Today I’m sharing my favorite pumpkin patches in Orange County and San Diego – Irvine Park Railroad, Tanaka Farms, and Bates Nut Farm!
Irvine Park Railroad is a great place to spend the day as a family or the perfect daytime date for a couple. The park is decorated with hay bales, wagons and lots of pumpkins. The cutest little store fronts are all done up for the fall and there is even an old building turned into a (very mellow) haunted house. For the kids there is a train ride, pony rides and bounce houses. A great snack bar serves up everything from popcorn to burgers. Grab some lunch and picnic in a hay bale, or head over to a little man-made lake to watch the ducks. Right up the hill sits the OC Zoo. I’ve lived here for years and just discovered this little gem. It’s only $2 admission and they’ve got quite a few very cool, local animals to see. We watched some very playful mountain lions wrestle with a giant red ball in their pond!
Tanaka Farms is a great farm experience. Rows upon rows of pumpkins sprawl out over the fields. Scarecrows abound and there are lots of photo cutouts to get some fun pictures in. The little ones can visit the petting zoo, and everyone loves the corn maze! Tanaka is a U-Pick farm so you can also head over to the veggie fields and pull up carrots and radishes out of the ground or pop green beans off the vines.
Bates Nut Farm is the go-to pumpkin patch for all my friends in San Diego. We haven’t made it out that way this year but it’s worth the trip. This is also a farm where you head out onto the fields in a sea of pumpkins and pick the ones you like right off the vines. I think the kids love running around just to “ooh and ahh” at all the different shapes and sizes of pumpkins around. There is a fantastic straw maze here, and yes, I have been lost in it! Give yourself time to find your way through this one! Make sure to stop by the shop for some homemade fudge and lots of homegrown snacks. Throw in a hayride, and you’ve got a great little afternoon.
There’s no better photo op this time of year than at the pumpkin patch! We’re just a couple weeks from Halloween, so check them out and get those priceless photos in while you can!