top of page

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


123 Farm Lavender Festival At Golden Hour Travel Photography In The Great Wide California Travel Blog By Locals

Lavender Festival at 123 Farm in Southern California


Most people have heard of the lavender fields in Provence, France, and seen all those perfect Instagram photos with fields of purple, but for those of us in the United States, it would take a lot of planning to go to France to see it for ourselves. For something on a much smaller scale, but more local and still very pretty, check out the Lavender Festival at 123 Farm in Southern California with us.


CONTENTS



When is the 123 Farm Lavender Festival near Los Angeles?

The 2023 Lavender Festival runs until July 23, with peak lavender blooms happening NOW. We went early in the season so a lot of the lavender hadn’t bloomed just yet, but it was still a very lovely place and we’ll certainly try to go back next year during peak bloom month to see the whole place in all its glory!


The Lavender Festival runs Wednesday - Monday (closed Tuesdays) from 5pm - 10pm. They opted to make the festival nights-only this year to combat the usual hot June and July days in Southern California. This time makes it perfect to get beautiful sunset photos and then watch the over 100,000 lights strung throughout the festival grounds twinkle to life. Wear something nice because you will want to get all those Instagram pictures!


123 Farm Lavender Festival Bar Cherry Valley California Travel Blog In The Great Wide

Where is the Lavender Festival near Los Angeles?

Southern California’s annual Lavender Festival is located at 123 Farm at the Highland Springs Ranch and Inn in Cherry Valley, California. It’s approximately 90 minutes east of Los Angeles, just east of San Bernardino and Riverside. The physical address is: 10600 Highland Springs Ave, Cherry Valley, CA 92223.


Depending on where you’re starting from in Los Angeles, this technically may not be the closest lavender festival to you. Santa Barbara also hosts a lavender festival, but it looks like it’s only hosted for 1 day a year, so 123 Farm will probably end up being your best bet to avoid crowds.



How to Get to the 123 Farm Lavender Festival

There is no public transportation that will get you to Cherry Valley in California, so a car is a must. If you don’t have a vehicle, we recommend renting a car from Turo to receive the best deals. Or gather a group of friends to head out to the festival and car pool like we did!


Once we were close, we were driving through residential streets and it felt like we were in the wrong place, but it was right. However, Google Maps told us to enter the festival from Overland Trail, which turned out to be a deliveries only entrance, so we had to turn around and enter via Cherry Valley Blvd onto Grand Ave. Look for the entrance sign for Highland Springs Resort.


123 Farm Lavender Fields Near LA Travel Blog By Locals Lavender Festival In The Great Wide

123 Farm Lavender Festival Tickets and Memberships

The best way to get tickets for the lavender festival is to buy them online, but exactly how much they cost will depend on what day of the week you go, and whether or not you’re visiting the festival during the peak weeks. Tickets are:

  • $13 - $17 for adults

  • $11 - $15 for seniors (age 65+)

  • $9 - $13 for students ages 13-17

  • FREE for kids 12 and under


There is a $2 processing fee tacked on to each ticket, and parking costs an extra $10 per vehicle (or $15 for oversized vehicles like RVs and large trucks), which is just another reason to carpool. You could buy tickets upon arrival, but they charge an additional $5 to the base ticket fee, so buying online is still cheaper, and it sounds like they might sometimes sell out on the weekends.



Another option is to get a membership that allows you to attend all of the 123 Farm’s festivals for one year. All memberships offer free parking and additional perks.

  • Blue - $35 per year. Free admission for the cardholder and one free drink ticket per year.

  • VIP - $80 per year. Free admission for cardholder plus one guest. 10% discount on food and retail purchases. One free dessert and one free drink ticket per year.

  • Family - $100 per year. Free admission for two cardholders and all children 17 and under. Four free drink tickets per year.


Apart from the Lavender Festival, there are four other festivals that run annually at 123 Farms (with upcoming dates):

  • Lavender Nights - August 24 - October 29, 2023, 5pm - 10pm: Similar to the Lavender Festival, but with no blooms to walk through. They use all of the harvested lavender from the festival to create lavender-based food and beauty products for sale. The sun sets earlier so the ‘half-a-million lights’ will be a big draw.

