Dreaming of floral purple fields and looking for lush lavender farms in California?! I’m sharing everything you need to know — including when (and where!) to visit, what to bring, and all the lavender-infused treats you should eat (and buy!).
Lavender lovers, I gotchu! I’ve rounded up the best lavender fields in California, as well as sharing an in-depth look at my favorite field near the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nope — you don’t need to go all the way to Provence, France to smell the lavender (although of course I’m dying to go). Because thankfully, we’ve got a bunch of lavender farms in California! Yes, right here, scattered all over the state! I promise no matter where you live, you’ll find one not terribly far.
Imagine getting lost in the intoxicating scent of lavender. Frolicking throughout the California lavender farms. Sipping lavender lemonade and even lavender champagne. Indulging in honey lavender ice cream and/or a lavender lemon bar. Sniffing the lavender until you can’t smell no more.
I’ve visited lavender farms in both Oregon and Washington, but had never ventured into lavender fields in California! Silly me. I finally changed that and found the most perfect farm less than 2 hours from my area! And once you see photos, you’ll be dying to go as well.
So throw on a springy white dress and a whimsy straw hat — you’ll be frolicing in these California lavender fields in no time! Get ready, because it’s summer lavender season here in California!
Psst: Missed lavender season? Don’t fret! There’s other flower fields in California to check out:
- Wild Mustard Blooms in Half Moon Bay (February)
- Carlsbad Flower Fields in San Diego (May)
- U-Pick Sunflowers in Half Moon Bay (September)
About Lavender and Araceli Farms
When is Lavender Season in California?
Summer time, baby! June is peak lavender season, although anytime between May and July is a great time to visit the lavender fields in California.
If you’re visiting Araceli Farms (where I went near the SF Bay Area), you’ll wanna visit between mid-May and June, as this is when the lavender’s in full bloom! Other California lavender fields have slightly different blooming seasons (hey, CA is huge y’all!), so it’s best to check with each individual farm. But it’ll always be between May and July (although peak bloom may be different).
You don’t wanna visit before the lavender’s blooming, because you’ll just see green bushes — and therefore no pretty purples! Visit too late in the season and all the lavender will have already been harvested (aka more greens). You really gotta plan your visit right — schedule it into your calendar for next year already!
Some background on Araceli Farms:
There’s so many things to love about Araceli Farms.
For starters, the farm is run by owner Justina Salinas, a Mexican American woman of color. She actually grew up on the farm, but didn’t dedicate herself to it until leaving a prestigious tech job to run it full time. Talk about a woman following her dreams! And despite owning the farm for 20 years, Justina and her team only planted their first crop of lavender in April of 2017. What a ride it’s been since then. I LOVE hearing about women-owned businesses and their success stories. 😀
Secondly, ZERO chemicals or pesticides are used in either the field or handcrafted products! All of the products you see in the shop are certified naturally grown. Team members oversee every single step of the lavender farm process — from planting the seeds all the way to harvesting.
Finally, Araceli Farms is super sustainable. They aim to be as sustainable as humanly possible, including not only the way they farm, but how they source their products, package their products, and even manage their many events. By doing so, they’re able to sustainably grow 7 varieties of lavender on a 6 acre plot of land — and it smells absolutely incredible.
Where is Araceli Farms?
Araceli Farms is located on the outskirts of Dixon, California — which is basically mid-way between San Francisco and Sacramento. This makes visiting the lavender fields a super easy day trip from either city! Just be sure to account for some traffic if you’re planning to visit on the weekend. Because as we all know, Bay Area traffic is no joke.
At just over an hour from SF, it’s one of the closest California lavender farms to the San Francisco Bay Area (where I’m coming from!).
You’ll be glad to know it’s not far from other areas in Northern California:
- Sacramento: 35 minutes (25 miles)
- San Francisco: 1 hour, 15 minutes (65 miles)
- Santa Rosa: 1 hour, 15 minutes (70 miles)
- Palo Alto: 1 ½ hours (95 miles)
- San Jose: 1 ½ hours (95 miles)
- Monterey: 2 ½ hours (165 miles)
If you’re in central CA or SoCal, don’t fret — there’s other lavender fields in California closer to you. Scroll to the end of this post for more options!
