating, live entertainment, face painting, a balloon artist and food trucks. A limited supply of pumpkins will be available for children only on a first-come, first-served basis. Carpooling and use of public transportation are encouraged. In the event of inclement weather, the pumpkin patch will be canceled. Free admission. 1600 Pacific Highway, downtown San Diego. For more information, call (619) 232-7275.