The Flower Fields

The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch, The Ultimate Guide

The Carlsbad Flower Fields have been a staple in Carlsbad for decades. The iconic, colorful Ranunculus Fields attract visitors from California and beyond. You can easily spend hours walking around the fields to get that picture-perfect Instagram photo. While at the Flower Fields, take a stroll around the many garden displays. You may find some smaller and whimsical garden spots along the way. Keep reading to learn more about visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields so you can plan your next visit to The Flower Fields.

Walk Around the Ranunculus Fields

The main attraction of the Carlsbad Flower Fields is the Ranunculus Fields. The Ranunculus Fields are on 55 acres of land at Carlsbad Ranch. This massive, iconic, colorful flower field is the most well-known display of flowers in North San Diego County. Photographs of the Ranunculus Fields are the most associated garden display at the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields and promotion for visiting Carlsbad in Southern California. 

Many people make their way to Carlsbad to wander around the Ranunculus Fields for the perfect Instagrammable picture. As you walk around the Ranunculus Fields, you will notice designated areas to enter so you can take pictures amongst the flowers. You can even find a few picture opportunities in the flower fields with a large chair and a couple of tractors.

Ranunculus Flowers at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
Ranunculus Flowers
Ranunculus Flowers at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
Ranunculus Flowers

To protect the Ranunculus Fields, there is green “Do Not Cross” tape to keep people from entering the flower fields. This is done to protect the flower field so everyone can enjoy the beautiful, colorful field of flowers. When you enter the fields to take pictures, you should stay within the designated photo-op areas. This way, everyone can continue to take beautiful pictures and enjoy the fields.

Go for a Tractor Wagon Ride Around the Ranunculus Fields

A great way to see the Ranunculus Fields is to go on a Tractor Wagon Ride. The Tractor Wagon Ride goes around the perimeter of the Carlsbad Flower Fields. By going for a ride on the Tractor Wagon Ride, you get amazing views and pictures of the flower fields. This can be especially helpful when the tractor wagon drives by the American Flag of Flowers. Tthe Tractor Wagon Ride is wheelchair accessible making it possible for everyone to enjoy a ride on the Tractor Wagon.

There is an additional cost to ride the Tractor Wagon around the Carlsbad Flower Fields. For adults, the cost is $8.00, and for children ages 3 to 10, the cost is $4.00. Children under the age of 3 can ride the Tractor Wagon Ride for free. You can find the entrance for the Tractor Wagon Ride in front of the Ranunculus Fields just past the Flower Fields sign by the entrance. 

The Tractor Wagon Ride at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Tractor Wagon Ride

Stop By the American Flag of Flowers

The American Flag of Flowers is located all the way to the right on the back hillside behind the Ranunculus Fields. Unlike the Ranunculus Fields, the American Flag of Flowers is made up of red, white, and blue petunias. The American flag of Flowers has been planted yearly at Carlsbad Ranch in memory of those who died on September 11, 2001.

From the ground, it can be difficult to see the American Flag the petunias form. This is a benefit of going on the Tractor Wagon Ride, as you can more easily see the American Flag. A few other ways to get a great view of the American Flag of Flowers is from outside the Flower Fields. You can get a great view of the American flag on Armada Drive and Palomar Airport Road. You can also get a good view of the American Flag from the walkway around the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort above the Flower Fields.

A couple of fun facts about the flower fields are that the American Flag of Flowers is done to scale based on the design dimensions of the flag oulined in Executive Order #10834. Also, when the American Flag of Flowers begins to bloom, it is a reminder that the Flower Fields will soon be blooming and spring is coming.

Make Your Way Through the Sweet Pea Maze

If you are up for a challenge, try making your way through the Sweet Pea Maze. The Sweet Pea Maze has twenty-three fragrant varieties that make up the maze. The later in the season that you visit the Flower Fields, the more sweet pea flowers you will see as you make your way through the maze. When you first enter the maze and start making your way through, it may not seem difficult, but you will soon discover that you can easily find yourself going around in circles before finding your way out of the maze.

