After a cold and rainy winter season in California, the sun has brought out the blooming flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields in Sunny San Diego. Nestled in North San Diego County near the Carlsbad Outlets and Legoland, the Flower Fields are a spectacular 55-acre showstopping field that displays an assortment of beautiful, blooming Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers.
The giant flowers bloom for about 6-8 weeks during the spring season between early March through early May. You will see an amazing display of brightly colored Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that comes in red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. They are a sign that spring is here in California.
The Flower Fields of Carlsbad have a rich history and have been established for over 60 years. The Flower Fields began when an early settler named Luther Gage brought bulbs of the flower to plant. Its bright and booming color created a friendship between Edwin Frazee and Paul Ecke. The two cultivated a growing flower farm that has become a spring time attraction for locals and tourists.
Date & Times Open
The Flower Fields are open from March 1- May 14 from 9 am- 6 pm.
Address & Location
Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte Carlsbad CA 92008
You can search for directions here.
Tickets: Must be purchased online. The date and time must be reserved in advance. You will have to reserve a 1/2-hour window for when you want to arrive. You can stay for as long as you would like at the flower fields but the 1/2 window is to help crowd control at the gate entrance.
Tickets are not sold at the door. Tickets can be purchased for single-day passes or annual passes. Annual pass holders do not need to reserve a date and time in advance.
|Day Passes||Annual Passes||Wagon Ride|
There is plenty of free parking in front of the entrance of Armstrong Gardening Center and more parking in the overflow parking lot to the side. There will be signs for navigation when you get there.
Tips for Your Trip to the Carlsbad Flower Fields:
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes or Sandals
You will be walking around a lot so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. There may be some wet or muddy areas around the flower fields and so you want to wear something that you don’t mind getting a little muddy with.
2. Wear Sunblock
You should wear sunblock every day but especially on days when you’re outside walking around in the sun. How long you decide to stay at the flower fields may depend on you and your family.
My family and I got there at 9 am and left at 3 pm after my son fell asleep on the tractor ride. We took our time strolling through the flower fields, admiring the beautiful colors, soaking in the sun, looking at all the attractions, and taking lots of pictures. There is a lot of information posted throughout the flower fields and so we took our time reading everything.
You really can spend half a day or a whole day here and so don’t forget to bring sunblock to reapply.
3. Bring a Hat and Sunglasses
This goes along with the previous tip but bring a hat and sunglasses for good sun protection. The California sun is always bright and beaming and so you want to protect your skin and stay cool. They also make great accessories for your photos.
4. Wear a Cute Dress (preferably not the same color as the flowers)
I recommend wearing a cute dress that’s preferably not the same bright colors as the Ranunculus flowers. The flowers bloom in bright pink, red, yellow, white, and orange colors. If you wear something that is the same color as the flowers, you run the risk of blending in with the backdrop and it doesn’t stand out in the pictures.
I made the mistake of wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit my first year and although it was pretty, I blended in with the yellow flowers. If you do wear something bright, I recommend wearing something that isn’t red, pink, orange, or yellow.
5. Bring Water to the Flower Fields
You want to stay hydrated while walking around and in the sun. There are refreshment stands that sell lemonade, soda, juice, and water if you do forget.
6. Bring a Camera to take Lots of Pictures
There are plenty of areas where you’ll be able to snap a cute photo for the “gram.” A white bench propped in the middle of brightly colored Ranunculus flowers creates the perfect spring picture. You can have fun posing on an old-fashioned rustic tractor or on a large brightly-colored lawn chair. There’s also the butterfly garden, the flower fountain, and the sunflower fields that provide beautiful and fun photo ops as well.
7. If You Can’t Walk a Lot- Ride the Tractor Wagon for a Boost
The tractor runs all day throughout the flower fields. You can purchase one ticket for the whole day and ride the tractor as many times as you’d like. There are fewer people at the further ends of the flower fields and so you can use the tractor to go to these further ends, take some pictures with less waiting time, and then ride the tractor back down again.
8. Go to the Perimeter for More Picture Opportunities
The Flower Fields of Carlsbad are on a 55-acre lot divided into different sections. Most of the sections are the same with rows of the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers in red, pink, orange, yellow, white, and varying colors. Most people stay near the middle of the flower fields for pictures.
If you’re willing to walk a further distance and get your steps in, there are more photo opportunities along the edges of the flower fields. It is a further walk but it will be less crowded out on the perimeter which means shorter wait times.
9. Try Shooting with Different Angles- High, Low, Near, Far
I’m not a professional photographer by any means but we were watching a few people take pictures at the flower fields and got some inspiration. Some people suggested walking a little further out and zooming in or kneeling a little lower and try taking the picture at a bit of an angle looking up.
Either way, have fun with it! Take your time, try different poses, shoot at different angles, and be silly! You will love the view and the ambiance there. Everyone is all there to enjoy the flowers and take pictures.
10. Beat the Crowds
The best time to go to the Flower Fields is mid-week since it gets very busy during the weekends. You can also buy tickets for early morning or later in the evening since there may be fewer people there.
