Fall in San Francisco: A Day Trip to Arata's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay

Now that it's fall in San Francisco, I've been determined to find a good pumpkin patch in the Bay Area. Some brief internet research on fall in the Bay Area resulted in a solid plan for the weekend—a fall day trip from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay.

While the day trip from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay doesn't offer the thrilling fall colors you'd find on the east coast of the United States, it does offer one thing that is quintessentially fall—pumpkin farms! Pumpkin farms are abundant in Half Moon Bay, so abundant that the city is home to an annual pumpkin festival every October. Obviously, this destination was a no-brainer for a girl who was on a mission to be surrounded by as many pumpkins as possible. I'm admittedly very bummed that my home city doesn't give me an extreme fall foliage experience, so pumpkins are what give me my fix.

How to Get from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a small coastal city located 30 miles south of San Francisco. Unfortunately there isn't a quick public transit option between the two cities, so your best option is driving. While there are a few major freeways you could hop on to head south to Half Moon Bay, my favorite route is Highway One. Driving on Highway One south from San Francisco will lead you along the beautiful California coast for about 40 minutes before you reach Half Moon Bay. 

Where to eat in Half Moon Bay

The BArn in Half Moon Bay

On a day trip from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, you're likely going to get hungry. One of my favorite places to eat in Half Moon Bay is The Barn. I fell absolutely in love with The Barn as soon as I laid eyes on it last year. I mean, just look at it. It's a charming, cute, rustic barn that serves food. What more could you want?

But in all seriousness, I'm not a complete sucker for pretty, photogenic restaurants. While the aesthetic is appealing, when it comes to dining, the food has to be of quality too to keep me around. I've had lunch at The Barn multiple times now over the past year or two and I am happy to report that my food has always been stellar. 

On this particular trip to The Barn in Half Moon Bay, I ordered the BLT and my boyfriend had the burger. Both of our sandwiches were super tasty and the fries hit the spot, as always. Beer and wine are also served here if you're looking to have an adult beverage with your meal. The Barn focuses on serving drinks that are produced locally, which is also the restaurant's approach with all of the food they use, too—which I love!

The goal of this day trip to Half Moon Bay was to immerse myself in a pumpkin field and soak in all of the fall vibes, so I couldn't have been more thrilled to stop at The Barn to find that they had the restaurant decked out for the season. The restaurant and dining area was covered with a range of colorful pumpkins and gourds. Cozy plaid, wool blankets were scattered around for diners to toss over their laps if the fall days turn chilly. And to top it all off, pumpkin cider was being served on the menu. My day full of fall fun was coming together quite nicely. 

3068 N. Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay, California, 94019

Lunch at The Barn in Half Moon Bay, California.

Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, CA

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are so many pumpkin farms and pumpkin patches in Half Moon Bay, it's quite impressive. As we drove along the highway, I spotted numerous pumpkin stands and fields along the side of the road. We could have made an entire day out of solely visiting pumpkin patches. It was late in the afternoon though, so we only had time to choose one pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay to visit, so we headed to Arata's. 

Arata's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay

According to their website, Arata's has been farming pumpkins since 1932 and is the oldest pumpkin farm in San Mateo County, California. The farm can be clearly spotted from the road as you approach on Highway One. I really liked the idea of getting to choose my pumpkin from the very place it was grown and harvested. It also adds an additional level of excitement to be visiting a farm that has so much history.

Visiting on a Saturday afternoon, the crowds were out in full force. The nice thing, though, is that the farm is so vast and spacious, it's easy to enjoy yourself amongst all of the people. Let me just say, I've never before seen such a wide variety of pumpkins and gourds to choose from. Not only can you find the classic orange pumpkin whose destined to be carved into, but there are pumpkins in shades of light mint-ish green, white marbled with orange and yellow, and even a pumpkin variety in shades of peach. I'm so sad I don't have a front porch to house all of these pumpkins. The struggles of San Francisco apartment living.

In addition to having the best selection of pumpkins in so many varieties, colors, shapes and sizes, Arata's Pumpkin Farm has a number of other activities for visitors to enjoy. The hay maze, haunted barn and hay ride appeared to be a hit amongst children and adults alike. If you're visiting with kiddos, they'll surely be pleased with Arata's petting zoo, pony ride and train ride. Arata's Pumpkin Farm is perfect for a group of tiny toddlers, or a pumpkin-obsessed adult with a camera, like myself.

185 Verde Road, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Small pumpkins at Arata's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay
Lots of pumpkins at Arata's Pumpkin Farm

Half Moon Bay is an awesome weekend getaway during any season. If you want more information, tips and ideas to help you plan your visit, check out the Visit Half Moon Bay website.

Have you ever been to a pumpkin farm? What are some of your favorite fall activities? Tell me in the comments below!

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