Your 2020 guide to pumpkin patches around San Diego County


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 ... even if the pandemic has cancelled your plans to trick-or-treat or host a party.

Luckily, many pumpkin patches are alive and well this season. Make a day of your pumpkin picking by enjoying the various family activities, snacks and shopping opportunities each station has to offer. Here’s a list, although not comprehensive, of venues loaded with all kinds of jack-o’-lanterns.

(Note: Some COVID-19 safety precautions specific to each location are noted below, but in general, be prepared to social distance, wear your mask, and bring hand sanitizer at all of the below venues.)

Central San Diego

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch: In addition to the large selection of pumpkins, pumpkin decorating and carving kits can be purchased online for pickup or delivery. All available games and activities at the pumpkin patch will be announced online Oct. 1. Free admission. Food and drinks available for purchase. Due to COVID-19, customers must sign a waiver before entering, as well as wear a mask and social distance at all times. Sanitation stations will also be available throughout the pumpkin patch. Starts Oct. 3 and runs through Oct. 31. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. 6710 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla. (844)

PB Pumpkin Patch: Lots of jack-o’-lanterns to choose from at this beachside pumpkin patch. Boasting the largest selection of pumpkins in Pacific Beach, this patch carries gourds weighing up to 100 pounds! Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 870 Garnet Ave. (at Bayard Street), Pacific Beach. (858) 483-0329.

Mission Valley Pumpkin Station: Games and slides are taking a break this year, but after you’ve picked your pumpkin, you can still visit the petting zoo or take grab a seat on the El Paso Train. Leashed dogs are also allowed this year. Open Oct. 1-31. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Pumpkins wait to be picked in Temecula.
(Photo by Andrew Foulk)

North County

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch: Hayrides, straw maze, petting corral, pony rides, farm zoo, boutique and general store on weekdays; barbecue, kettle corn and other family-friendly events weekends. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Masks required and social distancing practiced. Open through Oct. 31. September hours: weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; weekends, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. October hours: weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (free parking and no admission fee); weekends, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (parking is $5, cash only, no admission fees). 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center. (760) 749-3333.

Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze: This seaside patch offers a U-Pick pumpkin patch; 1.5-mile corn maze ($10), rides, games (like the apple cannon) and food on the weekends. Test your fear level at the “Field of Screams.” Open daily, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Nov. 8. Haunted Corn Maze open Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Oct. 2 through Nov. 7. Admission is $5 (not including all attractions) and kids under 5 are free. Carlsbad Strawberry Fields, 1050 Cannon Drive, Carlsbad. (760) 603-9608.

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

Fall Harvest 2020: Holiday fair at Farm Stand West Pumpkin Patch featuring pumpkin picking, vendors, hayrides (limited to one family at a time), antique tractors, food, fresh produce and more. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 17 and 18. Free admission. Farm Stand West, 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido. (760) 738-9014.

Farm Stand West Pumpkin Patch: Pick your own pumpkin. Free admission. Open daily during business hours. 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido, (760) 738-9014.

Palomar Pumpkin Polar Palooza: While there may be less activities at this popular Carlsbad patch this year, they are still open, with thousands of pumpkins to choose from. Open from 2 to 8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday-Sunday. 1200 Laurel Tree Lane, Carlsbad. More information on Facebook (@PalomarPumpkinPolarPalooza) and Instagram (@PumpkinPolarPalooza).

Peltzer Pumpkin Farms: Enjoy the fruits of the season at this family-run farm. Attractions are limited this year due to social distancing, so there will be no pig races or carnival games, but train rides, pony rides and the petting farm are still available. Plus, pumpkins, of course. Admission is $2, Monday through Friday, $3 on weekends. Under age two is free. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. 39925 Calle Contento, Temecula. (951) 695-1115.

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 and petting zoo. No picnic areas this year. Free admission and parking; nominal fee for hay rides and corn maze. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 16, then open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido. (858) 487-5128.

