Destination Guides

The 35 Best Places for Wildflowers, Sunflowers & Poppies in California

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What is it about a field of flowers that seems so inviting? Whether they’re tiny poppies or towering sunflowers, we’re irresistibly drawn to wander among the blooms – and yes, take a few Instagram photos too. Luckily California has some incredible places to see wildflowers and in flower fields. So if you want to see wildflowers, California poppies, sunflowers, or even other flower fields in California, you’ve come to the right place.

After living in California for several years, I’ve had the chance to visit some of these spots and know they’re as photogenic as they look (or sound). Unfortunately, it can be hard to know all of your options (like where to avoid the crowds) plus know what’s updated for this spring’s flowers.

Best Places for California Flowers Hero

So whether you’re seeking shooting stars (yep, that’s a flower – you can find it in Pinnacles National Park), strolling among the lavender, or doin’ it for the ‘gram at one of the wild California poppy reserves, this guide will tell you the details you need to choose a spot and plan a bloomin’ great trip.

In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of many First Nations peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

Tips on Visiting Wildfields & Flower Fields in California

Before I jump into the list, I did want to cover a few tips to help you have a better trip to whichever wildflower spot or flower field in California you choose.

  1. Do your research. I’ve included the link for every site possible here so you can double-check what’s open and what’s blooming when you want to visit. The worst experience will be to show up and see the flowers haven’t bloomed yet or have already bloomed.
  2. Don’t trespass. As a rule, I tried not to include places that are on private property, but there are a few on this list and I explain why I included them for each one. Wherever possible, I have noted the rules on accessing each flower field or wildflower area so you don’t break the law just to see the blooms.
  3. Be prepared for bees. We humans are not the only ones who love flowers. Depending on when you visit and which flowers you’re seeking, you may have some pollinator friends there too. Don’t mess with the bees; let them do their job and everyone will have a good time.

And with that, let’s get to the flowers!

Map of Poppies, Wildflowers & Flower Fields in California

Map of all locations mentioned in this post.

Okay, one last thing before jumping into the list. I’ve created a map of all the locations I mention in this post so you can easily see them. I recommend clicking to open this map in a separate window, and then you’ll be able to interact with it as you read about each post and find the ones you want to visit.

It’s important to note a few things:

  1. Most of the California poppy locations (orange) I mention are located in Southern California; there are poppies throughout the state, but the best spots are south.
  2. There are wildflower viewing opportunities (green) throughout the state, as well as sunflower fields (dark yellow) and other flower fields in California (purple, magenta) too.
  3. The most specific flowers on the list are daffodils (light yellow) and Calla lilies (grey), which are both only found in Northern California.

Okay, now let’s dive into my list of the best spots for wildflowers and flower fields in California.

The Best Spots for California Poppies

Field of California Poppies

Did you know that part of the reason California is called the Golden State is because of the humble California poppy? This special species of wildflower is endemic to California, and you’ll find it growing all over the state. I also love it and plan to have potted California poppies everywhere I live, even if that’s not in California!

California poppies gathered attention over the past few years as they had a moment of insta-fame. If you want to see them yourself, and maybe snap a few pics, here are the four best places for California poppies. Note that poppies grow all over the state, and many of the wildflower spots I mention later also have California poppies too.

1. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

  • Where: Lancaster (SoCal)
  • When: March to April
  • Website:

You’ve seen it on Instagram – for good or for bad – so you already know Antelope Valley even if you didn’t know its name. This is the most popular poppy spot in California, so it’s no surprise it tops my list right?! Located about 75 miles north of L.A., Antelope Valley varies in terms of how many poppies bloom each year (based on rain conditions) and 2021 wasn’t a great year… But that’s also a good thing since 2020 was a big year and too many people visited and damaged the flowers!

