Looking for a relaxing vacation where the kids can commune with animals and learn where their food comes from? Consider a “haycation” on a working family farm.
Here are a few of our favorite farm-stay destinations from across the country.
Leaping Lamb Farm—Alsea, Oregon
Nestled in a quiet valley on Oregon’s Coast Range, this farm gives families a real hands-on experience. Kids can give lambs their bottles, feed sheep and horses, tend the garden or brush Paco, a miniature Sicilian donkey. You can also explore Alsea’s old-growth rain forest, pick berries or just watch the rams graze from the cottage porch.
Rinconada Dairy—Santa Margarita, California
Learn about the art of cheese-making on this gorgeous 92-acre ranch in the coastal hills of San Luis Obispo County. Once you’ve watched the owners create their award-winning raw sheep-milk cheese, and perhaps helped out with the milking and lambing, be sure to explore the ranch’s bedrock mortars (Indian grinding holes) and hidden petroglyphs (rock carvings).
Liberty Hill Farm—Rochester, Vermont
Red barns, a white farmhouse, porch rockers, a tire swing and gorgeous view of the Vermont mountains make this dairy farm a relaxing spot for harried city families. Activities include milking cows, feeding newborn calves, chasing chickens, cuddling barn kittens or visiting the many charming villages nearby.
Kinderhook Farm—Ghent, New York
Just two-and-a-half hours north of New York City, this 1,200-acre farm can provide a great education for those who want it. Kids don’t just collect eggs, they can also help wash and box them for sales in the farm’s store. Feed the baby chicks, tend the community garden, kick back with a game of horseshoes or take a dip in one of the farm’s secret swimming holes.
The Farm at Spring Creek—Greeneville, Tennessee
This charming Southern farm offers everyone in the family a chance to develop a new hobby or skill, including beekeeping, soap-making, furniture-building, canning and cabin restoration. At night, sleep in a 19th-century log cabin fully equipped with a washing machine, kitchen and other modern conveniences.
By Sara Eckel