The Carlsbad Flower Fields Complete Guide - This Rare Earth (2024)

So, you’ve seen the the Carlsbad Flower Fields all over the internet, and are curious to see them for yourself? This guide will tell you everything you need to know to visit the colorful Carlsbad flowers – from the best time to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields to things to do to the best hotels near the Carlsbad Ranch, you’ll find it all here.

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Each and every year, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch see thousands of visitors. People drive in from all over Southern California to see the famous, vibrant Carlsbad flowers in person.

The spectacular display is bursting with color – and is even more incredible when a California superbloom hits Carlsbad. Tulips of all colors, Giant Tecolote Ranunculus, sunflowers, and more blanket the once-green ground and make visitors feel like they are walking in a fairytale.

This popular spot explodes annually and this guide will tell you exactly what to expect. Let’s dive into everything the Carlsbad Flower Fields have to offer!

Table of Contents

Carlsbad Flower Fields Hours and Address

First, the basics. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch can be found at:

The operating hours for The Flower Fields are:

  • March 1st to May 14th from 9am to 6pm

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How Much Does It Cost to Go to Carlsbad Flower Fields?

The price for a ticket to Carlsbad Flower Fields, including the mandatory service fee, is as follows:

  • Adults (11- 60):$26.08 USD
  • Seniors (60+) / Military:$23.81 USD
  • Children (3 – 10):$13.61 USD
  • Under 3:FREE

Currently, you cannot purchase tickets on site and you cannot just show up and walk in. All visitors need to purchase a ticket online, in advance. More on that below.

Carlsbad Flower Fields Tickets

Tickets are only available for purchase on the official website, found here.

When you buy your ticket, you need to pick a specific entrance time. I recommend purchasing your ticket several days before you plan on going to secure your desired ticket time. That way, you can also make sure that there isn’t any rain forecasted on the day of your visit!

There are 450 tickets available for most time slots, except for the first (9:00am – 300 tickets) and the last (4:30m – 150 tickets.)

Be sure that you arrive within 30 minutes of your chosen time slot. They are trying to space out the many visitors to keep the experience enjoyable for everyone! And, you are free to stay as long as you want after entry.

Parking is also included with your ticket price.

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When is the Best Time to Visit Carlsbad Flower Fields?

The Flower Fields are only open for a short window from March to May each year, during peak bloom times. However, early to mid April will usually provide the best and brightest flowers. In early March, the fields can look sparse.

The best time of day to visit is in the early morning. if you want to take photos, you will have the best lighting possible – and potentially, the fewest crowds.

The best day to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields is definitely early in the week, on a weekday. Tuesdays are the least busy days while weekends are the busiest.

Things to Do at Carlsbad Flower Fields

Believe it or not, there are several activities to take part in while you visit Carlsbad Ranch. Let’s go over the best things to do here during your visit.

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1. Stroll through the Flower Fields.

This is likely the very reason you decided to visit: to see the colorful Carlsbad flowers.

The fiery orange, red, and yellow fields of Tecolote Ranunculus will be bursting with color across 55 acres, and the cheery yellow sunflowers will be stretching toward the sun.

You will be walking through a literal rainbow of color, endlessly vibrant all the way to the horizon, and it is definitely a sight to see!

There are lots of places to stop and take photos on benches near the blooms. They are unmissable as you walk the fields. Be careful not to cross the tape barrier or trample any of the flowers.

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2. Pick your own blueberries.

If you visit early enough in the season, you might get the chance to pick your own fresh blueberries from the seasonal blueberry patch. If you are obsessed with fresh fruit like me, then this is something you should definitely do.

Be aware, Carlsbad Ranch has only two acres of blueberry bushes. If you arrive too early in the season, they may not be ripe. And if you arrive too late, they may be picked clean.

When you arrive, look for the posted sign indicating if there are blueberries available for picking or not. If so, you can purchase a 1-pint container to fill for $5.

3. Take a tractor tour.

If you’d like to be toured around the gardens, you can purchase a tractor tour ticket for an additional $8 for adults and $4 for children. These tickets can be purchased on site, so you do not need to decide before you get there.

The tractor tour is a great option for parents with small children, visitors who have injuries or mobility issues, and/or anyone who wants to ride in style. A tractor will tow you in a wagon around the fields, giving you a great view along the way.

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4. Enjoy the Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse.

The Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse is another gorgeous stop at the Carlsbad Flower Fields that you can’t miss! It reminds me a bit of The Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs, where I visit my beloved cacti from time to time.

Inside the Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse, you’ll get up close and personal to loads of gorgeous orchids. Look closely to investigate their mottled patterning, all different from one another, like a finger print.

The orchids are one of the best things to see at the ranch. Don’t skip it!

5. Visit the Specialty Gardens.

Your entry ticket includes access to several other specialty gardens and areas, such as the Demonstration Garden, Butterfly Garden, Illusion Garden, Mediterranean Garden and Fountain Garden.