2. Gorman Hills Flower Fields

  • Where: Gorman (SoCal)
  • When: February to May
  • Website: n/a

Not far from Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Gorman Hills Flower Fields is a good back-up location in the event that Antelope Valley is just too crowded or they’re limiting access (to limit impact on the poppies). It’s located back along CA-Highway 138 toward I-5, so you can even do both in the same day. Like Antelope Valley, you’ll see gorgeous poppies along the slopes of the Sierra Pelona Mountains.

3. Point Buchon

  • Where: South of Morro Bay (Central Coast)
  • When: February to April
  • Website:

I’m not gonna lie, I love how they’ve managed to keep people from damaging the poppies at Point Buchon – the only place on my list where you can see California poppies and the Pacific Ocean in one view. The Point Buchon trail is limited to just 275 hikers per day, on a first-come, first-access basis. Arrive early and prepared for the 6.6-mile hike that’s quintessentially Californian.

4. Walker Canyon

  • Where: Riverside County (SoCal)
  • When: February to April
  • Website: n/a

When you use Google Maps to find Walker Canyon, don’t be surprised: there’s literally a map pin that reads “Super Bloom.” Like other California poppy spots on this list, it can have incredible superblooms, though this depends on the weather and rainfall each winter. You can reach Walker Canyon easily from L.A. or San Diego (it’s about halfway between), and it’s perfect to pair with some wine tasting in Temecula after you admire the flowers.

The Best Spots for Wildflowers in California

Purple and Orange California Wildflowers

5. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

  • Where: Borrego Springs (SoCal)
  • When: February to May
  • Website:

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California, at over 600,000 acres; I first heard about it as a fantastic stargazing spot. But it’s also primo for wildflowers in the spring when you can spot desert marigold, desert lily, sand verbena, desert sunflower, blooming cacti, and more. The State Park keeps a page on their website updated with information about the wildflowers, to help you plan.

6. Carrizo Plain National Monument

  • Where: Santa Margarita (Central Coast)
  • When: February to May
  • Website:

Carrizo Plain bursts forth in a patchwork of color after it rains in the spring months; here you can find daisies, blue valley phacelia, and goldfields that turn the rolling plains and nearby hillsides gold and purple (very on-brand for Mardi Gras, which is around the earliest you might see wildflowers here). Be sure to plan ahead as this is BLM land and there are no services (toilets, trash services, etc.).

7. Channel Islands National Park

  • Where: Off the coast from Santa Barbara (Central Coast)
  • When: February to May
  • Website:

If you love wildflowers and want to escape the crowds to see some rare ones, Channel Islands National Park is the place to go. This park is comprised of five islands, located 25 miles off the coast from Santa Barbara; each island has its own flowers to enjoy, from Indian paintbrush on Santa Rosa island to lupine and poppies on San Miguel or red paintbrush and island morning glory on Anacapa. You’ll need to catch a ferry to reach the islands and camp once you’re there – but it’s worth it for these unique blooms.

Wildflowers at Death Valley National Park

8. Death Valley National Park

  • Where: The Mojave Desert (SoCal)
  • When: February to July
  • Website:

While the name doesn’t inspire thoughts of lush wildflowers, you might be surprised: Death Valley is known for having some of the most impressive superblooms in California! A superbloom occurs roughly every 10-15 years when we have a wet winter; most years we just have a normal wildflower bloom that’s still impressive. If you’re visiting, you’ll see desert golds, white “gravel ghosts,” and purple phacelia. The National Park Service does keep a page updated with superbloom predictions, to help you plan.

9. Figueroa Mountain

  • Where: Santa Barbara County (Central Coast)
  • When: February to May
  • Website:

Figueroa Mountain makes a lot of lists for wildflower-viewing in Southern California, and for good reason: it’s consistent in terms of bloom intensity and has a huge variety to see. This includes hyacinth, shooting stars, buttercups, Johnny-jump-ups, chocolate lilies, scarlet Indian paintbrushes, purple fiesta flowers, and, of course, California poppies.

