Looking for the best flower fields in the Bay Area? Keep on reading, because I’m highlighting 20 places to go for pretty flowers in and near San Francisco!
Bright yellow rows of sunflowers. The sweet, sweet smell of lavender. Manicured gardens full of colorful tulips, magnolias, and roses. Wildflower fields of stately calla lilies and yellow mustard. We’ve got it all here in Northern California!
I promise, even if you can’t make it down to the Carlsbad Flower Fields in Southern California (my all-time favorite), you’ll still have your pick of gorgeous flower fields in the Bay Area.
Whenever spring rolls around, I make it my mission to visit a few of these patches and gardens in San Francisco. And I haven’t missed a season yet! I keep learning about more and more flower fields in the Bay Area, so I’ll be sure to update this list periodically.
Technically, all these flower fields are not necessarily in the Bay Area themselves. BUT you can easily make a day trip to them, which is why I included them in this post of flower fields in the Bay Area. The furthest one is roughly 2 hours from San Francisco, meaning it’s easily doable in just a day!
In this post, I’ve not only included my favorite flower fields in the Bay Area, but a bunch of gardens in San Francisco as well! If you don’t have the time for a day trip, we’ve got lots of pretty blooms right here in the city itself!
I’ve organized this list of gardens and flower fields in the Bay Area by season making it super easy to plan what blooms you can see and when! Mark your calendars – a lot of the flowers only stay picture perfect for a few months or so, and some even a few weeks! You don’t wanna start planning your visit once the season has ended!
Bay Area Flower Fields Etiquette
We’re lucky to have so many gardens and flower fields near San Francisco, but please oh please do your part. We want these flower fields in the Bay Area to stay super pretty and healthy for everyone, in years to come. A few things to keep in mind:
- Some fields may have a “No Trespassing” sign. If that’s the case, don’t trespass – it’s that simple. Respect the wishes of the farm owners. It’s as easy as that.
- I can’t believe I have to say this, but DO NOT STEP ON THE FLOWERS. Even to get your pictures. Stepping directly on a flower (in a garden, flower field, farm, anywhere), means it most likely won’t be growing back next year. If there’s a trail, stay on the trail. And yes, the rules apply to you, too!
- There’s also no picking of flowers, unless specifically directed by the farm owners, like at the U-Pick Sunflower Field in Half Moon Bay or the Metzger Family Zinnia Patch in Woodland. This goes for wildflowers as well – they are not your property. Keep them wild.
- Wanna fly a drone? Find out if it’s allowed ahead of time (before you attempt to fly it…) and get a permit if need be. Psst – it’s illegal to fly a drone on other people’s property, as well as in all state and national parks.
- Some farms/fields allow dogs, some don’t. Always be mindful of this before heading over – no dog should have to stay in a hot car. That’s just cruel. And if you are allowed to bring your dog, be sure to clean up after them and watch where they step. Some fields have uneven ground, sharp thorns, or can be extra muddy.
- Surprise, surprise. Bees love flowers just as much as we do, if not more! And they’re a necessity to help pollinate the fields. Leave them alone and they’ll probably pay no attention to you. I’m such a baby and hate bees, and have never had an issue in both the gardens in San Francisco or flower fields in the greater Bay Area.
Basically, be a good human being. Please and thank you.
Alright, let’s get to it – all my favorite gardens in San Francisco and flower fields in the Bay Area, coming right up!
Spring Flower Fields in the Bay Area
Various Almond Blossom Farms
- What You’ll See: almond blossoms
- Where: Along Highway 16 and Hwy 505 near Dixon and Woodland
- When to Go: mid-February to mid-March
- Cost: FREE!
What are almond blossoms, you ask?! Good question. They’re kinda like cherry blossoms – super delicate and tiny, but instead of being a pale pink, they’re typically white like snow! Fun Fact: California produces 80% of the world’s almonds (I really had no clue it was that high). Makes sense there’s so many almond orchards in California. And their tiny petals are oh so pretty!
Almond blossoms are one of the first of all the flower trees to bloom, and it’s a sign that spring is coming to the Bay Area! Yes, we get spring as early as February/March because we’re lucky over here. The almond blossoms unfortunately only bloom for a short period of time (typically mid-February to mid-March), so you’ll need to plan ahead if you wanna visit them in all their glory!
