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Things To Do

Your 2019 guide to pumpkin patches around San Diego County

Children pick their perfect pumpkin at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center.
Children pick their perfect pumpkin at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center.
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Fields of ripe pumpkins are ready for picking to create spooky or whimsical holiday decorations

Autumn — the season for warm sweaters, a cup of hot cocoa and pumpkin patches. And with Halloween darkening our doorsteps, that means it’s time to find that perfect or not-so-perfect orange gourd to carve up for your All Hallows’ Eve fright night. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list, although not comprehensive, of venues loaded with all kinds of jack-o'-lanterns. Make a day of your pumpkin picking by enjoying the various family activities, snacks and shopping opportunities each station has to offer.

Central San Diego

Belmont Park Beachside Fall Fest: The 94-year-old seaside park will transform into a festive fall wonderland covered with shades of autumn leaves, hay bales and freshly harvested pumpkins; plus, free activities like trick-or-treating, live entertainment, kids’ activities and more. Open 5 p.m. to close Friday-Sunday. October through November. Free admission and parking. 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego. belmontpark.com/beachside-fall-fest

Tom’s Adventures Pumpkin Patch: Along with a pumpkin patch, there are attractions (vary by location) like a petting zoo, 15-foot inflatable pyramid, giant double-lane slides, obstacle course, game area and more. Open noon to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Through Oct. 31. 10510 Marauder Way, Mira Mesa. Free admission and parking. See North County for additional locations. tomsadventuresllc.com

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The spirit of the harvest season comes to Belmont Park with Beachside Fall Fest.
(Pierre-Yves Tinel)

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch: 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. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Oct. 5-31. $1 per 1 ticket. 801 Pearl St., La Jolla. (844) 452-2567. mrjackolanternspumpkins.com

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PB Pumpkin Patch: Lots of jack-o'-lanterns to choose from at this beachside pumpkin patch. 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. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Oct. 1-31. 870 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. Free admission and parking. (858) 483-0329. pbpumpkinpatch.com

Waterfront Park Pumpkin Patch: Gourds of all shapes and sizes are sprouting along San Diego Bay welcoming guests to roam through the patch for that ideal pumpkin to decorate and take home for the Halloween season. Supplies provided. Inclement weather may cancel this event. Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27. 1600 Pacific Highway, downtown San Diego. Free admission. (619) 232-7275.

Mission Valley Pumpkin Station: After you’ve picked your pumpkin, you can ride the Ferris wheel, visit the petting zoo, have a turn on the giant slides or hop aboard the El Paso Train. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday–Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Through Oct. 31. Nominal fee for rides. pumpkinstation.com

Find a perfect pumpkin at one of many pumpkin patches around the county.
Pumpkins wait to be picked at Peltzer Farms in Temecula Wine Country Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to the pumpkin patch the farm offers pony rides, pig races, a petting zoo, and other fall-themed attractions.
(Photo by Andrew Foulk)

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North County

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch: Hayrides, straw maze, petting corral, pony rides, farm zoo, boutique and general store on weekdays; live entertainment, barbecue, kettle corn, food trucks, rock climb, bounce, slide and other family friendly events weekends. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 11 and Oct. 18. Through Oct. 31. Free admission and free parking on weekdays; $5 parking on weekends. 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center. (760) 749-3333. batesnutfarm.biz

Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze: This seaside patch offers a U-Pick pumpkin patch 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Nov. 2; 1.5-mile corn maze (open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday; 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, through Nov. 2), rides, games and food on the weekends. It wouldn’t be Halloween without a haunted corn maze trail. Test your fear level at the Field of Screams,” open Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 4-Nov. 2. Tractor ride to the pumpkin patch: $5-$7 Fridays; $8-$10 Saturday-Sunday; corn maze admission: $8-10; haunted corn maze admision: $25; $3 weekend admission fee. Carlsbad Strawberry Fields, 1050 Cannon Drive, Carlsbad. (760) 603-9608. carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com

Del Mar Pumpkin Station: This pumpkin station offers two giant slides, a game zone, rides, including an antique carousel. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for rides. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Through Oct. 31. 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: No carnival rides or petting zoo here, but families (and pumpkin purists) are welcome to pick their own pumpkins from a crop that includes about 10,000 pumpkins in three dozen varieties, ranging from tiny to massive, in bizarre and outlandish shapes. Open 2 to 5 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Through Oct. 31.1509 E. Mission Road, Fallbrook. (760) 715-8495. lavenderhillpumpkins.com

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Children walk through a corn maze at one of the many pumpkin patches around San Diego County.
(The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Big Horse Corn Maze & Harvest Festival: Weekend activities include pumpkin patch picking, hay rides, pillow jump, mini maze, pig races, high striker, corn cannon, face painting, free contests and a bunch more. Corn maze open 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; pumpkin patch open daily. Through Oct. 27. The maze will be closed for maintenance Oct. 7 and 14. $10 maze only; $15 maze combo pass. Big Horse Feed & Mercantile, 33320 Temecula Parkway, Temecula. (951) 389-4621. bighorsecornmaze.com

Peltzer Pumpkin Farms: Enjoy the fruits of the season at this family-run farm. Along with pumpkins, there are train rides, pony rides, carnival games, 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. Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Through Oct. 31. 39925 Calle Contento, Temecula. (951) 695-1115. peltzerfarms.com

