Orange County residents may not have a traditional, calendar worthy, turning of the leaves for Fall, but we do celebrate the seasonal change from Summer to Fall with traditional Autumn harvests and exciting October festivals. Autumn is readily defined as the season of harvests, hayrides, and Halloween. Orange County is home and neighbor to unforgettable harvest-time hayrides through pumpkin patches, apple orchards and corn fields.
Believed to have originated on Kansas farms, hayrides can feel like an Autumn magic carpet ride. Hayrides initially were just a means of transportation from the field back to the barn for unloading and certainly for the chance to grab a rest from working the fields. Farmers quickly learned that the “Summer People” were looking for an authentic farm feel without all the walking.
Farmers began to load up the wagon with hay for visiting urban families, discovering that was much more lucrative than selling the hay alone. Many farmers did both while creating an authentic hayride experience. They are a treat to enjoy beautiful Fall foliage, be amazed at the acres of farmland and admire the bright stars above. Family and friends can take that slow ride and turn it into a memorable tradition filled with imagination and laughter.
Orange County’s Best Hayrides
Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
5380 ¾ University Drive, Irvine, CA
Refer to website for seasonal tours/events that change and vary throughout the year
Admission/Hours: $10.00 each, children under 2 yrs. & Military are FREE, Tours included, Barnyard exhibit (formerly petting zoo), Play area, visit website for complete information. Add on unlimited wagon rides for $6 per person, or for $20 per person, get admission, wagon ride, and barnyard visit.
Hours of operation: Monday –Sunday 9:00am-5:00pm
Parking: Parking lot opens at 8:30am, $10 Pass required for Friday thru Sunday *purchase online with reservation
What To Know
- Have a parking pass ready to go, wear closed toe shoes, bring gardening gloves for U-pick as stems can be tough and prickly, bring gardening shears and basket/bag to carry purchase, shears available for purchase
- Most tours and events require reservations; booking is easy online or contact the firm directly for complete information
- Pumpkin Patch does NOT require reservation, lots to do and lots of options during Fall Pumpkin Patch and Fall Harvest Festival **VISIT PUMPKIN PATCH FAQs for details
- Hay wagon tours require reservation (*not for Pumpkin Patch)
- NO reservation required to visit gift shop or Produce Market Stand
- Public drinking water is not available, bring your own or purchase bottle water for $2 at farm
- Pets not allowed (ADA Service Dogs permitted), Wagons not allowed *ONLY PERMITTED DURING PUMPKIN PATCH
Tanaka Farms is an Orange County tradition and favorite for hayrides and everything else that is associated with a real working farm. Tanaka Farms began as a 100-acre strawberry farm and now is 30- acres of many other fruits and vegetables. It’s the oldest family–run farm in Irvine. Most of Orange County was farmland until the mid 1950s. Citrus groves were also in abundance, especially in North Orange County. The parking lot is bustling and organized with wagons, carts, supplies, and rubber boots in tow. It’s a working farm and that means messy and muddy. That is what makes this farm so special.
It’s real, authentic, and brings pride to OC’s agritourism boom. Tanaka Farms also has an authentic pumpkin patch that offers fun activities and arts and crafts throughout the month of October. This is a separate event and admission requires a ticket purchase to participate in the Pumpkin Patch activities.
There’s just about everything at Tanaka Farms: an amazing grille to eat at, baby goat yoga, petting zoo, educational tours, story-time at the barn, unique farm to table cookout tours and so much more. U pick wagon hayrides at Tanaka Farms are just magic. Hop on to visit the 30-acre farm and receive a personal guide to Tanaka Farms’ history, growing methods, and what is currently growing. Guides are super knowledgeable and bring entertainment to the day.
U pick wagon rides are included with admission and require a reservation. See website for hours of operation for weekday and weekend times. Pumpkin Patch wagon tours are not guided tours but offer great entertainment and run every 15 minutes. Visit the farm website for more details and schedule for upcoming Fall events.
Irvine Park Railroad’s Pumpkin Patch
1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA
Admission is free to the Pumpkin Patch, but each activity requires tickets. Tickets may be purchased in person.
- Activity tickets are $7.00, book of 15 tickets is $90.00 (savings of $15.00)
- Hayrides are 1 ticket, Train rides are 1 ticket – 12 months and younger ride FREE
Parking to enter park is $3.00 on weekdays, $5.00 weekends, $7.00 on holidays. Arrive early to avoid parking lot closures, especially weekends.