Where to see almond flower fields in the Bay Area? There’s a few different spots, but along Highway 16, between Dixon and Woodland (near the Sacramento area), is where you’ll find the most! There’s also some near Los Banos as well if you find yourself in that area instead.
Remember – most orchards are private property. See a “no trespassing” sign? Stay out of the orchard and respect their wishes. There’ll be more to see down the highway!
San Francisco Botanical Garden
- What You’ll See: So much! Including magnolias in early spring!
- Where: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
- When to Go: Year round (early to mid February for magnolias)
- Cost: $10-$13 (depending on season), free for SF residents
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is in my opinion one of the most peaceful spots in all of San Francisco. A true urban oasis right in the middle of the city!
There’s gardens from Australia, Chile, the Mediterranean, + New Zealand, an impressive succulent garden, a small redwood grove, and even a cloud forest (yes, you don’t even need to leave the city to feel like you’re kiiiiinda in Costa Rica). It’s one of the most diverse gardens in the world, and you could easily spend all day there!
While it’s wonderful all year round, I especially LOVE visiting when the magnolias are in full bloom (early to mid February). It’s such a sight to see the bright pink blooms against a clear blue sky.
You don’t even have to get a ticket if you really don’t want to pay — there’s usually a few magnolia trees blooming right outside the entrance! But really though, go on in!
Wild Mustard Fields of Iacopi Farms
- What You’ll See: Wild Mustard
- Where: Iacopi Farms, Half Moon Bay
- When to Go: February and March
- Cost: $10 per person
You’re driving by and then BAM — huge fields of tiny yellow flowers. Those are the wild mustard fields, popping up every February in Half Moon Bay. You can freely wander throughout the fields and even make your own paths (yes, I asked the owners), unlike all the other flower fields in the Bay Area.
Why? Because wild mustard is actually a weed — a very pretty one indeed! Take lots of photos, have a picnic, and have fun frolicking! One of my favorite things to do in Half Moon Bay in early spring.
Wandering throughout the wild mustard super bloom kinda felt like I was swimming in a sea of yellow happiness. I mean, how could you be anything less than ecstatic running through bright yellow flower fields? I swear, go on a bright blue day and you’ll feel like you’re frolicking through computer wallpaper. The contrast of the blue sky and yellow blooms is absolutely gorgeous!
- I actually have an entire post about everything you need to know to visit the wild mustard fields in Half Moon Bay. Make sure to check that out!
And while you’re over here, head to one of the best beaches in Half Moon Bay – late winter/early spring is known to have the clearest weather on the coast!
Calla Lily Valley
- What You’ll See: Tall, white calla lilies
- Where: Garrapata State Park, Big Sur/Carmel-by-the-Sea
- When to Go: mid-February to mid-March (peak bloom)
- Cost: FREE!
Thousands upon thousands of tall white calla lilies. That cool California breeze. A leisurely walk down to the valley. This is Calla Lily Valley in Big Sur, California! It’s basically an annual oasis that comes to life every spring.
And get this – the calla lilies you’ll see over here are technically wildflowers! Since no one planted them and all. Mother Nature sure is sensational sometimes!
The calla lilies in Calla Lily Valley are in bloom from late January to mid-April. But visit too early and there won’t be many flowers in the valley yet, and visit too late, they’ll all be gone or heavily wilted and browning.
While the season obviously changes a bit from year to year (these flowers bloom in nature after all!), your best bet will be to go from mid-February to mid-March, as this is typically when peak bloom occurs.
To reach Calla Lily Valley, you’ll need to walk about ¼ mile on a dirt trail and down a few steps. To get as close to the trailhead as possible, you’ll wanna park near Gate 18 (or Gate 19 if you can’t find anything closer). While technically in Garrapata State Park, don’t park over there – you’ll be too far away from the lilies!
Read Next: Exactly How to Find the Secret Calla Lily Valley in Big Sur (plus lots of other tips)
Japanese Tea Garden
- What You’ll See: cherry blossoms
- Where: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
- When to Go: early to mid-April
- Cost: $12 (free for SF residents)
Cherry blossoms!!! These delicate tiny blooms are the main draw of the Japanese Tea Garden here in Golden Gate Park. While you can visit any time of year, plan to visit in the spring when the Japanese cherry blossoms are in bloom! Just know you can see bamboo, dwarf trees, and irises year round if you’re looking to visit one of the best gardens in San Francisco ASAP.