The Sweet Pea Maze at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Sweet Pea Maze

School Program Area

At the Carlsbad Flower Fields, there is a School Program Area used for demonstrations. If you visit the Flower Fields during the week, you may be there when schools are having field trips and using this area. A variety of educational programs are conducted here, such as lessons on composting, learning about bugs in gardens, and even garden artwork.

Stop by the Various Themed Gardens

In addition to the Ranunculus Fields, there are several smaller themed gardens. The smaller gardens can be found before the Ranunculus Fields near the entrance to the Flower Fields. Each of the smaller gardens has great picture opportunities.

Reya at the Flower Fields
Reya at the Flower Fields

Demonstration Garden/Master Gardeners of San Diego County

The Demonstration Garden brings together the Master Gardeners of San Diego County to create several beautiful displays. The displays have native plants and aim to show sustainable gardens. Additionally, you will find a beautiful mural from local artist Michael Summers.

The Master Gardeners Garden at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Master Gardeners Garden

Whimsy Garden

You will also find a cute, fun, whimsical valley miniature garden display outside the Demonstration Garden near Santa’s Playground. If you are not aware that the whimsy miniature display is there, you are likely to miss it. We walked by the miniature display and luckily we looked down and found it.

The Whimsical Garden
The Whimsical Garden
The Whimsical Garden
The Whimsical Garden

Walk Around the Artist Gardens and Bird Aviaries

The Artist Gardens is a beautiful display of flowers and greenery. The Artist Garden, was named after the master gardener at the Carlsbad Flower Fields, Don Miller, and is now known as Don Miller’s Garden. The garden has a water feature in the center with bird aviaries at each end of the water feature. In the bird aviaries, you can find Ringneck Dove and Zebra Finches.

Visit the Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse

The Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse has cymbidium orchids of different colors. There is also a bench surrounded by orchids in the greenhouse. This bench makes for a perfect picture opportunity.

Stop by the Illusion Garden

The Illusion Garden has two large garden chairs and a table with tea cups. There are also two topiaries, one on the side of each large chair. This garden is a great photo opportunity as it is artistically made. You are able to sit on the oversized chairs and pose for many awesome photos. You will also find another one of the large chairs in the Ranunculus Field.

The Illusion Garden at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Illusion Garden
View of the Illusion Garden Tea Set at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
Illusion Garden Tea Set

Walk Through the Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden was one of my favorite gardens to walk through. The garden is colorful, with many purple, pink, and white flowers. There is a gazebo, butterfly benches, and colorful butterfly statues throughout the garden. The Butterfly Garden celebrates the role butterflies play in helping flowers bloom. While walking in the Butterfly Garden, you will notice stairs. The stairs will take you up to the Ranunculus Fields, so you will not have to walk back towards the entrance to get to the Ranunculus Fields.

Rosby and Reya at the Butterfly Garden
Rosby and Reya at the Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden

Visit the Pothead Garden Display

Pothead Garden is a display with several concrete busts. Each of the busts or heads has either flowers, succulents, or other greenery flowing from the top. This garden makes for a great picture opportunity.

The Pothead Garden at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Pothead Garden

Enjoy the Fountain Garden

The Fountain Garden has a large fountain surrounded by many colorful flowers. There is also a large flower bed on the outside perimeter of the Fountain Garden with even more beautiful, colorful flowers. The Fountain Garden is a great place to sit and enjoy the sound of the water flowing from the fountain.

Fountain Garden at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Fountain Garden

Stop By the Historical Poinsettia Display

The Historic Poinsettia Display is in a greenhouse and showcases numerous varieties of poinsettias. This display also provides historical information on the role Paul Ecke played in the cultivation of poinsettias.

Poinsettias at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad

The Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn

During the Carlsbad Flower Field Season, The Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn is used to show footage about the Flower Fields to the public. The Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn is also used for presentations to school children visiting the Flower Fields on field trips. In addition to being used for presentations on the Flower Fields, The Paul Ecke Jr. Family Barn is used as a wedding venue and for special events throughout the year. The venue can accommodate 200 people inside and up to 1,000 people outdoors. 

