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A guide to visiting California poppy sites

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APRIL 17, 2023

Every spring, you probably see pictures of people posing with orange flowers on your social media feed. This flower is known as the California poppy and generally blooms from March to May. Fortunately, there are plenty of designated sites that visitors can check out to see this beautiful flower in person. Here’s a guide to visiting California poppy sites. 

Do your research

To have the best poppy-seeing experience possible, it’s best to do your research on which sites you want to visit and when you should go. When the super bloom season hits, everyone will be driving to see poppies and other blooming flowers, so anticipate traffic and parking fees. One of California’s best-known poppy sites is Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, which has hiking trails and a beautiful view of the valley. Other good sites include Mount Diablo State Park, Figueroa Mountain Poppy and Lupine Fields, Lake Elsinore and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. 

Check the weather before you go

It would be awful to take a day trip only to find out the poppies are soaking wet from the rain or you’re practically being blown away by the wind. In addition, poppies will close up at night or in cold, windy weather, so check the weather beforehand to get the best experience. 

Pack appropriately

Before leaving the house, make sure you pack everything you need to ensure you have a good time. Pack hiking shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks and water. For some sites, you’ll need to pack a few dollars for parking or admission fees. If you plan on bringing a furry friend, make sure you pack a leash so they don’t go off the trails. Don’t forget an extra phone charger because you’ll probably be taking lots of photos while you’re there! 

Stay on the trails

Everyone wants to get a glimpse of the colorful super bloom during the spring months. Don’t be that person who ruins the experience for everyone by stepping on the flowers and going off designated trails. I promise you, that Instagram picture is not worth killing the nature around you. For the sake of the land and everyone’s viewing pleasure, be respectful of your surroundings when visiting a site. 

Don’t pick the flowers

If you didn’t know this already, it’s illegal to pick a California poppy on state or federal land. Doing so can result in a fine. Plus, poppies wilt fast and their seeds are needed for the following year’s super bloom. 

If you’re a flower lover or simply appreciate a nice day trip, head on over to a California poppy site. They make for a picture-perfect moment and the flower’s vivid colors will lift your mood. Pack a couple of snacks, your camera and a good attitude and you’ll be ready in no time to see the spring super bloom!

Contact Sophie Ward at 


APRIL 17, 2023