Anyone who wants to purchase their own plant baby might want to stop by the Demonstration Garden for helpful tips on how to care for it.

The Butterfly Garden will be fun for children, as there are all manner of butterfly-themed items found here. Butterfly statues, benches, and artwork are scattered about.

The Illusion Garden, Mediterranean Garden and Fountain Garden are all fun to check out briefly, but in my opinion these small areas are more of a side-show to the main highlight. But they are worth a quick stop!

6. Go to a special event.

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch also hosts a number of special events throughout the year.

Choose from outdoor yoga sessions, educational gardening classes, specialty workshops, and even wine tasting are offered. You can view their activity calendar here. I would wholeheartedly consider coming back for one in the future!

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Carlsbad Flower Fields Photography

Photography is allowed and encouraged at The Flower Fields! However, you do need to follow their photography and videography policies.

The following rules apply:

  • Cameras, phones, and tripods are all permitted. Professional or commercial camera shoots are not allowed and need to be booked through the venue.
  • Drones are strictly prohibited.
  • Do not pass any tape barriers or trample any flowers to get your shot. Remain on marked pathways at all times. Do not pick any flowers.

If you are a photographer like me, you are going to want to bring your camera and spend some time here, shooting to your heart’s content!

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What do you wear to The Carlsbad Flower Fields?

For photos, anything goes really. You could go bright and bold like the colorful flowers themselves, or solid and understated.

I went with muted pastels here because I thought it would look nice against the bold bright blooms. Many people wear elaborate dresses, but that’s just not “me”!

California’s springtime also brings varying amounts of rain each year. Here is what I recommend wearing and bringing in both rain and sun.

Carlsbad Flower Fields: FAQ

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When can you see flower fields in Carlsbad?

The flower Fields are open between March and May yearly. The best time to see blooms is typically in April.

Are the Carlsbad Flower Fields worth it?

Yes! The Carlsbad flowers are definitely a sight to see. While I wouldn’t recommend visiting multiple times per year, do the the price, it is worth an annual trip here (especially fi you have kids.

How long does it take to go through the Carlsbad Flower Fields?

Plan to spend between 1-2 hours here. If you have children, you could make it an all-day activity since there are loads of kid-friendly displays and activities.

What shoes to wear at Carlsbad Flower Fields?

If it is hot and dry, wear a pair of cute strappy sandals. If Carlsbad has experienced rain recently, I recommend a good pair of waterproof boots.

Are the Carlsbad Flower Fields free?

The Carlsbad Flower Fields are not free, unfortunately! They are privately owned by Carlsbad Ranch and adult tickets cost $23 + service fee.

Are there restrooms Carlsbad Flower Fields?

Yes, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch has restrooms on site. They also have various places to buy food and snacks.

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Hotels Near the Carlsbad Flower Fields

If you’re driving in to see the Flower Fields from Los Angeles, Orange County, or elsewhere, you will likely need a place to stay overnight. Here are my top recommendations in the area!

Budget & Mid-Range Hotels Near the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Days Inn by Windham Carlsbad: 2-star hotel | Days Inn has all the basics at this clean and comfortable location. With a pool on site, and free Wifi, it’s a solid choice!
Best Western Carlsbad By the Sea: 3-star hotel | Here you’ll get free parking, free Wifi, a swimming pool, hot tub, and breakfast. What more do you need?

Upscale and Luxury Hotels Near the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, A Hilton Resort & Spa: 4-star hotel | The highlight here is easily the huge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But also, you’ll get comfortable clean rooms, Wifi, and a nice fitness room, too.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar: 5-star hotel | This luxury stay is perfect if you plan to head south near Torrey Pines. Ultra-clean, and with a gorgeous pool and garden, this is the ultimate in relaxation.

If you’d like to check rates and prices on your own, you can do that here:

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Nearby Activities To Try in Carlsbad

Want to turn your day trip into a staycation? Then check out these other locations, tours, and activities nearby!

1. A Carlsbad Village Food Tour

If you are coming in from out of town or are hungry for a bite after the Carlsbad Flower Fields, I highly recommend taking a food tour! This Carlsbad Village Food Tour is a 3 hour deep dive into the best eats in this quaint, coastal town.

This unique walking tour will introduce you to the flavors of the region, include a wine tasting session, and teach you about the village’s history, culture, and architecture.


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2. A Temecula All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch

If you’ve never visited Temecula (and you like wine), then this one is for you.

You’ll get to spend the day tasting the wines of four of Temecula Valley Wine Country’s best wineries. You’ll also enjoy a gourmet-picnic lunch, which is included in the tour.

Be aware, the tour departs from the Temecula area, so you do need a car to drive inland!


