Imagine an endless field of colorful blooms, a fantasyland of beautiful flowers… that’s exactly what the Carlsbad Flower Fields is like! This flower field is a huge flower farm and seasonal attraction in San Diego county in Southern California. There are nearly 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year. Seeing this amazing flower field in person was a dream come true for a flower lover like myself! If you love Spring flowers, you must visit this flower paradise in Southern California! In this post, I’ll share the best time to visit this amazing place and also include some photography tips.
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The photos for this post were taken with my Nikon D750 (newer model D850 here), using my favorite Nikon 50mm lens. I have an entire post on the best lenses for flower photography you might be interested in! Or have a look inside my camera bag.
The Flower Fields of Carlsbad, California
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad is a HUGE flower farm and seasonal attraction in San Diego county in Southern California. There are nearly 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May. During this time, the entire area is covered with a rainbow of these colorful flowers for as far as the eyes can see! Seeing the vast sea of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers in person over fifty acres was as amazing as I imagined it to be! (If you haven’t seen these flowers before, they look like a cross of carnations and roses.)
In addition to exploring the flower fields, visitors can enjoy an open-air wagon tour through The Flower Fields via an antique tractor, visit an orchid greenhouse and several other special smaller gardens and explore a sweet pea maze. Please check their website for all the latest!
The Best Time to Visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields
The Carlsbad Flower Fields is typically open from March 1 to early May. The best time to see the flowers is usually mid-March through Mid-April, although it’s best to check their website for updates if you plan on going. The fields were spectacular when we visited at the end of March! I also recommend visiting first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon near closing time to avoid the heat and to minimize glare from the sun while taking photos.
All tickets must be pre-purchased online. Please check their website for ticket and visitor information. Opening hours are 9 am – 6 pm daily. Parking is free.
If you live in Southern California, I recommend choosing a cooler day or even an overcast day to visit since it can get quite hot on an open field, especially if you plan to be there for a couple of hours! On an overcast day, there will also be less glare and harsh shadows on the flowers and on you. There were no clouds on a hot day when I visited, so that’s why I’m facing away from the camera in these pics!
Where is the Carlsbad Flower Fields Located?
The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch is located in Carlsbad in Southern California, between Los Angeles and San Diego. Our drive down from Orange County took about an hour in the morning. Driving up from San Diego would take about 40 minutes.
We included a visit here as part of our “Spring Blooms of Southern California” road trip in March, during which we also visited the beautiful Descanso Gardens near Los Angeles and the historic and very special Virginia Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills.
By the way, if you love flowers as much as I do, you might be interested in my post on the Most Beautiful Flower Books – it’s one of my most popular posts!
Visitor Tips for the Carlsbad Flower Fields
The Flowers Fields is HUGE – 50 acres huge – so it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stay longer than you intend to. Make sure you have enough water and snacks with you so you don’t have to backtrack to their snack area which may seem miles away when you’re hungry or thirsty. I also recommend carrying extra batteries for your camera – you’ll be tempted to take lots of pictures!
It was actually quite hot when we visited at the end of March, so don’t forget your sunscreen! (I like this one from Supergoop.) I also recommend that you bring a hat to shield against the sun. My favorite Lack of Color straw hat is now available at Saks Fifth Avenue (I wear a medium)!
Insider tip: Walk further down the fields for less crowds!
The most crowded areas are closer to the entrance of the fields, so keep walking further down the fields for much less people! In some of the areas closer to the entrance, there will be lines at the designated photo spots, but almost no lines further down the fields. My mistake was spending too much time near the entrance – I would head straight away from the crowds next time to try to get pictures in before the sun gets stronger. The pink and white fields that I liked the most were also further down the field.
Photography Tips for the Carlsbad Flower Fields
Walking onto the fields is not allowed, and they do have enforcers throughout the fields, but there are many designated walk-out spots that they have created for photo opportunities to make it look like you’re standing in the middle of the field. If your friend/photographer positions the camera correctly, the walk-out paths and ropes will not be so visible.
For example, if you kneel down close to the ground and shoots slightly upwards, the ropes and metal separators should be mostly hidden. If there are some peeking through, you can easily edit them out using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. (Pro tip – your friend/BF/hubby/photographer might want to bring some knee pads for these situations that require kneeling. My husband Ken uses knee pads all the time for our photo outings!)
You can also stand on one of the benches for photos like I did in this photo below and strategically crop out the benches later 😉.
Note – Their website states that photography by amateurs and for non-commercial purposes is allowed, but that “Excessive camera and video equipment will not be permitted.” Professional photography can be arranged for a fee.
The photos for this post were taken with my Nikon D750 (newer model D850 here), using my favorite Nikon 50mm lens. I have an entire post on the best lenses for flower photography you might be interested in!
California Spring Travel
If you’re looking for more California Spring travel ideas, check out my posts on the Most Beautiful Spots in Big Sur, the Purple Ice Plants of the Monterey Peninsula, the Poppy Fields of Mt Diablo State Park, Cherry Blossoms in the Bay Area, Lupine Wildflower Fields in Northern California, and beautiful Spring Peach Blossoms!
All of my California travel posts are here!
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Thank you for stopping by my blog! I hope you found this post useful, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
Hi, I’m Pansy!
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I’m Pansy, California-based travel blogger, photographer and lover of ALL the pretty flowers! You may notice that most of my travels, photography & DIY center around flowers and nature! 🌸🌼🌿
I recently started a YouTube channel where I feature walks through beautiful gardens, parks & flower fields! Make sure to follow me there if you love flowers & gardens! 😊