We were lucky enough to visit Japan a few years ago during sakura (cherry blossom) season – what an amazing trip that was! While the Japanese Tea Garden here in San Francisco is not quite the same thing, it’s still super fun to get a taste of the culture and see the pretty pale pink blooms.
Whether you’re craving some hot tea or just wanna say hello to the koi fish, head on in. There’s a bunch of pagodas resembling the real stuff in Japan, all nestled between lush gardens and manicured horticulture. It’s not huge, but so well maintained you really feel the traditional Japanese culture here.
Expect wooden Buddha statues, a Shinto Shrine, porcelain lanterns, and glistening ponds with stones to walk on. And of course the cherry blossom trees in early spring! My favorite time of year to visit.
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
- What You’ll See: Tulips
- Where: Dutch Windmill at Golden Gate Park (San Francisco)
- When to Go: April
- Cost: FREE!
Visiting San Francisco in early Spring? You NEED to make your way to the Dutch Windmill on the very edge of Golden Gate Park! I mean, you can visit any time of year, but I love it most when the tulips are in full bloom (obviously). It’s like a tiny piece of Holland in the Bay Area (although I’m dying to visit the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in The Netherlands). One day, one day.
Hundreds, if not thousands of delicate tulips take over the surrounding area and fill it with vivid color – it’s a sight that will leave you searching for tickets to the Tulip Festival in Amsterdam! The area does get pretty crowded, so work those angles (shoot from down below) to help get some photobombers outta the shot. A visit during the week will be far less crowded, but I was surprised just how many people there were on a random Tuesday when I went.
Berkeley Rose Garden
- What You’ll See: Roses
- Where: North Berkeley
- When to Go: April – May
- Cost: FREE!
Yay – more roses! You can expect lots of rose gardens in the Bay Area come springtime. And I’m a-okay with that!
The Berkeley Rose Garden is a city-owned park in North Berkeley, and actually was one of the first Civil Works Progress Projects built in 1937. Yes, it’s pretty old! And is even said to be one of the finest rose gardens in all of Northern California!
You’ll find 1,500 rose bushes and 250 varieties under and alongside a terraced amphitheater and 220-foot-long redwood pergola. It’s smaller than it looks in pictures, but I promise it’s still worth a visit!
The garden also features 4 tennis courts, a picnic area, hiking trails, foot bridges, a semi-circular terraced amphitheater, and an ornamental pool. There’s even breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge from the rose garden! Yes, you don’t need to travel far for all this!
You could easily spend all day here (but we usually just wander the rose garden for half an hour or so and then spend the rest of the day eating, haha)! Don’t miss out on Sliver Pizza and Gregories potato puffs before leaving Berkeley – my two gluttonous favorites over there!
Pink Magic Carpet Flowers in Montara
- What You’ll See: pink sea fig flowers
- Where: south side of Montara Beach, Half Moon Bay
- When to Go: April through June
- Cost: FREE!
A completely natural pink superbloom! How often do you see that?! One of the most unique flower fields in the Bay Area, that’s for sure! These wildflowers pop up every April and last until about June or so, so head on over to Half Moon Bay to scope them out!
You may have already seen these beautiful fuchsia blooms on IG, but now it’s time for you to go! Getting here is super easy, just park at Montara State Beach, walk down the steps, walk towards the southern part of the beach, and climb up the narrow trail on the bluffs.
It’ll probably be foggy (the weather is super temperamental this time of year), but those pink flowers will really add a lot of color to your photos. Psst — I’m not sure exactly what they’re called (some people say they’re Pink sea fig flowers, others say redondo creepers, ice plants, or dew-flowers), but everyone I know calls them the pink magic carpet Montara flowers!
Psst – the super bloom is on PUBLIC property. There’s a private house nearby, so just don’t wander too far or make too much loud noise. We don’t want them complaining. 🙂
Magic Carpet Ice Plants in Pacific Grove
- What You’ll See: Pink Ice Plants
- Where: Perkins Park, Pacific Grove (Monterey Peninsula)
- When to Go: mid April to June
- Cost: FREE!