  • Christmas Nights - November 9, 2023 - January 7, 2024, 5pm - 10pm: 123 Farm decks out the area in over 1,000,000 holiday lights, adding in a 12 Days of Christmas shop and, on select days, Santa visits for pictures!

  • Sourdough Festival - February 17 - March 3, 2024, Weekends Only, 11am - 6pm: All things Sourdough and fermented food and drinks come to the festival grounds, including fermentation workshops, lectures on the health benefits of fermentation, and more.

  • Sheep Shearing Festival - March 23 - March 31, 2024, Weekends Only, 10am - 4pm: Get up close and personal with sheep shearing and wool processing demonstrations, lectures on natural dyeing and wool washing techniques, and feed the sheep some organic goodies.


123 Farm Lavender Festival Flower Market Lights And Photo Opportunities In The Great Wide California Travel Blog By Locals

123 Farm Lavender Festival Activities and Shopping

Apart from exploring the 20 acres of walkable lavender fields, the festival offers a variety of lavender-based activities:

  • Live music - 6:30pm - 9pm: There is a rotating schedule of performers on a small stage in the food court area. Check their performance calendar to make sure you see your favorite performer at the festival.

  • Tractor-Pulled Wagon Tours: Hop on the back of a tractor-pulled wagon to tour the festival grounds with an expert guide detailing information. A highlight includes visiting a 1000-year-old Oak Tree. These tours cost an extra $5 per person and takes 10-15 minutes. No reservations taken; first-come, first-serve.

  • Master Gardeners from the UC Master Gardener Program: A booth with experts under the guidance of the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources program will answer any lavender questions you may have or help you troubleshoot issues with growing your own lavender. They also offer an Indigenous Garden Tour with Master Gardeners showcasing native culture and what plants are edible and medicinal. Tours are only on weekends and start at 7pm.

  • Distillation Demonstration: Watch as a lavender farmer demonstrates how to extract the essential oil from the lavender plants. Demos daily at 6pm and lasts 30-45 minutes.

  • Winery Tour: A free mini winery tour led by the farmer, who will tell you about the grape varieties that are cultivated at 123 Farm and give you a taste of their Black Bench Winery Rose. Weekends only at 6:30pm.

  • Lavender Pallet Maze: Get lost in the best-smelling maze you’ll ever set foot in. Fun for the whole family.

  • Shopping: There are a number of shops that offer lavender based products from a sleeping mist, beauty products, honey, and teas. There is also a booth for wildflowers to purchase and a number of food & drink booths.


Visit this page on 123 Farm’s website and scroll way down for FAQ about the Lavender Festival, including rules, professional photo shoots, accessibility, their pet policy, etc. (Hint: don’t pick the lavender, no picnics, no smoking or vaping, and only service animals are allowed.)


123 Farm Lavender Festival In LA Review In The Great Wide California Travel Blog By Locals

123 Farm Lavender Festival Food and Drinks

The Lavender Festival offers a variety of lavender-infused food and drinks (along with some home-made sourdough), so come hungry! There are a number of booths to explore and you can take a look at their full menu before you go on their website.


In the outdoor food court you will find these booths:

  • Lavender Grill & BBQ, ranging from $16 - $25

    • Two lavender-based sandwiches: a Lavender Chicken Sandwich and a Lavender Marinated Beef Sandwich.

    • Smoked Lavender Brisket

    • Lavender Roasted Half Chicken

    • Two salads: Grilled Angus Steak Salad or a Grilled Chicken Salad.

  • Sourdough Pizza, $12 - $15

    • Fig and Goat Cheese with lavender caramelized onions

    • BBQ Smoked Brisket with a lavender BBQ sauce

    • Pear & Prosciutto with a lavender balsamic reduction

    • Provence Chicken Mushroom

    • Organic Margherita

    • Organic Cheese

    • Pepperoni

  • Burger and Fries, $10 - $18

    • Cheeseburger & Fries

    • Quarter Pound Hebrew National Hot Dog

    • Loaded Asada Fries

    • Side of fries (just $5)

  • Lavender Desserts, $5 - $15

    • Lavender Cheesecake (we highly recommend!)

