Best Fall Activities in Southern California

Are you looking for the best fall activities in Southern California?  Check out this list of locations that we have visited and enjoyed in the past.  I have also included some events and experiences that we hope to experience in the future based upon recommendations from friends.

Pumpkin patch field at Tanaka Farms

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Pumpkin Patches

Pumpkin patches are high on our list of one of the best fall activities in Southern California!  We made visiting the pumpkin patch an annual tradition when my girls were little.  We love the petting zoos, rides, games, and even picture opportunities available at some of the patches.  In fact, it’s a great place to get a good picture for the old holiday card!

I always buy a pumpkin or two to support local businesses and make sure the patch is there next year 😉

Below are two pumpkin patches that we frequented quite a bit over the years and were my girls’ favorite.

Pumpkin patch at the Del Amo Mall

This patch has included bouncy houses and petting zoos in the past.  I’m not sure what it will look like this year, but I can tell you it is always a family favorite!

Location: Del Amo Mall, 3525 W. Carson St., Torrance, CA 90503

*The pumpkin patch is located near the lifestyle wing.

Dates: October 1-31st

Operating Times:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch was the biggest pumpkin patch we ever frequented!  This one has rides, petting zoo, games, and pumpkins.  It’s located in Long Beach and although it might be a bit of a drive for some, it is the patch to go to if you only plan on visiting one patch for the season and want to make it count!

Location: 6701 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90803

Dates: October 1st through October 31st

Operating Times: Times vary and can be found on their website HERE.

Cost: You can purchase single tickets or ticket packages to partake in different activities.  Number of tickets vary per activity.

Botanical Gardens and their associated fall activities

The local botanical gardens are not just for taking a stroll and looking at some pretty flowers!  Believe it or not, they have fall activities that your kids will truly enjoy.  The local botanical gardens are often low cost or even free once a month and for this reason made it on our list of one of the best fall activities in Southern California.

South Coast Botanic Garden

The South Coast Botanic Garden (SCBG) has a pumpkin/fall-related scavenger hunt each year and my kids always enjoyed this one.  Upon entering the garden, we received a scavenger hunt list and clues.  We spent the morning finding each spot until we hit the ultimate “Great Pumpkin” ending spot for some super cute pictures.  Instead of just passively walking and looking at pumpkins, your family gets to work as a team to figure out clues.

The Great Pumpkin Hunt: Kids reviewing the map

You can read all about it in my post about the SCBG Great Pumpkin Hunt.

This year the SCBG is hosting the “Haunted House Hunt” on it’s 87 acre property.

Did I mention that this scavenger hunt is included with your entrance ticket?  There is no separate ticketing fee for this.  Whoop!

*Tip: Head over during the third Tuesday  of each month and enjoy the garden and this activity absolutely free!

Location: 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274

Dates: Now through October 31st.

Cost: General admission into the garden (Adult: $15, Senior (62 and up): $11, Students: $11, Children (age 5 to 12): $5).

You can find more details about the SCBG at their website HERE.

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens has the event, “Carved.”  This is a separate ticketed event (not included with regular admission).  This event promises to provide a harvest festival feel.  I have heard others enjoy it but have not personally been yet.

Location: 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Dates: October 11th through 31st

Cost: $25 to $28 for members, $32 to $35 for non-members

Time: Various entry times from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Check their website for updates HERE.

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Similar to the South Coast Botanic Garden, the LA County Arboretum offers a family-friendly fall activity with admission.  Freaky Flora is a walk through the garden with signage that lets explorers learn freaky facts about plants.  We’ll be sure to share when we head out and experience it!

Location: 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

Date: Now through October 31st

Cost: General admission to The Arboretum General admission into the garden (Adult: $15, Senior (62 and up): $11, Students: $11, Children (age 5 to 12): $5).

Be sure to check their website for updates HERE.

Apple Picking

I am a little embarrassed to say that we STILL have not been apple picking as a family!  Just when I discovered this was possible in SoCal, things got shut down due to Covid.  I can tell you that many SoCal residents would say that apple picking is absolutely one of the best Fall activities in Southern California.

Oak Glen area is the place to go for apple picking.  There are big and small farms where you can pick apples, drink cider, and enjoy seasonal food.

*Tips: Although I have never been, I can tell you that it is very popular and gets very busy.  Friends have told me you want to arrive early to get parking and to enjoy activities.  I’m talking get there before 9am early.  This is a challenge simply because it is quite a drive for many.

Halloween Themed Experiences

Halloween themed experiences made it onto our list of best fall activities in SoCal this past year during quarantine.  We were so limited in what we could do and drive-thru experiences were our only means of providing some sense of the holidays to our kids at the time.  Although these experiences will be walk-through experiences this year, they have truly made me a fan after experiencing them even in the drive-thru context.


