Pumpkin Patches, Beer Fests & More – NBC 7 San Diego

It can be hard to get into the fall spirit when we live in a climate that feels like it’s summer nearly year-round (I mean, who’s complaining). But if you really want to embrace the changing season in San Diego County this year, this roundup will help.

From fun-for-the-whole-family activities to food-centric events sure to bring in the autumn flavor, usher in the season with this list of things to do in San Diego in the fall — whether the weather wants to agree or not.

Pumpkin Patches in San Diego



It’s not really fall without pumpkins; it’s almost the mascot of the season. You can use a pumpkin to bring some fall to your decor. Or, save it and carve it up for Halloween. In San Diego, there are plenty of options for where to find that perfect gourd. Here are some of our faves:

Mountain Valley Ranch
Sept. 24 to Oct. 31; 842 Highway 78, Ramona
The family-operated Mountain Valley Ranch is a full-scale farm that in the fall operates as a pumpkin patch. Kids will love getting lost in the ranch’s corn maze, launching corn from a cannon and meeting some of the ranch’s furry friends at the petting zoo. While the pumpkin patch is in operation. Schools may also want to take advantage of the ranch as a field trip destination, but you’ll have to call ahead. The ranch is open seven days a week and is free for all, though you’ll have to purchase any pumpkins you want to take home and activities will cost extra.

Oma’s Family Farm
Sept. 27 to Oct. 29; Lakeside
Oma‘s Family Farm changes with the season. In the winter they have Christmas trees and in the spring they have an entire watermelon festival. But in the fall, they have pumpkins. When it comes to the patch they ask that you reserve a spot ahead of time because this family tradition can get a little crowded. Make sure you don’t miss out on the behind-the-scenes tour where you can see the whole farm, while atop a rustic wagon.

Pumpkin Stations
Sept. 30 to Oct. 31; Locations vary
When you think classic pumpkin patch, you want Pumpkin Stations. You’ll be sure to find the perfect gourd for your home but you’ll also find so much more. And each location is a little different than the next. They include:

  • Del Mar
  • Rancho Bernardo
  • Mission Valley
  • National City
  • Bonita

Depending on where you go you may get to ride on a Ferris wheel or be shocked to see an antique carousel, or for those of you with green thumbs, some Pumpkin Stations will teach you how to cut your own sunflowers. Visitors to all locations have the opportunity to get up close with some furry friends and experience a challenging corn maze, or take a good ol’ hayride. Pro tip: they offer coupons for a free hayride on their website, so make sure to print that out before you go.

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns
Oct. 1 to Oct. 31; La Jolla
Looking for something a little out-of-the-ordinary? Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns takes pumpkins and turns them into bowling balls. That’s just one of their many fall-friendly activities. The kids, for example, will love a jump in the pumpkin-shaped bounce house. Not only do they have all of these exciting pumpkin-centric activities, but Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns also has an option to order a custom-carved pumpkin or custom-painted pumpkin if you’re looking to get a little more artistic.

The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum
Oct. 8 to Oct. 31; La Mesa
Choo Choo! All aboard the Pumpkin Express. On Saturdays and Sundays guests can experience a 45-minute train ride that transports them to spooky Halloween setups and an entire pumpkin patch. To get excited into the festivities, guests are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes. Tickets range from $7 to $30 depending on which train car they choose.

Bates Nut Farm
Now to Oct. 31; Valley Center
Although they’re known for their wide variety of nuts, the Bates Nut Farm is taking a step aside from its main focus to host its annual pumpkin patch. This patch will have traditional tractor hayrides, and an opportunity for guests to mount mini show ponies. Whether you’re running through the straw maze or checking out the corale of farm animals, there’s sure to be an activity for everyone.

Fall Themed Festivals in San Diego

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While we love pumpkins, fall is so much more than that. Here are a few different fall-themed festivals going on throughout San Diego County:

Harvest Festival
Oct 7 to 9; Del Mar
The Harvest Festival will be celebrating its 50th annual tour with a stop in Del Mar to showcase a variety of arts and crafts. Happening at the Del Mar Fairgrounds from Oct. 7-9, attendees can enjoy entertainment, concessions, kid-friendly activities and can even buy art pieces from a plethora of talented vendors. The event is still looking for artists. If interested, apply here.

Great Pumpkin Beer Festival
Oct. 21, Gaslamp Quarter
It’s the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, San Diego! If you’re in the mood for some fall-inspired beer, this is the place for you. The festival will have more than 40 different pumpkin-flavored and seasonal beers — including a pumpkin keg — to be enjoyed by 21 and up attendees with a ticket starting at $45. There will also be live entertainment during the festival and squash-inspired food to truly keep the pumpkin theme alive. The entrance to the festival will be a corn maze, so your sure to get in the fall spirit as soon as you arrive.

La Mesa Oktoberfest
Sept. 30 to Oct. 2; La Mesa
Returning for its 49th year is the uber-popular La Mesa Oktoberfest, East County’s own version of the beer-centric German festival. This free fest is open to all — with a Kinder Karnival for the kids and THREE Biergartens for the adults. Even your furry friends are invited but don’t forget their lederhosen. The best-dressed pooch will take home the title, as will the speediest Weiner dog in the dachshund race. Tickets start at $10 and get you access to all three beirgartens, but if you want any additional perks, including exclusive restrooms, included beers and a commemorative stein, you’ll have to pay extra. More information here.

Encinitas Holiday Street Fair
Nov. 20; Hwy 101 in Encinitas
Even in November, you’ll get beachy vibes at this holiday street fair. Hundreds of vendors will take over Main Street in Encinitas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an array of food vendors, arts and crafts sellers and more. Musicians will hit the stage to provide live entertainment and a beer garden will serve up suds for the adults. For more details and the full list of entertainment, click here. 

Apple Picking in San Diego



Another great way to get in the spirit of autumn is to head to Julian and watch the leaves change as the fall season commences – and pick up some apples to take home along the way. No matter what you’ll use the apples for (we recommend apple pie), here are some places in San Diego County where you can go apple picking and watch the leaves change colors:

Julian Mining Company
Oct. 15 to 23
The Julian Mining Company holds apple picking on the weekends in Oct. from the 15 – 23. Here you can find Granny Smith apples. where everything is first come first serve. For more details on cost visit their website here.

Old Peacefield Orchard

Peacefield Orchard is open now until they’ve completely run out of apples for the season. They are available on Saturdays and Sundays in Julian. Old Peacefield recommends that you join their mailing list in order to find out when it is best to come to get apples. This orchard is great for those who like a variety of apples, for a full list of options check out their website.