Best Farms near Los Angeles for Family Fun: Discover the Cream of the Crop

What's up, Doc? Bugs Bunny would be in heaven. Photo courtesy of Amy's Farm
What's up, Doc? Bugs Bunny would be in heaven. Photo courtesy of Amy's Farm

Urban kids don’t have to miss out on rural life – they can try it out any day of the year at one of many family farms near Los Angeles. Farm visits are one of those things you can do multiple times a year while kids are still little for pumpkin patch visits, corn maze wanderings, strawberry picking, and animal visits. Here are 14 of our favorite farms near Los Angeles where kids can learn about how things grow, taste homegrown (and homemade) goodies, take part in seasonal festivals, meet animals, and play in the dirt. They range from giant farms with loads of animals, pick-your-own fields, bounce houses, and tractor rides, to smaller spots where city kids can learn about planting and get their hands in the dirt.

Check out our list of the best family farms near Los Angeles and Orange County to visit with your little ones.

Hop on a bee to ride to the fields at Underwood Farms.

Best Family Farms near Los Angeles with Entertainment

Underwood Farms —Moorpark

Pony rides, pick-your-own fruits and veggies, hay pyramids, and tractor rides—what could be more magical? This Ventura farm, produce market, and animal center is open almost every day of the year, with seasonal activities and harvests, and all the extras (like tractor rides and animal shows) for a day of family fun. This is probably the first local farm every SoCal kid visits on a field trip, and it's a great one. Visit the pumpkin patch, choose a Christmas tree, and go strawberry picking throughout the year—but visit on a weekday afternoon, if possible. Weekends are packed (there's so much to do!) and weekday mornings almost always have several preschools visiting. (For a quieter farm visit, try the Underwood Farm located in Somis, listed below.) Weekday admission is $6, weekends and holidays $8, children under 2 are free.

Tanaka Farms — Irvine

A few of Tanaka Farm’s highlights are Strawberry Tours, Watermelon Tours, U-Pick Pumpkin Patch, and the Hikari Festival of Lights. Wagon rides go on daily every half hour between 9:30am and 4:30pm. The cost is $20 per person (children under 2 are free) and riders learn about Tanaka Farms and its history, farming methods, and crops. The wagon makes a few stops in the fields so kids can hop out to pick their own produce. Families can register to take the Chicks and Sprouts interactive workshop, which teaches children how baby chickens grow inside the egg and how plants grow. Kids also get to plant their own giant sunflowers to bring home, harvest a vegetable, and visit with barnyard friends. Reservations are required for all tours and classes.

Something new by Tanaka Farms this summer is a flower farm in Costa Mesa where kids can pick sunflowers, zinnias, and more: Flowers at Hana Field.

Tractors driving, train riding, ax throwing, goat milking are all in a day's work at Gilchrist Farms.

Gilchrist Farm — Saugus

Gilchrist Farm in Saugus has it all – families can enjoy egg hunts, ax throwing, goat milking, horseback riding, and more. There’s a train, pot-bellied pigs, and wagon rides, too. Bring your lunch and take advantage of the picnic tables and shady area. One of Gilchrist’s highlights is the fall pumpkin patch – complete with food trucks on weekends and a Pets in the Patch Day.

Learn all about organic farming in a stunning setting at McGrath Family Farm.

Top Smaller Family Farms near Los Angeles

McGrath Family Farm — Camarillo

McGrath Family Farms was founded by Dominick and Bridget, Irish immigrants, who met and married in Dublin before moving here in 1868. So this is a family farm since way back! Every first Saturday of the month, McGrath Family Farm offers a tour that teaches guests all about organic farming. The whole family gets to learn all about planting, cultivation, composting, fertilizers, tractors, and more. Be prepared to get dirty! Registration is required. Check the website for pick-your-own and pumpkin patch availability. (Availability is more limited at the smaller farms, so always check before visiting.)

Underwood  Farms — Somis

Besides pick-your-own citrus and berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), Underwood's location in Somis also sells jams, pickled vegetables, honey, nuts, farm fresh eggs, fresh-cut flowers, and more. October brings a bounty of pumpkins, gourds, and squash, plus a hay pyramid and cornstalk tunnel. The animal center is small, but you’ll pass it on the way to the “pick your own” fields, and who doesn’t love pygmy goats, chickens, alpacas, and sheep? Bring quarters to buy treats to feed  the animals through food shoots! (And don't worry if you forget coins, you can buy bags of carrots at the farm stand to feed everything except the chickens.) This smaller farm has all the fun of the bigger farms, minus the crowds. Admission is $3 daily (to the fields only; visit the animals and produce market for free), and children under two and parking are free.