Hauntoween was a drive-thru experience last year.  This event holds a place in my heart because it was one of the very few things we could do to celebrate Halloween last year during quarantine.  If you were in SoCal at the time, you know what I’m talking about!

This year it will be a walk through experience.  Although I have not personally experienced it, I can tell you that the drive through itself was an excellent event.Hauntoween LA: A Safe Halloween Adventure


You can read all about our experience during their drive-thru Halloween event last year: Hauntoween LA: A Safe Halloween Adventure

The same company put on Sugar Rush last year as a walk through event and may give you a sense of the caliber you can expect from one of their walk throughs by reading my write up here: Sugar Rush: A Candy and Photo Lover’s Dream!

You can find details about this event at their website HERE.

Irvine Park Railroad

Irvine Park Railroad has several activities for each season.  When visiting the pumpkin patch you can purchase tickets to for various experiences.  There are train rides, games, a pumpkin patch, etc.  You will find that there are bike rentals and paddle boats nearby.  You can even take the family to the Orange County Zoo that is nearby!  This is high on our list of places we want to experience during fall in SoCal.

*Tip: This is a popular location for seasonal activities, therefore it is recommended that you arrive early when attending on weekends.

Location: 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

Dates: Now through October 31st

Times: Monday through Friday: 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m.

Cost: Entrance to the pumpkin patch is free, however you must purchase tickets to participate in various activities.  Parking is also paid and cost varies depending upon the day.

Make sure to check out their website for further details HERE.

Visit a Farm

Did you know that there are local farms that you can visit in SoCal?  It rocked my world when I found out!  No joke.  There are some local farms that have figured out families really love to visit and make a day of it.  My family wholeheartedly loves the experience and can definitely say visiting a farm should be on the list of best Fall activities in Southern California.

Tanaka Farms

Tanaka Farms has a thorough pumpkin patch experience each year.  There are separate ticketed activities you can choose from: the pumpkin patch, tractor rides, petting zoo, u-pick activities.

Note: You must reserve a parking pass online.  I highly recommend that you visit the Tanaka Farms site and read all of the FAQs about how the pumpkin patch works.  Also, this is a popular activity, so I highly recommend you head out earlier in the day.

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch Tractor and wagon

You can read all about our experience at the drive through pumpkin patch last year here: Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch: Halloween 2020 is on!

Read about our experience on one of their wagon tours by reading about our experience on the melon tour: Tanaka Farms Melon Tours: One in a Melon!

Location: 5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

Dates: Now through October 31st, Daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Underwood Family Farms

I have not personally visited Underwood Farms, but I hear this farm is popular among families.

There is a pumpkin patch, ticketed events, and live entertainment during the fall harvest on the farm.

Location: 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark, CA 93021

Cost: Admission cost depends upon the date attending.  I recommend visiting their website here for further details.

Oktoberfest Celebrations

I finally went to my first Oktoberfest celebration this weekend!  I always thought it was only for adults that loved drinking beer.  After some research, I found that these locations have specific dates and times for family-friendly celebrations!  Be sure to head over to their websites for up-to-date details on dates and times.

Alpine Village

Although this is a popular Oktoberfest destination in the South Bay, it appears to not be celebrating Oktoberfest this year.

Old World Oktoberfest

Old World is located in Huntington Beach and has a cute little center where you can walk around and check out bakeries and shops.

Woman holding large pretzel at Old World Village

We headed out for the family-friendly Oktoberfest festivities this past weekend.  We paid $10 admission for each family member age 16 and over.  This fee only covers entry into the event.  Food and beer can be purchased at additional cost.  You must head indoors to watch and listen to the live band perform traditional Oktoberfest music.

Note: There are specific days and times for families.  Be sure to verify dates on their website as there are events that are for 21 and over only.

What about theme parks?

I have not personally gone to any fall-themed theme park events.  My family loves heading to theme parks, but never paid separate admission for the special events.  Several people truly enjoy them and say they are a great seasonal activity, so I will include them here for sake of providing a complete list 😉

I have included my affiliate links for discount Goldstar tickets where available.

Knott’s Scary Farm

Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights

Disneyland Oogie Boogie Bash

This is a separate ticketed event and will be taking place on select dates and times through October.  Head to the Disneyland website for more details!  Given that Mickey is involved, I don’t think you have to worry about scary or horror anything during this ticketed event 😉

Do you have anything else to add?

Please let me know if there is anything else you think belongs on this list!  I would love to hear from you and get some fresh ideas.  Be sure to follow us on Instagram @asocalwayoflife for more fun things to do in SoCal and beyond!

Check out these posts:

The Great Pumpkin Hunt at SCBG: Is It Worth It?

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch: Halloween 2020 is on!

The Most Dino-Mite Drive-Thru of 2021!

Griffith Park Pony Rides: 10 Parent Tips

Experience Los Angeles Museums for FREE!


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