The quest for the perfect pumpkin is on. While one of the criteria for a great pumpkin patch is a wide variety of plump pumpkins, the experience that surrounds selecting this fall staple is just as important. That is why there is no shortage of local pumpkin patches turning this seasonal activity into a huge festivity. Embrace this autumn ritual with one of these Minnesota patches that turn just plain picking into a party.

Anoka County Farms
125 Bunker Lake Blvd.
Ham Lake, MN 55304
(763) 427-0000

Open daily through Halloween, Anoka County Farms not only has a bevy of pumpkins to pick, but plenty of other activities to keep your clan happy. Kids can also ride ponies, try their hand at pumpkin bowling, enjoy a hay ride and gobble up mini donuts. Once the special pumpkin is selected, young ones can also paint it at the farm. If you are looking for more than just pumpkins to bring home, you can also stock up on fall veggies like gourds, squash, potatoes and onions too.

Nelson Farms
23618 CSAH 1
Litchfield, MN 55355
(320) 693-7750

Make your way out to Litchfield for the Pumpkin Patch Festival at Nelson Farms. Here you can take a tractor-pulled wagon or horse-pulled trolley out to the patch to pick your own pumpkins. Afterwards, enjoy the beautiful fall colors during a lakeside walk along the farm’s trails and snack on some yummy treats sold onsite at the festival. Each weekend is a special themed event, including a scarecrow-making contest, corn cob golf contest and a Scandinavian music weekend. Plus, there are plenty of fun fall activities like slinging pumpkins on the Pumpkin Chucker Flinger Thinger, competing in barrel races and losing yourself in the straw maze.

Tweite’s Family Farm
1821 Frontier Road S.W.
Byron, MN 55920
(507) 365-8035

For 25 years, Tweite’s Family Farm has been making fall weekends more festive with its special seasonal activities. Borrow one of its wheelbarrows to select the ideal pumpkin right out of the patch or choose from one of its pre-picked pumpkins, ornamental corn or gourds.  Then, make your way through the 12-acre corn maze and head to Old McGeezer’s for a unique game of golf with a wooden mallet and rubber ball. There is even a theme park area for kids that includes gem mining, an enchanted forest and a spot to dig dinosaur bones.

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Center Creek Orchard
663 254th Ave.
Fairmont, MN 56031
(507) 773-4547

Southwest of the Twin Cities, you’ll find Center Creek Orchard in Fairmont. Each weekend until Halloween, come and find your pumpkin amongst a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. After your hayride to and from the patch, decorate your pumpkin at the painting table or sip a refreshing apple cider slush. Be sure to check out the corn pile, haunted forest, scarecrow-making area and apple sling too.

Afton Apple Orchard
14421 S. 90th St.
Hastings, MN 55033
(651) 436-8385

In the scenic St. Croix Valley lies Afton Apple Orchard. This hot spot for seasonal produce not only has a large selection of apples to choose from, but also has tons of pumpkins for baking, jack-o-lantern making and decorating for autumn. After you stock up on apples and pumpkins, stop by the petting zoo, playground or enjoy a caramel apple sundae from the concession stand. The corn maze is a must-see at over 15 acres as well.

Related: Pumpkin Patch Pickings: A Guide To Pumpkin Farms

Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. She is also a public relations and event planning professional. Her most important job is mother to her young daughter, who is her partner-in-crime when checking out the family entertainment scene in the Twin Cities. Her work can be found on