Types of Lavender at Araceli Farms:
Can you believe there’s seven different varieties of lavender at Araceli Farms?! Insane, right?! There’s Grosso, Provence, White Spike, Royal Velvet, Violet Intrigue, Folgate, and Melissa. You’ll see signs in front of each row indicating what kind they are. And they’re even different colors; purples, pinks, and even whites included (yes, lavender can be white — I had no clue!)
The farm is pretty large at roughly six acres — so it makes sense they’ve got a whole bunch of varietals! I was impressed to find out that each variety has its own distinct aroma, benefits, and uses.
Logistics and Visiting Araceli Farms:
Price and Tickets:
In order to visit Araceli Farms, you’ll need to reserve a timed ticket in advance on their website (grab tickets here!). General admission tickets are $5 per person, or you can pay a few extra bucks ($10 total) and take home a dried lavender bundle! You can use these as photo props in the field, and then plop the bundle into an empty vase once you get home to make any room smell deliciously divine! They’re currently sitting in my kitchen as I write this!
Note that the farm has specific hours, so it’s best to plan out your visit in advance.
If you want to set up a private photoshoot (meaning you’ll get the entire lavender field to yourself), Araceli Farms offers that option too! I recommend booking a time slot for golden hour (at sunrise or right before sunset) for the best lighting.
Tips for visiting the California lavender fields:
- Visit the Shop! Not only do they sell dried bouquets of lavender (which is now my new favorite scent), but there’s a whole bunch of lavender-scented products to get your lavender fix at home. Think lavender and honey lip balm, lavender lotions, lavender candles, lavender essential oils, and even edible lavender (for fancy cocktails and drinks!). I’m kicking myself I didn’t treat myself to more lavender goodies (guess I’ll just need to go back next year).
- Pick the earliest time slot! It gets extremely hot midday in Dixon. And I’m talking mid-90’s. We pulled up around 12:30pm and it was already 92°F out. Let’s just say we were more than sweaty by 1pm. We may or may not have downed a few lavender drinks ASAP… which was perfectly fine by me since lavender makes anything all better. I wish I had bought tickets for the 8:30am time slot though — we would have been out by 10:30ish and probably only half as sweaty. Plus the lighting wouldn’t have been so harsh — but we would have had to wake up at the crack of dawn…
- Try some lavender drinks! As soon as we arrived, we jumped in line to grab a few lavender-infused drinks. Think lavender lemonade, lavender white wine, and even lavender sangria. Did they really taste and smell like lavender? Not really — but super refreshing on a super hot and sweaty day.
- Amenities at the Lavender Field: And on that note, there’s bathrooms, but we only saw porta potties (it’s a working farm — what do you expect).
There Will Be Bees
Yes, this is an entire field full of deliciously-smelling fragrant flowers — there WILL be bees. And LOTS of them! I saw hundreds of bees swarming around the fields — no joke. As someone who is especially scared of bees and getting stung, I somehow found I wasn’t at all discouraged by them. They’re way more interested in the flowers than us, and after two minutes I learned to just ignore them. You can probably even see them in my photos if you look closely, haha.
If you’re allergic or just can’t fathom voluntarily spending ample time among the bees, a California lavender farm just probably isn’t for you. Visiting anyways? — bring along that EpiPen. Better safe than sorry. 🙂
Etiquette in the Field:
Unlike the sunflower farm in Half Moon Bay we just love, Araceli Farms is NOT a U-Pick Farm. You can buy bundles of dried lavender in the shop, but there’s no picking allowed in the actual field.
And when you’re in the field, do not sit on, walk on, or damage any of the lavender bushes! Even if they’re not in bloom. Make sure to walk to the end of the row if you’d like to go to the next row — crossing over puts the plants in possible harm!
Remember, Araceli Farms is a WORKING field! You’ll see irrigation hoses on the ground and obviously lots of dirt and loose rocks. Be extra careful, watch your step, and don’t run. On that note — watch your little kids!
Please do your part and respect the rules!
What to Bring and Wear to the Lavender Farms:
- Slather on that sunscreen — the sun is strong over here y’all! Especially mid-day!
