It is every girl’s dream, stepping into a never-ending field of brightly colored flowers. Bursts of pink, tangerine, and chartreuse are abundant at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, one of San Diego’s best seasonal flower displays. For a girl that loves extravagant displays of color and has a sincere passion for the outdoors, spending a few hours at Carlsbad Ranch was pure bliss.
For the past six decades and beyond, the hills in North County San Diego continue to proudly show off their stunning display of color with a wide assortment of flowers blooming in spring. Each year, between March and May, visitors flock to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch during this limited window of time to snap a photograph or two and simply admire the surrounding natural beauty.
The flowers grown at the fields are not to be confused with roses. They are Tecolote® Giant Ranunculus, a unique blossom native to Asia Minor. With more than 50 acres of rananculus to explore, it’s easy to spend a few hours walking around the expansive flower fields. For those on a time crunch, with a disability, or who don’t want to walk far, group tractor rides are available and will drop you off at the best flower viewing points.
If you opt out of the tractor ride, you will likely be walking along the dusty paths of the fields at some point. Because of this, I’d recommended wearing comfortable shoes and an outfit you don’t mind getting a little dirt on. The weather in spring is unpredictable at times, so I’d also recommend bringing a jacket. We walked the fields for several hours in the afternoon and the weather got chillier as the sun set. In addition to proper clothing, don’t forget your most important accessory of all: your camera. There are plenty of photo opportunities here, on the sides of your field and there are even a few paths carved out that allow you to get in the middle of the flowers.
For those that want to eat amid a burgeoning sea of flowers, I’d recommend packing a picnic lunch. There are several benches near the fields, and tables and chairs located near the front of the property. If you don’t want to pack food, there are also vending machines and food vendors on weekends.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch History
We can attribute much of the surrounding views at The Flower Fields to Luther Gage, and early settler and grower in the Carlsbad area. He began his floral cultivation in the early 920’s, bringing Ranunculus seeds to the area and growing them in his fields. He joined efforts with Frank Frazee, who owned a small vegetable farm next to his field and started a business named “Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs.
Frazee’s son Edwin continued to grow the family flower operation for years before deciding to retire in 1993. Paul Ecke Jr., a local flower farmer and friend of Edwin’s, convinced him to not fully retire and act as a consultant to help him grow his flower business. Paul wanted to find a way to tie agriculture with tourism, to keep the fields financially stable after a difficult few years. Thus, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch came to fruition and have been a popular tourist destination since.
2017 Dates: March 1 through May 14
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Best Time to Visit: Late-March to early April, depending on weather conditions
Admission Price: $14 for adults, $13 for seniors and $7 for children, ages three to 10. Kids age two and under are free.
Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte Carlsbad, CA 92008