The Antelope Valley Poppy Fields in Southern California

by Tonya Staab

Visiting the beautiful California Poppy Fields in Antelope Valley in Southern California over spring.

Valentine’s Day is next week and I’ve been thinking a lot about past Valentine’s Days. It’s not a day that has been celebrated (until I met Mike) and I had always felt a little twinge of disappointment. No matter how lovely it is to be shown how much you are appreciated, heard, and loved every day, not just on this ‘Hallmark holiday’, there’s something to be said for doing something a little bit special with the people who mean so much to you even on this day.

Unfortunately, Mike and I weren’t able to spend our first Valentine’s Day together due to work commitments in Kentucky so he had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered just to let me know he was thinking about me. He knows that my favorite flowers are poppies, and he tried so hard to have these wild beauties delivered, but they just weren’t in season and are hard to come by even when they are. So, tulips were delivered with a promise to give me poppies when he could, and he didn’t forget.

One weekend while the kids’ were with their dad, he took me to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. It was a little later in the season, but the California Poppy Festival happened to be that weekend, so he wanted to make sure I had a full day of poppy fun. And, it was perfect!

Nobody had ever delivered my favorite flower before, let alone taken me to an entire reserve full of them. And of course he found packets of poppy seeds for sale at the festival for us to spread when we find our forever home.

Fun facts: When I was pregnant with the twins’, the name Poppy was on the short list of five names for my baby girl. I didn’t have final decision making though for her name (I did for Flynn) so now I have my beautiful Marisol. But, that didn’t stop me from getting a tattoo of poppies on my arm a couple of years ago with each of my children’s names in the stems. I’ve added a photo at the bottom of my tattoo, along with the one Mike got after we started dating. He wanted to get something that was just for me, so settled on getting poppies on his arm too. He’s a keeper ladies.

I’m not sure that there will be quite as many poppies this year due to the low amount of rainfall, but it’s still well worth a visit, especially if you go earlier in the season, or when the Poppy Festival is on.

I took way too many photos while we were there, but it was my first visit to a poppy reserve and I was just so happy that I didn’t want to leave.

As we were walking through the poppies one of the reserve rangers was out keeping an eye on things and showed us one lone group of white poppies that they’d spotted among all of the orange ones. It was beautiful.

And for those tattoos …

Tips For Visiting The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

  • Take lots of water, it was HOT the day we went.
  • Don’t forget your camera or smartphone.
  • If you don’t attend during the Poppy Festival, take a picnic lunch because there are areas you can have a picnic at the reserve.
  • Stay on the path. It’s so tempting to get in amongst the poppies for the perfect photo, but don’t, you’ll trample where the poppies are going to grow, damage plants, and it won’t be quite so pretty for the people coming by after you.

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