Play in Santa’s Playground

If you are visiting the Flower Fields with young children, Santa’s Playground is a great area for them to play. The playground has several decorative pieces scattered from the entrance to the playground area. These pieces consist of a Guard Shack, Crooked Treehouse, Doll House, and numerous giant, colorful mushrooms. All of these pieces were once part of Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead. Since these pieces were once part of Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead, this playground is called Santa’s Playground.

Go Blueberry Picking at The Flower Fields

Depending on the weather, you might be able to go Blueberry Picking during your visit to The Flower Fields. If the blueberry patch is open, there will be signs. If there are no signs about the blueberry patch then the patch is closed. When the blueberry patch is open for picking, a 1 pint U-Pick basket costs $8. The Flower Field will only accept credit card payments to go Blueberry picking.

Visit the Carlsbad Mining Company at The Flower Fields

A fun activity at Carlsbad Flower Fields for kids is to go mining for gemstones. At the Carlsbad Mining Company at the Flower Fields, your children can mine for gemstones using the sluicing water method. When mining, your child can pick the bucket of sand they want to mine. The workers will then place the sand in a wooden box with a sluice gate on the bottom and allow water to run through the sluice. As the water and sand go through the sluice gate, left behind will be several gemstones you can take home.

Grab a Bite to Eat at the Flower Fields

If you get hungry during your visit to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, there are several food options available. In the picnic area, you will find the Pizza Trolley and the Taco Trolley. The pizza from the Pizza Trolley is artisan pizza and smells amazing. The Pizza Trolley also sells salads if you do not want pizza or food from the Taco Trolley. 

As the name suggests, the Taco Trolley sells tacos. If you choose to order food from the Taco Trolley, you do not have to get tacos. You can also order burritos or a bowl instead of tacos. In the picnic area, there are tables you can sit at while you enjoy food from the trolleys.

The Pizza Trolley at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
The Pizza Trolley

Get a Sweet Treat at the Flower Fields

There are several places you can choose from to get a sweet treat during your visit. You can get ice cream from Sweet Swirls Ice Cream stand, kettle corn from Kettle Kernal Popcorn, cotton candy, a Lemonade Stand, and strawberry sweet treats from the Strawberry Shack of Carlsbad.

The sweets are found closer to the entrance and exit of the Flower Fields. The Sweet Swirls Ice Cream stand looks like an ice cream cone and is near the entrance across from the Tractor Wagon Ride area. The Cotton Candy stand can also be found next to the Sweet Swirls Ice Cream. Kettle Kernal Popcorn is found closer to the Exit and has small, medium, and large kettle corn bags for sale.

The Food Area at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad
Food Area at the Flower Fields

The Strawberry Shack of the Carlsbad Flower Fields is located across from Don Miller’s Garden. The Strawberry Shack is in a building, unlike the other sweet treats that are stand-alone kiosks. At The Strawberry Shack, you can get chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake, their famous Strawberry Shake, and even a Dole Whip like the ones sold at the Dole Plantation on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii.

Carlsbad Flower Fields FAQs

To help you plan your visit to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, here are some answers to questions you may have about visiting the Flower Fields.

Where are the Flower Fields in Carlsbad Located?

The Flower Fields are located in Carlsbad at 5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008. You can also put The Flower Fields in Google Maps to help you get to the main entrance of the fields.

When are the Carlsbad Flower Fields Open?

The Carlsbad Flower Fields are open daily from March to mid-May throughout the season. If there is rain, the Flower Fields will be open unless it is decided that it is not safe for guests to walk around the fields. Also, if it rains, attractions like the Tractor Wagon Ride may be closed down, and special events may be impacted.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Flower Fields?

The best time to visit is when the flowers are in full bloom. Full bloom can happen towards the end of April, with peak blooms occurring in early May. However, the amount of rain Carlsbad gets in the months leading up to the Flower Fields opening can impact when the flowers bloom. You can monitor the official website, which provides updates on the bloom status. Due to the rain we had in 2024, the flowers bloomed earlier than in previous years.

The Flower Fields are busier on the weekends than on weekdays. If you want to avoid large crowds during your visit, we recommend going during the week. We went during the week from late morning into early afternoon and had minimal crowds.

How Do You Buy Tickets to Visit the Flower Fields?