10. Joshua Tree National Park

  • Where: Twentynine Palms (SoCal)
  • When: March to May
  • Website:

I love Joshua Tree – so much that I’ve visited it twice in the last few years! Both times though, I’ve been there in the dry seasons and didn’t see any flowers in bloom. What flowers did I miss, you ask? Well, it turns out that Joshua Tree is great for seeing flowering cacti – including the cuddly-looking (but definitely not cuddly) Cholla Cactus and others.

11. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

  • Where: Laguna Beach (SoCal)
  • When: February to April
  • Website:

Here’s another seaside wildflower spot, for those of you who dug that idea from my description of Point Buchon. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has sea views and trails to explore – and wildflowers, of course. These typically bloom in the spring following wetter winter weather (so may vary if it’s a really dry winter), but include morning glory, hyacinth, and southern suncups. (What a great name for a flower!)

Wildflowers at Lake Tahoe - Mahmoud Hashemi via Flickr
Photo credit: Mahmoud Hashemi via Flickr

12. Lake Tahoe

  • Where: Lake Tahoe (NorCal)
  • When: April to July
  • Website: n/a

Lake Tahoe, as you probably know, is an alpine lake at the Nevada border in Northern California. As such, it has one of the more unique climates for wildflowers on this list. Once the snow melts each spring, you’ll start to see wildflowers poking up through the soil, including white phlox, Mariposa lily, yellow plantain buttercup, orange paintbrush, and the appropriately-named blue lupine, among others.

13. Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Where: Northern California
  • When: May to September
  • Website:

I’ll be honest: Lassen Volcanic National Park is still on my personal California bucket list. I love volcanic landscapes and have somehow missed visiting this park yet… but someday! In addition to wild rock formations and fumaroles where gasses escape from beneath the earth’s crust, Lassen also gets a post-snowmelt wildflower bloom. Best of all, because of its elevation (like Tahoe), wildflowers bloom and last much later in the year – into September depending on the species!

14. Mt. Diablo State Park

  • Where: East of the Bay Area (NorCal)
  • When: Mid-March to May
  • Website:

When it comes to wildflowers in the Bay Area, we’ve got to go to the mountain slopes. (Yes, we do have mountains here – the California Coastal Range is real if a bit short in elevation…) Mt. Diablo is a 3,849-foot peak east of San Francisco, and in the spring months, its slopes change from a dusty, dry yellow to a pastel patchwork of blue skullcap, Fendler’s meadow-rue, Sanicula, Johnny-jump-ups, bush lupine, and more. To see what’s blooming before you visit, check this document which is organized by local volunteers.

15. Mount Tamalpais State Park

  • Where: Mill Valley (NorCal)
  • When: February to May
  • Website:

Mr. V and I recently went hiking atop Mount Tam (as we locals call it); little did I know that a few weeks later, it would begin to bloom a patchwork of colorful wildflowers. Of course you’ll find California poppies, as well as goldfields and white iris on one of the mountain’s many hikes. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy my other favorite vegetation during your visit: you can see Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods! (More tips on that in my guide for seeing the Redwoods near San Francisco.)

16. Pinnacles National Park

  • Where: Pinnacles (NorCal)
  • When: March to April
  • Website:

Y’all know I love Pinnacles National Park; we visited twice in the final months we lived in the Bay Area and I still want to go back again! Most people go for the caving and hiking opportunities, as we did, but it’s also a great spot for wildflowers during the spring months after the rain. Flowers you might see (depending on the weather and rainfall) include milkmaids, shooting stars, both California and bush poppies, baby blue eyes, bush lupine, clarkias, orchids, and even roses. This park is so cool!

17. Point Reyes National Seashore

  • Where: Point Reyes (NorCal)
  • When: February to May
  • Website:

I’ve loved Point Reyes National Seashore ever since my first visit when driving up the PCH back in 2014. When I visited, it was an otherworldly landscape of misty marine layer and windswept summer grasses and trees. During the spring, Point Reyes also gets its own wildflower bloom. Species include California buttercup, seaside daisy, and Blue Douglas iris, among 20+ others. Abbotts Lagoon is the place to go for an easy, 2-mile wildflower hike.