Large ripe pumpkins in a field still attached to 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. After finding the perfect pumpkin, explore the corn maze and play (or pose for pictures) at the hay fort. Blankets are allowed on the grass area. There is a large retail store with seasonal gifts and treats, home decorations and accents available for purchase, as well as a coffee bar serving drinks (no food). Free admission and parking. Due to COVID-19, social distancing practices will be in place, masks are required, and hand sanitizer will be stationed around the farm. Additionally, there will be no jump house this year and the Alpine Stagecoach Lions Club Annual Dog Show is postponed until 2021. Starts Sept. 25 and runs through Oct. 31. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday-Sunday in September; Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in October. 15602 Old Highway 80, Flinn Springs. (619)

Pumpkin Patch at Julian Farm and Orchard: Nestled in the picturesque hills of Julian are nearly three acres of U-Pick vine-ripened pumpkins. On Monday, Thursday and Friday, the farm is open for pumpkin picking only. Admission on weekdays is $1 per person. Every Saturday and Sunday, activities like hayrides, apple cider pressing, barnyard animal visits and axe throwing are also available. For weekend admission, each person (age 3 or older) must purchase a minimum 10 tickets ($1 per ticket), which can be used on any of the activities, or to pay for pumpkins and other merchandise. Through Oct. 25. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. 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)

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. After the train ride, passengers can decorate pumpkins in the Display Building. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes. Tickets are $5-$14. Every toddler ($5) or child ($12) ticket includes a free pumpkin, and additional pumpkins are $5 each. Due to COVID-19, the haunted trails will not be open and trains will be limited to 50 passengers. Train interiors and high-touch surfaces are sanitized before each ride. Departs at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. 750 Depot St., Campo.

Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch: Pick your own pumpkin or shop inside the barn, which offers an assortment of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn. There’s a corn maze, corn cannon and petting zoo (all daily), as well as pony rides (on weekends, and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday). Free admission. Snacks and refreshments available on the weekends. Cash or credit cards accepted (minimum $10 purchase). Due to COVID-19, there will be no hay rides this year. Social distancing will also be enforced. Starts Sept. 26 and runs through Oct. 31. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 842 Highway 78, Ramona. (760)

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch: Along with prime pumpkin picking, this patch also provides a petting corral, playground, pedal cart/tricycle race track, various “kid-powered” games and more. Wagon rides are available for $3 per person (age 2 and older). General admission is $14.50 per child on weekdays and $16.50 on Saturday (ages 2 to 13; includes pumpkin) and $8.50 per adult on weekdays and $10.50 on weekends (age 14 and older; does not include pumpkin). Parking is free. Due to COVID-19, masks required during wagon rides and at Oma’s Market (gift shop), as well as around the farm when visitors are not six feet apart from other guests. Hand washing and sanitation stations will also be placed throughout the area. To reduce contact, no tickets will be sold at the gate; all admission sales will be online at Starts Sept. 29 and runs through Oct. 31. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Van Ommering Dairy, 14950 El Monte Road, Lakeside. (619) 390-2929.

South County

Coronado Pumpkin Patch: Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors, along with Halloween activities, games, photo opportunities and refreshments. Starts Oct. 17 and runs through Oct. 31. Check social media for updates, including days of the week and times open. Coronado Ferry Landing, 1201 First St. at B Ave., Coronado.

Bonita Pumpkin Farm: After you’ve picked out your pumpkin and viewed the farm animals, visit the petting zoo, cut your own sunflowers, enjoy a hayride, or ride on a mechanical train. Bring your camera for Instagram-worthy moments in the eight-foot-tall corn maze. Each activity costs $2-$4 per person, with tickets available to purchase in-person (not online). Free admission and parking. Due to COVID-19, wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing are required. Starts Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 31. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Oct. 1-16; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 17-31. 5354 Sweetwater Road, Bonita. (858) 566-7466.