Did you know that Minnesota is now the country’s third-biggest producer of sunflowers (after North Dakota and South Dakota)? In fact, the Dakota’s and Minnesota now produce 75% of the country’s sunflowers.
So what better place to take a sunflower road trip in the US this summer!
Sunflower farms have hugely increased in popularity over even the last 5 years, not just as essentials crops but as tourist destinations in themselves! A fabulous addition to any family road trip this summer is stopping in at a sunflower farm of two on your road trip across the country.
We’re starting this US sunflower road trip series in our US Editor’s home state of Minnesota! Let’s bring a splash of color and excitement to your Midwest family road trip with these superb locations.
But before we dive in…
Best Time To See Sunflowers in Minnesota
To have the best opportunity of seeing sunflower fields, plan your Minnesota trip from mid-July and through August, even a few can still be spotted in early September.
Each field will be planted at a slightly different time so there will always be something in bloom if you plan for these dates.
The blooms only last for about 10 days in each field before they need to be harvested, so you do need to plan your Minnesota sunflower road trip carefully to avoid disappointment. And remember Mother Nature plays her hand too (we’d always check in on the farms’ social accounts in advance).
What to Know Before Visiting Minnesota Sunflower Fields with Kids
There are a few things you should bear in mind when planning a sunflower road trip in Minnesota with your kids:
- You are still on someone’s working farm and private property
- Come properly dressed for the occasion and explain the rules and etiquette (often repeatedly to the little ones!) so everyone knows what is expected of them
- Never trample on the flowers or pick any you are not supposed to
- Carefully follow any farm or field rule specifics, this can include sticking to designated paths and not climbing on any machinery
- Do expect even in summer the fields can be muddy; we’d leave their best party frocks and white clothes at home, even if you think it’ll make for a cute photo
- Amenities on hand will vary by farm and field; some are still quite rustic (i.e., they may not have restrooms), and others will have cafes, playgrounds, and the full works to entertain the littles – we’ve tried to help you narrow this down (based on the best of our knowledge from the 2021 sunflower season)
- Avoid wearing perfumes or any strong fragrances – you want the bees focused on the flowers!
- Don’t swat at the bees! They will be hanging around but as long as you leave them alone, they’re there doing an important job
- Opening hours can be weather dependent, call in advance if unsure and to avoid disappointment
- Some events and festivals are ticketed. Again, book online in advance (we’ve tried to annotate these once for you below)
What to pack for a Sunflower Road Trip
In addition to our road trip essentials, for a sunflower day trip or longer road trip, make sure you pack for all the family
- A camera!
- Bug Spray
- Closed-toe shoes are recommended
- Snacks (bearing in mind any farm rules about bringing your own food)
And don’t forget our collection of fun and playful sunflower captions when you’re ready to share your day’s adventures on the ‘gram!
Best Sunflower Fields in Minnesota
Without further ado, let’s start making our way around the best locations for a family sunflower trip in Minnesota.
1. Joyer Adventure Farm at Waldoch Farm
A fabulous all-rounder family farm experience, Joyer Adventure Farm combines an animal farm, low ropes course, games, and a hay wagon ride, in addition to their wonderful and abundant sunflower fields.
With 10’s of thousands of blooms over 6 acres, their sunflower fields are planted with blooms to come all the way from mid-July through to September. They have U-Pick flowers on offer, allowing you to take home a sunflower from your adventure or flowers available to purchase too.
Plenty of amenities on hand here for a full family day out.
Cost: Visits here are ticketed and must be pre-booked online $14.99. No pets.
Location: Waldoch Farm Garden Center, 8174 Lake Drive, Lino Lakes, MN, 55014
2. Treasured Haven Farm
A working farm, here they space out their field planting for gorgeous blooms all the way from mid-July to mid-September. The sunflowers are raised from organic seeds and harvested for pet treats, birdseed, or ground into animal feed for the farm’s animals.
Photo opportunities abound here including farm animals, woodlands, and prairie areas in addition to around a million magnificent blooms.
On-site amenities include parking, toilets, benches for picnics, and a gift shop that operates during sunflower season. They aim to open daily from July 29 thru August 15 and Friday through Monday during the shoulder seasons.
