Want to escape the city for a bit and share the beauty of nature with your family? Camping is great, but it isn’t your only option. Across the country, farm and ranch stays offer guests the chance to slow down, embrace the great outdoors, experience another way of life and learn about where food comes from. 

From tranquil, family-run farms to large-scale ranch operations, these stays offer an enticing balance of comfortable accommodations, hands-on agriculture experiences, and cool outdoor activities. Some destinations put you within easy reach of a major city, some feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere, but all are sure to leave your family with great memories. 

Windy Hill Farm & Preserve

Loudon, Tennessee

Windy Hill Farm

Windy Hill Farm & Preserve is 650 acres of fun next to the Tennessee River, about 45 minutes outside of Knoxville. Staying here is an all-inclusive experience. Whether you choose to book accommodations in the Water Tower Cabins, The Lodge, or The Farmhouse, you’ll get three daily meals and non-alcoholic beverages included. Those meals are made with as many ingredients as possible from the property’s garden. Plus, guests have complimentary access to unguided activities such as mountain bike riding, nature trail hiking, yard games, and nightly bonfires. That’s far from the only entertainment—there are additional opportunities for beekeeping, fishing, archery, kayaking, and more. A boutique hunting preserve, Windy Hill is also famous for its quail hunting. windyhillfarmtn.com

Twin Farms

Barnard, Vermont

Twin Farms

At this high-end, 300-acre property, you can fully relax—not only are your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners covered, but also activities and evening canapés. There’s probably more to do here than you have time for with biking, hiking, swimming, canoeing, skiing, fly fishing, and a whole lot else available on-site. When you want to take things slower, you can take part in some of Twin Farms’ wellness classes or bathe in the Japanese furo tub. You may just want to unwind in your room, since each type of accommodation is cozy, beautifully designed, and decorated with museum-quality art. Bear in mind that this resort is for ages 14 and up only. twinfarms.com

Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel, California

Carmel Valley Ranch is like summer camp, but leveled up and refined. The property has an on-site farmstead complete with an organic garden, apiary, hen house, and corral (check out the goats and horses). Thanks to the artisans-in-residence program, your family can participate in hands-on farm activities like honey harvesting, equine experiences, and picnics with the sweet mini donkeys. If you want to try some of Carmel Valley Ranch’s self-produced food, pop over to Valley Kitchen, where the menu includes dishes using honey, cheese, salts, eggs, fruits and vegetables from the property. All of the accommodations are suites with a fireplace and private deck of their own. carmelvalleyranch.com

Fort Lewis Lodge and Farm

Millboro, Virgina

Fort Lewis Lodge, VA

It’s easy to leave the real world behind at Fort Lewis Lodge and Farm, a 3,300-acre retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This family-owned establishment is a working farm that plenty of chickens, pigs, goats, and horses call home—you can say hi to them and meander the vegetable garden if you’d like. If the weather is right, you have to get out on the water by taking a dip in the swimming hole, or floating or paddling down the river. If it’s a little cooler out, you may want to spend some time in the wood-fired sauna. Note that the property is only open April through October. Dinner and breakfast are included all rooms and cabins. fortlewislodge.com

Heritage Farm

Flora, Indiana

Heritage Farm, Indiana

Drive a little over an hour north from Indianapolis and to get to Heritage Farm. It’s the perfect vacation spot for anyone who loves alpacas, as the property is a working ranch with over 60 of the adorable creatures. That means that there are plenty of alpaca experiences for overnight guests, including property walks, feeding time, and sunset drinks among the animals. Other fun farm activities include UTV rides, hay rides, and hiking. Kids are welcome to help with farm chores like collecting eggs. There are different accommodation options here depending on what kind of stay you want, from the 1850s log cabin to tent camping. heritagefarmevents.com