    • Peach Cobbler with Lavender Whipped Cream

    • Lavender Funnel Cake

    • Lavender Ice Cream

    • Lavender Cotton Candy

    • Lavender Lemon Bar

  • Lavender Lemonade, $4 - $6

    • Lavender soda, iced tea, and lemonade

  • Lavender Bar, $6 - $11

    • Lavender cocktails, such as a mojito, margarita, and whiskey sour

    • Lavender Cream Ale (cans) from Garage Brewing, made with lavender from 123 Farm

    • Black Bench Rose, made from grapes grown here at 123 Farm


Luckily, there were signs hanging around the food court that had the menus of each booth on them, so you don’t have to go to each one to compare their menus. Very thoughtful & helpful! However, if you have dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc., you will have very limited options. There’s nothing on their website that explicitly says you’re not allowed to bring your own food, but it does say no outside drinks except for refillable water bottles.



The mistake we made was not knowing that there are additional spots to get food, called the Sourdough Bread Hall and the Organic Galleries, that are separate from the food court, which has a few more tasty-sounding options:

  • Fresh Sourdough Bread

  • Sourdough Noodles (ramen)

  • Lavender Tea Room

  • Lavender Tiki Bar (only open on select days that we can’t find details on)

  • Lavender Soft Serve

  • Lavender Churros (Phoebe is so upset we missed this)


The Lavender Tea Room sounds particularly wonderful, serving up lavender lattes, cold brew tea, organic tea-flavored ice creams, and a chocolate fruit tart.


All of the booths we visited accepted credit cards, so you don’t have to worry about carrying a lot of cash. However, for those of you who, like us, are looking to get the most credit card reward points on every purchase, be aware that 2 out of our 3 food and drink purchases at the Lavender Festival were classified as entertainment purchases instead of eating out. Hopefully that knowledge will help you know which of your credit cards you should use to get the most points, because we lost out a little bit on it.


123 Farm Lavender Festival Near LA Review In The Great Wide Los Angeles Travel Blog By Locals

Our Experience

Our friends Matt and Sasha invited us to go to the Lavender Festival with them after they saw a billboard for it, but none of us even knew it existed. With our curiosity peaked, we jumped at the chance, despite it being a good 90 minutes or so away from Los Angeles. Thank goodness for map apps now too, because there were absolutely no signs indicating that a lavender festival was happening after we got off the freeway and winded our way through residential streets. We did, however, see signs for a cherry festival that happens in Cherry Valley (big surprise, I know), so that might be worth looking into for next year. We turned down a road and finally saw a sign posted at a driveway that said, “Turn around and take a left and head into the main entrance for the Lavender Festival”. Inconvenient, but at least we knew we were in the right place.


We pre-bought our tickets and pre-paid for parking, so we were able to show those on our phones and drive right in, passing by the food court and a lavender distillation demonstration. The parking lot was very small, but attendants directed everyone to make it as efficient as possible. We went on a Sunday evening, so it may have been less crowded than on a Friday or Saturday, but there were still quite a few people there.



After the long drive from LA, we decided to get something to eat before exploring too much, so we headed straight to the food court, which is dotted with large trees and quite a few picnic tables. We didn’t have much trouble finding a place to sit for the four of us, sharing a table with another couple. The food stations are all well-constructed shacks with incredible neon signs in script writing declaring the food type at that station. It seems like 123 Farm has put a lot of money into the production value of the festival. It helped sell the notion that we were transported to another world, if only for a short time. The picnic tables surrounded what seemed like hundreds of camping chairs that were set up in front of the music stage, with a guitarist and singer performing pop and rock hits from the last three (or four) decades.


I grabbed a Cheeseburger and Fries for $18 (no lavender involved). It was pretty standard burger fare, obviously made from a frozen patty (confirmed later by watching a cook work a large grill behind the burger station). They do not offer an at-request temp for the burger; all patties are cooked well done. That being said, it was still juicy and quite tasty. The fries were cooked to utter perfection and were some of the better fries I’ve had in a while.


