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Visiting the Magical Carlsbad Flower Fields

I’ve just received an email stating that the Carlsbad Flower Fields are at FULL PEAK BLOOM today! If you are thinking of seeing The Flower Fields in Carlsbad for yourself this spring, keep reading for all the details about visiting these beautiful blooms in Southern California.

Rows of Ranunculus at the Carlsbad Flower Fields

Year after year, I have seen the Carlsbad Flower Fields flood my social feeds, and I am so happy to finally have been able to visit the insta-famous blooms. It’s truly a sign that Spring has arrived here in SoCal!

Entrance of the Carlsbad Flower Fields

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

The Flower Fields is 55-acres of colorful ranunculus flowers situated by the ocean at the Carlsbad Ranch. These amazing hills of beauties are a result of over 85 years of cultivation of the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers, which is native to Asia Minor and a member of the buttercup family. The reason why there are so many flower color variations is due to the work of Edwin Frazee’s and his meticulous selection to curate the gorgeous sections of the flower fields that we see today. Every year the Carlsbad Flower Fields is open to visitors and in bloom for six to eight weeks.

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Carlsbad Flower Fields Essential Info

Website + Tickets:

theflowerfields.com

Location:

5704 Paseo del Norte
Carlsbad, CA 92008

When to Visit:

March 1 – May 12, 2024
Daily from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Ticket Prices (2024):

Adult, $23
Senior/Military, $21
Children 3-10, $14

Parking Info

Free, (Included in ticket price)
Main lot and additional parking available

FYI: Buy tickets online ahead of time and check the website for the current Bloom status.

Getting to the Carlsbad Flower Fields

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Your best bet is driving to The Flower Fields in Carlsbad. Parking is included in the ticket price and it’s the most convenient way to the site. If you are staying in a hotel within Carlsbad, a quick Uber ride would get you here as well!

Where is Carlsbad?

The coastal city of Carlsbad is located in Southern California, right between Los Angeles and San Diego. It’s actually very close to Orange County, so you could make a day trip out of it, like we did. If you decide to stay in Carlsbad, the beach is less than half a mile away and there’s a plethora of good eats around.

I think the Carlsbad Flower Fields would make a great stop on any California road trip. Here are some driving times from popular Southern California cities to give you an idea of where Carlsbad lands on the map. Personally, I was super surprised to find out how close it was to my current city of Costa Mesa!

San Diego: 30 minutes
Costa Mesa: 45 minutes
Los Angeles: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Palm Springs: 2 hours
Santa Barbara: 3 hours

My Experience at The Flower Fields

We went earlier in the season, mid-March. I felt like I was in the most magical place in the world. The sea of millions of flowers put me in such a great mood, and the weather was just perfect, as we eased into Springtime temperatures.

Ticketing

Currently, you are only able to purchase ticket online, so make sure you do that before you arrive. Prime days and weekends could sell out during peak bloom. I advise you to plan ahead. Ticket time slots are by the every half-hour, starting at 9:00 AM, but once you’ve arrived, you are able to stay until closing time of 6:00 pm. You will just need to scan your digital passes at the entrance, when you get there. There is no re-entry if you leave, so plan your stay accordingly.

FYI: I also want to note, changing ticket times was very easy after purchase. I needed to push my time slot back an hour on the day of and it was a quick process online through the customer servicing portal.

Be sure to keep track of the bloom status on Carlsbad Flower Field’s homepage!

Arrival

Since we are currently located in Orange County, we decided to drive down to Carlsbad. It was about a 45 minute drive from Costa Mesa. We opted for an afternoon time slot, as close to golden hour as possible. We also saw that there was a lot of morning visitors leaving as we were arriving, so it wasn’t as crowded as I was anticipating. The main parking lot was full by the time we got there, but the additional parking area had plenty of space. It is actually closer to the South Exit and Entrance, but we decided to walk all the way to the Main Entrance, for the full experience.

We were provided a map of the grounds at check-in and then we went off to wander the grounds and take photos!

Fountain Garden at The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
Attractions

There is more to do than just walk through the rows of these gorgeous rows of blooms at The Flower Fields. Before we entered the ranunculus fields, we strolled through the different photo-worthy attractions, like the Don Miller’s Garden, the Fountain Garden, and the Butterfly Garden!

Below is the official illustrated map by The Flower Fields to give you an idea of all the attractions available in addition to the ranunculus flower fields.