What To Know
- Pumpkin Patch open 7 days a week. Weekdays 10:00am-5:00pm, Weekends 8:00am-6:00pm
- Dogs are not allowed in Special Event areas; weekends fill up fast *arrive early
- Event scheduled to start Sept. 17th – October 31st
- It’s the most fun in Fall in Orange County, Come dressed for the occasion. So many photo ops available
- FREE activities include Haunted house town, picture stands, hay maze, hay pyramid
- FREE Downloadable coloring pages available on website, print at home and bring in colored for a FREE prize at the Train Station
- Join the online eNewsletter to receive coupons/offers for this and others events, for example: buy 1 train ticket, get 1 free offer
Irvine Regional Park is Orange County’s oldest park. It is a colossal park that many of us Orange County residents sometimes forget about. OC residents have this amazing park with countless seasonal activities for families, romantic dates, nature lovers, and activity groups. There are trains to ride, swans to peddle, ponies to trot, swings to sway, and lake front parking spots just to take it all in.
During the Fall season, this colossal park transforms into a harvest heaven filled with pumpkins, fun arts and crafts, hay mazes, corn fields, spooky houses, and the quintessential hayride. It is just massive fun and super organized for Fall. Everyone has a fabulous time at Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch.
Of course, there are thousands of pumpkins for purchase, kid friendly concessions, and tickets to ride on the authentic hayride pulled by a genuine tractor. What is so exciting about this hayride is the big rumble of the bright green tractor, staff are dressed in dungarees and real straw bales fill the wagon. Everyone will enjoy the hayride. It is perfect for tots, sweethearts, and friends to relax and enjoy the excitement of the Fall season at Irvine Park.
Best Hayrides Near Orange County
Pumpkin Station at Rancho Bernardo Pumpkin Patch
13421 Highland Valley Road, Escondido
- Admission is FREE
- Parking: FREE
- Hayride, corn maze, Petting Zoo, Mechanical Train rides are $4.00 per person
- Cut your own sunflowers $2.00 * sheers provided
- Purchase tickets at gate
- Open Daily
- Sept 29th through Oct 12th from 9 am to 6 pm
- Oct 13th through Oct 31st from 9 am to 7 pm
What To Know
- Print out the one free train ride coupon online *not valid for hayride at farm locations
- Dogs on leashes are welcome
- Outside food and drink permitted
- Pumpkins are individually priced based on size
- Tickets not available online
It is a beautiful ride out to Rancho Bernardo. It’s part of the Pumpkin Patch family of farms in San Diego.
It’s a real working farm focused on families and kids. They also provide guided tours for local troops. Mike, an employee at the farm said, “you name it, we do it here!” You’ll be greeted by a huge white circus tent where tickets can be purchased, and all the adventure begins.
Rancho Bernardo has a living pumpkin patch where you can discover all types of pumpkins and learn how they grow on vines. There is a special bodacious pumpkin field where you can be amazed at over 1000 pumpkins weighing over 50 pounds each. Can you think of a better photo backdrop? There is an actual living 8 ft. corn maze that even adult visitors cannot resist entering. The hayrides here are something special. Hop on the big green tractor wagon and tour the 28 acres of huge sunflower fields, fruit orchards, and Christmas tree farm. Kids really enjoy seeing Santa’s sleigh parked by the trees.
Hayrides are bumpy fun and available every fifteen minutes. Of course, there is plenty of entertainment for the kids like a small little petting zoo filled with friendly farm animals and a tiny train to ride. Rancho Bernardo is easy to walk around and a relief from the crowds at your local strip mall pumpkin patches. It’s a small place where you can spend an hour picking huge sunflowers, snap great photos and grab an ice cream cone on your way out.
Murray Family Farms The Big Red Barn
6700 General Beal RD., Bakersfield
(661) 330 0100
In search of traditional hayrides, we ventured out of Orange County to find them. There is nothing that says authentic farm like driving up a dirt road and seeing a big, bright, red barn. That’s exactly what you find at the Murray Family Farm. The Murray Family Farms offers special U pick early morning hours and features an organic rainbow of berries to choose from. It is all about organic, sustainable, and “grown ripe here”. There’s a lot of special things happening at Murray Farms like free farm fresh blueberry pancakes on certain days with paid admission.
