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20 Spectacular Spots To See SoCal Spring Wildflowers

Updated for 2024

You know Spring is in the air when we’re planning day trips to check out the newest blooms of spring wildflowers. It’s a perfect time to plan a family outing to view the majestic colors in person. While there may not be a Super Bloom like years past, wildflowers are still blooming and still beautiful!

The California State Parks website has up-to-date information on the Spring Wildflowers bloom – and they even have a PoppyCam (see below) for checking out the state of the bloom in the Antelope Valley virtually.

Pro Tip: The bloom usually happens from South to North, so check out the Southern-most spots first. Once there’s a bloom happening near san Diego, it should roll up the State after that.

where to see wildflowers in southern California

Where to See Wildflowers and the Spring Bloom in Southern California

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008

On the 55 acres that comprise The Flower Fields, you’ll find a rainbow of color awaiting you, in the dazzling display of ranunculus. Children will also enjoy Santa’s Playground, the Sweet Pea Maze, and for an additional fee, open-air antique tractor wagon rides. Be sure to check the Bloom Status (available on the website) before visiting. Currently, 48 acres are blooming, with blooms generally lasting between six and eight weeks. The Fields are open daily (9:00 am to 6:00 pm) through Sunday, May 12th. Tickets must be pre-purchased online. 

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
15101 Lancaster Rd., Lancaster, CA

Here you’ll find “California’s most consistent poppy-bearing land.” You’ll find eight miles of trails, including a paved section for wheelchair access. In addition to the beautiful flowers, be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife such as hawks gliding overhead, lizards, meadow larks, and more. The wildflower bloom generally takes place from mid-march through April, with the most current information available on their website. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center (open March 1st through Mother’s Day, 10 am to 4 pm weekdays and 9 am to 5 pm on weekends) to view wildlife and wildflower exhibits, watch an orientation video, and do some shopping in the gift shop. There are shaded picnic tables on-site as well. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Check the website for details and advice including bringing more water than you think you’ll need. 

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. As of March 7th, “there are some areas of sand verbena, desert sunflowers and desert primrose along the eastern portion of Henderson Canyon Road.” You can check their interactive map and their social media for the most current bloom status.  

Click here to read about all the Best Botanical Gardens in SoCal

Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Dr., Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

“Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park.” Remember, many wildflowers in the desert are low-growing which makes it really important to watch where you step and remember to remain on the trail. The “when” and “where” of wildflower blooming in Joshua Tree vary from year to year. Be sure to visit the website for the latest updates as well as information on the other activities offered at Joshua Tree, including hiking and bird-watching. 

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, sometimes described as “one of the best kept secrets in California.” The Goodwin Education Center is open December 1st through May 31st (9 am to 4 pm, Thursday – Sunday). Keep in mind that Carrizo Plain is located in a more remote area and no services (water, food, fuel) are located nearby. Wildflowers tend to “carpet the valley floor” and are quite a sight to see. Check the website before visiting for the latest wildflower updates.  

Related: Farms to pick your own fruit in SoCal.

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 and its designation as the “hottest, driest, and lowest national park,” it has also become “famous for its spectacular, spring wildflower displays, but those are the exception, not the rule.” Some years blossoms are fewer than others, but they are never completely absent from the park. Check the website for the most up-to-date information on the wildflower blooms. According to the website, “the best places to currently see flowers are near the east entrance (Dantes View Rd) and Panamint Valley (west side of the park).”

Read: How to Celebrate Earth Day in Los Angeles

Point Mugu State Park
9000 W. Pacific Coast highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Point Mugu State Park is a pretty spot to visit year-round. Located within the Santa Monica Mountains, Point Mugu State Park features five miles of ocean shoreline and incredible views. You won’t run out of things to do here, and with over 70 miles of hiking trails, you’re sure to spot some pretty wildflowers.

wild red flowers in the desert

Paramount Ranch
2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills, CA 91301

In the 1920s, Paramount Pictures purchased 2700 acres of the Rancho Las Virgenes to be used as a “movie ranch.” In 1980, the National Park Service revitalized a portion of the movie ranch. Today families can go exploring, hiking, and wildflower-viewing on the same land that has been used as the setting in many film and television shows. In November 2018, the Woolsey Fire “swept through Paramount Ranch and destroyed much of what was known as Western Town.” Construction to replace some of what was lost is in process. Check the website for further details. 

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Eaton Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center
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 find so much to do including hiking, bird-watching, nature and plant walks, picnicking, and more. Plus, the Nature Center offers special programming including animal presentations and special exhibits. Be sure to come prepared with plenty of water. 

Linden H. Chandler Preserve
Palos Verdes Dr. N. and Dapple Gray Lane, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

The Linden H. Chandler Preserve is a part of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. The Chandler Preserve is a great spot to view native wildflowers and shrubs including the common fiddleneck, Western tansy mustard, and longleaf bush lupine. Be on the lookout for small wildlife, such as native birds and insets, as well. 

