The forecast calls for temperate fall weather, so gather family and friends and head outdoors, and enjoy one of the many pumpkin patches in the Bay Area. Many of them operated at limited capacity (or not at all) last year; they are poised to provide great entertainment this season. We’ve paired them with a few nearby spots to make these visits all-day excursions. Visit websites for pricing and reservations.
Coastal Fall Vibes
Over the last few years, Half Moon Bay has become ground zero for pumpkin picking. Pack your car with picnic essentials (hot cider!), and wind your way over the hills and through the fog to places like Lemos Farm (pony rides!) and Arata’s, which offer a plethora of kid-friendly entertainment. Next, continue down Highway 92; head up Highway One, and make a stop at Sam’s Chowder House for a bowl of clam chowder. Continue up the coast to Moss Beach, and explore Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Check the tides before purchasing tickets at Lemos or Arata’s, so the kids will be able to view some sea creatures in their natural habitat.
Corn and Pumpkins, Oh My! Vibes
Brentwood is known for its world-class corn, so it makes sense that they would know how to create a world-class corn maze. Smith Family Farms is not only known for their corn but also for their tomatoes and tree fruit. The farm’s pumpkin harvest opens September 25, and opening day will feature their annual tomato-tasting demo. Admission includes a pumpkin per person and attractions like an insect observation area, a barn exhibit, live music and u-pick pomegranates and persimmons. And, if you need more one-on-one time with some animals, book a visit to The Dingle Family Farms and Stables in nearby Oakley. For a grown-up refuge, after a day of pumpkin patching, visit Brentwood’s Hannah Nicole Vineyards & Winery for wine tasting and a beautiful sunset.
"You Had Me At Four-Story Ship Slide" Vibe
Alameda’s Speer Family Farms has several slides and attractions to keep the little ones entertained, in addition to a great assortment of pumpkins to browse. Afterwards, corral the kids and head over to Oakland’s very own cider house, Crooked City Cider at Jack London Square. Besides their house cider, there are dozens of other options on tap. It’s a nice, easygoing space with a couple of food vendors on rotation. Kids and dogs are welcome. For history, head to the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum; and explore a battleship and aircraft.
‘Pickin Like You Used To Vibe
The old-school Petaluma Pumpkin Patch is run by a fourth-generation farmer, so it’s understandable that he wants you to get in touch with your inner farmer, and comb his fields for your own prized pumpkin. Every year Jim, the owner, designs and plants a different corn maze, which is open for entrance until 9:30 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Don’t miss heading to downtown Petaluma before or after visiting Jim’s farm. On the weekends, the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum is open (free admission) and is worth a stop. There are also plenty of taprooms to keep you quenched like Lagunitas Brewing and Henhouse Brewing.