Finding and Booking a Farm Stay
What does a farm stay cost?
Costs can vary widely depending on what you are paying for with a low of $20 for camping to a high of $400 for 5-star lodging. An average rate for double occupancy on the Farm Stay U.S.A. site looks to be around $125/night, which may or may not include breakfast. We think this is a smokin’ deal for what you get!
How can I find what dates are available for a specific farm stay?
Similar to the online booking, many farms and ranches have availability calendars linked to their websites. We recommend, except for the sites with online booking (handled in real time), that you check directly with the farms as sometimes it is hard to keep these calendars up-to-date when farm chores are calling.
Can I book my reservation online?
If our farms offer online booking or access to their booking calendar, we link to this through the Check Availability button on their Farm Stay U.S.A. listing. You will be dealing directly with the farm and not with us at this point…which is a good thing. Due to these existing systems, we do not expect to offer our own booking engine anytime soon, but, please consider our booking button to work like any other travel site’s.
How do I contact farms or ranches for a farm stay?
You can message farms directly through the ‘Contact’ tab on each farm’s listing page. You have other options as well: phone, email, and their personal website (also listed under the Contact tab).
Can I use a credit card to pay for my farm vacation?
A number of the operations are set up to handle credit cards, but not all. Check with your hosts what options are available to you. Don’t be surprised if cash or checks are the preferred method of payment.
What if we have to cancel our farm vacation?
Most, if not all, of our farms and ranches have cancellation policies. Make sure you read through these when you make your reservation. Because many of us are small operations, cancellations without enough time to re-book the dates can hit a farm pretty hard financially. Generally, there is a fee associated with canceling.
How do I know this is a true farm stay?
The U.S. Farm Stay Association has accreditation standards that were implemented in summer 2015 in order to explain what our members offer. These are self-reported and farms may choose to add a badge to their listing that shows they adhere to these guidelines.
Farm Stay Accommodations
Are children allowed on these farms and ranches?
Not all farms and ranches allow kids. Check under the ‘Allowed’ heading to see whether children are welcome. It is best to ask as well since sometimes there is a specific age restriction that may be less or more than 12 years old (the site’s cut off age).
What can we expect for farm or ranch accommodations
Accommodations vary widely, but are usually explained up front. Some farms will host you right in their house. Others provide a separate space, for example: a wood-floored tent, a converted farm building, a guest house, and/or campsites. Some accommodations are extremely luxurious while others are rustic and plain. Pricing will be commensurate with the offering.
How do I know which farm is right for my family?
Many farms and ranches have websites so you can get an idea of what goes on during a visit. If you are unsure, pick up the phone or email and ask what a typical day is like. Listings on our site also have a link to Trip Advisor where you can read what other guests have had to say about their experience.
What can we expect in terms of food?
Often you will be able to source food right from the farm or ranch. Usually you pay, sometimes it’s included in an American Plan. Check before you arrive so you know if you need to bring supplies with you and/or what will be provided. For a short paragraph on food, take a look at What to Expect from a Farm Stay.
Can I bring my dog to the farm?
Similar to kids, dogs are not always welcome on a farm. Check under the ‘Allowed’ section of the farm or ranch listing to see if pets are mentioned. Please confirm with the farm about size limit and/or an extra charge.
Will the farm smell?
We don’t think so, but then we are used to our operations. There will be areas that smell like livestock, areas that smell like mulch or compost, but generally all these smells are organic, nature smells that you will become accustomed to. We would suggest our smells are better than a city bus.
What to Bring to the Farm Stay
What clothes should we bring?
Clothing depends on the time of year and the location! If we ignore seasonality, hands-on farms can be dirty so don’t wear your best duds out to do chores. For a short paragraph on clothing, take a look at What to Expect from a Farm Stay.
Will I need a car for my farm/ranch vacation?
Except for urban farms we might list, the nature of a farm or ranch means it is out in the country and not likely on a bus line. For the larger operations that offer week-long stays, there may be a van to pick you up at the nearest airport. For the rest of us, you are on your own in terms of transportation. This doesn’t preclude you from riding a bike to reach us. Just bring a patch kit!
Will there be cell phone service or WiFi at the ranch?
Many of us do not have cell phone service on our farm or ranch. If not, there is generally access to the farm’s land line. Just because there is no cell service, however, does not necessarily mean there is no Internet access. Check before you arrive how to communicate with the outside world.
Things to Do at a Farm Stay
What can we expect in terms of things to do?
This varies greatly by farm or ranch. If you can’t find the information in the listing or on the farm’s website, email or call to find out what there is to do and what you will be allowed to do. Daily livestock chores, gardening, milking, wrangling may be on the list of things to do – it all depends on the operation. What to Expect from a Farm Stay discusses this in more detail.
Will we have to work on the farm?
Work is hardly ever required and farms and ranches are very upfront if this is expected. Most of us want you to feel comfortable and soak up the rhythm of country life so you go home refreshed and invigorated, with good memories and hardly any sore muscles!
What will we learn about farming or ranching?
This depends on how many questions you have and what kind of time your hosts have to devote to the answers. Some places are set up with education in mind; others provide for education through observation and maybe some hands-on ‘doing’. Regardless, you will likely come away with more knowledge about farming or ranching than when you arrived.
Can I drive the tractor?
Not on my farm and likely not on most! Our insurance agents take a dim view of this and we listen to what they say so we can obtain liability insurance.