3. Get Your San Diego CityPass

The San Diego CityPass will give you over 43% savings to local attractions!. Enjoy tickets to LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo, theme parks and more. You get to choose your top attractions and tailor the CityPass to your interests.

This is the best option if you’re here for a few days and want to see it all!


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4. Take a Hiking Day Trip to Anza Borrego

Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the contiguous USA. And, it’s definitely in my top three favorite California State Parks!

Anza Borrego has excellent hiking trails, like a slot canyon and palm oasis. And, it is even more beautiful during years that experience a superbloom.


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Bottom Line: Are the Carlsbad Flower Fields Worth It?

Yes! If you visit at the right time.

Be sure to:

a) Check the weather meticulously. Avoid rainy days since you’ll be outside.

b) Purchase your tickets ahead of time.

c) Check the bloom forecast or plan tot visit from the beginning of April onwards. This is your best bet for full fields of blooms.

Where To Go Next

For some of the prettiest hiking trails in San Diego, head 20 minutes south of the Flower Fields to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The hikes offer superb views of crazy rock formations and the Pacific.

Drive inland to Anza Borrego Desert State Park. This is the largest state park in the continental USA and it’s desert landscape is wild and rugged. You can even hike a slot canyon or see dinosaur sculptures at sunrise.

Want to head north? Consider a scenic Pacific Coast Highway road trip. Everyone should do this at least once in their lifetime – the views are unreal.


So, what do you think? Are you headed to see the colorful flower fields in Carlsbad? If you have already been, how was it? Let me know below!

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The Carlsbad Flower Fields Complete Guide - This Rare Earth (2024)


Is the Carlsbad Flower Field worth it? ›

Gorgeous flowers everywhere, nice place to spend a couple of hours enjoying the sights and scents. Flower Field were excellent place for the day trip. It was great and Just perfect for the flower lover. Love the vibrant colors and the surrounding.

How long does it take to go through the Carlsbad flower Fields? ›

Head out on this 5.1-mile loop trail near Carlsbad, California. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 45 min to complete. This trail is great for hiking and walking, and it's unlikely you'll encounter many other people while exploring.

What kind of flowers are at Carlsbad flower Fields? ›

The 55-acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch® in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life.

Are Carlsbad flower fields free? ›

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Cost: $14 for adults; $13 for seniors over age 60; $7 for children 3-10; free for children 2 and under. Parking is free.

What is the best time to visit the flower fields in Carlsbad? ›

Mid-March to mid-April is peak season for The Flower Fields in Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California, which means that, right now, you could be seeing their 50 acres of magnificent fields of flowers in full bloom - on look at the picture to the left tells you it's worth the trip.

How much does it cost to go to the Carlsbad Flower Fields? ›

As for the flower fields in general, single ticket admission is $23 for adults, $21 for seniors 60+ and military, $14 for children ages 3–10, and free for children under the age of 3.

What shoes to wear at Carlsbad Flower Fields? ›

There is a lot of loose gravel so, no sandals. Wear Closed Shoes.

Can you take pictures at the Carlsbad Flower Fields? ›

The Flower Fields' welcomes you to bring your personal camera and a smile and create lasting memories for you and your family. As a guest of The Flower Fields, you may bring personal cameras, phones, and tripods. We do not allow professional photographers or any other equipment without booking a photo or video shoot.

Can you have a picnic at Carlsbad flower Fields? ›

Enjoy a luxury picnic lunch overlooking millions of ranunculus flowers! Come for the views but stay for lunch, live music + more! Private parking + wagon rides are also included.

How much is the train from Carlsbad to San Diego? ›

The best way to get from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego is to train which takes 1h 18m and costs $2 - $6. Alternatively, you can line 101 bus and line 41 bus, which costs $5 - $15 and takes 3h 1m.

How many people visit the Carlsbad flower Fields? ›

Every year Southern California welcomes in the spring season with a very special attraction - The Flower Fields® at Carlsbad Ranch one of the most unique attractions in Southern California and an annual rite of passage into spring; drawing more than 100,000 visitors annually.

How much does the flower fields cost? ›

Single ticket admission is $23 for adults, $21 for seniors 60+ and military, $12 for children ages 3 through 10, and free for children under three. Season passes are available for $48 for adults, $44 for seniors 60+, $24 for children ages 3 through 10, and free for children under three.

How much does Carlsbad cost? ›

CategoryCarlsbadU.S. Average
Rent$3,099.17 (+52.57%)$1,470.04
Mortgage$4,975.85 (+54.1%)$2,283.8
Gas$4.55 (+26.36%)$3.35
Energy Bill$218.46 (+11.66%)$192.98
7 more rows

Why is Carlsbad so popular? ›

Carlsbad is known for its oceanfront beaches, but also has one of the most popular kids' parks in the country. Also in the city, you'll find a rich culinary tradition with a wide range of foods and wines, which you might want to try on a food tour or when cruising across town on a rented electric scooter.

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