It’s autumn. That means only one thing — pumpkins! And with Halloween just 30 days away, it’s time to search for that perfect orange orb to carve up into creepy faces or shapes for decorating outside your home or to create your Jack O’Lantern scarecrow. To help you in your quest, we’ve harvested a list of places not only brimming with all types of gourds but that also offer family-friendly activities that will surely get your spirits into the bewitching season.
Central San Diego
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. This U-Pick patch includes two giant slides and rides, as well as inflatables and a petting zoo. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for attractions. Westfield Mission Valley Shopping Center, 1640 Camino Del Rio N., San Diego. (858) 566-7466. pumpkinstation.com
Boomont & Fall Fest at Belmont Park: Open 5 p.m. to close Friday-Sunday and Oct. 31. This festively decorated adventure park offers pumpkin painting, Zombie Laser Tag maze, Spooky Giant Dipper roller coaster, Pirates Takeover mini golf, costume contests, free trick-or-treating for ages 12 and under, live performances and special events. Free admission and parking for Belmont Park; all wristbands are half price through October; prices vary for special events throughout the park, select events are free. Fall-themed activities for guests of all ages will also take place in November. Check the website for details. 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego. (858) 228-9283. belmontpark.com
Tom’s Adventures Pumpkin Patch: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Through Oct. 31. Along with a pumpkin patch, there are attractions like a petting zoo, 15-foot inflatable pyramid, giant double-lane slides, obstacle course, game area and more. Free admission and parking. 10510 Marauder Way, MIra Mesa. See North County for additional locations. tomsadventuresllc.com
Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 5-31. In addition to the large selection of pumpkins, there are pumpkin-related games, animal kingdom, pumpkin decorating station, spooky maze, photo station and Halloween costume and decoration shop. Food and drinks available for purchase. $1 per 1 ticket; packages available: $15 daily Jack O Pass, $95 seasonal Jack O Pass. Check the website for details. 6710 La Jolla Blvd., San Diego. (844) 452-2567. mrjackolanternspumpkins.com
PB Pumpkin Patch: Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 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. pbpumpkinpatch.com
Waterfront Park Pumpkin Patch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 28. Gourds of all shapes and sizes are sprouting along San Diego Bay welcoming guests to stroll through the patch for that ideal pumpkin to decorate and take home for the Halloween season. Free admission. 1600 Pacific Highway, downtown San Diego. (619) 232-7275. bit.ly/2OPixgx
Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch: Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays; 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends, through Oct. 31; 3 to 8 p.m. Oct. 12 and Oct. 19. The 50-year-old family farm is a Halloween haven for family and friends. There’s pumpkins, tractor hayrides, a straw maze, petting corral and pony rides. Live entertainment, barbecues, food trucks, rock climb, bounce house, slide and other events are offered each weekend. Free admission; $5 cash-only parking on weekends. Fees during the week for hayrides ($2.50), straw maze ($2.50), pony rides ($8) and petting corral ($3) 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center. (760) 749-3333. batesnutfarm.biz
The Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch: Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Through Nov. 3. This seaside patch offers a 1.5-mile corn maze (open until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays), tractor rides and pumpkin painting station with paints and brushes. On the weekends there will be North County vendors, a story time, face painting and live entertainment. Test your fear level at the pumpkin patch’s new haunted corn maze trail, “Field of Screams,” open Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 11 p.m. Carlsbad Strawberry Fields, 1000 Cannon Drive, Carlsbad. (760) 603-9608.
Del Mar Pumpkin Station: Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Through Oct. 31. This pumpkin station offers two giant slides, a game zone, rides, including an antique carousel and a petting zoo. Free admission and parking. 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. pumpkinstation.com
Lavender Hill Pumpkin Farm: Open 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 and 29-31; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28. No carnival rides or petting zoo here, but families (and pumpkin purists) are welcome to pick their own pumpkins from a crop of about 10,000 pumpkins in three dozen organic varieties, ranging from large and very small to bizarre and grotesque. Cash only, please. 1509 E. Mission Road, Fallbrook. (760) 715-8495. lavenderhillpumpkins.com
Big Horse Corn Maze & Harvest Festival: Corn maze open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Through Oct. 28. The maze will be closed for maintenance Oct. 8 and 15. Weekend activities include pumpkin patch picking, hay rides, pony rides ( starting Oct. 6), pillow jump, animal sharing center, mini maze, pig races, high striker, rock wall, corn cannon, face painting, knockers balls, zip line, zip line and a bunch more. Themed days include: Old Fashioned Farm Days (Oct. 6-7); All American Weekend (Oct. 13-14); Salute to Our Military Weekend (Oct. 20-21); and “End of the Harvest” Weekend (Oct. 27). $10 maze only; $15 maze combo pass. Big Horse Feed & Mercantile, 33320 Temecula Parkway, Temecula. (951) 389-4621. bighorsecornmaze.com
