Agritourism Is the Concept of Vacationing on a Farm—Try It Out at These 10 Pastoral Properties

Photo: Getty Images/Carlos Maranhao
Agritourism is a portmanteau of agriculture and tourism. The concept, affiliated with ecotourism, originated in Italy (there it’s referred to as agriturismo) but is now something found in countries all around the world. “It’s basically a farm or other agricultural businesses that invite guests for the purposes of educational, recreational, and leisure purposes,” explains Christina Albert, Director of Agriculture at Beach Plum Farm in New Jersey. “A farm stay is a part of agritourism that involves overnight accommodations on a working farm or ranch. This gives guests the chance to experience the day-to-day operations of the farm and participate in activities such as animal care, gardening, and harvesting.”

The terms "agritourism" and "farm stay" are often used interchangeably. Whatever vernacular you assign to the purpose-built experience, though, know that this booming part of the ecotourism sector delivers something from which so many of us could benefit: more time outside, and the opportunity to experience an agrarian way of life. And it appears to be here to say: According to market research, the nearly $6 billion market size of agritourism, as of 2021, is predicted to grow at a rate of 11.4 percent through 2030.

“Agritourism is becoming so in demand because of our collective desire to return to a slower, more natural way of life. It ultimately comes down to our well-being." —Peyton Cypress, Farm Manager, Southall

“Agritourism is becoming so in demand because of our collective desire to return to a slower, more natural way of life. It ultimately comes down to our well-being. What environment is going to make us feel our best? When people start asking themselves these types of questions, many arrive at the idea of a farm with fresh air and beautiful scenery,” says Peyton Cypress, Farm Manager at Southall, in Tennessee. It’s also increasingly popular as a family vacation that teaches kids the importance of agriculture and treating Mother Nature with respect and, of course, lets them interact with adorable animals.

Agritourism is within the nature-centered-vacation canon of glamping, treehouse hotels, and immersive nature experiences, but with more of a focus on getting your hands dirty and learning practical skills in a rural setting. Unlike other types of nature-oriented tourism that are curated to fulfill a vacation fantasy, the agriculture component is the foundation of a true agritourism, and the tourism aspects come second.

That means chores need to be completed—whether that’s feeding chickens, milking cows, pulling weeds, or harvesting crops—and guests have the option to join in, whether by collecting your own eggs for breakfast or pulling potatoes from the ground to make dinner. Hard work also has plenty of payoffs besides a sense of accomplishment—including the serotonin-boosting benefits of getting in touch with nature and animals, seeing where your food actually comes from (maybe even having a hand in that process), and escaping the tech-fueled daily grind.

Farm stays don’t tend toward the super luxurious (with a few noteworthy exceptions). But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be sleeping in a barn alongside barrels of hay on an agritourism trip. Most places offer comfortable accommodations, ranging from modest rooms with shared bathrooms to beautifully decorated farmhouses. Guests typically also have access to eco-conscious activities (like foraging and horseback riding), farm-to-table dining, and, in some cases, even sustainable spa treatments

If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, get to work, and reap the myriad rewards, you might be interested in learning about 10 pastoral properties around the world that stand out in the ever-growing field of agritourism—and will surely plant the seed for your next nature-driven getaway.

10 agritourism farms around the world to know about

1. Liberty Hill Farm (Rochester, Vermont)

Photo: Courtesy Liberty Hill Farm

Vermont's first green agritourism enterprise, Liberty Hill Farm, a family-run dairy farm in the picturesque town of Rochester, has been welcoming tourists for nearly 40 years, many of whom return many times over to milk cows, bottle-feed calves, and go hiking in Green Mountain National Forest. The hearty breakfast of farm-fresh eggs and cheese, as well as a home-cooked dinner keep agritourists properly fueled. After a day filled with outdoor activities, guests can watch the sunset from a rocking chair on the porch and catch some quality zzzs in a cozy room inside the 1825-built Greek Revival main house.