Malibu Bluffs Open Space
24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

There are 84-acres within Malibu Bluffs Open Space. Families will enjoy majestic ocean views, several trails, wildlife viewing, and spring wildflowers in bloom. In addition, Malibu Bluffs Open Space is adjacent to Malibu Bluffs Park which features baseball diamonds, restrooms, and a children’s play structure.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite seeing wildflowers, enjoy some of these delicious Easter Brunch Recipes!

Wild Flower Hill
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants
10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley, CA 91352

The Theodore Payne Foundation site includes a retail nursery, demonstration garden, picnic area, gift shop and bookstore, and Wild Flower Hill. Wildflower Hill is a 3/4-mile-trail that is ideal for leisurely strolls, birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and flower viewing. If you spot something that you can’t identify, be sure to take a photo and then ask one of the nursery sales associates for help in identifying it. (You can also check their hotline for information on the best spots to view wildflowers around southern California. New reports are released each Friday, March through June. 818-768-1802, ext. 7)

Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
Lancaster Rd. and 205th Street West, Lancaster, CA

Seven miles west of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, you’ll find the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park. Here families will view native Joshua Trees and junipers. The Joshua Trees grow in a “bed of wildflowers,” and as spring continues, the white blossoms on the ends of the branches of the Joshua tree bloom and continue to grow larger. Bring a picnic and explore (there are two, flat nature trails).

Charmlee Wilderness Park
2577 Encinal Canyon Rd., Malibu, CA 

Located in Malibu, Charmlee Park offers stunning ocean vistas as well as beautiful wildflowers. You’ll also enjoy eight miles of hiking trails and shady picnic spots. Complimentary, naturalist-led hikes are offered including a Wildflower Hike. Details are available online. (A Wildflower Hike is scheduled for May 4th.)

Channel Islands National Park
1901 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, CA 93001

“Channel Islands National Park is home to over 800 plants species (including subspecies, varieties, and forms).” Each island offers different flowers due to a variety of factors including size of the island, local climate, and distance from the mainland and other islands. Generally, wildflowers begin blooming earlier the farther east and south the islands are located. Additional details are available online including descriptions of each island. 

Forrestal Reserve
32201 Forrestal Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

The 155-acre Forrestal Reserve is a part of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. Here you’ll not only find impressive native wildflowers, but you’ll also see fossils. “The dramatic cliffs at the end of the road are characterized by faults, folds, sedimentary bedding and igneous intrusions with many crystals and fossils, particularly fish scales, in the surface rock debris.” 

Idyllwild Nature Center
25225 Highway 243, Idyllwild, CA 92549

At Idyllwild Nature Center, you’ll find more than 5 miles of hiking trails as well as a picnic area and museum featuring “Native American cultural displays, live and taxidermy animals, and local flora displays.” Wildflowers here tend to bloom later in the season (think May and June) due to the area’s elevation. 

Chino Hills State Park
4721 Sapphire Road, Chino Hills, CA 91709

Chino Hills State Park has become well-known for its “vibrant displays of spring wildflowers, which can blanket the hillsides and meadows with a riot of color.” Generally, peak viewing time is March to May. Be sure to check the website for updated reports regarding wildflower conditions. (As of March 28th, 2024, no significant wildflower bloom was reported.)

Diamond Valley Lake
2615 Angler Ave., Hemet, CA 92545

Diamond Valley Lake is home to Southern California’s largest drinking water reservoir as well as brilliant spring wildflowers. The seasonal Wildflower Trail is a 1.3-mile loop, open only during wildflower season. (Check the website for an online brochure that helps in identifying the wildflowers you’ll see.)

Point Dume State Beach
Westward Beach Road, Malibu, CA

Visit on a clear day, and visitors are in for a treat — “an incredible view encompassing the entire Santa Monica Bay, north Malibu Coast, inland Santa Monica Mountains and distant Catalina Island.” In addition to being a great spot to go for a hike and look for wildflowers, families may also catch a glimpse of migrating California gray whales during their December to April migration period. 

wildflowers in the socal desert

MomsLA is your source for Things to do with Kids in Los Angeles

Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).

Disclaimer: MomsLA has made every effort to confirm the information in this article; however, things can often change. Therefore, MomsLA makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy of the information published here. MomsLA strongly urges you to confirm any event details, like date, time, location, and admission, with the third party hosting the event. You assume the sole risk of relying on any of the information in our list. MomsLA is in no way responsible for any injuries or damages you sustain while attending any third-party event posted on our website. Please read our Terms of Use which you have agreed to based on your continued use of this website. Some events have paid to be listed on MomsLA.

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