No matter how old, young, rich or poor you may be, there is no better fall experience than venturing out to the local pumpkin patch and picking out a few beauties to bring home to carve or paint. San Diego is home quite an array of pumpkin patches, that not only let you pick out your own pumpkins, but also provide an array of other fun activities and treats for the whole family. Here are a few of our favorite fall destinations for pumpkin picking and autumnal activities around San Diego.
Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch
Established in 1921 by Gilbert and Beatrice Bates in Valley Center, the Bates Nut Farm has transformed over the last 90 odd years into a premier destination for San Diego families. Despite its name, the farm features much more than just nuts, including a wide array of pumpkins and gourds from mid-September through the end of October. In addition to its vast pumpkin patch, Bates also has plenty of autumnal fun including hay rides, a straw maze, pony rides, a farm zoo and a shop to purchase various items, including nuts from all over the world. Parking and admission are both free.
Bonita Pumpkin Station
Venture out to beautiful Bonita to visit one of the many Pumpkin Stations throughout the San Diego area. Aside from having quite the selection of pumpkins that are just waiting to be carved up into spooky or cute designs, the Bonita Pumpkin Farm also features an 8-foot tall corn maze, wagon rides around the grounds and farm animals for the little kiddos to interact with.
The Bonita location also offers itself up as a great venue for fall birthdays as the farm features a picnic area that can easily accommodate party goers. The pumpkin farm also has an educational aspect with tours for local school children that educate on sustainability and farming techniques.
Julian Mining Co.
Pumpkin pickers that are looking for a something a bit richer in color and cost might consider heading out to Julian to the Julian Mining Co. This venue offers your traditional pumpkin patch and fall activities including a harvest tour, apple cider tasting and a spooky hayride, along with a classic California activity: gold and gem mining. For just a few dollars, visitors can have a lesson on the local “paydirt” and methods used to extract gold from the earth.
The amateur prospectors are then set free to mine for California’s most exquisite gems. The spooky hayride is a particularly popular attraction at Julian. The half hour ride consists of hair-raising tales from the early days of gold mining in the area and is sure to send a chill down your spine.
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