Favorite East Bay Pumpkin Patches

Talk to me, East Bay. Do you like to head out to the country to pumpkin fields on genuine farms? Do you prefer little patches within your part of town? Or do you just head to the grocery store for your gourds?

Over the years, I have noticed that the range of Bay Area pumpkin patches are all over the map (as are the patches themselves). My preference is to get in, get out, and get a perfect pumpkin picture so I only head out to the farm if I have a whole day to kill (like I have Monday 10/13 thanks to BUSD teacher work day).

First, the fabulous half-day farms:

Favorite East Bay Pumpkin Patches

Down in Fremont, Ardenwood Farms is worth the trip (patch part of the JE Perry organic farm) to visit a working farm. Ride on a tractor and climb the haystack mountains. And more pumpkins! $1 admission to the pumpkin patch on weekends (Friday mornings for school groups only). Open Oct 1 -31 Mon-Fri noon-7pm Sat&Sun 9am-7pm.

A drive out to the (925) and you can enjoy the Clayton Valley Farm near Walnut Creek. Train rides, hay maze, activity zone for kids, and a few farm goodies as well.  Super fun. Open Oct 1 – 31, 2010 from 9am – 8pm (playland closes at dusk, train has reduced hours).  Playland with straw maze and play structures costs $7 for kids; FREE for adults and babies under 12 months. Barnyard play area costs $5 per child. Pumpkin train costs another $2.50 per person. Pumpkins cost extra.

Favorite East Bay Pumpkin Patches

Out in Livermore, G&M Farms will get you lost in a corn maze. Weekends feature pony rides, pedal carts, and a barnyard blaster (huh, what’s that?). Voted best pumpkin patch and corn maze by Diablo Magazine, hours and prices vary.

Also in Livermore, Joan’s Farm comes highly recommended by our contributor, Rebecca. She tells us that the pony rides and wagons made it tons of fun for her little ones. Bonus activities include: maze, Old West Town, hay ride, farm animals, and gem panning. No admission price. Open daily 9am-6pm through October. Cash only.

Favorite East Bay Pumpkin Patches

A drive to Brentwood is rewarded at the Smith Family Farm, which is old school in a good way. October harvest activities include a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where each person can pick their own pumpkin, live music, a corn maze, an animal area, and a picnic area. Fall Harvest Festival begins October 4th. Hours are 9:00am-5:00pm daily through Halloween. Admission is $9 on weekdays and $10 on Weekends and includes a pumpkin.

Favorite East Bay Pumpkin Patches: Smith Valley Farm

Up north near Santa Rosa, Muelrath Ranches, open since 1946, is open from Sep 27 through Halloween from 10am through 6pm daily. The pumpkin patch offers 21 different types of pumpkin; a haystack for climbing; a hay tunnel; a silly spooky dungeon; a cornstalk maze to lose yourself; hay rides; and a “pumpkin slingshot” to shoot for accuracy. No admission price. Friday and Saturday evening events require $10 tickets and sound like a big ol’ festival.

Meanwhile back in the near East Bay:

Closer to home is the carnival-inspired Speer Family Farm patch adjacent to Bay Street. A la carte and combo price plans can get you into a petting zoo, a jumpy house, an inflatable boat slide, rainbow slide, and a hay maze. All day access to all the stuff is $20. Fairly expensive once you add it all together but you don’t need to drive far and you trade off running errands with your partner. Open September 19 – October 31 from 10am – 9pm.

Favorite East Bay Pumpkin Patches: Smith Valley Farm

Pick of the Patch operates several locations in Alameda County opening 9/25 this year with hours varying through 10/31.

  • A new patch in Fremont features inflatable fun for children age 2 to 12 at $9 for 30 minutes as well as PUMPKINS.
  • Newark near NewPark Mall; the inflatables are for children age 2 to 12 priced at $10 per 30 minutes.
  • Hayward at SouthLand Mall; the inflatables are for children age 2 to 12 priced at $10 per 30 minutes.
  • San Leandro features inflatable fun for children age 2 to 12 at $9 for 30 minutes as well as PUMPKINS.

Some urban patches take over a few blocks in the near (510). We’ve seen pop-up pumpkin patches on Piedmont Ave and across from Bakesale Betty’s in the old Global Video lot (51st/Telegraph).

And there’s always the grocery store!

So, where do you get your pumpkins?!

[All photos by Heather and Whitney, All rights reserved]

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  1. says

    Hi! I run the pumpkin patch on Piedmont Avenue. We’ve been on Piedmont Avenue for over a dozen years. We have a Halloween store and a haunted house. Come by and check us out. We’re right in Oakland so you don’t have to spend $20 in gas to get here. We’re at 4414 Piedmont Avenue. Our website is http://www.pumpkinpatch.info. Like us on Facebook and receive free fangs. We’ll see you here.