Amy's Farm has pigs!

This little piggie stayed home, on Amy's Farm.

Amy's Farm — Ontario

At Amy's Farm families can enjoy a garden walk, smell fresh herbs, feed the pigs, visit the petting zoo, milk a cow, and visit the horses. Kids will learn where their food comes from and may have the opportunity to pull up carrots, open a pod and see the peas all in a row, see the chickens laying their eggs, see the fruit on the trees, and watch as butterflies pollinate the blossoms. They may also get to pick and smell fresh mint, rosemary, and lemon verbena, and pet goats and cows. Garden availability varies by season. Tour prices vary and advanced reservations are required for all families and groups.

Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Orchard — Oak Glen

Stone Soup Farm, situated in the foothills of east Oak Glen, is a family micro-farm of heirloom apple orchards, flower fields, berries, and more. The farmers share their passion for regenerative farming and give kids a close-up view of sustainable farming practices they call “Farmaculture.” Check the website for dates for the annual Summer Berry Fair and Autumn Apple Fair.

Meet the inhabitants of a local working farm at Tapia Bros.

Tapia Bros. Farm — Encino

Tapia Bros is a small neighborhood farm in Encino with a summer strawberry patch, fall pumpkin patch, and winter Christmas Tree farm. The stand sells fruits, veggies, and flowers all year long. This is a working farm, not an entertainment center, so there's no admission fee, but also no bounce houses or petting zoos. But for kids to see where their fruits and vegetables are really grown and walk around and see the animals—and for the whole family to get fabulously fresh produce—this is a great spot.

Forneris Farms — Mission Hills

Forneris Farms sells tomatoes, strawberries, corn, and all the best produce of the summer season—plus there's a pumpkin patch in the fall. There’s no pick-your-own option, but giving kids the chance to pick out and taste the freshest produce possible (right where it's grown) is the best way to cultivate well-rounded eaters. The farmstand is open from 9am - 6pm daily.

Oasis Date Gardens — Thermal

Have a light lunch before you visit the Oasis Date Garden on the way to Palm Springs because there are so many amazing things to taste. Order the famous date shake and watch a movie on the history of the date palm tree. Visit the café and taste test 16 varieties of dates all grown on the property, or buy date cake, date cookies, and date bread—all baked fresh daily. This farm is a little different, in that you can't really take a tour, get hands-on, pick your own, or meet animals. But we had to include it because there aren't many places in the world where dates can grow, and SoCal is one of those places! The Oasis Date Garden ranch store is located smack in the middle of the ranch/farm itself and while enjoying the fresh date treats, families can walk out onto the patio and see the growing date trees.

It doesn't matter what you wear to work in the fields at The Abundant Table.

Education Center Farms near Los Angeles

The Abundant Table — Camarillo

The Abundant Table is a “learning farm" that works with school districts, child nutrition services directors, teachers, and cafeteria teams to promote local food, healthy eating, and hands-on agricultural education in classrooms. Pick-your-own opportunities include strawberries in summer, tomatoes in late summer, and veggies depending on the season. Families are welcome to visit the farm and get hands-on with the soil and other living ecosystems. The Ventura-area farm also sells organic produce, pastured eggs, and artisanal local goods including olive oil, honey, goat milk soap, and more. 

Centennial Farm  — Costa Mesa

Centennial Farm is a three-acre working farm and is home to fruit and vegetable gardens as well as plenty of livestock. It was created to teach children about agriculture and its importance in daily life. The farm’s educators are on site all year long to teach visitors about nutrition and the state’s agricultural roots.

The Ecology Center — San Juan Capistrano

Take the family to this gorgeous 28-acre Ecology Center for the farm stand, farm tours, Hearth Farm Dinners, evening farm film series, and Eco Tots—a sensory, hands-on garden learning experience for children ages 2-5 and their parents. The non-profit organization models creative solutions for thriving on planet earth.

Moonwater Farm — Compton

Moonwater Farm is a beautiful setting where kids ages 8-14 can take two-hour enrichment classes focused on the connections between the earth, our soil, and their health. The farm cultivates mindfulness and exploration by offering hands-on growing and cooking opportunities for kids who are growing up in an urban environment.

Tomato picking at Tanaka Farms.

All photos courtesy of the farms

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