There is a growing trend of people from urban areas wanting to find solace in the rural countrysides. This is contributing to the expansion of Agritourism where visitors are encouraged to visit farms, ranches, orchards, vineyards and more in the U.S. and around the world.
If you want to experience the agricultural way of life up close and personal, an option to consider is a farm stay. There are farm stays in just about every agricultural country worldwide including the U.S., Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Central and South America, Caribbean Islands, and more.
As a guest, you will have the good fortune of getting acquainted with the locals and their culture–whether it be farming, ranching, growing grapes and making wine, growing fruits and vegetables, flowers, and more. Many are family-oriented and welcome children–and depending on the type of farm stay. The kids may get the opportunity to participate in some of the operations, such as feeding the animals or bottle feeding a lamb, brushing a horse, collecting eggs, picking fruits and vegetables, and much more. Other farm stays cater more to adults.
Photo of The Brown Horse Inn, Lake District, England- farming estate
Here is what you can Expect at a Farm Stay:
- They won’t put you to work (well, unless you want them to!), but you are welcome to participate in activities they may offer, such as horseback riding, picking your own fruits and vegetables, checking out varieties of flowers, milking cows, petting llamas, and more. Some will allow you to volunteer your services during your stay if you so choose to.
- It’s a great opportunity to learn about agriculture and be a part of their life—and as an added bonus—the scenery is often beautiful. You may stay in a farmhouse, a dude ranch, cabins, campgrounds, guest house, a bed & breakfast, or maybe bunk down in one of the buildings on the property. Some may offer only a one night stay, or a minimum amount of time that you will need to stay (like three nights to a week), while others may be more flexible.
- If you see yourself riding horses on a dude ranch in Montana, staying at a vineyard in Italy, or being a part of a plantation in the Caribbean, you may find a farm stay to be a welcoming option. Just be sure to check out what your accommodations will be in advance, so you don’t end up sleeping on a stack of hay in a barn when you were hoping for a comfy bed.
- You’ll generally pay less than what you would at a hotel—but the best part is— you’ll get to know the friendly locals as they share their world (and sometimes even their dinner table) with you.
For more information on Agritourism and Farm Stay listings, check out:
- Farm Stay U.S.A.
- Agritourism World (farms in the U.S. and Abroad)
- EuroGites.org (European countries)
For insightful travel ideas, check out my book:
Know Before You Go: Traveling the U.S. and Abroad