A tractor wagon ride is also available to visitors to tour the flower fields. These tickets can be purchase after you’ve arrived. Prices are at $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-10. Kids under 3 years of age can ride free. It’s pretty sunny and hot on the fields, so a tractor ride can easily cover the acres of flowers fields without it being too strenuous for you.

Lastly, let’s talk about food and drink! If you find yourself hungry or thirsty, there are plenty of food trucks and vendors for you to choose from. These includes the Pizza Trolly, Kettle Kernels Popcorn, Taco Trolley, Lemonade Stand and the Strawberry Shack for a tasty shake. The tacos looked really enticing but we saved our stomachs for dinner in San Diego, later!

Sea of Ranunculus at The Flower Fields
More rows of Ranunculus at the Carlsbad Flower Fields
Ranunculus Fields

Now that we got that out of the way, we can finally frolic into the fields of ranunculus and of course, snap photos!

You will notice the rows of flowers are sectioned off by color. There will also be available cut-outs with different photo-op scenarios within each colored section. These will be the only areas where you will be able to “walk in” to the fields. Otherwise, you will see the fields mostly taped off to preserve the flowers.

Example of a Photo Cut-Out Area at The Flower Fields

You can see how those photo-op areas look like in the above photo. There are also signs reminding you to keep your turn at these islands to a brief few minutes. To get aesthetic photos, you will need to walk around and work those camera angles! We tried to walk around to all the available sections and took photos from with the different colored flowers.

Up Close Shot of Ranunculus Flowers at The Flower Fields

Tips For Visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields

After my first visit, I have a good idea of some things to keep in mind for my next one and to help you on your’s.

What to Wear & Bring

Although, it’s the simplest thing, sometimes we get caught up on how to dress for photos. I am known to be be afflicted with analysis paralysis, ha! With experience, I can now confidently say that a breezy light colored dress will fit the task on hand. I would definitely go with whites, or light colors that will stand out as a contrast from the colorful floral backdrop.

In terms of footwear, wear comfortable shoes! It’s over 50 acres of flower fields on a hill and the roads are basically dirt paths. You will be getting your steps in and your shoes will get a little dusty, for sure. I went in casual sneakers, but feel free to bring a pair of nicer shoes to change into for your photos.

For accessories, I would recommend either sunnies or a sunhat. Both would look great in photos! Sunglasses always help with squinting eyes from the sun beams when photographing, lol.

Wear or bring extra sunscreen. It’s Southern California, and that sun gets harsh! Option to bring water along with you, too, especially if you don’t plan to purchase food or drink from on-site vendors.

I would also want to note that there were no bees at the flower fields, so no need to worry about that! Ranunculus have no fragrance and are wind-pollenated instead.

Finally, of course bring your camera or phone. Tripods are okay, too!

What NOT to Bring

Pets and Emotional Support Animals are not allowed, so leave Fido home. Service Animals are ok, though. Drones cameras are not allowed. If you require any gear outside of tripod and camera, they will require you to book a separate shoot, either personal, media or commercial, and get that approved.

Colorful Ranunculus Flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields
Photography Etiquette

I hate to say all this, but it must be said!

First, there is green tape around the flower fields, for a reason. Do not walk over the tape and into the fields. They have sectioned out walkable areas where you can get your photos. I have seen multiple people getting inside and potentially damaging the flowers or the flower bed, just for the shot. You could risk getting escorted off the premises if you go off the designated walking areas, and that’s an embarrassment I’d like to avoid.

If you work the angles, you should be able to get the aesthetic photos without ruining the experience for others. A good tip is get low and go further way.

Secondly, be considerate of others who are also waiting to enter the photo area. I have witnessed people take their sweet time in one spot while there is a huge line behind them, waiting. There’s a 6 minute courtesy wait time on the signage. It’s nice to adhere to it.

The Ocean behind the Rows of Flowers in Carlsbad

Last Thoughts

Overall, I had an amazing time here and would definitely come again in the future. There’s a lot to do and see if you stay the day. I would like to try more photo ideas in another year and go during peak bloom. Many make visiting The Flower Fields an annual thing. After a chilly winter, coming here was such a treat, and I am so happy to finally check this item off my bucket list!

Before we end this post, I do want to add that there is a huge calendar of events that range from picnics, workshops, afternoon tea to yoga at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Be sure to check them out here, if you are interested into adding more activities into you visit!

P.S. You are able to purchase ranunculus bouquets and bulbs on your way out. You leave through the visitor shop and Armstrong Garden Center.

Lastly, a quick video from the visit below. I am still working on uploading a full vlog on the channel!

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