- Wear a wide-brimmed sun hat to protect your face and shoulders.
- A water bottle is a MUST — gotta stay hydrated!
- Wear your flowiest white dress (or something light that’ll keep you cool); the white compliments the purple so well! You wanna stick out — not blend in! So don’t wear purple!
- Leave those heels at home. Wear comfy, flat sandals (preferably something with an ankle strap so they don’t fall off!)
- If you’re kinda extra, a portable mini fan will be perfect for that unbearable midday heat!
- Feel free to bring along a picnic lunch and picnic blanket (the folks at Araceli Farms actually encourage it!) — and eat under the trees in the shade! Different food vendors come to the farm on select days; check the website to see what’s going on soon!
- Allergic to lavender and/or bees? You’ll obviously need to bring along some allergy meds or an epi-pen to be super safe.
Other California Lavender Fields to Check Out
Additional Lavender Fields in Northern California
Monte Bellaria di California (Sebastopol)
This place looks like a lavender-scented dream, with the rolling hills covered in acres and acres of deliciously purple lavender. After seeing some photos, I’m dying to go here — it honestly looks like you’ve traveled all the way to Provence, France!
You do need to buy a timed ticket in advance (which are much pricier than at Araceli, at $20 a head), but it’s seriously a hidden gem in wine country with gorgeous vineyard views.
Matanzas Creek Winery (Santa Rosa)
Wine tasting and lavender frolicking all in one?! Yup, that’s right! Here at Matanzas Creek Winery, you can sip your wines with a spectacular view of the terraced lavender gardens. Do note you’ll need to make an advanced reservation as they’re required for all visits to Matanzas Creek Tasting Room and the Lavender Garden.
Lavender Fields in Central California
Pageo Lavender Farm (Turlock)
What a beautiful location in the Central Valley! People get married here — it’s that stunning! One step into the gift shop and you’ll be mesmerized by the sweet, sweet smells of lavender. There’s a large selection of lavender products and home decor, as well as lavender box lunches — check out the menu online, it all sounds absolutely perfect.
Pageo grows two types of lavender: Grosso and Loddon Blue. And they also offer private photoshoot bookings, in case you wanna shoot here for a special occasion.
Clairmont Farms (Santa Ynez Valley)
Headed to Santa Barbara in early summer? Make sure to add on an extra pit stop to Clairmont Farms, located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Los Olivos. Have a picnic in the family owned (and completely organic) lavender farm, and admire the fields with great views of the Santa Ynez Mountains in the background!
There’s also 300 year old oak trees dotting the grounds, as well as olive trees lining the driveway. Photos look absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to make my way there one day!
Lavender Farms in Southern California
123 Farms (Cherry Valley)
Tucked away in Cherry Valley, about 35 minutes northwest of Palm Springs, you’ll find the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California. And by large I mean huge — the farm is over 20 acres, and you’ll find over 90 varieties of lavender here. Although they primarily grow 3 varieties — Provence, Angustifolia, and Munstead. The farm uses these varieties to make their own aromatherapy products and floral arrangements!
This is by far one of the best family-run lavender fields in California. There’s plenty of picnic tables, complete with a ping pong table, giant chess game, and even a water play area for kids. Sip lavender champagne, nosh on a lavender braised beef brisket sandwich (OMG drool), and indulge in honey lavender ice cream and/or a lavender lemon bar. Aka — come hungry and wear your stretchy pants.
You’ll need to purchase a ticket in advance ($7-$15) as 123 Farms can get crowded.
Ojai Lavender Farm (Ojai)
Located in the upper Ojai Valley, this small family lavender farm in California started in early 2014 and has only grown since then! Ojai Lavender Farm is completely eco-friendly, using sustainable, organic methods of growing and harvesting lavender.
Stay for the Ojai Lavender Festival that happens in Ojai every June! A tradition that’s been going on for so many years. Check the website for opening hours as they’re currently closed for the 2021 season — hopefully they’re back up and running next year!
Hope this helps you plan a wonderful day in the lavender fields in California! Which California lavender farm are you visiting this (or next!) year?!