10 of the Best Fall Activities in San Diego
San Diego may not have the changing fall leaves of the East Coast, but what it does have is arguably better. Enjoy all the regular fall activities like apple picking, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes, all under the sunny skies and 70 degrees of coastal breeze. These Fall activities in San Diego are all over the county, perfect for every visitor and local alike.
Disclaimer: All activities are up to date with COVID-19 guidelines as posted on attraction websites.
One of the classic Fall activities in San Diego can be found in the quaint town of Julian. Volcan Valley Apple Farm is home to over 8,000 apple trees and 7 different varieties! This year, they are open Friday – Monday, 9am-4:30pm. Apples cost $15 per bag (holds about 7 pounds) and also include the price of admission for 1 person. Additional admission is $5 per person. Children 5 and under are free.
Masks and social distancing are required. Dogs on leashes are welcome!
Location: 1284 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
Since it’s impossible to social distance when you’re sprinting out of the annual haunted attractions in San Diego, The Scream Zone offers a new way to be scared out of your mind… from the perceived safety of your own vehicle. Gather a group of friends and head to the Del Mar Fairgrounds and drive through 8 different themed scare zones including zombies, killer clowns, vampires, and more. As if a global pandemic wasn’t terrifying enough!
Scaring time is from 7-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10pm Sunday – Thursday. 4 person vehicles cost $45 on weekdays and $55 on weekends. 5+ person vehicles cost $60 on weekdays and $70 on weekends. Tickets can be purchased online or in person.
Location: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
September 18th – November 8th, the Carlsbad Strawberry Company is transformed into the nostalgic fall of your childhood. Take your Fall activities in San Diego to the next level with an apple cannon, tractor rides, and a real corn maze.
Open every day from 9am-7pm, admission is $5 per person and children 5 and under are free. If you’re looking to add some spooky vibes to your visit, visit on a Friday or Saturday night from 7-10:30pm to experience the haunted corn maze. Admission for this special attraction is $25.
Location: 1050 Cannon Rd. Carlsbad, CA 92008
For some more unique Fall activities in San Diego, stop by the Julian Farm and Orchard at the Julian Mining Company. Open Thursday, Friday, and Monday 11am-5pm; and Saturday and Sunday from 10am -5pm.
Admission on weekends requires all guests to purchase 10 activity tickets ($10) per person, children 2 and under are free. Tickets can be used for any activities including hay rides, cider pressing, axe throwing, and more!
Location: 4444 State Hwy 78 Julian/Wynola CA 92036
5. Tractor Hay Ride (Valley Center)
Bates Nut Farm is a year-round favorite, but during the Fall, they create a pumpkin patch, hay maze, and offer tractor rides. Not only can you find pumpkins, but the farm’s gourds and squash are ripe for picking!
Open 9am-5pm Monday – Friday and 8:30-6pm on weekends. Weekday admission and parking is free while on weekends it is $5. Take a look at their online calendar for other special events like the Scarecrow Contest.
Location: 15954 Woods Valley Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082
Enjoy the zoo in a new light – neon light to be exact! The weekends of October 9th-11th, 16th-18th, and 23rd-25th will host a variety of new activities to enhance spooky season. Enjoy a glow in the dark bubble dance party, haunting organ tunes played through the park, and new exhibits like the Python Path.
Kids admission is free the entire month of October, but adults are normal price.
Check out my best San Diego Zoo tips while you’re at it!
Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
7. Dia de Los Muertos Celebration (Old Town)
Another staple of Fall activities in San Diego is the Dia de Los Muertos procession that has sadly been cancelled. However, towards the end of October, businesses will still be decorating their storefronts and ofrendas (altars) for visitors to enjoy.
Spend a night out enjoying dinner at one of the many restaurants (Cafe Coyote is my personal favorite) and wander down San Diego Ave. to the historical park.
Ever seen a beluga whale balance a pumpkin on it’s nose? Well, now you can during the weekends of October at Sea World San Diego. Enjoy the seasonal décor, special snacks and the newly opened roller coaster! Costumes are encouraged (face masks still required).
Tickets are $73 for adults but as a bonus, 1 kid’s admission (3-9 years old) is included in that cost. Try out a $93 ticket and dining bundle to enjoy unlimited fall snacks and drinks! Sea World recommends buying your date-specific ticket in advance as space is limited.
San Diego’s premiere ‘fright-seeing’ tour where you will be transported in the Trolley of the Doomed. Friday and Saturday evenings in October and November, you can hop on board and learn about the city’s haunted history in Old Town, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the infamously haunted Whaley House led by an expert tour guide.
Tickets are $30 per person and require purchase online. Tour is not recommended for those under the age of 13 and comfortable walking shoes are necessary.
10. Oktoberfest (Pacific Beach or Virtual event)
With most of the craft beer Fall activities cancelled, this year, many of the local breweries have opted to make special brews for the season. Saint Archer Brewing Co., Ballast Point, and Stone Brewing have created their own unique beers, most of which are offered in local grocery stores and on tap in their respective locations.
If you’d rather take part in an event, thankfully, PB Alehouse is still hosting their Oktoberfest activities October 2nd-4th from 2-10pm. Enjoy German music, commemorative steins, bratwurst, and stuffed cabbage with Impossible meat (Californians, amiright?). The outdoor garden seating area is still open and to-go options are also available.
Don’t let the chaos of 2020 rain on your parade of Fall activities in San Diego! Go out with your friends and family (responsibly), follow the local business’ guidelines, and revel in the normalcy of the change to colder, darker nights.