More ice plants! Every time we head down to the Monterey Peninsula (for say, Calla Lily Valley or the 17 Mile Drive), it was never the right time to see the pink ice plants of Pacific Grove! Thankfully, after living in the Bay Area for almost a decade (damn!), we finally made it down to see the famous Pacific Grove magic carpet!
And after visiting, I have to say it’s now one of my favorite flower fields in the Bay Area!
Imagine a mile long trail of fuschia, fluorescent blooms! Kinda my dream come true. The entire coastline is covered in popping pink hues, contrasting beautifully with the blues of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a site to see for sure!
Unfortunately the pinky-purplely ice plants of Pacific Grove are only seen for a short period of time, from early-mid May to sometime in June. It’s hard to predict exactly when they’ll be in bloom, but come in mid May and you’ll have the best luck.
Where did these plants even come from?! In 1943, longtime Pacific Grove resident Hayes Perkins (a super smart gardener) wanted to clear out an ocean bluff covered in poison oak. In order to do so, he planted a mix of shrubs and the South African drosanthemum floribundum, a succulent of the ice plant variety, and alas – the pink magic carpet was born!
Summer Gardens in San Francisco and Nearby
Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden
- What You’ll See: tulips, wisteria, and cherry blossoms
- Where: Palo Alto
- When to Go: April – September
- Cost: FREE!
Gamble Garden is one of my favorite places to check out as it’s right near me in the heart of Old Palo Alto. This charming little garden is truly an oasis in the middle of town, with its cherry blossom trees, small tulip garden, and their dreamy wisterias (which bloom around April).
Here at Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden you’ll find a rose garden, a cutting garden, and a formal herb garden! Plus a historic home, a carriage house, and yes, a tearoom! Feels kinda like a mini Filoli, and it’s completely free to the public !Couples even get married here – it’s that beautiful!
I wanna go back for Yoga in the Garden (select Saturdays from May through October) and a Garden Fresh Luncheon (the perfect time to wear your straw hat and floral dress)! Check out all the fun activities at Gamble Garden over here – they’ve even got cocktails and watercolor nights! My kinda fun!
- What You’ll See: Lavender
- Where: outskirts of Dixon
- When to Go: May through July
- Cost: $5-10
Lavender lovers, I gotchu! 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 right here in California, including a few not far from the Bay Area. My favorite – Araceli Farms on the outskirts of Dixon.
Imagine getting lost in the intoxicating scent of lavender. Frolicking throughout the 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 any more. Sounds like my kinda summertime dream.
When to Visit? Summer time, baby! June is peak lavender season, although anytime between May and July is a great time to visit Araceli Farms in Dixon.
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
- What You’ll See: roses!
- Where: San Jose
- When to Go: late May to September
- Cost: FREE!
Imagine 11-acres and more than 4,000 roses. Breathe in that intoxifying floral scent. Feel the wind on your hair… ok scratch that… this is San Jose we’re talking about – it’s typically stifling hot, haha. But that’s the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden I’m talking about! It’s even been dubbed , “America’s Best Rose Garden”, and I can totally see why.
Colorful showy blooms and rolling green lawns. This historic rose garden in the Rose Garden District of San Jose (hey, how fitting!) has more than 189 rose varieties, along with a gorgeous fountain in the middle and a grassy lawn with benches.
One of the most gorgeous rose gardens I’ve seen, and get this – it’s completely free! Most other gardens like this cost at least something, so if you’re in the San Jose area come summertime, there’s no reason not to go! It’s the perfect spot for photoshoots, although I recommend coming on a weekday for the least crowds.
It’s also a fantastic place for picnics – we love bringing along a blanket and some snacks and sitting amongst the rose bushes. One bummer is that dogs are not allowed, so we need to leave little Kona at home. Sad face!
Bougainvillea House in San Francisco
- What You’ll See: bougainvillea
- Where: Cow Hollow, San Francisco
- When to Go: late May to September
- Cost: FREE!
Okay, fine, you caught me! This isn’t a flower field in the Bay Area (or even a garden in San Francisco) in the least bit. It’s a house in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco. BUT it’s by far one of the most gorgeous houses I’ve ever seen. And it’s right in the city. So how could I leave it off this list?!
