This story originally appeared on Modern Farmer.
Not that long ago, the idea of spending precious vacation time feeding pigs or caring for a stranger’s vegetable plot—much less paying for the honor—would have raised eyebrows.
In the last six years, however, the number of farms and ranches offering overnight adventures jumped from 300 to more than 800, says Scottie Jones, executive director of the U.S. Farm Stay Association. With so many choices, we’ve narrowed in on a few exceptional experiences.
Bar SZ Ranch, Paicines, California
At Tim and Michelle Borland’s ranch, wannabe cowboys can rustle cattle on horseback and shoot skeet. After nightfall, bring your s’mores supplies down to the community campfire—then look up and marvel at the Milky Way. (From $400 a night for a fully equipped cabin, which sleeps up to 10; barszranch.com)
Vermont Grand View Farm, Washington, Vermont
Kim and Chuck Goodling run a fiber CSA on their 1794 farmstead overlooking the Green Mountains. In addition to helping tend the couple’s flock of European Gotland sheep, you can learn how to weave, spin, or dye wool. (From $170 per double, breakfast included; grandviewfarmvt.net)
The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm, Skamokawa, Washington
Many farm stays feed you goods grown out back, but Don and Kitty Speranza encourage visitors to use the 15-acre spread’s organic produce, free-range eggs, and pastured meats in cooking classes, such as Artisan Bread Baking and Pasta Perfection. (From $135 per double, breakfast included; crippencreek.com)
Kinnikinnick Farm, Caledonia, Illinois
Part of the Feather Down farm-stay network, this organic vegetable operation in northern Illinois puts guests up in tents. Don’t confuse that with “roughing it.” Each stand-alone structure sleeps up to five adults (in real beds) and boasts fully outfitted kitchens. As for where to get groceries? Kinnikinnick’s owners, David and Susan Cleverdon, stock an “honesty shop” with treats and staples from other area producers. Simply grab what looks good and leave the payment in the box. (From $650 per tent per weekend; kinnikinnickfarm.com)
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