An endless field of beautiful colorful blooms,
a fantasy-land of flowers…
Truly a dream come true for any flower lover
at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch!
After seeing stunning pictures of The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, I knew that I had to see this amazing flower field in person myself. Because, as you may know, I live for flower fields! 😊🌸🌼 Seeing the vast sea of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers in person over fifty acres was as amazing as I imaged it to be! (If you haven’t seen these flowers before, they look like a cross of carnations and roses.) There were beautiful blooms in so many different colors that I had to take pictures in all the different areas. Truly a flower paradise!
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.
Read on for more information about this amazing place and also some photography tips!
*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for details. 🌸
The photos for this post were taken with the amazing Nikon D750 (newer model D780 here), using my favorite Nikon 50mm lens. I have an entire post of photographing flowers you might be interested in! Or have a look inside my camera bag.
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!). I also design flower-themed notebooks and journals you might like! Here’s an example on Amazon.
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!
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 special smaller gardens and explore a sweet pea maze. And new for 2021, visitors can pick fresh blueberries from the field’s small blueberry patch to take home and enjoy! Please check their website for current special visitor information.
Getting to the Flower Fields
The Flower Fields 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.
The Flower Fields is usually open from March through mid-May. The best time to view the flowers is usually mid-March through Mid-April, although it’s best to check their website for updates if you plan on going. I can confirm that the fields were spectacular when I visited at the end of March.
For 2021, admissions is $20 for adults and $10 for children 3-10. Opening hours are 9 am – 6 pm daily, from March 1 to May 9, 2021. Parking is free.
Note – As of March 2021, all tickets must be pre-purchased online. Please check their website for additional special visitor information.
Visitor and Photography Tips
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 (currently closed for 2021 season) 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)!
Visit early or late, and on a Day with Clouds if Possible
If you live in Southern California, try to visit on a day when there are some clouds so that there will 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! It’s always difficult to take pictures on these type of days, and difficult to edit harsh lighting on the face.
To further minimize glare from the sun, try to visit first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon near closing time.
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 Positions and Angles
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 your photographer kneels 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 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.
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, and the beautiful Spring Peach Blossoms in the East Bay!
All of my California travel posts are here!
Hi, I’m Pansy!
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I’m Pansy, California-based travel + lifestyle blogger, photographer and lover of ALL the pretty flowers! If you browse through my blog, you may notice that most of my travels, DIY and photography center around flowers and nature! 🌸🌼🌿
I hope you found this post useful, and I hope you have a wonderful day!