When buying tickets to visit the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, you will need to purchase the tickets online. Tickets to enter the Flower Fields are not sold in person. However, there is a ticket booth with someone who will help guide you through buying tickets online. When purchasing your tickets to the Flower Fields, you will choose the time slot you would like to enter.  

Is There Parking and How Much Does It Cost?

Yes, there is plenty of parking, and it is free. Parking for the Flower Fields is where the Armstrong Garden Center is located. The Armstrong Garden Center is located next to the Carlsbad Outlets. If the parking lot right in front of the Armstrong Garden Center is full, there is an additional parking lot towards the right side of Armstrong Garden Center. There are signs leading you to the additional park section.

Are There Restrooms at The Flower Fields?

Yes, there are several restrooms throughout the Flower Field grounds. Closer to the entrance and exit, you will find restrooms with flushing toilets. In other areas of the Flower Fields, you will find portable restrooms.

Are There Places to Sit at the Flower Fields?

Yes, there are many places you can sit and enjoy the Flower Fields and gardens. You will find benches along the outside perimeter of the Ranunculus Fields and in the designated photo opportunity areas within the Ranunculus Fields. You can also find benches and places to sit in or near each of the other smaller gardens. There is also a picnic area with shade.

Can I Buy Flowers to Take Home from the Flower Fields?

Yes, you can buy fresh ranunculus flowers after your visit to the Flower Fields. You can buy the flowers at the Armstrong Garden Center when you exit the Flower Fields. You can also find Flower Field gift shop items sold in the Armstrong Garden Center. After the season ends, ranunculus bulbs are available for purchase so you can grow your own garden of ranunculus flowers. You can purchase them at the garden center or online.

View of Armstrong Garden Center at the Flower Fields
Armstrong Garden Center
Armstrong Garden Center Pantry
The Pantry at Armstrong
Armstrong Garden Center Shopping Area
Armstrong Garden Center Shopping

Can I Do a Photo Shoot at the Flower Fields?

Yes, you can do photo shoots at the Flower Fields. If you are planning a photo shoot, you will need to contact the Flower Fields in advance. The Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields has certain rules and additional costs for professional photo shoots on the property.

Are There Places to Stay Nearby?

Yes, there are several places you can stay in Carlsbad. You can stay along the coast or in the Carlsbad Village area, which is about a 5 to 10-minute drive from The Flower Fields. If you want an amazing view of the Flower Fields from your hotel, we recommend staying at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort. The Grand Pacific Palisades Resort are the buildings you see at the top of the Flower Fields. There is a walkway behind the resort, so you can walk along the top perimeter to see the field, and if you are lucky, you could end up with a room facing the Flower Fields.

Are There Things to Do Near the Flower Fields?

Yes, there are many things around or a short drive from the Flower Fields. The Flower Fields are conveniently located next to the Carlsbad Outlets so that you can go shopping after your visit. You are also about a 5 to 10-minute drive from various beaches in Carlsbad and the Downtown Carlsbad Village.

When leaving the Flower Fields, you can pick up some strawberries from the Carlsbad Strawberry Company’s fresh strawberry stand, or you can drive over to their main location. The main location is no more than a 5-minute drive from the Flower Fields. At the main location, you can do U-Pick strawberries and make your way through a sunflower maze. You can definitely find many things to do in Carlsbad.

Since you are in San Diego County, you are a short drive from several places like Oceanside, La Jolla, or San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. You are not too far from attractions like the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, and SeaWorld.

Are the Flower Fields Worth Visiting?

Yes, the Flower Fields are totally worth visiting. You may think you will not spend much time walking around the Flower Fields and the several garden areas, but you most definitely will. It is easy to spend lots of time taking pictures in the numerous photo opportunity areas and trying to get the perfect picture of the beautiful flowers. As we were walking around, we found the flower fields very peaceful, and we enjoyed admiring all the colorful, beautiful flowers. We very quickly spent about four hours walking around, taking pictures, and enjoying the view of the Flower Fields out to the ocean. We are sure you will also enjoy your time walking around the gorgeous, colorful flower fields and gardens at the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields.

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