The Best Sunflower Fields in California

Flower Fields in California - Sunflowers

I don’t know about you, but I freaking love sunflowers. Any flower which so unabashedly grows and follows the sun is a reminder to us all that we need to do what’s best for ourselves and not be ashamed about it. (Maybe I’m reading too much into sunflowers???) Anyway, if you love sunflowers too, you may want to visit some of the sunflower fields that help the Golden State stay golden once the poppies end their season. Here are six of the best sunflower fields in California: three sunflower fields in Northern California and three sunflower fields in Southern California.

18. Andreotti Family Farms

Andreotti Family Farms is a local fave for Bay Area residents who want to enjoy sunflowers without sweltering in the Central Valley heat. Unfortunately, part of their farm property was affected by wildfires in early 2021, so it’s still uncertain what they’ll be offering to the public this summer. Be sure to check their website before planning a trip.

19. Field of Sunflowers

  • Where: Davis (NorCal)
  • When: June to July
  • Website:

Okay, I was on the fence about including “Field of Sunflowers” because it’s private property and I was very clear I wasn’t going to do that – but this field is so popular that I don’t want to skip it and not have the chance to say my piece: this field is private property. You can stop along the outside of the field on public roads to take pictures – and lots of people do – but don’t go into the field or damage the flowers! (And maybe look at some of the other public flower fields in California in this section instead…)

20. Muller Joe & Sons Ranch/M3 Ranches

The sunflower fields on M3 Ranches (which also goes by Muller Joe & Sons Ranch) are open to the public, but they’re not specifically advertised. If you want to visit, you’ll need to contact them via their website or Instagram to see if (and where) they’re allowing visitors. However, this is a great way to ensure there are no crowds!

21. Swank Farms

You might think it’s the inspiration for the clothing brand based on the name, but inland Hollister, California is located south of the Bay Area and is home to Swank Farms. Like other sunflower fields in warmer spots that bloom in the autumn, Swank Farms also has a pumpkin patch so you can enjoy the sunflowers to wrap up summer and snag a pumpkin to kick off fall.

22. Tanaka Farms

  • Where: Irvine (SoCal)
  • When: Mid-September – Early October
  • Website:

If you’re in Orange County, you too can enjoy sunflowers! Tanaka Farm in Irvine is a great option; their sunflowers come into peak later due to being located further south in California. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check their website or call to see how the flowers are looking.

23. The Rancho Bernardo Pumpkin Station

Here’s another Southern California spot for you to enjoy sunflowers and snap a few photos for the ‘gram. The Rancho Bernardo Pumpkin Station is also great because you can snag a pumpkin for upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving decor since they’re only open in October. They even have U-Pick sunflowers for $2 per stem!

The Best Other Flower Fields in California

I know I’ve covered a lot of flowers so far, but I’m not quite done. In addition to wildflowers (including poppies) and sunflower fields, there are some other flower fields in California, too. Below you’ll find a list of them, which features lavender, daffodils, Calla lilies, magnolias, and more.

24. 123 Farms at Highland Springs Resort

  • Where: Cherry Valley (SoCal)
  • When: May to June
  • Website:

123 Farms is the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California, with 20 acres of fields. The way to visit is by booking their ‘Walk through the Lavender Field’ tour which occurs daily between mid-May and August 1st this year. They also have other events throughout the year; the Lavender Market Nights sounds like a lovely way to pass an autumn evening. Note that it appears they are not having their annual lavender festival in 2021, so don’t plan on that.

25. Araceli Farms

  • Where: Dixon (Central Valley – North)
  • When: April to June
  • Website:

Araceli Farms is another favorite spot for Bay Area bloom-chasers; they’re famous for their lavender fields! They actually have several different types of lavender they grow and use to make a number of products (which you can also purchase during your visit). They offer reservations to access the fields too, which helps control access and damage to the fields; book your ticket in advance on their website for just $5. Or, splurge at $80 per hour per person for a private photography session in the fields.