Peltzer Pumpkin Farms: Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Through Oct. 31. Enjoy the first-fruits of the season at this family-run farm. Along with pumpkins, there are train rides, pony rides, petting farm and pig races. Mine for gems or visit the tractor garden featuring a restored John Deere tractor collection. There is a $2 entry fee for all visitors over the age of 2 to enter the pumpkin farm. Nominal fee for attractions; pig races and tractor garden are free. 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. There’s plenty of photo opportunities at this U-Pick patch with tractor hay-wagon rides, eight-foot tall corn maze, farm animals and picnic area. Free admission and parking; nominal fee for hay rides and corn maze. 13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido. (858) 487-5128. 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. thefarmstandwest.com
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. Along with pumpkins, gourds and pumpkin accessories, there’s also inflatable amusement rides, including bounce houses, giant slides and obstacle courses, as well as mechanical rides and Duck Bumper Boats, which adults (up to 150 pounds) can ride, too. Snack and beverages are also available. Free admission. Fees for all inflatable amusements: $12 for 30-minute wristband and $16 for 60-minute wristband. Duck Bumper Boats: $7 per ride. Mechanical ride tickets are $1 each or $20 for 25 tickets. 4000 Plaza Drive, Oceanside. abctreefarms.net
Tom’s Adventures Pumpkin Patch: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Through Oct. 31. Along with a pumpkin patch, there are attractions like a petting zoo, 15-foot inflatable pyramid, giant double-lane slides, obstacle course, game area and more. Free admission and parking. 1360 Discovery St., San Marcos; 1430 E. Visa Way, Vista; 105 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas. (760) 484-2437. tomsadventuresllc.com
Stehly Farms Organics Pumpkin Patch: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14. 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. (760) 742-1186. stehlyfarmsorganics.com/product/pumpkin-patch
Fall Harvest Festival & Boutique: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20-21. This holiday fair showcases local artists, bakers, craftsmen and jewelers plus hayrides and a barbecue lunch available from Up in Smoke food truck. There’s also a U-Pick pumpkin patch, hayrides and fresh produce. Free admission. Farm Stand West, 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido. (760) 738-9014.
Summers Past Farms: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Through Oct. 31. 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 for the kids (no fee), a hay fort, corn maze and a sweet pea maze with sunflowers. At the coffee bar you’ll find popcorn, coffee and smoothies available for purchase. On Oct. 27, the Alpine Stagecoach Lions Club will host its annual Trick or Treat Dog Show from 1 to 4 p.m. Doors open for the dog show at 11:30 a.m. Free admission and parking. 15602 Old Highway 80, Flinn Springs. (619) 390-1523. summerspastfarms.com
Pumpkin Patch at Julian Farms: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Through Oct. 28. Nestled in the picturesque hills of Julian is a pumpkin patch filled with vine-ripened pumpkins, U-Pick corn field, tractor-drawn hayrides, archery, tomahawk range, barnyard animals, apple cider pressing and a big tent store with farm-made goods. Free admission and parking. Activities are priced separately. 4381 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel. Driving directions: Highway 78/79 east (3.5 miles before Main Street, Julian) drive past Julian Mining Company about 500 feet, turn right at the big open parking lot. Look for “Julian Farm & Orchard” on the tractor with the scarecrow. (951) 312-9940. julianminingcompany.com. bit.ly/2xCWXFJ
Pumpkin Patch at Harbour Farm & Vineyard: Open 10 a.m. to sunset Tuesday-Sunday, Oct. 6-31. U-Pick pumpkin patch, bounce house, gem mining, face painting, hay-wagon rides, live music, wine tastings, barbecue, snow cones and more. Pay-as-you-go. Parking available. 3326 Highway 67, Ramona. (619) 261-9617.
El Cajon Pumpkin Station: Open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. 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 admission and parking. Nominal fee for attractions. Parkway Plaza Shopping Center, 415 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon. (858) 566-7466. pumpkinstation.com
The Great Annual Pumpkin Festival: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Through Oct. 31. Along with a pumpkin patch, there’s a six-foot tall hay maze, “Rockin’ the Hunt” game, meet some animals, and discover spooky Halloween decorations. Children’s Nature Retreat, 5178 Japatul Spur, Alpine. Admission: $15-$25. Reservations: (619) 320-4942. childrensnatureretreat.org
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 (weekends only) 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. Cash or credit cards accepted (minimum $10 purchase). 842 Highway 78, Ramona. (760) 788-8703. mountainvalleyranch.com/pumpkin-patch
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, kid-powered games, playground, gift shop and snack barn. General admission: $12 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. omaspumpkinpatch.com
National City Pumpkin Station: Open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Through Oct. 31. This pumpkin patch is surrounded by both giant and mini slides, a Ferris wheel, train jumpee, skyfighter ride, a play center and petting zoo. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for attractions. Plaza Bonita Shopping Center, 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City. (858) 566-7466. pumpkinstation.com
Bonita Pumpkin Farm: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Oct. 11; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 12-31. After you’ve picked out your pumpkin, say hello to some friendly farm animals or take a tractor hay-wagon ride. Bring your camera for Instagram-worthy moments in the eight-foot-tall corn maze. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for hayrides and corn maze. 5354 Sweetwater Road, Bonita. (858) 566-7466. pumpkinstation.com