Rancho Bernardo Pumpkin Farm: There’s plenty of photo opportunities at this U-Pick patch with tractor hay-wagon rides, eight-foot tall corn maze, petting zoo and picnic area. Free admission and parking; nominal fee for hay rides and corn maze. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Oct. 1-31.13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido. (858) 487-5128. pumpkinstation.com

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Farm Stand West Pumpkin Patch: Pick your own pumpkin. Free admission. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Oct. 1-31. 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido, (760) 738-9014. thefarmstandwest.com

Tom’s Adventures Pumpkin Patch: All kinds of pumpkins scattered around the patch, lots of attractions, including a petting zoo, giant inflatables, obstacle course, game area and more. Open noon to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 1-31. Free admission and parking. 204 E. Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido; 1360 Discovery St., San Marcos; 1430 E. Vista Way, Vista. (760) 484-2437. tomsadventuresllc.com

Stehly Farms Organics Pumpkin Patch: 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 pumpkin gelato. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6. Tickets: $8 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. bit.ly/2omCcw4

Fall Harvest 2019: Holiday fair featuring pumpkin picking, vendors, hayrides, antique tractors, food, fresh produce and more. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 26-27. Free admission. Farm Stand West, 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido. (760) 738-9014.

Large Ripe Pumpkins on the Vine
Large ripe pumpkins in a field still attached to the vine.
(Maxvis / iStock / Getty Images)

East County

Summers Past Farms: Wander through the pumpkin patch and fill your wheelbarrow with your favorite picks during the week. On the weekends, there will be a jump house on the grass area for the kids (no fee), seasonal gifts and treats, home decorations and accents. On Oct. 26, the Alpine Stagecoach Lions Club will host its annual Trick or Treat Dog Show from 1 to 4 p.m. with celebrity guests Shotgun Tom Kelly and Coe Lewis. Special exhibitions, costume contest, vendors, food and more. Doors open for the dog show at 11:30 a.m. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 1-31.15602 Old Highway 80, Flinn Springs. Free admission and parking. (619) 390-1523. summerspastfarms.com

Pumpkin Patch at Julian Farm and Orchard: Nestled in the picturesque hills of Julian are nearly three acres of U-Pick vine-ripened pumpkins, in addition to tractor-drawn hayrides, farm animals, apple cider pressing, berry picking, limited apple picking, archery and axe throwing and The Farmer’s Wife seasonal tent store with farm-made goods. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Through Oct. 31. Free admission and parking. 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

Pumpkin Express: All aboard the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association’s annual Halloween Pumpkin Express. Ride decorated vintage rail cars through the San Diego county mountains or browse the themed Display Building housing two haunted trains, a pumpkin patch and a cast of ghastly ghosts and ghouls. Departs at 11 a.m., 1:15 and 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday Oct. 5-27. 750 Depot St., Campo. $5-$25. psrm.org/pumpkin

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Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival at Harbour Farm: Weekend Harvest Festival offers hay-wagon rides, bounce house, pan for fossils and gems, live music (noon to 4 p.m.), cotton candy, barbecue, popcorn, snow cones, sangria slushies, wine tastings and more. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 5-31; closed Mondays. Nominal activity fee. 3326 Highway 67, Ramona. (619) 261-9617. harbourfarm.com

The Great Annual Pumpkin Festival: 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. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Through Oct. 31. Children’s Nature Retreat, 5178 Japatul Spur, Alpine. Admission: $18-$28; free to children 2 and under. Reservations: (619) 320-4942. childrensnatureretreat.org

Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch: 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. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Through Oct. 31. 842 Highway 78, Ramona. Free admission and parking. Cash or credit cards accepted (minimum $10 purchase). (760) 788-8703. mountainvalleyranch.com/pumpkin-patch

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch: 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. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Through Oct. 31. Van Ommering Dairy, 14950 El Monte Road, Lakeside. General admission: $12 per child (ages 1 to 13); adult admission $5 (14 and older; does not include water bottle or pumpkin). Cash or credit cards are accepted. (619) 390-2929. omaspumpkinpatch.com

South County

Coronado Pumpkin Patch: Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors, games and crafts, Corn Box (literally swim in a jumbo box of corn kernels), slime stations, face painting and balloon art, refreshments, Halloween costumes, popcorn and cotton candy and more. Open 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 (soft opening); 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 18 (grand opening); 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 19-20; 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 21-24; 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 26-27; 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28-30; noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 31. Coronado Ferry Landing, 1201 First St. at B Ave., Coronado. coronadopumpkinpatch.com

ABC Tree Farms & Pick of the Patch Pumpkins: Pumpkins, gourds, pumpkin accessories, snacks and beverages. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for inflatable amusements (bounce houses, giant slides and obstacle courses) and mechanical rides. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Oct. 4-31. Free admission and parking. 2015 Birch Road, Chula Vista. abctreefarms.net

National City Pumpkin Station: This pumpkin patch is surrounded by both giant and mini slides, a Ferris wheel, train jumpee, skyfighter ride, a play center and petting zoo. Open 1 to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m Saturday-Sunday. Through Oct. 31. Plaza Bonita Shopping Center, 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for rides. (858) 566-7466. pumpkinstation.com

Bonita Pumpkin Farm: After you’ve picked out your pumpkin, stop by and visit 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. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 1-13; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 14-31. 5354 Sweetwater Road, Bonita. Free admission and parking. Nominal fee for hayrides and corn maze. (858) 566-7466. pumpkinstation.com


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