Yep, that time of the year. And if you live anywhere from San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel and close areas - or what we call the 'South Orange County' and, are looking for a close-by, not having to drive an hour long for a really nice, or pretty decent pumpkin patch so you can score a couple of cute pictures, here's the ones that we like for 2017. All of them have unique offerings, so it depends on your time availability and how big this 'Pumpkin Patch' really needs to be :)
1. Tanaka Farms: well, this one is on spot one, (although not as close as others) because of the likability factor. Nothing beats being in a real farm, going on a wagon, a giant maze, looking at scarecrows etc. Plan ahead on the weekends as it gets busy, but it's worth it. You can also purchase organic produce grown right there.
Tanaka Farms: 5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine, 949.653.2100, www.tanakafarms.com
2. Pumpkin City: this one is the perfect one for carnival lovers. Located 'behind' Macy's) don't worry, just head over to Laguna Hills Mall and there's plenty of signs on how to find it, it has lots of rides, game booths, bounce house, pony rides and petting zoo. Think 'carnival style'.
Pumpkin City at Laguna Hills Mall in Sears parking lot: 24300 Laguna Hills Mall, Laguna Hills, 949.586.8283, www.simon.com (search Laguna Hills Mall)
3. Irvine Park Railroad: if you've been to Irvine Park before, you know you are getting an experience no matter what. Yes. a little more of a drive, but The 'Pumpkin Patch' area is perfect for everyone. Attractions include train rides, hay rides, a haunted house, hay maze, pony rides, moon bounce, face painting, picture stands, food and visitors from the Orange County Zoo. Of course, pumpkins in all shapes and sizes fill Locomotive Loop.
Irvine Park Railroad: 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, 714.997.3968, www.irvineparkrr.com
4. Johnson Brothers: so you love Tanaka's idea but don't necessarily love crowds - this is the solution. Drive a few miles more than you would to Tanaka and you'll find this one. This is another one 'Carnival' style but with the pumpkin twist. Pumpkins are all over - so you can choose yours while doing the different attraction like 'Halloween bouncing bags', go in and out to teepes, face painting etc. There's also a bounce house and kids play area.
Johnson Brothers: 15670 Jeffrey Road, Irvine, 949.733.0650, www.johnsonbros.net/halloween.html
5. South Coast Farms in San Juan Capistrano: this one is really nice because although not as big as Tanaka or Pumpkin City, the feeling of being in a farm is there, and they have pumpkins for sale that are locally grown. On weekends, tables are set up with free crafts and activities for children - both traditional ( think beaded necklaces) or 'farm style' like grinding wheat or doing laundry the old-fashioned way-with washboards and metal pails.
South Coast Farms: 32701 Alipaz St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.661.9381, www.southcoastfarms.com
So those are out top 5. There's also several smaller ones, like Mountain Pines in San Juan Capistrano (off the freeway), the Outlets at San Clemente are hosting another one with giant bounce sildes, Pumpkin Palooza at Zoomars in San Juan.
For more information on prices and schedule? Here you go:
Mountain Pines Christmas Tree Farm: 29932 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.364.1270
Zoomars: 31791 Los Rios St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.831.6550, www.zoomars.com