It's decorative gourd season again, mofos—everyone is drooling pumpkin spice and there are corpulent gourds literally everywhere.
Admittedly these are strange and historic times, with no Halloween-y thing scarier than Covid. But we're vaxed, masked, and putting all that behind us...and we're ready for a good autumnal corn maze, hay ride, and some pumpkin tossing.
Here are the best pumpkin patches in the Bay Area. Happy picking!
Alameda Point Pumpkin Patch
Having temporarily moved over to Uptown Oakland last year, Speer Family Farms' pumpkin patch is back at Alameda Point this year. The adventurous mecca keeps its four-story ship slide, jumpy houses, pumpkin shooters, a petting zoo, an adult chill area, and more. Bag your own valley-grown pumpkins and other organic produce before calling it a day. Advance tickets ($20/kids, $10/adults) and ordering for delivery are also available online.
// 10am to 10pm daily through Nov. 1; 2453 Hancock St. (Alameda), speerfamilyfarms.com
Arata's Pumpkin Farm
This isn't your typical run-of-the-mill, ma'-and-pa' pumpkin patch. Latticed with its own hay-walled labyrinth and circled by, yes, a gladiator ring, Arata's Pumpkin Farm is as enchanting as it is enigmatic—there's something different to explore around almost every corner. In the evenings, they also have a Haunted Barn. But don't get too disorientated. There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of ripe pumpkins ready for you to take home. For kids, Arata's offers hayrides, pony rides, train rides, and a petting zoo.
// 9am to 6:30pm Sunday through Thursday, 9am to 10:30pm Friday and Saturday; 185 Verde Rd. (Half Moon Bay), aratapumpkinfarm.com
If a good old fashioned corn maze is your thing, then get ready to get (somewhat) lost at G&M Farms' nearly six-acre corn maze, carved with twists and turns, dead ends and dizzying walkways. Once you find your way out, pick your own gourd right off the vine. Pony rides, farm animals, hay rides, and a Cow Train are available on weekends. Like it spooky? Wear your costume for the haunted maze on the October 30th.
// 3pm to 6pm Wednesday through Friday, 10am to 6pm weekends; 487 East Airway Blvd. (Livermore), gmfarms.com
Peter Pumpkin Patch
A trip north of the Golden Gate Bridge will treat you to a bevy of roadside farm stands, enthusiastically slinging their squash for coins—but none of them can hold a candle to Petaluma's Peter Pumpkin Patch, located at the working dairy farm Petaluma Creamery. Pumpkin lovers can also embrace their inner farmhand whilst on the grounds, milking cows and digging for potatoes. Don't miss out on live music (on weekends), barbecue, and homemade pumpkin ice cream and organic cheeses. Leave the white jeans and cream-colored Yeezys at home.
// Open Oct.8-31, noon to 5pm weekdays and 9am to 5pm weekends; 4235 Spring Hill Rd. (Petaluma), springhillcheese.com/pumpkin-patch
Clancy's Pumpkin Patch
Get a taste of the country at Clancy's Pumpkin Patch, a cultural touchstone since 1979 now with two locations. Expect all varieties of pumpkins and gourds, as well as tractor-pulled hay rides around the patch. // 9am to 9pm daily through Halloween at 1620 7th Ave. (Forest Knolls); 9am to 8pm Monday through Thursday and 9am to 9pm Friday and Saturday at 2101 Sloat Blvd. (Lake Merced); clancytrees.com
Smith Family Farms
Take advantage of this year's bounty at Smith Family Farm's Pumpkin Patch. You can take the fam for insect encounters (there's a beehive and butterfly habitat), enjoy live music and food trucks, walk the Autumn Trail, and gather edible pumpkins for all your pie-baking needs.
Your $12 admission fee (cash only) includes a pumpkin of your choice. There's also a fruit stand open daily that sells things like persimmons and pomegranates.
// 9am to 5pm daily through Halloween; 4350 Sellers Ave. (Brentwood), smithfamilyfarm.com
From an activities standpoint, Lemos Farm is the Bay Area's equivalent of a fall-themed Disneyland. Aside from the bevy of mother effin' gourds to choose from, older kids at heart can enjoy a spooky trek through the haunted house while the young ones can make a beeline to the well-stocked petting zoo or take a pony or train ride. And yes, Lemos Farms does regularly host goat yoga sessions.
// 9am to 5pm daily, 12320 San Mateo Rd. (Half Moon Bay); Tickets ($25-$30/kids over 14, $15/adults) are available online atlemosfarm.com.
Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch
For over 25 years, Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch has been the perfect go-to for those of us who want a festive AF gourd but don't have the time to wander around acres of farmland to find it. They sell more than 15 pumpkin varieties including plenty of multicolored mini pumpkins to bring those pumpkin patch vibes indoors. They also have a Halloween costume and decorations shop and a small haunted house. You can shop their online store for delivery Bay Area-wide.
// 9am to 8pm daily, 4414 Piedmont Ave. (Oakland), pumpkinpatch.info
Farmer John's Pumpkin Patch
Farmer John's is under new ownership but you can still expect to find some of the plumpest pumpkins in the Peninsula, with a wide variety of Cinderellas, luminas (white pumpkins), and the world-famous (and world's largest) Atlantic pumpkins. But with some examples of the latter varietal on his farm weighing in at 500 pounds, you'd be hard pressed to fit one in the family hatchback.
// 9am to 6pm daily through Halloween; 850 Cabrillo Hwy N (Half Moon Bay), farmerjohnspumpkins.com
During the month of October, Pastorino's transforms into a seasonal pumpkin farm with hayrides, train rides, ponies, pet-and-feed farm animals, giant slides, and jumpers. On the weekends, enjoy a haunted house and face painting; the farm also operates a year-round nursery where you can find a new plant baby to take home.
// 9:30am to 5:30pm daily through Halloween; 12391 San Mateo Rd. (Half Moon Bay), pastorinofarms.com