Fall Fun Favorites: San Diego

Published on September 15, 2020 - Updated on October 09, 2020

Happyly inspiration for seasonal outdoor activities in the San Diego region.

Can you smell it? The crispness in the air, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at your favorite coffee shop, perhaps you’re even breaking out that cozy sweater that’s been in hiding since early spring. Fall is upon us, and it feels good! This is a special time of year as we enter into the holiday season and temperatures start cooling down (thank goodness). 

San Diego is a great spot to be with your family right now with access to apple picking and pumpkin patches and, for the brave, haunted corn mazes that will leave you spooked for days! So grab your PSL and slip on your fuzzy slippers as you browse our top picks for you and your adventure-loving family this fall.

Top Five Apple Orchards

Apple picking in Southern California is a favorite fall pastime of locals and visitors alike. The mountain town of Julian is the local hotspot for this activity and it is only a short drive from Central San Diego. Make it a day or weekend trip to Julian with your family - the area is speckled with numerous orchards waiting for you to come and pick the delicious fruits of their harvest! 

Volcan Valley Apple Farm

Volcan Valley is the largest U-pick orchard in Julian with over 7,000 apple trees.

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Peacefield Orchard

If you prefer a smaller and more intimate family orchard experience, Peacefield Orchard is for you!

Julian Farm and Orchard

Apple picking at Julian Farm & Orchard will give you Honeycrisp apples and Liberty apples.

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Crosscut Farm and Orchard

Nestled in the heart of Julian this organic family-owned and operated apple farm is spread over 7.5 acres and carries Jonathan apples, Golden Delicious apples and Empire apples.

Calico Ranch & Orchard

Enjoy sipping on a refreshing cold glass of hard cider while picking apples in the orchard!

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Favorite Local Pumpkin Patches

Views of fields covered in orange gourds with beautiful spiraled green tops. Watching your kids race through the vines as they attempt to haul away future jack-o’-lanterns that are bigger than them. Listening to the holler in the distance announcing the next hayride departure. You have made it to the pumpkin patch! San Diego has a lot of great patches scattered throughout the county, how do you choose? Don’t worry, we’re here to make your planning easier so we’ve narrowed down the top locations.

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Oma’s (Lakeside)

With so many great activities like the pedal carts, animal corral, giant slides, wagon rides, cottonseed mountain and playgrounds, there is something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Mountain Valley Ranch (Ramona)

With twenty-one years packed with pumpkins, family, and friends, this farm has a lot to offer!

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Bates Nut Farm (Valley Center)

Bates Nut Farm has over fifty years of seasonal festivities under their belt and this farm sure knows how to entertain the entire family. 

PB Pumpkin Patch (Pacific Beach)

A true San Diego Fall staple, the Pacific Beach pumpkin patch has been serving the county since 1992.


Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch (Carlsbad)

Looking to capture that perfect social media moment of your family looking glamorous amongst giant pumpkins? Well, your pumpkin hunting adventures should stop here. 

Julian Farm and Orchard (Julian)

This pumpkin patch is accompanied by all sorts of fun activities such as a hayride, cider press, farm animals, ax throw, tent store, fall backdrops, and more.

Please send us your favorite San Diego seasonal outing ideas at team@happyly.com, and tag your highlights on Instagram @happylysandiego or @gethappyly! We love to hear from you! 

For more inspiration, check out another recently featured activities, Plan a Picnic, make time for Family Bike Rides or bring out your inner camper and Find a Campsite near you! For a fun activity at home, check out our list of fun Chalk Games. Looking for something different? Enter the rapidly growing world of Stand Up Paddleboarding

Enjoying our content? Please download the free happyly app, the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Brittany Ricketts
My Location
Brittany Ricketts was born in Freeport, Maine and moved to San Diego, California at a young age where she has remained for the last 22 years, also attending SDSU there. Her love of sharing the outdoors and being active with others has always been a big focus in her life. Now with her husband and two beautiful daughters she gets to explore the world in lots of new ways! If they’re not hiking, swimming, surfing, running or enjoying San Diego then they’re off on an adventure somewhere near or far!
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