Carlsbad Flower Fields

The Best Time to Visit These Colorful Fields

Carlsbad Flower Fields, San Diego in March

Eric Gorski / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Carlsbad Flower Fields are what technicolor dreams are made of. Every spring, this 50-acre field of nothing but blossoms is covered in red, orange, yellow, green, and purple flowers.

Surprisingly, the folks here didn't set out to plant a botanical garden. Instead, they are a commercial grower of Giant Ranunculus bulbs. It just happens that the flowers these bulbs produce are so beautiful that people want to see them, and they're so popular that they create a temporary tourist attraction every spring. Whether you're driving to San Diego or just want to check these fields off of your bucket list, they certainly make for one of the most beautiful and unexpected stops in Southern California.

How and When to Visit

The Carlsbad Flower Fields are located in north San Diego County, just off Interstate Highway 5. If you're driving from Los Angeles to San Diego (or vice versa) you'll pass right by them, and the fields are located just off the highway exit and just a mile inland from the beach.

The flowers are in bloom each year from about early March to May, with the peak season from mid-March to mid-April, depending on the weather. The fields are open daily to visitors during this time and the admission price is $18 for adults. Allow about an hour or two hours for your visit, depending on how long you want to stroll the fields and take pictures.

What to See

The main attraction at the Carlsbad Flower Fields is, you guessed it, the flowers. The Giant Ranunculus flowers they grow to be exact. Ranunculus are dense-petaled flowers with vibrant colors that look like a giant box of crayons when in bloom across acres of land. The flowers in Carlsbad are exceptionally fluffy and are bred by Edwin Frazee to make them that way.

If you're a fan of other kinds of flowers, the Carlsbad Flower Fields still deliver. Besides the blossom show, there's a miniature rose garden, a poinsettia greenhouse, a sweet pea maze, and a display that includes each of the more than 180 All-American Rose selection winners since 1940. For an extra fee, you can take a wagon ride around the fields or mine for gems in a simulated gold-panning setup.

With so much to do, these fields are the perfect destination for friends and families alike. Whether you're a professional photographer or just posting a picture for your Instagram friends, the dramatic and vibrant backdrop of flowers makes for an impressive photoshoot. If you're visiting on a weekend, you're sure to see some lucky couple exchanging vows and saying, "I do," in this gorgeous setting for a springtime wedding.

Visitors can buy Flower Fields brand products at the store located at the site. Because the Carlsbad Flower Fields are mostly intended for growing bulbs, they sell only one to 2 percent of the flowers. That still amounts to almost a million flower stems, which is a small number compared to the 6 to 8 million bulbs they harvest each year.