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Best Family Friendly Farms To Visit

Orange County families are eager to enjoy the outdoors all year round. One of the best ways to spend this time as a family is to head out to a local farm where you can enjoy the great outdoors and make lifelong memories together.

Best Family Friendly Farms

Farms can be a great bonding experience for parents and kids alike as it brings everyone into the moment with one another, and there are plenty of options available to families in and around Orange County, including U-pick farms, petting zoos, and more! These family-owned and family-friendly farms in Orange County are sure to please everyone.

South Coast Farms U-Pick

Address: 33201 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Dana Point Farm Stand: 24040 Camino Del Avion, Dana Point, CA 92629
Phone: 949-661-9381
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10AM – 5PM; Closed Monday (U-Pick Currently Closed to prep for fall)

South Coast Farms is located right in San Juan Capistrano and is the perfect place to take everyone for U-Pick produce of all kinds! Among the most popular U-Pick items are their sweet and luscious strawberries, which are sure to leave you satisfied.

It’s worth mentioning that they have other options for picking as well, including cucumbers, tomatoes, a variety of spicy peppers, carrots, and a few other veggies. The best part is that parking only costs $5 here, compared to other U-pick farms where entry can often be on a per person basis.

Among the many delightful aspects of South Coast Farms is that you can also pick up pre-picked produce when you and your kids are done enjoying an afternoon out in the sunny fields, but still want some extra goodies to take back home with you.

The farm fields are nestled right in the Tree of Life Nursery and are sprawling out nearly as far as the eye can see. However, the ground is often dusty and muddy, so it is recommended that you wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy when you are visiting the farm.

When the U-pick Fields are closed, you can visit the Dana Point farm stand for fresh produce.


Smith Farms

Address:
9736 Ellis Ave Fountain Valley, Ca 92708
5481 Bryan Ave Irvine, Ca 92620

Phone:
Fountain Valley: 714-962-3188
Irvine: 949-726-8366

Hours:

Summer: 9AM – 6:30PM Daily
Winter: 9AM – 5:30PM Daily

Next up is Smith Farms! One of the best things about Smith Farms is how easily accessible it is to everyone who wants to visit. Located in Fountain Valley, Smith Farms is right on the side of the road so there are not any long dirt roads that you have to drive down to get to the farm. A second location is in Irvine at the corner of Jeffrey Rd. and Bryan Ave.

In spite of the fact that Smith Farms is not as big as the other family friendly farms in this list, it provides a wonderfully intimate experience for your family, letting you connect even more deeply with nature. They also make up for their small size by growing a whole host of different produce, from standard items like tomatoes and strawberries to more unique items like kohlrabi and Tuscano kale.

There’s no stop to the fun when fall and winter come around, as they bring a new collection of fruits and veggies to be harvested. They also have seasonal offerings on the lot like pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms.

One of the most wonderful things during the holiday season is heading to Smith Farms to browse their collection of Christmas trees on the lot and grab some of their items of produce on sale (the honey they sell is a particular favorite of many visitors).


Orange County Great Park Farm + Food Lab

Address: 8000 Great Park Blvd., Irvine Ca 92618
Phone: 949-724-6247
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10AM – 3PM, Closed Monday

Orange County Great Park Farm + Food Lab is a wonderful learning experience for everyone who visits. Located in the wonderful Great Park neighborhood, the farm + food lab is a completely interactive farm where young kids and adults alike can learn how to grow their very own fruits and veggies.

The farm + food lab is especially proud of its compost center, which is a place where you can bring your organic, non-gmo food scraps for feeding to their worms, which they use to help grow their crops.

One exhibit many kids love is their butterfly garden, where you get a hands-on look at everything butterflies (and many other insects) do for the natural ecosystem! The luscious garden also allows for some great family photos for everyone to enjoy.

One of the best parts about Great Parks Farm + Food Lab is the fact that all the food produced on the farm is shipped directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank to help make fresh produce available to those in need.


Tanaka Farms

Address: 5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612
Phone: 949-653-2100
Hours: Market Stand & Gift Shop Daily 9AM – 5PM

Hana Field Address: 427 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa 92626
Hours: Weekends 10AM – 5PM

There can be no doubt that Tanaka Farms is the most well-known farm on this list, and for good reason! The farm is owned and operated by a local family, and there are lots of activities at this farm for everyone in your family to enjoy.

Tanaka Farms offers ample parking for plenty of cars, as well as sprawling acres where you could spend the whole day roaming around in the fields. There are also sunflower fields to take selfies and photos with a stunning background.

Tanaka doesn’t want to promise specific items due to the fluctuating nature of produce supplies, but some of the items you could be picking include: blackberries, carrots, radishes, cilantro, and, one of Tanaka’s personal favorites, melon tours in the summer months. If you don’t feel like picking things yourself, but still want to enjoy the fresh, local produce, stop by their Produce Market Stand to buy fruits and vegetables picked earlier that day, along with a selection of items from partner farms and businesses.

