Perhaps your family isn’t quite ready to navigate the new world of air travel and hotel stays. But maybe consider getting away for a completely unique experience that ensures all of the health guidelines we need now to have a healthy and fun vacation — stay on a farm or a ranch! Can you picture your child taking a llama for a walk?
Experience the country lifestyle in accommodations that range from luxurious to plain and rustic. It all depends on your budget, group size and what activities you’d like to have from horseback riding to helping feed chickens and other farm pals. Depending on the location, activities could include helping out on the farm, but this isn’t expected or required. The point of a farm stay is to get out into the air to feel refreshed and invigorated, with good memories and no sore muscles!
Nightly rates start from as little as $20 a night to camp (BYO-Gear) to a high of $400 a night for 5-stay lodging. Some locations offer guest homes, cabins, converted barns to staying in the same house as the farm family. Average stays are priced about $125 a night. Some stays include meals or will offer accommodations with kitchen facilities to bring and cook your own meals. Most require a two-night stay. Security deposits, pet fees and cleaning fees may be added to per night rates.
Participating nationwide locations at FarmStayUS.com follows the U.S. Farm Stay Association accreditation standards.
Here are some properties located within a day’s drive from Atlanta:
On the Windfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is a true rural, mountain escape for starry nights. Choose from 3 cottages located on a 215-acre private mountain top. On-site is a stocked trout pond, a rocking patio and the resident sheep, a donkey, a wild pony and Scottish Highland cows. Nearby Big Horse Creek and Helton Creek offer some of the best fly fishing in the state. Per night rates range from $145 for The Barn (for 4 max), a 2nd-floor efficiency with full kitchen, queen and two twins, fireplace, hot tube and more. Or, choose the two-bedroom Granpy Aut Cottage from $185. Three- and four-bedroom cottages (max 6 adults) average $285. One-time charges for additional guests over age 6 (max 3) average $50-$70.
East Fork Farm, a family farm in Madison County, home to over 55,000 acres of North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. Choose from three cottages including a quaint cedar shake, the upper floor of a gristmill to a cottage in the pastures and rolling hills. Each stay includes complimentary farm products such as farm fresh eggs and stone-ground cornmeal, homemade jam, coffee and soap. Stays for two average $150 per night.
Buffalo truly roam on the private 72-acre Trinity Bison Ranch, located in Clyde, North Carolina, 12 miles from Maggie Valley and Waynesville and 25 miles from Asheville. The ranch features 6 luxury log cabins and two train cabooses that can accommodate two or up to 14 at per night rates from $170 to $325. On-site is a game room with ping pong, air hockey, chess, life-size connect four, foosball, and a piano. Take a short hike through the woods to a custom playground with a rock wall, zip line, horseshoe pit and a child’s playground.
Giddy up and ride the sure-footed mountain horses along miles of private mountain trails at Twin Valley Horse Ranch, located in the beautiful foothills of the Smokies in Walland, Tennessee. Take a dip or fish the spring-fed and stocked pond, hike the trails to a mountain stream, or picnic in a meadow. Rates from $125 a night for bed and breakfast double rooms at The Lodge to $120 a night at Luke’s Cabin accommodating up to six with a kitchen, covered porch and swing, fire pit and more. The Ranch House offers rooms for up to 8 guests (combine two rooms) with per night rates averaging $305. Half-day trail horse riding with a snack and drink are priced about $75 per person and 3-hour lessons from $125.
If the great outdoors is on your summer trip list, check out over 300,000 unique campsites, cabins, RV parks, public parks, private lands and more at HipCamp. Find a tiny house to stay in, a rustic cabin or fine-tune a trip that might include a farm that offers up-close animal experiences on farms, and animal rescue ranches.
(Editor’s note: The travel industry is currently under great stress, and the money you pay now may be lost if companies go out of business. See more here.)