I mean, look – lush purpley-pink flowers are practically engulfing the entire house! And that my friends, is the power of bougainvillea. These tiny flowers bloom in dramatic and dense clusters, climbing up walls and structures like a vine.
Psst — for the full effect, you’ll wanna go when the bougainvillea is actually in bloom! Come in summer for the prettiest blooms (they usually start blooming in May/June and last until September or so)! It’s literally covered from top to bottom in the prettiest pink flowers — any floral lovers dream!
Find it on Baker and Lyon in Cow Hollow. The house next door is really pretty to shoot at too, with its own branches of bougainvillea!
Central Park Rose Garden
- What You’ll See: roses
- Where: Downtown San Mateo
- When to Go: late May to September
- Cost: FREE!
The Central Park Rose Garden is definitely more of a locals spot, but felt it was worthy enough of this list if you’re already in the Bay Area! We love coming here a bit before sunset, grabbing a tea on the main street, and wandering the garden. It’s typically not very crowded and you really don’t need more than 20 minutes here, but it’s a great spot for photos if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
With over 100 rose bushes in 12 beds, you can bet the whole area smells just wonderful! The roses here are in every single color imaginable – from pink and red to yellow and orange and everything in between. And plenty are multi-colored!
The gazebo is a great place for photos. And there’s a bunch of benches if you wanna bring a book and read/rest for a bit.
Before you leave the park, stop by the nearby Japanese Garden – it’s one of my favorite spots to go for a quick wander. And completely free!
Metzger Family Zinnia Patch
- What You’ll See: zinnias
- Where: Woodland
- When to Go: late June to early September
- Cost: FREE!
This flower field in the Bay Area is extra special. Why? Since 2013, Mark Mezger (the owner of the farm), has planted two acres of zinnias on his property – for the public to enjoy (and take home!) for free! And what a gorgeous zinnia patch it is!
The Mezger family plants an entire field of flowers for anyone and everyone to pick! Yes, this is one of the only flower fields in the Bay Area where you can actually pick the flowers! How generous, right? You really don’t hear stories like that anymore. What a wonderful gift this family has given to the Woodland neighborhood and beyond.
I promise you – there’s no catch! Just pure generosity. Bring a few vases for others to use in the future if you plan on picking your own bouquets. The community donates clippers, vases, and buckets of water for anyone to use. And yes, the flowers are completely free! Bless that man’s heart.
Look out for butterflies, dragonflies, and hummingbirds – there’s lots over in the zinnia patch. Also, bees, lots of bees – but that’s to be expected.
I love the “rule” over here – if you pick a bouquet for yourself, you have to pick a bouquet for someone else who can’t get to the farm. How sweet is that?! Easily one of the most joyful places in Northern California. This is one of the flower fields in the Bay Area still on my to-visit list! Hopefully next year!
Monte-Bellaria di California
- What You’ll See: Lavender
- Where: Sebastopol (West Sonoma County)
- When to Go: late June to end of July for peak bloom season
- Cost: FREE – $20 (depending on season)
Monte-Bellaria di California, located on the coastal hills of Sebastopol, is one of the largest lavender fields in Northern California. 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!
The farm is open on weekends from mid-April to December, but not all months are created equal! If you’re looking to experience the peak lavender season (when it’s at its most vibrant purple), visit late June to the end of July.
August to September is another nice time to visit; it’s known as fragrance season. Expect lots of lovely lavender aromas, although the bright purple color fades to a bluish-gray. Green Spring occurs in late April to mid-June, which is before the lavender actually blooms, so you won’t see any purple flowers then!
Visits to Monte-Bellaria are reservation-only, so make sure to reserve your ticket in advance on their website! I recommend visiting from late June to July for the full lavender experience!
Before you leave, be sure to check out the farm store! It sells homemade lavender honey (yum!), homemade olive and essential oils, and tons of other lavender-scented products (like soaps, fragrances and culinary products). While you’re over here in Sebastopol, check out Patrick Amiot’s Junk Art (super quirky and free!) and The Barlow for lunch (industrial-style marketplace).
Conservatory of Flowers
- What You’ll See: rare and exotic plants inside, dahlias outside
- Where: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
- When to Go: outside – July to October, inside – anytime
- Cost: FREE (outside) – $10 (inside)
The Conservatory of Flowers is kinda a double whammy – it’s technically two separate gardens in San Francisco within a 2 minute walk. There’s bright blooms outside the greenhouse in neatly organized beds, and an entire atrium filled with tropical flowers and plants inside! A real-life flowerful oasis, inside and out!
