An endless field of beautiful colorful flowers... truly a dream come true for a flower lover!
After seeing stunning pictures of The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch on Instagram, I knew that I had to see these huge fields of colorful flowers in person myself. Because if you know me, you know I live for flower fields! 😊🌸🌼 Seeing the vast sea of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers (they look like a cross of carnations and roses) over fifty acres was as amazing as I imaged it to be! 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 Descanso Gardens near Los Angeles and the Virginia Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills.
Read on for travel and photography tips!
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 Irvine 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.
Admissions is $18 for 2020 ($17 with AAA membership card). Opening hours are 9 am – 6 pm daily, from March 1 to May 10, 2020. Parking is free.
Note – We did have to wait in line for 5-10 minutes for tickets when we arrived around 9:15 am that day, so if you want to be the first on the fields, I recommend you get there before 9 am! You can also buy tickets in advance online from their website with a small service fee.
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 which may seem miles away when you’re hungry or thirsty! I also recommend carrying extra batteries for your camera.
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, such as this palm leaf fedora from Lack of Color available on Amazon.
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 angles 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. (Bonus tip – your friend/bf/hubby/photographer might want to bring some knee pads for these situations that require kneeling. My hubby 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.
If you found this post helpful, please pin, share, or leave a comment below! Thank you and I hope you have an amazing trip there if you have one planned! ❤️
I hope these flowers brighten your day as they did for me! 😊🌸🌸