Strawberry picking means those sweet local berries will taste even better when you pick them yourself. There are several farms with strawberry picking near Los Angeles where families can play farmer for a few hours and come home with a basket overflowing with berries. The first ripe berry in Southern California tends to be a strawberry, and its harvest tends to be accompanied by massive festivals. Farms with berry picking near Los Angeles have a long strawberry picking season (usually through mid-summer), so there's plenty of time to bring kids to the farms for a taste of still warm-from-the-sun sweet berries.
Read on to discover our favorite farms for strawberry picking, all on an easy day trip from LA. For more pick-your-own fun, here are Places To Go Cherry Picking With Kids, beautiful Sunflower Fields for Pick Your Own Flowers, and our Pick Your Own Guide for the Best Farms Near Los Angeles.
Sometimes it's best when your outfit matches the berries. Photo courtesy of Underwood Farms
Don't forget to check the farm's hours and pick-your-own fruit availability before heading out to pick berries. There's nothing worse than driving excited kids to a berry field to find the produce picked over. A phone call to the farm before hopping in the car can save a lot of tears.
One more thing: picking berries is hot work! Don't forget to slather on sunscreen, don a wide-brimmed hat, and bring full water bottles.
Strawberry Picking in Los Angeles & Ventura County
Strawberry picking typically runs from mid-March to early July.
A fully functioning farm, Underwood is a place where children can get a real sense of farm life and come home with a basket bursting with fresh, sustainably grown berries. In addition to the picking, the farm hosts summer camps and seasonal weekends. There's a fantastic pumpkin patch in the fall, Christmas trees in the winter, and a springtime event with visits from the Easter Bunny and baby goat feedings. (Is there anything cuter than a baby goat?) You can even plan a birthday at this year-round attraction.
Hop on a FREE tractor ride to the fields to pick strawberries and other fruits and veggies (depending on availability). After berry picking, you can visit the animal center, ride the train, play on the "fun hill" and wooden play equipment, slide down the combine or harvester slides, scale the hay pyramids, or navigate the trike trail. It's all free with the price of admission! Underwood also sells activity tickets for additional experiences like the bee train, the electric train, and gem mining.
Strawberry picking typically runs from mid-March to early July.
This is the smaller of the two Underwood Family Farms. Unlike its big sister, which has PYO veggies and fruits all year round, this little venue only offers berries, navel oranges, and tangerines. Somis rotates through crops of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from March through November. It's an easy walk to the fields, and berries are paid for by the pound.
On the way to the fields, there is a small play area with a wooden truck and sandpit. Chances are, you'll have to pause there for a minute and let your kiddos play. There is also an animal center with sheep, alpacas, chickens, and plenty of pygmy goats. The livestock pens are in the middle of a citrus grove and surrounded by picnic tables. Bring a picnic basket or pick up some yummy snacks at the farm store, and enjoy an idyllic day at this sweet little strawberry patch.
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Picking your own means earning every juicy bite. Photo courtesy of Tanaka Farms
Go Strawberry Picking in Orange County
Strawberry picking typically runs from early March to May.
Strawberry picking is on, and reservations are required! Once you book a tour on their website, expect an interactive experience that includes a wagon ride, a stop to pick a seasonal veggie, and a final destination at the strawberry fields. Each guest is encouraged to pick one pound of strawberries, included with the price of admission. After your berry adventure, visit the barnyard and meet some animals that call this farm home.
Berry picking tours depart less frequently on weekdays and fill up on weekdays and weekends, so check the schedule and book your tour before leaving for the farm. Come back in the fall for pumpkins!
Strawberry picking typically runs from early March to April.
Strawberry picking at The Ecology Center is equal parts seasonality and agriculture education. This experience is Southern California’s Only Regenerative Organic™ Strawberry Picking Experience. Open only from Thursdays to Sundays, strawberry picking at The Ecology Center is an educational and interactive farm experience.
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Strawberries as big as your hand, and as sweet as candy. Photo courtesy of Kenny's Strawberry Farm
Farms for Strawberry Picking in San Diego County
Strawberry picking typically runs from February to July.
Kenny’s makes strawberry picking an easy, fun activity for the entire family. First, and this is important, you must make your reservation online or by phone! When you arrive and check-in, you can pay for your basket and get to picking. The website and phone line are updated daily, so you can check if weather or berry supply will affect the day’s hours. The farm is only open Friday through Sunday. They also have a restaurant, Kenny’s Farm Kitchen. Trust us: You don’t want to miss out on the strawberry lemonade, strawberry shortcake, and strawberry ice cream bars. They are quite a treat.
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Berry picking can be hard work. Break time! Photo courtesy of the Carlsbad Strawberry Company, Facebook
Strawberry picking is scheduled to begin late this year, but the farm is usually open for u-pick from February to mid-July.
This 25-acre farm will have you singing “Strawberry Fields Forever” as you pick. An admission fee applies to anyone who does not purchase a bucket for strawberry picking. Call ahead and make sure the fields are open before visiting (the farm does not take reservations). Note that the fields close after rain. They also have a sunflower maze, tractor rides, and farm animals to pet.
Strawberry Festivals Near Los Angeles
Enjoy strawberries, beachside. This famous two-day festival in May kicks off summer with so many strawberries. U-pick is not available at the festival, but there's a bounty of strawberry treats. Expect tons of entertainment from interactive events, a kids' music stage, a ninja obstacle course, and carnival games.
For more than six decades, Garden Grove has been celebrating the strawberry! The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival is a three-day event chock full of rides, live music, contests, and even a strawberry day parade. The festival usually takes place over Memorial Day Weekend. While this is not a U-pick event, there is always an abundance of ripe strawberries available for purchase.
Originally published June 15, 2012