Plan an Autumn Adventure at These 6 Central Texas Pumpkin Patches
We’ve rounded up the best pumpkin patches within an hour of Austin to visit on a perfect fall day
Once we pass the Labor Day threshold, we Austinites look forward to (marginally) cooler temperatures, lively fall events like Oktoberfest and Halloween, and the arrival of pumpkin crops at local farms and produce markets. Visiting a pumpkin patch is a surefire way to get into the autumn spirit, especially when said visit comes with family-friendly games, spiced cider, and maybe even a hayride. We’ve rounded up 6 of the best pumpkin patches within 1 hour of Downtown Austin, all of which will be ready to serve gourd-loving guests by the end of September.
Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival
A pumpkin patch and harvest festival that has become an Austin-area icon, the Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival packs a tremendous amount of autumn-themed fun into their annual event. The weekends-only Pumpkin Festival begins on September 23 and runs through October 29, and it’s held on the grounds of the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead, a scenic five-acre property in Dripping Springs that’s designated as a Texas State Historical Landmark. $15 earns you admission to the whole event, which includes a by-the-pound pumpkin market (large pumpkins and gourds sell for $1 per pound, but smaller pumpkins are available at lower rates), lawn games like corn hole and (kid-friendly) axe throwing, activities like bouncy bullriding, pumpkin painting, and spin art, and other fun attractions like a petting zoo, live music, and pony rides. As far as eating and drinking goes, food trucks selling everything from tacos to ice cream to burgers to wine & beer will be open for business.
The Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival also features specific themes for each weekend, and attendees are encouraged to dress up accordingly and to enjoy specially-curated shows, games, and other activities. On September 23-24, the theme will be “Scarecrow Disco” (with a fall season kickoff bash, a live DJ set, and a foam dance party). On September 30-October 1, it’ll be “Butterfly Jubilee” (with live butterfly releases and a “butterfly runway show”). The Weekend 3 (October 7-8) lineup is devoted to a Celebration of Indigenous Tradition with ceremonial Aztec dancing and a Comanche Intertribal Exhibition, and Weekend 4 (October 14-15) is a Wild West-inspired Pioneer Palooza with sharp shooting, trick riders, and plenty of Texas BBQ. On October 21-22, the Pumpkin Festival will transform into a Bubble Extravaganza perfect for young children who love to pop and Instagrammers taking photos and videos of bubble dancers. Finally, the Festival culminates with a Pumpkin Jamboree featuring a baby goat fashion show (yes, really!), trick or treating, and guests of all ages showing off their Halloween costumes.
Indian Springs Ranch
Menchaca, a small town just south of the Austin city limit, is home to Indian Springs Ranch, a privately-owned property that shelters a number of exotic animals, all of whom are carefully tended by the ranchowners and are essentially kept as pets. Indian Springs Ranch typically only allows visitors for small private tours, but during the fall season, the ranch opens its gates to the public and transforms a section of the land into a full-scale pumpkin patch.
Guests can enter the pumpkin patch starting on September 23 and the activation will stay live through October 29; Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are generally closed (with the exception of Monday, October 9, when the ranch will be open from 2-6pm), Thursday & Friday hours are from 2-6pm, and Saturday and Sunday hours are from 10am-6pm. Weekday pricing is $8, while weekend pricing is $16, and these prices grant you entry to the patch itself, the ability to mingle with and feed several of the animals who live on the ranch (like the bison, llama, zebra, and camel), entry to the kids’ playground, and–on weekends only–a chance to leap onto the inflatable “jumping pillow.” There are also potential photo ops all over the patch, so you’ll have plenty of options for social media. Food & drink can be purchased on-site, or you’re welcome to bring your own snacks or picnics (but no alcohol, please!). All in all, Indian Springs Ranch offers a very family-oriented pumpkin patch experience with a welcome bonus of beautiful wildlife.
Sweet Berry Farm
Marble Falls might be slightly farther a drive, but just head 50 miles northwest of downtown Austin, and you’ll find a quaint working farm with plenty of pumpkins and other fall-ish activities. Sweet Berry Farm will reopen for the autumn season on September 23, and guests are welcome to enter the farmgrounds and take in the beauty of the harvested pumpkins, hay bales, and general Texas-country vibes without paying an admission fee. Sweet Berry Farm charges a la carte for their on-site activities, which include hayrides for $4 per person (kids under 2 ride for free!), mazes for both kids and adults ($3.25-8/person), pumpkin painting ($5.25/pumpkin), scarecrow stuffing ($19.95/scarecrow kit), and pony rides on Saturdays ($7/ride). Guests are also welcome to bring pumpkins home with them; Sweet Berry Farms sells pumpkins for 65 cents/pound, and you can pick up mini gourds for only $1.50 each. If you’re in need of a scenic drive outside the city and want to bring home a gorgeous gourd for your jack o’lantern purposes, Sweet Berry Farm will set you up nicely.
Mama Mary’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch
Mama Mary’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch really takes the pumpkin thing seriously; the entire property in Creedmoor (a town just 25 minutes southeast of Downtown Austin) is devoted to making the pumpkin patch experience a special one for visitors of all ages. The fall season will begin at Mama Mary’s on September 30, and from then until November 12 (a couple of weeks after many other Central Texas pumpkin patches cease operations), you can select the pumpkin of your dreams, give it a customized paint job, take a great seasonal photo in front of one of Mama Mary’s displays, lead the kids through a hay maze, run on a “human hamster wheel”, and grab a bite from one of Mama Mary’s locally-sourced food vendors. Admission varies depending on age, date, and when you purchase: general-admission tickets for adults during the week (Wednesday-Friday) are $13, but only $9 if you buy online in advance. On the weekend, prices rise to $21/person ($17 if you buy in advance). Kids 2 and under are always free, and the admission costs cover everything except for food, drinks, and take-home pumpkins.
Sweet Eats Adventure Farm
Georgetown, a popular suburb just north of the city, is where you’ll Sweet Eats Adventure Farm, a working fruit farm open year-round, sets up shop. Sweet Eats proudly welcomes guests to its Fall Festival every day from 10am-6pm from September 9 through November 12 (and they offer extended hours in October to accommodate those of us who want to celebrate Halloween all month long).
Weekday tickets cost $24.95 at the door or $19.95 online, and weekends are slightly higher priced ($26.95 at the door, $21.95 in advance). Kids under 2 are admitted for free, and admission includes autumn activites on a large scale, like a 4.5-acre corn maze, a 2-acre pumpkin patch, obstacle courses, a petting zoo, pony rides, and far more. Food trucks are available to keep attendees nourished, and you’re welcome to buy pumpkins to bring home at a rate of 85 cents per pound.
Thanks to its many wineries, breweries, distilleries, and beloved restaurants, Fredericksburg is already a desirable weekend destination for Austinites in need of some time outside of city limits. Jenschke Orchards, a family-friendly fruit farm in Fredericksburg, is a particularly popular stop during the spring and summer seasons, due to its abundant crop of peaches. But fall attendees get the benefit of enjoying Jenschke’s pumpkin patch, where, in addition to buying pumpkins for 75 cents a pound, you can wander through a corn maze, sign the kids up for pony rides and let them pet some cute barnyard creatures, take a wagon drive through the farm, and more.