As the season for costumes and candy creeps in, we’re savoring the last bits of seaside sun in San Diego, picking out our favorite pumpkin patches and planning pumpkin carving contests.
We’ve harvested a list of the best pumpkin patches in San Diego so you can hop on the holiday hayride and stock up for the season.
Discover the top pumpkin patches of 2013
Bates Nuts Farm - Valley Center
Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends until Halloween, Bates Nuts Farm possesses the authentic farm feel that will make any Halloween holiday feel complete. With tractor hayrides or a straw maze for $2, pony rides for $5 or a barnyard petting zoo for $3, these prices are picked to please. Bring the family wagon down for the weekend for face painting, picnicking or live entertainment. Opt for a Pumpkin Package at $9.25 per person which includes one jack-o-lantern pumpkin, one straw maze and a tractor hayride. Shop for pumpkins, squash and gourds in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. For more information, visit Bates Nuts Farm.
Pumpkin Picking: September 25 to October 31
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends
15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center
Oma’s Pumkin Patch - Lakeside
Oma's Pumpkin Patch is a Halloween haven of fall festivities and prime pumpkin pickin’. Located in Lakeside, this patch also provides hayrides and a petting zoo for the little ones. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until November 2, the admission fee is $8 per child one year and older and one adult per child gets to join in on the fun for free. Additional adults, 16 years and older, are $4. Each child receives a water bottle and a Jack Patch pumpkin and is able to participate in all activities. Included in the ticket price are also a multitude of “kid-powered” games and unlimited access to a sand pile with toy trucks and tractors, playground equipment, and Cottonseed Mountain, a giant slide. With pumpkin sizes ranging from tiny to 100 plus pounds, this patch is not only fun, but a premier place to stock up on great pumpkins, corn, gourds and hay bales. For more information, visit Oma’s Pumpkin Patch.
Pumpkin Picking: September 24 to November 2
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed Sundays and Mondays)
14950 El Monte Road, Lakeside
Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch - Ramona
Did you know that rubbing all carved surfaces of your jack-o-lantern with petroleum jelly keeps out bacteria and dramatically reduces dehydration? Well, the experts at Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch do, and they can offer more tips for keeping your carved works of art cool during Halloween season. Boasting pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn or popping corn along with various activities such as a corn maze, petting zoo, and corn cannon, this picking ground is full of festivities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until Halloween. Bring cash and pick up more tips to reduce pumpkin aging or some tasty recipes for roasting your pumpkin seeds. For more information, visit Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch.
Pumpkin Picking: September 29 to October 31
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
842 Highway 78, Ramona
Lavender Hill Pumpkin Farm - Fallbrook
Touted as a pumpkin family farm, this is the patch where they love their sometimes-strange or unusual pumpkins so much that they actually name them. Open 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends until Halloween, this year's organically grown crop includes up to 10,000 pumpkins in three-dozen varieties. Come check out some of their pumpkins named The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Queen Victoria, Pippin and Cleopatra and see what these fall favorites are all about. What will you name your pumpkin? For more information, visit Lavender Hill Pumpkins.
Pumpkin Picking: September 28 to October 31
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends
1509 East Mission Road, Fallbrook
Pumpkin Station - Multiple Locations
Get ready to visit one or more of the Pumpkin Station's multiple locations when looking for a local spot to pumpkin shop in style. With six convenient locations, there are more than enough reasons to stop by and check out some of their pre-picked pumpkins. Besides the orange gems, you’ll find kiddie rides and slides, pumpkin jumps, petting zoos, and games zones. Pumpkin Stations are located in Del Mar, Mission Valley, El Cajon, National City, Rancho Bernardo, Bonita or Chula Vista. Or come check out the time-honored traditions at two of the pumpkin stations where there are living pumpkin patches, eight-foot tall living corn mazes, farm animals and tractor-pulled hay wagon rides through the Christmas tree farms located in Rancho Bernardo or Bonita. Individual tickets are $3. For more information, visit Pumpkin Station.
For Halloween nightlife ideas, check out our San Diego Halloween Party Guide.