  2. says

    Thanks Jonathan, yours is the one we knew about but we listed your fb page. If I’m not mistaken, the bottom picture of my 2 sons was taken at your patch about 4 years ago. Happy Halloween!

  3. Shari says

    Thanks for the info! I was wondering if you knew which of the farm pumpkin patches let you go out into the actual fields where the pumpkins where grown and cut from the vine, or which ones lay the pumpkins out on an open field, similar to a pumpkin patch you could find in the city? I.e. Are those actual pictures from Clayton Valley Farm above the description, and Smith Family Farm below it’s description? I don’t want to drive all that way for us to just see the pumpkins sitting on some straw. Thank you!

  4. says

    @Shari, These are great questions and I might need to bounce it to the greater community to get the most current info. I’ve personally been to Smith family farms, Ardenwood, and Clayton Valley and in all cases, the pumpkins were already cut. Though the first two offer a pretty genuine farm experience… the pumpkins were just laying around.

    The top photo shows Scarlett carrying her pumpkin. She has been driven out to a “field” in which the pumpkins are just laying around. She has to carry it and ride back in an open truck but not cut it.

    The second photo shows Milo standing among the many pumpkins at Clayton Valley (good eye!). There was no illusion of heading out to the vines in that case.

  5. Shauna says

    My kids and I spent 2.5 great hours at Peter Pumpkin Patch (Spring Hill Road in Petaluma) on Friday afternoon. I know it’s not in the East Bay (about 1 hr away) but it really is a wonderful farm and you are able to cut your own pumpkins in the field!

  6. Ghanimatrix says

    We went last weekend with some friends out to Adobe Pumpkin Farm in Petaluma. It was BAD. There were too many separate vendors so the tickets you buy at one place aren’t good for anything else. (The pony ride was cash, the tractor ride used their own tickets you bought when you got on, the train ride was a different type of ticket you had to buy at a booth and the bouncy houses/slide used another kind of ticket sold at a different booth.) I had to haul my 20 month old around the whole time because he couldn’t keep up on the uneven, plowed dirt (no good for strollers either.) Too far, too big, too much carnival, and not enough farm. I don’t recommend it.

    We have gone to Clayton Valley for the last three years, and loved it. We will be going again this year, too.

  7. RP says

    On Sunday, we attended the Pumpkin Festival at the Western Railroad Museum in Rio Vista. http://wrm.org/events/upcoming_events.htm
    It was awesome! Super low-key, it felt more like a New England harvest festival than one of those megalopolis pumpkin patch extravaganzas. We rode a restored train to get to the festival which is sponsored by the Rotary Club. Activities include a tractor-pulled hay ride, smallish hay maze/fort, pony rides, baked goods, bounce house and small stage with fun music, puppets etc. There was one fee for the train ride and some of the other activities like the pony rides had additional charges (not more that $3 I think) . The pumpkin patch was pretty minor, but the activities were perfect for us and our toddler.

  8. says

    The Perry family would like to invite everyone to visit their family farm and Pumpkin Patch in Fremont. The Pumpkin Patch is open Tuesday thru Friday 12 Noon to 7pm and weekends 9am to 7pm. Bring the family and explore the Patch, climb the Haystack Pyramid and navigate the Maze. The farm is open daily Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday) 10:00am to 7:00pm

  9. Corny Mama says

    We visited the two in Livermore today, a Monday. HIGHLY recommend the G&M “corn box” especially on a quiet weekday evening. I didn’t understand this til we arrived–it’s a GIANT sand box with dried corn kernels instead of sand. It felt AMAZING — like some kind of spa therapy you’d find in Calistoga. And the kids had a blast burying each other in corn. Their hay maze was also a hit, and I loved how the world went so silent as I passed through the hay tunnels. While pricey, the $20 we spent to experience a real, enormous, awesome corn maze was totally worth it. This family-run destination is a local treasure, and we chatted with the owner, also a dad, and he’s a lovely guy who’s been at this since he was 3. We’re definitely going back and sending our friends.

    Joan’s was just OK–the quarter-fed vending machines for the hungry animals were a nice touch, loved the hay ziggurat, and couldn’t get the 6yo away from the Fort Maze, but the rest… I dunno. Not sure I’d send people there from the western East Bay unless they need a little extra activity after G&M. I’m sure it’s heaps better on a weekend, but the corn-less “corn maze” (actually a mesh of orange barrier plastic) was so forlorn we didn’t even get close to it. Yeah, it’s probably a victim of this terrible drought we’re having, but still…..