Outside, you’ll see the unofficial exhibit – the dahlia garden! They tend to change up the colors and designs every season, but I can promise you one thing, it’s always gorgeous! While you can come anytime of year to see the plants inside the conservatory, plan to come July to early November to see the dahlias at their brightest.
But don’t just admire the flowers outside – the Conservatory of Flowers houses a huge collection of rare and exotic plants in its tropical greenhouse. The greenery is so lush; you completely forget you’re within the actual city!
Expect to see orchids, water lilies, lotus, hibiscus, and even carnivorous plants like Venus flytraps (aren’t those just ridiculously cool? Only me?). Plus Corpse Flowers (although they don’t open up very much so it’s unlikely you’ll get to see them in all its glory).
I love snapping photos outside the historical (and beautiful) Victorian-style greenhouse – with hundreds of windows is just so cool and unique! It’s actually the oldest building in the park, completed in 1879.
Happy Dahlia Farm
- What Flowers You’ll See: Dahlias
- Where: Petaluma
- When to Go: July to early October (peak bloom in August)
- Cost: Free to enter, plus build your own bouquet ($)
Flower farmer Meagan Major took over the farm a few seasons ago, and she completely transformed the space (previously Aztec Dahlias). The farm now grows over 100 varieties of dahlias, blooming in late Summer to early Fall. Definitely add this to your Bay Area bucket list – can you even imagine being surrounded by 10,000 Dahlia plants in rainbow order?! Any dahlia lover’s dream destination! Their slogan is even “All you need is love and flowers”. Super fitting!
The dahlias have such fun names, with Café Au Lait (with its large, ruffled, pale peachy-pink blooms) being one of the most popular! Break Out is more a soft, romantic pale pink, while Ivanetti sports a vibrant, dark purple hue. You’ll probably smell some basil within the dahlia flower fields as well; this helps attract cute little critters like ladybugs (important for a healthy farm).
You can even build your own bouquet and bring home some of the flower-power magic. It’s really a hidden gem in Petaluma, and I can’t wait to get there myself! The dahlias begin blooming in July, peak in August, and continue through early October, although I’d get there latest September (to make sure there’s still lots to pick from)!
Fall Flower Fields in the Bay Area
Andreotti Family Farms
- What You’ll See: Sunflowers
- Where: Andreotti Family Farms, Half Moon Bay
- When to Go: September and October
- Cost: $20 per person
Always wanted to wander throughout a bright yellow sunflower field? Now’s your chance at this flower field in the Bay Area — at Andreotti Family Farms! This is one of my favorite fall activities on the coast, and I can guarantee you’ll have oh so much fun.
It honestly feels like you’re walking through a jungle, just with pops of sunflowers to brighten the day! Andreotti Family Farms is actually the only farm in California that lets you pick your own sunflowers (included in the per-person admission fee), so you can bring home a few blooms to show off in your kitchen.
If you missed the summer sunflowers in other parts of California, you’re in luck! Since Half Moon Bay is on the coast, this means that the weather is pretty foggy and cool. MEANING peak sunflower season is later than others in California!!! Perfect for us slackers, whoops!
Plan to come in September or October before all the sunflowers have been picked through. You’ll wanna follow Andreotti Family Farms on IG to check for sunflower opening updates. And make sure to visit a few pumpkin patches in Half Moon Bay afterwards — this is the perfect time for them as well!
Year Round Bay Area Flower Fields and Gardens!
Filoli Historic House and Gardens
- What You’ll See: Tons! Come for tulips and wisteria in April, roses in the summer
- Where: Woodside
- When to Go: Year Round!
- Cost: $20-$25
It took me 7 years of living in the Bay Area to visit Filoli, and I have no clue why! It’s honestly super impressive and one of my new favorite places!
These gardens are all beautifully manicured, unlike wildflower fields you’ll see on this list of flower fields in the Bay Area. The hedges are perfectly cut, the flowers are bright and happy, and there’s even a beautiful country house surrounded by a 654-acre estate! It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before and kinda feels like you’ve just stepped into the most gorgeous French garden (despite being here in the Bay Area)!
