Spring is in the air. For a seasonal activity, take a drive to these different southern California locations to check out the wildflowers in bloom.
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The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008
On the 50 acres that comprise The Flower Fields, you’ll find a rainbow of color awaiting you as you marvel at the display of ranunculus. The Flower Fields also offer wagon rides for an additional fee, and there are picnic tables throughout so you can sit and enjoy the beauty surrounding you. The Fields are open daily until May 8th.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
15101 Lancaster Rd., Lancaster, CA
Here you’ll find “California’s most consistent poppy-bearing land.” While you’re out exploring among the eight miles of trails, you’ll also find a variety of other wildflowers including cream cups and owl’s clover, to name a few. While you’re out on the trails, remember that rattlesnakes may be out and about. Also, be sure to check the weather before you go (strong winds are frequent) and be sure to have more water than you think your family will actually drink. Parking fees are $10. Late-March to mid-April is predicted to be the best bloom time.
Charmlee Wilderness Park
2577 S. Encinal Canyon Rd., Malibu, CA
Closer to home, located in Malibu, Charmlee Park offers stunning ocean vistas as well as beautiful wildflowers. There are eight miles of hiking trails. Charmlee is also described as being less crowded than other sites.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
200 Palm Canyon Dr., Borrego Springs, CA 92004
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. Families will see wildflowers and know that a variety of animals are nearby as well (including roadrunners, bighorn sheep, and more) even if you don’t see them during your visit. Check the website before you go to determine the status of wildflowers in bloom. Desert lilies are currently being spotted.
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Dr., Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Changes in elevation within Joshua Tree National Park do influence the wildflowers that are blooming. As of right now, the lower elevations are seeing some wildflowers come into bloom. As of early March, the Ocotillo plant is blooming with its distinctive red flowers. The cream-colored blooms of the Joshua Trees have recently been spotted.
Carrizo Plain National Monument
17495 Soda Lake Rd., California Valley, CA 93453
North of Los Angeles, in the Central Valley you’ll find the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Wildflowers here are relatively short-lived, but when in bloom can be quite extraordinary. In addition, each year can vary widely, with some years producing more blooms than others. Some say April is the peak wildflower viewing season. Check the website for more detailed information about what’s in bloom. As of late February, Filaree, Fiddleneck, and Goldfields have been in bloom.
boat rides departing from San Pedro and/or Long Beach
Whether you go just for the day, or decide to make it a little vacation, it’s worth taking a trip to Catalina to check out wildflower season there. Catalina Conservancy recommends a guided tour of the interior so you can see and experience the rainbow of beauty that is present in the blooming flowers.
Eaton Canyon Natural Area
1750 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena, CA 91107
At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, you’ll find the Eaton Canyon Natural Area. Among its 190 acres, families will enjoy picnic areas, hiking trails, and wildflowers. While closer to L.A., some complain this particular area gets a bit crowded. It’s considered a relatively easy hike for families to get to the waterfall, and on the way be on the lookout for spring wildflowers including fern leaf phacelia and chia.
Death Valley National Park
(there is no specific street address but many GPS users have success using the address for the nearby post office which is 328 Greenland Blvd., Death Valley, CA 92328)
While Death Valley may be most famous for its extreme temperatures, families will also find some impressive wildflowers in bloom. This season’s blooms are being called a “Super Bloom” because park staff members say Death Valley hasn’t had blooms like this since 2005! Update 2017: No superbloom this year. Check the website for current information about where to find the blooms.