Phoebe wanted to go all-in on the lavender, so she tried the Lavender Marinated Beef Sandwich from the Lavender Grill Booth, which was juicy and tasty but didn’t taste much of lavender. It came with a bag of chips, so it felt like a pretty fair deal at $15. Sasha is vegetarian, which limited her food options to a couple of different pizzas. She ended up with the Fig and Goat Cheese Sourdough Pizza and both her and Matt said it was incredible. The quality of the food is good, but it might behoove the festival to provide some more options for people with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian and gluten-free.


While eating, a polite lady came up and told us about the Indigenous Garden Tour that would be starting at 7pm and pointed out where the walking tour would be starting. Being that Sasha is six months pregnant and Phoebe is still recovering from her back injury, we asked how long the tour would be, and she gave a “30 or so minutes” answer. We decided it would be nice to hear a guided tour of the plants to learn more about our native flora.


123 Farm Review Lavender Festival In Southern California Travel Blog By Locals In The Great Wide

As we finished eating, Sasha got up to use the bathroom and was gone for quite a while. It turns out that the bathrooms at the Lavender Festival are few and far between, and when someone occupies one for a long period, there is no recourse but to wait. While Phoebe went to find her, it allowed Matt and I time to find the Tractor-Pulled Wagon Tours, but were dismayed to find that it cost extra on top of the admission fee. It wasn’t much, but it felt like it was something that should’ve been included in the cost of attending, even if only for one ride. Regardless, we all ended up deciding it wouldn’t be a good idea for the group anyway, with one pregnant woman and another with a healing back injury.


Once we were all together again we headed towards the starting point of the tour, only to see the large group heading straight towards us. As we missed the beginning of the tour and the sun was starting to set, we opted to head to the lavender fields instead and take some pictures.



Since we were there relatively early in the bloom season, only a couple of varieties of lavender had bloomed, but they were absolutely beautiful and the smell was heavenly. Photo opportunities are everywhere in the fields and surrounding grounds. The festival knows their audience quite well, providing for plenty cute Instagram moments throughout the festival grounds.


The sunset was unobstructed as it waned into the evening, making for some very well-lit photos in the lavender fields. You are allowed to wander through the fields wherever you please, as long as you don’t trample or pick the lavender. We saw a couple there with a seemingly professional photographer, and tons of couples and friends taking turns taking pictures of each other. Just be prepared for strangers to be in the background of some of your photos.


As we wandered, one of the tractor-wagon tours drove past us, heading towards the 1,000-year-old oak tree in the distance. You can visit the tree without getting on the wagon tour, but it would be a bit of a walk. We also spotted a tiny bunny hopping out of the lavender to drink some water from one of the watering hoses lined through the fields. He was quite adorable, but there was also a hawk flying above, so hopefully the bunny stayed well hidden under the bushes!


Light Tunnel Photo Opportunities At 123 Farm Lavender Festival Review In The Great Wide California Travel Blog By Locals

As the sun set and the lights came on, the 100,000 twinkling lights brought a whole new life to the festival. Right next to the lavender field, we found a road lined with large, full trees that formed a sort of “tree tunnel”. All the trees in the tunnel were wrapped in lights and there were several random chairs and even a couch with a chandelier hanging from a tree so you could have those picture-perfect moments to commemorate the day.


As we slowly returned back to the food court area down the tree-light tunnel, we came upon the Flower Market, where they sell fresh flowers and lavender products. It’s quite amazing to think about the many, many uses of something as simple as lavender. Shampoos, sleep aids, candles, and honey were quite popular. Lavender is also a natural bug repellent, so they sell bunches of cut lavender as well.


Since it was getting rather dark, we decided to revisit the food court to grab a drink from the Lavender Bar and a dessert. We both opted for the Lavender Blueberry Cream Ale from Garage Brewing in Murrieta, which was served in cans with a plastic cup that contained a sprig of fresh lavender. The beer is infused with lavender cut directly from the fields that we were just walking through, so that’s pretty cool! It was floral and creamy and earthy, so quite a unique flavor for beer. At $6, it was a good deal too. Sasha grabbed 2 lavender cheesecakes for us all to share and it was heavenly… by far the best lavender item we tried. We saw some other people wandering around the lavender fields with pretty lavender cocktails in their hands, which we would have done too if we knew they would let us. Next time!


