About an hour from Berkeley, just on the edge of town in south Livermore you will find Joan’s Farm. 2020 marks their 30th year of hosting one the most photogenic pumpkin patches around! Nestled in the hills off Mines Road, you’d be hard put to find a more beautiful place. Keeping in step with the natural beauty of their surroundings, Joan’s curates a very nostalgic, classic, kind of pumpkin patch experience.
Even during its busiest moments Joan’s feels very relaxed. Their space is large and people have plenty of legroom.
Situated in Livermore, most days leading up to Halloween at Joan’s will still be warm. We visited at 4 pm on a Sunday evening, and things were just cooling down. There was also exceptionally beautiful early evening light, as the sun prepared to set behind the hills.
Family activities and amenities at Joan’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch
Fun on the farm
The farm is quite spacious, so it never feels too crowded. About half of the family activities and the pumpkin patch are arranged in the shade of an oak tree grove, so it feels pleasant throughout the day. Other amenities such as the children’s pumpkin bowling, bucket train rides, and kid-powered bouncy horse race are out in an open field adjacent to the corn maze. This part of the farm is usually in direct sunlight, and can get hot if there’s no breeze.
The Old West Town is a scene set up for the guests’ enjoyment. You can also peek into an ‘museum’ to old farm equipment. You won’t find any flashy rides, merchandise, or toys for sale.
Food and snacks at Joan’s Farm
Joan’s offers a small concession stand that sells hot dogs, nachos, snow cones, and pumpkin pie. They’ve set up some nice shaded spots to sit and eat.
As far as Covid precautions, there were staff visibly wiping things down. The little train is cleaned between tiny riders, and there are signs posted that adults and children over 5 must wear masks.
Happy goats living their best lives
We’ve been to a few pumpkin patches this year with 20 goats stacked in a tiny fenced off area to provide a petting zoo. The goats at Joan’s were notably happy in spacious pens where the children could feed them through the fence. It turns out happy goats are very entertaining: they jumped straight up in the air and butted heads and frolicked with little wagging goat tails. The kids called them ninja goats and watched with excitement in anticipation of what sweet moves they might bust out next.
Plan your visit to Joan’s Pumpkin Patch
If you are looking for a super chill place to pumpkin patch it up with your family, Joan’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch won’t disappoint. Things are a little simpler this year than years’ past and they’ve limited some of the activities. You are still likely to see a wandering deer or a pack of wild turkeys, and that’s as special to some kids as a bounce house.
Location: 4351 Mines Road, Livermore
Hours: Oct. 3 – 31 (closed Mondays), 10 am – 6 pm
Rates: No admission price, but the pumpkins and activities cost $5 each or $25 for an unlimited wristband.
Joan’s is closed Mondays. Tuesday through Friday are more sparsely attended, making it a great time to go get the most beautiful family pictures without other people wandering through your pictures. I highly recommended early evening for cooler temperatures (a breeze tends to kick up) and unmistakably dreamy lighting.
It’s a wonderland for little kids, and teens can appreciate the great selfie potential.
Parking is easy in their large dirt lots, and the porta potties aren’t bad as far as those things go.
[Photos by Jordan Latham and Joan’s Farm as indicated]