Stay tuned here for exact opening dates in 2022.
Cost: $20 per carload, cash preferred
Location: Treasured Haven Farm, 53407 Government Rd, Rush City, MN 55069
3. Fish Sunflower Fields
For a more rustic approach to sunflower season, Fish Sunflowers have 11 different fields located within about an hour of Minneapolis. All are free to roam and enjoy, as long as you respect the rules.
Being just fields, there are no bathroom amenities so plan accordingly.
Location: Various – check what’s blooming when here.
4. Green Barn Garden Center
Primarily a garden center where you can purchase flowers and plants, they have also been planting black oil sunflowers here in the adjacent field for around 25 years. Expect to see the blooms from the end of July and through August. On weekends, food trucks will also stop by making it a complete family day out.
Here they can even help you with that classic farmyard photo including props like tractors, a fire truck, and wagons to stand on (for an additional fee)
Cost: Free to enter but pay for photo opportunities
Location: Green Barn Garden Center, 26501 Highway 65 NE, Isanti, MN 55040
5. Fresh Acres Farm & Corn Maze
Running since 2016, the past few years they have planted around 5 acres of incredible sunflowers to experience on this beautiful property in Monticello, Minnesota. Expected to bloom around August, it’s best to pre-book a ticket online.
Their season runs into fall as they also operate 2 corn mazes and have a fabulous lineup of outdoor activities for the title ones including inflatables, food, and petting opportunities.
Cost: $5 per person, or $10 with fresh-cut flowers and added activities (free for under 4’s and over 70)
Location: Fresh Acres Farm, 7385 Jason Ave NE, Monticello, Minnesota,
A Few More Minnesota Sunflower Fields to Consider in 2023
We can’t be certain yet that all of these will be planted and go ahead so keep an eye on their Facebook pages:
- Sunflower Ranch, Big Lake, Minnesota (Sunflower Fest has previously been held last weekend in August but not clear from their website if they have canceled this year’s event)
- Minnesota Harvest, Cider Bar, bakery & U-Pick Orchard, Jordan, Minnesota
- Brand Farms, Farmington, Minnesota
There are many more up-and-coming destinations in addition to this list! If there are more you think we need to add for 2023 do drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can include them next year.
And Sunflower Fields Further From Home
Whilst its true that the vast majority of sunflower production in the United States occurs in the Midwest – predominantly North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, there are still further sunflower spotting opportunities across the country.
Many outside of the midwest are planted for domestic use and aesthetics, but nonetheless make for colorful late summer family road trip opportunities and fun days out with the kids in a colorful farm setting.
Why not also try this year:
- Spectacular Sunflower Fields in California – particularly concentrated around Yolo County west of Sacramento, but we’ve dug out a few early fall options in Southern California too
- Best Sunflower Fields in New York – thousands of acres can be found in popular NYC day-tripping destinations, including Long Island and the Hudson Valley, or take an entire weekend in Upstate New York to discover some floral treasures alongside farm animals and other summer festivities on the land.
- You can even find sunflower fields in Miami! The tropical climate means unlike the rest of the country, prime growing time is actually over winter.
More Fun Sunflower Facts!
A few more interesting facts our sunflower lovers may want to know before you head off on a sunflower-hunting road trip this summer:
- Sunflowers are actually a native North American species
- The biggest producer of sunflowers and sunflower oil in the world is Ukraine
- There are more than 70 different species of sunflowers! Some are even purple and red
- A sunflower takes 80 to 120 days to grow – growing 2 to 2.5 inches per day
- A sunflower is actually made up of thousands of mini flowers that make the full flower.
- The long petals on a sunflower are called ray florets
- Sunflowers can grow over 16 ft tall!
- Young sunflowers always face the sun. This means the direction they face will change throughout the day
- A mature flower will face east, attracting up to 5 times more pollinators
- Want sunflowers for your vase? The best time to clip them is early in the morning after the dew has dried.
- Sunflower seeds are loaded with nutrients and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, fiber and polyunsaturated fat
Let’s get in the car and go for an unforgettable (and utterly instagrammable!) Minnesota road trip adventure this summer.
© Family Road Trip