The provisions at Murray Farms remind us of the gourmet variety you would find at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, cool and esoteric favorites. Steven Murray is spearheading his family farm and says the first crops grown were cherries. He is a Kern County pirate for getting the County to allow his farm to grow cherries as a commercial crop. He is enormously proud of his farm’s prolific strategy of direct farm marketing and remembers the hayrides he took as a young boy most.
Murray Farms holds an annual Octoberfest emphasizing family friendly activities, traditional hayride tours, homemade baked goods and pig and duck races. Steven and his clever marketing strategies focus on his niche market and sees attendance getting bigger and bigger every year. There is something special about the Murray Family Farm, it’s as simple as a hayride around the big, red barn.
What To Know
- You are required to purchase the U Pick Baskets provided by the Murray Family Farm at gate or online, refer to website for more information
- Bringing your own basket, bag is not permitted
- No pets allowed (refer to website regarding service dogs)
Murray Family Farms is a boutique style working farm that has a calendar driven admission schedule. Many are TBA. Refer to their website for detailed information for such events as Strawberry Days, Blueberry Days, and Easter Farm Fun.
Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkin Fest
4102 S. University Drive, Pomona
September 30 – October 29th 2023
The Huntly College of Agriculture, California’s only state agriculture university in Southern California, hosts this highly anticipated event. It has all the fun and games you would expect at a pumpkin patch, but it takes the events to a new level with highlights of sheep shearing, cow milking and working mills. There is live country and bluegrass music that energizes the atmosphere and students from the college Ag clubs give interesting and cool demonstrations.
This event is entertaining, decorated with autumn favorites, and the staff are delightfully dressed for the occasion. This Pumpkin Fest is well organized and in zones, which gives you a chance to visit your favorite activities: hayrides, corn maze, pumpkin patch, bee keeping, and petting zoo. The hayrides are driven by rare antique tractors and the drivers have lots to share since they are members of WAPA (Western Antique Power Associates). The WAPA folk will also have many antique tractors on display, perfect for snapping family photos!
Don’t miss the corn maze at night! It’s an easy run during the daytime, but at dusk turns into something spooky. There is plenty of food and specialty items available for purchase at the Market Store. Put the Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkin Fest on your Fall fun things to do list.
Hayrides Worth the Drive
Avila Valley Barn
560 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Yes, it’s a drive, but oh so worth the journey. Sometimes it is the drive itself that creates the magic and lifelong memories. Located in San Luis Obispo, it’s a beautiful view along SoCal’s golden coast.
Avila Valley Barn is simply the Marth Stewart of boutique working farms offering fine provisions and pastries. It is a magical place for families to create traditions and for couples to escape and fall in love. Owners Bruce and Debbie Smith, for more than 30 years, have cultivated this specialty farm and all its wonderful offerings into an unforgettable experience. Debbie is California’s Contessa and our own SoCal Pioneer woman. She is responsible for the Farm’s unique design and beautiful rustic feel.
Her Market Store resembles the pretty French displays at Fragonard, the Historic French Perfumery in Grasse, France. The jams and honey jars are in lovely glass jars and the from scratch berry pies attract visitors from all over California.
Summer concerts are a specialty here and enjoyed with great live music, food, beer, wine, and cider from 11pm-5pm. You can visit the exotic chicken coop, feed the farm animals, pick your own fruits and flowers. It is likely you will have a rest on the wooden rocking chairs in front of the ice cream shop and enjoy your Nashville Clucker dinner from the Chicken and Smoke Shack.
The Hayrides at Avila Valley Barn are simply perfect. Landon was our driver and was quick to warn us that the pies sell out fast. So, if we wanted to buy an apple and blueberry pie, we had better go and buy it then. I did and he waited for me to return to the trailer. We were his last ride of the day, so he took his time. It’s a bargain for $5 each and was a charming experience to sit on the bales of hay. Most riders are smiling silently, taking it all in, but not Kirby.
Kirby was a visitor from Sacramento who rebuilds tractor engines as a hobby, and he shared all the details about the history of the tractor that was pulling us along the Avila farm fields. Before we knew it, it was time to go. Everyone we met and spoke with was kind and gracious. Maybe, that’s what farm time can do; it makes people patient and friendly.
