It’s officially fall in San Diego and despite the warmer weather and sunny skies, there are plenty of fall festivities happening around town to celebrate Autumn! From apple picking to Dia de los Muertos, these five family-friendly fall activities will get you into the fall spirit.
Apple Picking in Julian
The historic gold mining town, Julian, is fun to explore year-round, but their most popular time of the year is the fall. Located about an hour east of San Diego in the Cuyamaca Mountains, Julian is a great spot for apple picking season, which typically runs from late August through October.
Popular “U-Pick” businesses include Volcan Valley Apple Farm (1284 Julian Orchards Dr.). Volcan Valley Apple Farm is open Friday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You pay $15 for a bag that you can fill with apples (about 6 pounds), and this includes admission. Kids 5 and under get in free. The farm features seven varieties of apples, most ripening through mid-September.
Julian Farm and Orchard specializes in U-pick berries (strawberries, raspberries), apples, and pumpkins. The orchard also offers seasonal activities like hayrides, apple cider-pressing, bouquet-making, and ax-throwing. There’s a $10 minimum purchase of tickets per person to enter (which can be used for activities, picking, and merch); parking is free.
It is best to check the websites or call ahead before making the trek east. Volcan Valley Apple Farm is closed for the season as all the apples have been picked.
Bates Nut Farm
The picturesque North County family farm, known as Bates Nut Farm has been attracting visitors for over 50 years now. Families can grab a wheelbarrow and pick their own pumpkins to take home!
Pumpkin patch activities include tractor hayrides, straw maze, petting corral and pony rides. Weekend entertainment is offered September 18th to October 31st from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m, including live entertainment. There is also kettle corn, food trucks and lots of additional kids’ activities like a rock-climbing wall, petting zoo and pony rides. No admission fees on weekdays, $8 entry per car on weekends.
Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND California
LEGOLAND Brick or Treat Party Nights is a family-friendly nighttime Halloween event that takes place on select evenings in the fall at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad. Guests are encouraged to dress in costume and enjoy spooktacular sweets, meet-and-greets with exclusive creepy-cool LEGO® Halloween monsters, larger-than-afterlife LEGO® build activities, limited time seasonal themed snacks PLUS BOO-tastic nightly fireworks to create the ultimate family Halloween celebration– all included with regular day admission and select Annual Passes.
Dia De Los Muertos at Old Town
Each fall, Old Town celebrates Mexican culture and those who have passed away with a giant Dia De Los Muertos party. The festivities usually take place over the first weekend of November and include a traditional candlelight procession that starts at the Old Town entrance at San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street and ends at the historic El Campo Santo Cemetery.
Originating in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is a celebration to remember and honor those who have departed. On this day in Mexico, the streets near cemeteries are filled with decorations, flowers, candy calaveras and parades. Mexican families create special altars displaying offerings of food, candles, incense, yellow marigolds and photos of departed loved ones.
Last year the pandemic altered the tradition and there is no word yet on whether or not the event will return this year.
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Test out your puzzle solving skills and take a trip through the corn maze at Carlsbad Strawberry Company. For $10 per person, this is a great way to bond as a family and laugh your way out of the maze. The Strawberry Company also offers an apple cannon, rides, games and food on the weekend. Test out your puzzle solving skills and take a trip through our corn maze – it’s a great way to laugh and bond as a family, and it’s a great date activity. With 1.5 miles of trail, you can be sure that you’ll be challenged, but not so much so that’ll you’ll be stumped. The maze is open 7 days a week 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
And if you’re looking for something scarier, check out the haunted maze. The haunted maze is perfect for teenagers and adults, guaranteed to get your heart thumping. It is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., so make sure you plan accordingly to get your fix of a good Halloween scare! Admission is $25 per person.