Plopping a child in a sea of bluebonnets is one of the highlights of being a parent in Texas, but no field gets the child more excited than one dotted with heavy, orange gourds. The kids may be onto something. While the state flower is a sign of warmer weather, the state squash, as the pumpkin was designated in 2013, marks the beginning of the three-month holiday season. It also brings in millions of dollars of revenue each year. Texas ranks among the top five states in pumpkin production. Between 2016 and 2018, farmers in the Lone Star State harvested around 400 million pounds of pumpkins. Most are planted in West Texas, which is where we begin our list of pumpkin patches to visit in each region.

West Texas
Fiddlesticks Farms, Midland

Just like the name, this pumpkin patch is full of fun attractions, including a seven-acre corn maze with a design that changes annually. Planning for the maze begins in early spring, and the seeds are planted in July. This year, the design is a tribute to local businesses hit hard by COVID-related closures, with “Grow your community” and “Visit Midland” carved out of the field. The walking puzzle is divided into two phases; the longest can take up to 45 minutes. After that exercise, pick a pumpkin off the vine in the ten-acre field, and settle in at one of sixteen sites where staff will light a campfire for you for an additional rental fee. Fall festival runs through November 20. $19–$22 , free for 3 and under. 5610 E County Rd 120, Midland.

South Texas
Rockin’ K Farms, Robstown

Just a few miles northwest of Corpus Christi, this cotton pickin’ city likes to celebrate before the harvest. Admission includes access to the pumpkin patch, corn maze, and sunflower field as well as other fall-festival worthy activities: backyard games, tug-of-war, side-by-side basketball hoops, pumpkin bowling, and a cow-themed train. For a few extra dollars, there are targets set up for blasting apples. Fall season runs through October 31. $18.09 at gate; $13.95 online. 5385 County Rd 52, Robstown.

Rio Grande Valley
Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch, McAllen

If there is one pumpkin patch designed with Instagram in mind, this is it. A path lined with pumpkins under a tunnel of trees. A shack made with wooden milk crates that are filled with various sizes of pumpkins. Plaid blankets tossed onto the bed of a vintage red truck. Maddie’s allows photographers to accompany guests into the patch as long as they pay the admission price as well. If you call at least a day in advance, the staff can help secure you a professional photographer to document your visit. (Maddie’s also has locations in Weslaco and Mission.) Open through November 30. $10, free for 2 and under. 6712 N. Bentsen Rd, McAllen.

Pumpkin smashing at Pitchfork Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin smashing at Pitchfork Pumpkin Patch, in Royse City.

Courtesy of Pitchfork Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin tic-tac-toe at Fiddlesticks Farm in Midland

Pumpkin tic-tac-toe at Fiddlesticks Farm, in Midland.

Jessica Norton

Left: Pumpkin smashing at Pitchfork Pumpkin Patch, in Royse City.

Courtesy of Pitchfork Pumpkin Patch

Top: Pumpkin tic-tac-toe at Fiddlesticks Farm, in Midland.

Jessica Norton

Panhandle
Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm, Amarillo

While some pumpkin patches try to look like a farm in Nebraska, Maxwell’s is true to its location. Here you won’t find many patches of grass or even a cornfield. The giant maze is made of sorghum, a crop that looks similar to corn, because it takes less water to grow. You can slide down a dirt-covered hill on a carpet ride, roll on life-size hamster wheels, and milk a wooden cow. Things sure have expanded since Maxwell’s started in 2007 with five acres and all the pumpkins you could carry for $5. Runs Saturday and Sunday through October 31. Tickets are $20.95 at the gate, $15.95 online; free for under 2. 12908 S. Bell, Amarillo.

Houston
P-6 Farms, Montgomery

A cattle and hay operation year-round, P-6 is home to a massive weekend festival this time each year. Make sure to pick up a map when entering—you’ll need it. In addition to a corn maze and you-pick-’em pumpkin patch, there’s a tin Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and a mountain of tires to climb on. Make it to the pig races on the north side, three times a day, then head south to challenge your family to wheelbarrow and rubber duck racing. The Fall Festival runs weekends October 2–November 7. Tickets, $19.95, must be purchased online; free for 2 and under. 9963 Poole’s Rd, Montgomery.

Dallas–Fort Worth 
Preston Trail Farms, Gunter

When the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm at Preston Trail Farms got its start in 1997, single-use film cameras were the way to document a trip there. Now curated photos on social media help spread the word. It’s so well-known that even some of our neighbors to the north make the trip down each year. The price of admission gets you feed for an entire barn full of animals, a turn on the hay ride, and a ride on the farm train. On weekdays, the fee also includes one small pumpkin. Perfect for little hands to carry to the car. Big Orange is open through November 24. $10, free for under 2. 15102 TX-289, Gunter.

Central Texas
Texas Pumpkin Fest, Leander

Pumpkins and magic tricks. Not two things you usually see together, but it does make sense around Halloween. The Texas Pumpkin Fest will have the usual activities such as a maze, games, and a kiddie train. But there also will be magicians performing on stage and places where you can take “magical photos.” If you don’t get cut in half, you can hop into a burlap sack and shoot down a 65-foot slide. Through November 7. $10 Friday–Sunday, $5 Tuesday–Thursday, free on Mondays (attractions limited) and for “kids in diapers.” 10930 E. Crystal Falls Parkway, Leander.

Honorable Mention!
Pitchfork Pumpkin Patch, Royse City

“Who doesn’t love letting out a little COVID frustration on a pumpkin?” At Pitchfork, about 25 minutes east of Dallas, you can indulge in pumpkin smashing and then relax by painting an intact gourd. Finish off the day inside the petting zoo by touching (or snuggling) pigs, chickens, llamas, and goats. Carnival games such as ring toss and balloon darts are also on-site. Bring your kids for the fun, or drop them off at school and spend the day pulverizing pumpkins by yourself. Open daily October 1–31. Admission is free; activities require tickets. 7126 S. FM 548, Royse City.