Lavender Beer Drinks At 123 Farm Lavender Festival Review In The Great Wide California Travel Blog By Locals

At this point, it was getting late and we had a long drive back home, so we opted to cut the trip a little short. It’s understandable why the festival switched to evenings, as usually it’s very hot during the afternoons at this time of year, but it’s obvious this decision was made before the strange cold weather we’ve been having in Southern California. Just make sure you take a jacket to leave in your car, just in case.


We opted to hit the bathrooms (long drive ahead) and again, there were issues. The line for the ladies room was quite long, so I walked over to the bathroom we had used earlier. It was in the ‘hotel’ that isn’t used as a hotel anymore and honestly, the bathroom was disgusting. Given that they take such great care to present the food booths and the photo opportunities, I was surprised to see the poor state of the bathroom (which was a in a defunct hotel room that had been turned into a storage room). When I returned to the group, it turned out that there was a mens’ and a womens’ restroom, and I could’ve walked right in to use the men’s, but the signage was nonexistent all around. Point being, the restrooms here could really benefit from the same attention they give to the food court and lights, but as of now, they are embarrassing, not so easy to find, and there aren’t enough of them, so don’t wait until the last second to find one.



We made one last stop to run through the converted Blacksmith Shop, which was another retail store for lavender products. Most were the same from the Flower Market, but there were enough different products that visiting both didn’t seem redundant. The products are a bit overpriced for our taste, but our friends bought a few things. They did have a larger variety of honey at the Blacksmith shop, which our friends were looking for, specifically.


As you go to leave, be sure to drive very slowly, as the paths are not lit and there aren’t really signs to direct you on which way to exit. As we drove out, we realized there was a whole other section of the festival we didn’t explore, which is where the Sourdough Bread Hall, Organic Galleries, and pallet maze are. We had a nice enough time that we would go back again though, so next time!


Lavender Festival Near Los Angeles Travel Blog In The Great Wide 123 Farm Review

Our Verdict

With magical ambiance at golden hour and into the night, plenty of good picture opportunities, and unique foods, the only real downside to the Lavender Festival is that it’s so far away from Los Angeles and only open for five hours a day. That being said, it’s a great double date day trip or family activity in the summertime. We’ll definitely be on the lookout for their Sourdough Festival next year!



Quick Reference Guide

What

When

May 5 - July 23, 2023

Occurs annually in the summertime

Best time to visit is mid-June through mid-July

Where

90-ish minutes east of Los Angeles

10600 Highland Springs Ave, Beaumont, CA 92223

How to Get There

There is no public transit to Cherry Valley. Carpool with friends (this will also save on parking!) or rent a car from Turo.

Time Commitment

The festival is open from 5pm - 10pm, Wednesday - Monday (closed Tuesdays). Plan to spend the full 5 hours there to get a chance to explore everything, especially if you’re driving all the way from LA.

Cost

$13 - $17 for adults (depending on the day of the week)

$11 - $15 for seniors (age 65+)

$9 - $13 for students (ages 13-17)

Kids 12 and under are free

Parking is $10 per car / $15 for oversized vehicles

All tickets (including parking) incur a $2 transaction fee

Plan to spend around $20/person on a dinner entree and $6 - $11 per alcoholic beverage

Reservation Info

Buy tickets online ahead of time to save money and guarantee admittance. Tickets can be purchased on-site, with a $5 upcharge, and no guarantee of admittance.

Our Verdict

An excellent date or family activity with picturesque lavender fields, beautiful sunsets, good food, and plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Despite a few hiccups (and being a long drive from Los Angeles), it’s worth the time to visit for something unique to do in the summertime.


Pin this article!


Southern California Travel Blogger Adam Neubauer


Related Articles


More in the Area


Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Phoebe and Adam at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland

We’re Phoebe & Adam
the couple behind
In The Great Wide!

This is our travel lifestyle blog where we not only share stories from our adventures while traveling the world, but also our thorough research of the places we visit & practical advice on how to save money so you can travel more too!

Featured Blog Posts

Recent Blog Posts

Destinations

bottom of page