Lone Mountain Ranch

Big Sky, Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch

You’re only an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park at Lone Mountain Ranch. And it’s the full Montana experience, with horseback riding, fly fishing, skiing, hiking, and more. Kids in particular will love the chance to do some 3-D archery or tackle the ropes challenge course. But really, horses are the highlight—the ranch has more than 100 of them. Guests are welcome to visit the barn and treat the horses to some carrots. You can also plan your trip for the summer to catch the property’s iconic Tuesday night rodeo. At Lone Mountain Ranch, there are a variety of cabin options, which range in size from one to six bedrooms. For dining, farm-to-table food is on the menu with ingredients grown or sourced locally. lonemountainranch.com

Stony Creek Farmstead

Walton, New York

Stony Creek Farmsetead

Stony Creek Farmstead is family owned and operated, and committed to free-range pasturing for its animals, which include cows, sheep, and pigs. Booking a stay here allows you to participate in the simple pleasures of farm life as you collect some eggs for breakfast, cook meals on your wood stove, take open-air showers, and hike the hills and valley. This is the sort of place where your family can really unplug, as all the platform tents where overnight guests can stay are off-grid. Carve out some time to join a guided farm tour on Saturdays at 11 am so you can learn more about what makes this little hideaway so special. stonycreekfarmstead.com

Cibolo Creek Ranch

Marfa, Texas

Cibolo Creek Ranch

Way out in West Texas, Cibolo Creek Ranch is about halfway between Marfa and Mexico. The place dates back to the 1800s and covers a whopping 30,000 acres. For your family’s stay, there are poolside, lakeside, and courtyard rooms available along with premium suites and historic forts. When you’re not resting your head, enjoy the days with outdoor activities like humvee tours, ATV tours, and horseback riding. You’ll be treated to incredible views of the surrounding mountains and desert. Indoors, you can peruse an array of historical artifacts from Texas and Mexican history. Daily breakfast is included, and you can eat ranch-style lunches and dinners in the restaurant. cibolocreekranch.com

Leaping Lamb Farm

Alsea, Oregon

Leaping Lamb Farm

Located between Salem and Eugene, Leaping Lamb Farm is a working family farm that was originally homesteaded back in 1862. Here, a variety of produce is grown (including fruit, hay, and garlic) and different animals are raised (like turkey, cattle, and sheep). Overnight stays are possible at the farmhouse, which can sleep up to 12 people. Guests are welcome to join in on any farm chores that interest them, so your kid can get some first-hand farm experience helping with feedings and egg collecting. Speaking of eggs, those and produce are provided during your stay—plus you get a complimentary basket of fruit, bread, orange juice, and milk the day you arrive. leapinglambfarm.com

Rancho de Los Caballeros

Wickenburg, Arizona

Rancho de los Caballeros

At Rancho de Los Caballeros, the dude ranch gets the luxury treatment. Spanning 13,300 acres in the Sonoran Desert, this destination started as a guest ranch in 1948. Today, visitors can enjoy walking or horseback riding through nature trails, trap and skeet shooting, jeep and ATV tours to ghost towns and abandoned mines. You can embrace the cowboy spirit with other activities like sunset bonfire cookouts, boot branding, and tractor rides. While here, try to see the daily horse run, when wranglers gather up the horses to send them to pasture. Rancho de Los Caballeros also has a fully supervised kids’ club with age-appropriate ranch activities. ranchodeloscaballeros.com

Tanque Verde Ranch

Tanque Verde, Arizona

Tanque Verde Ranch

Tanque Verde, a 45-minute drive outside of Tucson, was established in 1868, but its comfortable salas and casitas have been brought up to modern times. The entertainment options seem endless, with a wide variety of horse rides and experiences, hiking, biking, archery, and fishing. You’ll want to check the ranch’s schedule, which is jam-packed every day with guest activities and presentations. There’s even a daily kids program where children join groups with specific activities based on their age. Something you definitely don’t want to miss: The cowboy cookout on Wednesdays and Saturdays where your family can fill up on homestyle barbecue and listen to live music. tanqueverderanch.com

Cindy Brzostowski is a freelance writer covering food, travel, and other lifestyle topics.