If you don’t know what to do with the food you just bought, don’t worry! Tanaka Farms also offers Farm-To-Table cooking classes to teach you how to make delicious meals at home, led by local chefs! You can also do a class tour where you get to pick a selection of produce, and then be taught how to prepare something with what you just picked!

There is a barnyard where there are plenty of animals you can watch, and the farm workers will allow you to feed them and pet them. This would be a great experience for the younger kids in your family.

Fall is one of the Farms busiest seasons, with the annual Pumpkin Patch. Here you’ll find U-Pick pumpkins and veggies, festival games and activities, wagon rides, a straw bale maze, and much more. This event usually requires tickets on the weekends so you’ll want to check their site for details.

Another one of the highlights comes during the holidays. Hikari – A Festival of Lights is one of the most stunning displays you can find in Orange County around Christmas time. A wagon ride takes you right through the middle of a wondrous light display before letting you walk through the land of 1000 lanterns.

They are also hosting the annual Harvest Moon Festival! Held in September, Tanaka Farms pulls together a line-up of celebrated chefs and musicians for a night of food and fun in their gorgeous location. And what’s even better, all proceeds from the Harvest Moon Festival go towards efforts to feed those in need and provide nutrition education to the community.


Centennial Farm

Address: 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: 714-708-1619
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m., through June 30. Closed on Holidays and certain fair events. When OC Fair is happening, Centennial Farm is open during fair hours.

Located right at the heart of the Orange County Fairgrounds, Centennial Farm offers year round fun for the entire family, offering tours during the school year for both families and school field trips to see the inner workings of how Centennial Farm works.

The discovery days tours are designed for the whole family and are self-guided, with plenty of volunteers around to answer any questions you may have. As well as providing demonstrations throughout the day of how they take care of the animals, they also explain the agricultural side of the farm.

For the older kids and parents, Centennial Farm offers Farm & Garden Classes to learn more about how to grow food of your own, and often offer preserving lessons as well so you can be certain none of the food will go to waste.

During the summer months, ​Centennial Farm becomes a part of the Orange County Fair and has even more to offer, including more animal exhibits with highlights like their ​Angora Goats, Breeding Sheep & Miniature Donkeys!


Renewable Farms

Gold Coast Farm: 110 Park Ave, Aliso Viejo, CA
Tuesday & Wednesday 10-2, Thursday 2-6, Friday 2-4, Saturday 8-12

Riverbed Farm: 1426 E Vermont Ave., Anaheim, CA
Monday & Wednesday 9am – 1pm, Friday 2pm – 6pm, Saturdays: by appointment only

Renewable Farms has two locations in Orange County, one in Anaheim and one in Aliso Viejo, and they are both incredible spots to stop by with your whole family! This nonprofit organization was started after its founder traveled around the world and saw the way that poverty and malnourishment were affecting communities far from home. He initially started to combat these issues by building farms in the communities where they were needed, but then decided that he could better use his skills by teaching more people how to start their own farms!

Visitors are welcome during operating hours listed above, and volunteers are welcome to pitch in and help around the farm. The farms are great sites for youth groups and schools to visit on field trips, and they host a number of community events.

You can also sign up for the community workshops that are offered on a periodic basis, with a focus on sustainable farming and living. They also offer some woodworking services to make goods like sheds, raised flower beds, and furniture! Please reach out to them to see if they are able to meet your needs for any new farming projects you wish to start, or if you’re just looking to liven up your home décor.

Both sites can be rented for holding private events. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a wedding or a family reunion, these are the perfect locations to hold your event with a lovely country feel without having to leave the city!


The Ecology Center

Address: 32701 Alipaz St., San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone: 949-443-4223
Hours: Farm Stand open daily 9AM – 6PM

Located in San Juan Capistrano right next to the Trabuco Creek, The Ecology Center is a beautiful farm in the southern part of Orange County. Unlike others on this list, The Ecology Center is a non-profit organization, and is one of the only organic farms left in the area.

This farm offers a strawberry U-Pick as part of their TASTE: Rainbow events on Saturdays in the spring. They will also offer it as a stand-alone experience when the harvest allows, but there’s no reason not to take part in the full TASTE experience, which includes a farmer teaching you about the land and crops featured at the Center, participation in a spring dance, and a meal created from local ingredients!

If you weren’t able to make it down here during the spring, don’t worry! There are plenty of fun events hosted at the Center throughout the summer as well, including: Peace Pizza, served weekly and made from local ingredients, mostly from the Center itself; Yoga on the Farm, run with assistance from a local yoga studio; Seed Connection, run every Saturday morning to strengthen your relationship with and knowledge of the local plantlife; and weekly Community Table meals with a rotating line up of experienced, well-traveled chefs!

Before you head home, don’t forget to pick one of their Harvest Boxes, filled with their produce for the season. Their shop also stocks a number of other local goods, along with flowers from their gardens.