So wear your cutest summer dress, throw on a straw hat, and wander along the gardens in the sunshine! Sounds like the perfect day to me! Stroll around with a parasol in hand and you’ll feel just like a character in a classic English novel. Plus, there’s major Bridgerton vibes over here (if you’re into the show and all).
And unlike other gardens and flower fields in the Bay Area, there’s no perfect time to visit! Filoli has different blooms depending on the season, so you can head back time and time again and there’ll always be different flowers to see! When we visited there was a gorgeous rose garden, tons of dahlias, and even a vegetable garden. I really wanna visit in April to see the purple wisteria and stunning arrangement of tulips (a whopping 86,000-plus bulbs are typically planted)!
Whatever month you visit, you can tour the historic mansion, check out the reflecting pool in the sunken garden, and gaze up at the wrought-iron gates. While you’re over here, make a short pit stop at the nearby Pulgas Water Temple, one of my favorite photo spots near San Francisco!
Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery
- What You’ll See: cacti and other drought-tolerant plants
- Where: Walnut Creek
- When to Go: Year round, but steer clear of the sweltering summer months
- Cost: $10
This flower garden in Walnut Creek is a bit different from the other gardens and flower fields in the Bay Area. Ruth Bancroft Garden is considered a dry garden – meaning the bulk of the flora over here are drought-tolerant plants (from around the world I might add).
You’ll see more than 2,000 cacti, succulents, trees, and shrubs native to California, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, and Australia. To be honest, there’s not tons and tons of color over here, and it kinda reminded me a tad of the deserts of Arizona and even Los Cabos, Mexico! But I promise it’s still absolutely gorgeous and still worth a visit! Think blue-gray agave, single-stemmed aloe, orange poppies, light green ice plants, acacias, and blooming cacti.
I was amazed to learn that the garden’s founder, Ruth Bancroft, lived to be 109! She was actually a pioneer in drought-tolerant gardening, and her masterpiece is truly a work of art.
We visited on a scorching hot day (which wasn’t too pleasant because there’s hardly any shade in here). Check the weather ahead of time and plan better than we did if you don’t wanna be sweating profusely the entire time!
Hakone Estate and Gardens
- What You’ll See: iris, azalea, bamboo
- Where: Saratoga
- When to Go: Year Round
- Cost: $12
If you’re into Japanese gardens, you’ll absolutely love Hakone Estate and Gardens! I took my parents here on their last visit to the Bay Area, and we loved touring the grounds – tons of koi fish, giant bamboo stalks, and traditional Japanese architecture. Plus multi-tiered waterfalls, strolling gardens, unique lanterns, and even unique Japanese stonework.
While you’re probably here for the gardens (this is a post on my favorite gardens and flower fields in the Bay Area), don’t miss the Upper House and Lower House – we loved them! And get this, the The Cultural Exchange Center (another building in Hakone Estate), was actually constructed in Japan, disassembled, shipped to Saratoga (California), and then reassembled right on site. Can’t get more authentic than that!
This 18-acre traditional Japanese garden is more than 100 years old, and it’s even recognized as one of the oldest Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere. Don’t miss the bamboo garden – it totally feels like you’re in Kyoto, Japan!
Arizona Cactus Garden
- What You’ll See: cacti and succulents
- Where: Palo Alto
- When to Go: Year Round, but it gets extremely hot it in the summer
- Cost: free!
A nice unexpected surprise in Northern California! Another drought-resistant garden, and one of my favorite gardens in the Bay Area! It’s home to over 500 species of cacti and succulents from all over the world, and we loved all the interesting shapes and textures. It kinda reminded me of a cactus garden we went to in Palm Springs, and a MUCH smaller version of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
The garden itself is in full sun, but there’s a lot of shady trees around. It’s a great spot for a photoshoot, and we even saw some people in beautiful Mexican dresses taking pictures, I think for a quinceañera or graduation.
This small botanical garden is located on the campus of Stanford University — so be sure to check out the rest of the campus afterwards (the architecture is stunning, especially near Memorial Court and Hoover Tower). There’s also a Rodin Sculpture garden here!
Which of these flower fields in the Bay Area are you planning to visit soon?! Hope this helps you find some fun spring and summer activities in San Francisco and beyond!