Things to do while at the Carlsbad Flower Fields
1. Strike a Pose at the Carlsbad Flower Fields
You can’t resist taking lots of pictures against a gorgeous backdrop of yellow, orange, pink, red, and white Ranunculus flowers. The colors are absolutely amazing and there are props among the flowers for you to stand with. You can sit on a white bench, an old-fashioned rustic tractor, or a large colorful lawn chair.
The flower fields are a perfect location to take some family photos for the holidays, graduation, a special announcement, or just for fun. You’ll see a lot of people with professional cameras, phones, and tripods. You can also hire a professional photographer or film for an event but the Flower Fields do have a photography and filming policy that you’ll need to know about prior to going!
2. Learn about Composting, Water Conservation & Gardening
There are composting stations where school-age children can learn about the benefits of composting and turning natural products such as leaves, branches, and food scraps into fertilizer. You can also learn about water conservation, how worms are an important part of the ecosystem, and the basics of gardening and taking care of the environment.
3. Get Lost in the Sweet Pea Maze
There is a maze that is set up with sweet peas just like the corn maze at most pumpkin patches. The sweet pea maze smells delightful and is actually pretty challenging to go through. It is a lot of fun though!
4. Mine for Gemstones
Sponsored by the Carlsbad Mining Company, kids and adults can mine gemstones by a technique called sluicing. Sluicing is a simple technique where you gather the gemstones, rocks, and pebbles in a box and let the water sift through. After the water runs through, you search for gemstones in the remaining pebbles.
5. Play at Santa’s Playground
The playground was a huge hit with our kids. The playground is designed for kids 2 years and up. There are 4 playgrounds varying in size and height for smaller and older kids. Kids will have a blast playing in the small playhouses and gigantic mushrooms. There’s also a small kids-sized house that is painted to look like a fairy house. There is plenty of seating and picnic tables so that you can eat and watch your kids while you let them run around and play.
6. Grab a Bite to Eat
There are many vendors where you can buy food if you’re hungry. There is a pizza trolly, a taco truck, a kettle corn stand, a lemonade stand, an ice cream stand, and a Strawberry Shack stand that offers strawberry shakes, strawberry ice cream, and strawberry shortcake sundaes.
7. Learn how to Garden at the Demonstration Gardens
The Demonstration Gardens show 9 exhibits showcasing small gardens such as pollinator gardens, gardens for small spaces, and sustainability gardening. Stop by here to get some ideas on plants and flowers that are native to the region and sustainable for planting. You can also spot a small orchard and a miniature vegetable garden.
8. Listen to Live Music on the Weekends at the Flower Fields
You can catch some cool bands playing at the flower fields on the weekends. Grab some food, sit down, and enjoy the music and ambiance.
9. Go on a Tractor Wagon Ride
The tractor-wagon ride takes you all around the entire 55-acre lot of flower fields. You’ll be able to see all the flowers, the sunflower lot, and the great American Flag that is made completely with flowers, and listen to the rich history of how the flower fields came to be.
If you don’t feel like walking much, you can purchase tickets for a tractor ride that will take you around the entire field. You just need to purchase one ticket and you can ride on the tractor as many times as you would like.
If you can’t walk far or don’t want to walk much, I recommend taking the tractor to the furthest end of the flower fields because there are usually fewer people there. Most people aren’t willing to walk that far to take pictures. They usually stay near the middle of the flower fields and so you may have to wait longer in line to take pictures. You can take as many pictures as you’ll need and then take the tractor wagon back down.
10. Visit the Artist’s Garden at the Carlsbad Flower Fields
The artist’s garden is located near the fountain and displays artwork from artists replicated using real flowers. It’s really amazing to see artwork redone using natural and fresh flowers. They change the artists every year. You can wander through this area to admire the artwork of local artists and admire the color, and beauty, and take in the fresh smell of the flowers.
11. Visit the Bird Aviaries
You can see a few birds chirping and eating at the bird aviaries. They are also located near the fountain on the right end of the flower fields.
12. Pick Fresh Blueberries
There is an opportunity to pick fresh blueberries on their blueberry farm. The blueberry farm is located on a 2-acre lot and is on the far left end of the Flower Fields. You pay $8 for a pint basket and can pick as many blueberries as you can to fill the pint.
The blueberry patch may or may not be open on the day that you arrive. There will be signage at the entrance letting you know if the blueberries are available for picking that day.
13. Visit for a Fun Activity
Check out the Flower Fields activity calendar to plan for a fun activity. There is a wide range of different activities that include yoga, meditation, and sound healing for the person looking for some calming activities. If you are creative and like to show off your artistic talents, there are painting workshops, mosaic framing classes where you can make a frame out of mosaics, and a fluid art workshop. And if you’re looking to wine and dine, there are wine-tasting days, picnics at the flower fields, and tea in the garden where you can enjoy some refreshing tea among a backdrop of lovely smelling flowers.
You will need to plan ahead and buy your tickets in advance because they do sell out quickly.
If you are traveling to visit the Flower Fields, you’re in luck because the Flower Fields are located right next to plenty of ample shopping, restaurants, and places to stay. You could easily spend half a day or a whole day at the flower fields and then grab dinner nearby. There are a few hotels nearby where you can rest your head for the night and explore more of what San Diego has to offer.
If you are in Southern California and looking for more family-friendly activities, check out some more activities here.