Every spring California’s ubiquitous almond orchards present a charming display of pale pink blossoms. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to nearby cities like Modesto and Fresno to see the almond blooms at their best. As we welcome some highly-anticipated blooms like the tulips in San Francisco and calla lilies in Big Sur, it’s hard to choose a favorite… but you can’t beat the magic of our homegrown California almonds.
Read on for a guide about how to see the California almond blossoms in 2023.
Where to see almond blossoms near the Bay Area
Every year, over 1 million acres of almond orchards across California bloom from mid-February to mid-March. If you want to see the almond blossoms, remember that these are working orchards and are not meant to facilitate visitors. You can take pictures from the shoulder of the road or just enjoy the views from your car as you drive through.
CA’s almond farmers have had a difficult start to the year after the unseasonably cold winter on top of already low bee populations and other problematic conditions. As Visit Yolo County writes, “Just as you wouldn’t enter someone’s backyard without permission, it is inappropriate to enter a farmer’s private field.”
Modesto is home to 120,000 acres of almond orchards and peak bloom is from Feb. 27 – Mar. 5. The city of Modesto has even prepared for visitors to come see the blooms via the Almond Blossom Cruise, by which guests can hop in their car and follow a narrated tour of the orchards with turn-by-turn directions, stops, and photo ops. The officially sanctioned tour is a great way to see the blossoms without stepping on any toes. You can also drive through nearby Tracy (W Schulte Road is promising) and Ripon for more blooms.
Fresno County has organized a self-guided Blossom Trail for people to enjoy by car or bike. You can submit updates yourself or stay informed about the latest bloom status. Some nice stops to make include Orange Cove, Clovis, and Simonian Farms.
Take a trip through Yolo County to see the almond blossoms and make a day of it with stops in Davis, Winters, Dixon, and Capay Valley. You can see the blooms via a drive on Highway 16, but be advised that the rural 2-lane highway does not have many pullouts so be careful and considerate about where you stop your car.
More about California almonds
Thanks to its mild winters and dry summers, California is one of the best places in the world for almond trees to grow — in fact, the state produces about 80% of the world’s supply of almonds. You can find almond orchards in many places throughout the state but they are mostly concentrated in the Central Valley.
We’re lucky to see such a robust bloom considering this year’s especially frigid and wet winter, as the Washington Post writes. In addition to the unseasonably cold weather, the crop has been threatened by dwindling bee populations and fertilizer shortages after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
You can learn more about California almonds from the Almond Board of California.