Flower Fields in Califonia - Lavender

26. Cache Creek Lavender

As far as I can tell, Cache Creek Lavender fields are only open to the public one weekend per year; they hold a festival annually and this year it’s scheduled for June 12-13, 2021. During the rest of lavender season, you can swing by to purchase lavender products and fresh bundles.

27. Calla Lily Valley

  • Where: Carmel-By-The-Sea (NorCal)
  • When: February through April
  • Website: n/a

Like many people, we had Calla lilies at our wedding, so I was delighted to learn there’s a place in Northern California where you can see wild Callas in bloom. From the parking area near Garrapata State Beach, find the Garrapata trail and follow it through the gate to a valley of gorgeous Calla lilies. It’s an easy, scenic hike that takes you past other wildflowers too, depending on when in the spring you visit.

28. Clairmont Lavender Farm

Located further south than some of the other lavender farms on this list, Clairmont Farms is located in the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara (not far from Solvang and Lompoc, which are towns known for their own flower fields too). Unfortunately you can’t enter the fields, but you can have a picnic lunch in the designated area near the fields and enjoy the scent wafting over you while you eat.

Flower Fields in California - Daffodils

29. Daffodil Hill

Unfortunately, Daffodil Hill was closed to the public in 2020 and the details weren’t updated for 2021; don’t worry though: this field dates back to 1877 and will likely return in future years. It’s arguably California’s best daffodil field in the whole state, in part because daffodils don’t love the dry winters and scorching sun. Located in Amador County at 3,000 feet in elevation though, Daffodil Hill creates an ideal climate to see some 300,000 bulbs bloom each spring.

30. Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens is a great year-round flower garden; they share on this page what’s in bloom each month (usually, it may vary when you visit). I particularly wanted to include them as an option for flower fields in Southern California, and also because they have tulips in March (the only tulip field I could find in California!) as well as roses throughout the summer.

31. Fork & Plow Lavender Farm

Fork & Plow Lavender Farm has found a great way to manage crowds and keep their working lavender farm going: to visit you must purchase a Farm Pass which includes a free bundle of lavender, and the passes are only open for select dates (June 12, 19, 26, and July 3 this year). This is a great way to experience the fields and even come home with a U-Pick bundle to make your home smell great afterward.

32. Keys Creek Lavender Farm

  • Where: Valley Center (SoCal)
  • When: May to June
  • Website:

Far down south near San Diego, Keys Creek Lavender Farm is the best choice for all of you in that part of the state. This small farm is only 8.5 acres but has over 20,000 plants in more than 10 lavender varieties. They have not currently reopened to the public, but in the past, they’ve offered lavender classes where you can go through the fields, plus enjoy lavender treats and learn about the farm.

33. Pageo Lavender Farms

There’s one way to visit Pageo Lavender Farms – and I promise it’s a good one! To visit the fields, you can book a private photo shoot for $30-$50 per hour and will get to relax and know you’re getting perfect Instagram-worthy photos in a California lavender field!

34. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

  • Where: Carlsbad (SoCal)
  • When: March to May
  • Website:

If you’re looking for a flower field in the late spring after poppies and wildflowers end but before sunflowers and lavender begin – The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is the place to go! What will you see? The official name is ranunculus, but they’re more commonly known as buttercups. Best of all, they come in a rainbow of colors that make a visit to this field worth the admission and perfect for a photo excursion.

35. Woodland Almond & Magnolia Fields

  • Where: Woodland (Central Valley – North)
  • When: February to March
  • Website: n/a

This isn’t a specific location, but I couldn’t skip over mentioning the flowering trees you can experience near Woodland too (in addition to the sunflowers and lavender I’ve already mentioned). Along CA Highway 16 east of Woodland, you’ll find fields of almond trees and magnolias that burst into life each spring with flowers. The orchards themselves are private property, so don’t enter among the trees (despite the bloggers and ‘grammers you might have seen doing so!), but you can still get great photos without trespassing.

The only question now is: which one(s) will you visit? If you have any questions about these flower fields in California, please let me know in the comments.

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.

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