Underwood Family Farms

Moorpark: 3770 Sunset Valley Road
Somis: 5696 E. Los Angeles Ave., Somis

Underwood Family Farms also has two locations just outside of L.A.: one in Moorpark, and another in Somis. While both hold great sights and great fun, we will be focusing on Moorpark in this article, as it is their older and larger location.

The greatest highlight of the Moorpark location is their educational farm tours, which break down into three main categories of strawberry, vegetable, or pumpkin picking tours that you can mix and match. Included in the 2–4 hour tour is a presentation from one of the farmers, a visit to the Farm Animal Center, and coloring books for the little ones.

There are a number of other amenities and activities on the farm too, including wagon rides, play equipment, hay pyramid, gem and mineral mining, train rides, and more.

If you want to save some time while visiting the farm, there’s also self-guided pick your own experiences and have over a dozen options to choose from, and these offerings change monthly so it’s always worth checking their site to see what they have to offer!

They also have seasonal fun special events for the whole family, especially during the fall and winter seasons.


Amy’s Farm

Address: 7698 Eucalyptus Ave., Ontario, CA 91762
Phone: 844-426-9732
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 9AM – 5PM

Amy’s Farm is a non-profit polycultural farm located just north of Orange County that offers a great deal of fun for everyone! There are plenty of tours that cater to all age groups and allow you to explore the farm unguided. While there is no hard fee to enter, they do appreciate donations or buying food directly from the produce stand.

While the pandemic has affected some of the workshop offerings, there have been many different ones in the past, including Fun On The Farm With Your Little One, where you and your child would get a hands-on experience in learning the keeping of farm animals and gardening, and The Science Of Farming, where kids learn in depth about botany and how certain animals impact the ecosystem.

One thing that many visitors rave about is the number of options for produce and other goodies from the shop, including fresh honey, muffins, and plenty of freshly picked goods from the farm like cabbages, beets, carrots, and a large variety of apples.

One unforgettable experience for many is the petting zoo, where you can get up close and personal with many of the animals at Amy’s Farm including many adorable goats, pigs, cows, and on occasion baby chicks that they’ll bring out!


Farmakis Farms

Address: 29932 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone: 949-364-1270
Hours: Farmers Market Fridays 9AM – 1PM

Located just off the I-5 between San Juan Capistrano and Galivan, Farmakis Farms is a beautiful slice of farmland in Orange County. While they might be best known for their Christmas tree farm, they have so much more to offer all year round!

While they don’t grow produce on site, they host a Certified Farmers Market every Friday, hosting local farms and small business owners to sell their fruits and vegetables along with fresh fish and artisan breads. While you might not be able to pick things right off the vine, taking your time and choosing what you want to buy here can be just as fun!

If you’re looking for more than just food, they also host a monthly Craft Market in the spring and fall. Here you can find a whole host of local goods ranging from candles and soaps to hand-made cards and jewelry! You will also be able to talk to local artists and authors about their work, and maybe even take some home with you!

And when it does come time to pick out a tree for the Christmas season, there is no better place! They grow both California Monterey Pine and Leyland Cypress trees in their farm, and bring in several other species of pre-cut trees to meet your needs. After you’ve picked your tree, you can walk through their beautifully lit eucalyptus grove and rest at their huge barn! They also offer photography services that you can book in advance if you want to preserve the memory of your special day in their winter wonderland!


In conclusion

There are so many wonderful farms in Orange County you can visit with your family and create memories at any time of the year – regardless of whether it’s a new learning experience or bringing home some delicious fruits and vegetables for your family’s meal time, everyone is sure to have a wonderful time together!

More Farms In And Around Orange County

Renewable Farms: Two public farms in Orange County featuring organic fruits, vegetables, fish, and eggs. They donate hundreds of pounds of food to the community every month and provide educational programs and resources for school, homeless, disabled, and more.

  • Gold Coast Farm – 110 Park Avenue, Aliso Viejo, CA
  • Riverbed Farm – 1426 E Vermont Avenue, Anaheim, CA

Underwood Family Farms: Family farm with wagon rides, animals, kids activities, and pick your own produce.

  • 3770 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark
  • 5696 E. Los Angeles Ave., Somis

Manassero Farms: Event venue, farm stands, pick your own herbs

  • Irvine Flagship Market & Event Venue – 15670 Jeffrey Rd., Irvine, CA 92618
  • Brea Stand – Corner of Rose Drive and Blake Road
  • Irvine Stand – 5840 Walnut
  • Tustin Stand – 18921 East 17th Street

If you visit any of these farms, let us know by tagging us on Instagram at our handle @enjoyorangecounty or use the hashtag #EnjoyOC to be featured on our page!


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Morgan Mulac is a freelance writer who has spent years on the road as a nomad and now has settled back in California with her family. Some of her favorite spots to travel in California are in Orange County and the many beaches along the coast. She’s an avid writer about her journeys and enjoys sharing the beauty California has to offer.