Haunted Hayrides near Orange County
Fear Farm Haunt
The Haunted Hayride
6275 Sundown Dr., Phelan, CA
Dates: October 13-31, 2023
Tickets are available at the gate or can be purchased online. Advanced purchase is recommended.
Fear Farm haunt is a radical, super scary haunted experience. If you are looking for something thrilling and new, then this is your ticket. Fear Farm has many frightening attractions to participate in like a crazy circus walk-through, haunted corn maze, and a drive thru haunted ghost town with crazy dead cowboys and gun-toting entities. You drive your car along the dark road and witness actual scenarios of gun drawn gore from inside your car. Be careful, because before you know it, killer clowns are trying to sit shotgun with you! It is worth the drive and wait. The grand entrance really does make you think twice about entering, it is that scary.
Themed areas are full of scary neon lights, monstrous scenes and unpredictable characters that pop out of nowhere. There is an eerie Area 51 with unimaginable creatures and a cemetery that few visitors dare to enter.
If you’re looking for a scary hayride filled with zombies and haunting clowns, then hurry and buy your tickets. This event sells out every year. The Haunted hayrides are in spider web filled wagons with a dubious, silent driver. You will tour the abandoned town, not knowing where that menacing growl is coming from. It is said not all riders make it back, but the Fear Farm Haunted Hayride can count on you returning next year. It’s that epic!
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027
Dates: Weekends and select weekdays September 22 – October 31, 2023
Join the online Fright Club newsletter for pre-sale ticket access, discounts, offers and exclusive rewards
Parking: Parking is available in three different lots, Merry Go round Lots 1,2,3 Fridays and Saturdays & Halloween *LA Zoo Shuttle parking available see website for details
The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride begins in the town of Midnight Falls. Midnight Falls is haunted, and the town square is where this Haunted Hayride begins. Visitors make their way through the heavy fog into the terrifying town and immediately soak up the bloody “atmosFEAR.”
There are separate places to experience during your visit like the Dead-End Diner, The Monte Revolta Show, and the Midnight Mortuary. The Dead-End Diner is an old 70s diner, almost ready to be condemned. It is a known tourist trap for unassuming travelers. Local possessed customers, being hungry for flesh, soon play a high intensity chase game to fulfill their need for human meat. Don’t get separated in the mortuary tour, you will soon be greeted by the horrifying mortician.
The unbelievable Halloween props, creative and horrifying cast, and displays never seen before, take this haunted experience to a new level. Visitors will find a safe haven at the Shocktail Party. It is a one-of-a-kind horror, comedy and revolting show headlined by macabre Monte himself.
The highlight of the evening is the Haunted Hayride. The Witch of the Woods is angry and smells innocent souls coming. Out of the dramatic darkness, she commands her army of flesh-eating crops and relentless ghouls to seek revenge on the people that cast her out. Riders will be visited by the spirits of the underworld as they try to escape out of the heinous town. It is a thrilling adventure, and every moment intensifies.
The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is becoming a legend in SoCal for spot on Halloween done right. It is not recommended for children under 12 years old. Are you brave enough to hop on the Hayride of your life?
Orange County’s First Haunted Car Wash
Tunnel Of Terror Car Wash
Big Wave Car Wash – 2219 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim
October 5-30, 2023
This is OC creativity at its best. It is the first of its kind and it’s a grand slam. The Tunnel of Terror is suds and spooks at the Anaheim Big Wave Car Wash. The Tunnel of Terror is a “scare wash” that debuted in 2020. Yes, your car will be cleaned, but your fear and adrenaline will not come off easily. Come to a haunted carwash and the darker it gets, the scarier it becomes.
Zombies, creepy babies, frightful monsters, and scary characters turn up as you ride through the tunnel. What a scary treat with Orange County’s finest scare actors and is ideal for social distancing and mobile challenged persons.
As soon as drivers roll in, they are quickly immersed in fright and fear. There’s unique surprises and creepy clowns that try and sit in the back seat (lock your doors!) or taunt you from your rear-view window. All visitors are to remain inside their vehicles and there is no age minimum. Visit the website for more details and great videos. This is a brilliant idea and a unique experience for all.
More Fall Hayrides In & Around OC
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark, CA 93021
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Cindy is an OC native fond of PCH road trips to places like Santa Rosa or Carmel. She’s a mother of three spending her free time baking apple pies, cooking green enchiladas, and listening to 80s music. She’s a beach girl at heart and Cancun is her go to paradise.