2. Beach Plum Farm (Cape May, New Jersey)

Photo: Beach Plum Farm

Drive two miles west of historic downtown Cape May and you’ll find Beach Plum Farm. To reap grounding benefits of fostering a deeper connection to nature and farm life, chores here include feeding animals, collecting eggs, planting, and harvesting. There are interactive classes on topics such as beekeeping and flower-arranging in season. The property is also well known for farm-to-table dinners. Besides hands-on educational experiences, enjoying the fresh air, and eating delicious food, guests have the opportunity to snooze soundly in cottages and hemlock beam barns.

3. Babylonstoren (Simondium, South Africa)

Photo: Babylonstoren

One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa, Babylonstoren has a huge garden with vegetables, stone fruits, citrus, herbs, and even a prickly pear maze. Gardener-led walking tours to see the plants, bees, ducks, and chickens are available.

Babel, an old cowshed turned farm-to-fork restaurant, boasts one of the best and most bountiful breakfast spreads ever. Expect house-made granola, wood-fired country bread, hand-churned butter, pressed juices, and hyperlocal honey. Guests can hunker down in cottages with fireplaces and clawfoot tubs. Bathrooms here are stocked with hand-picked aromatherapy herbs. And nature-driven spa treatments round out the wellness offerings.

4. Southall (Franklin, Tennessee)

Photo: Southall

For travelers who crave a little luxury, Southall is an upscale farm resort not too far outside of Nashville worth checking out. The picturesque property offers gardens, greenhouses, a lake, apiaries, forest trails, and refined accommodations that make it an extremely relaxing atmosphere for stressed-out city dwellers to learn about and reconnect with nature. The farm-to-table experience ranks among the highlights for foodies keen to understand the journey from ground to plate—and then taste the proverbial fruits of their labors, as prepared by a talented chef. Many folks also gravitate toward pollinator programming that includes bee-hive tours and honey tastings.

5. Beltane Ranch (Glen Ellen, California)

Photo: Danial Triassi

Sonoma continues to lead the regenerative agriculture charge in the United States. Beltane Ranch, a sixth-generation operation in Glen Ellen, stands at the forefront of the movement. Efforts—which go well beyond sustainably to restorative practices that will benefit the land for generations—include using free-range chickens for pest control, composting initiatives, maintaining wildlife corridors, planting cover crops, and employing sheep (aka “woolly weeders”) to promote soil fertility. Besides the applaud-worthy ecological endeavors, this 105-acre agricultural preserve is a wonderful place to unwind under the shade of ancient oaks, stroll through the vineyards and heirloom gardens, sip estate-grown wine, sample olive oil, and rest in a landmark inn.

6. São Lourenço do Barrocal (Alentejo, Portugal)

Photo: Ash James

Another plush yet pastoral choice, São Lourenço do Barroca is a family-operated agritourism that dates back more than 200 years. The sprawling plot comprises a 19th-century farmhouse, spa, stables, scenic trails, a winery, an organic garden, and a farm-to-table restaurant that sources vegetables, fruits, and olive oil grown and produced right on-site. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a spate of activities, such as horseback riding, cycling, bird-watching, and stargazing (the estate sits within the Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve). Overnight options include rooms, suites, and cottages—all refurbished, but still true to traditional craftsmanship with elements like terracotta floors.

7. Tabula Rasa Farms (Carlton, Oregon)

Photo: Tabula Rasa Farms

Situated in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Tabula Rasa Farms is rooted in sustainability and respect for the land and its creatures. It’s well regarded for humane, grass-fed beef, heritage-breed pork, and pasture-raised laying hens. The plant-based set will find plenty to satisfy thanks to the regenerative approach to agriculture that yields fresh, flavorful vegetables. Farms tours to meet all animals, learn about rotational grazing, and witness water conservation efforts first-hand are a huge hit. For overnight guests, there’s a hilltop farmhouse with sweeping vistas and a fitness center.

8. EBBIO (Tuscany, Italy)

Photo: EBBIO

EBBIO, an organic and sustainable farmhouse surrounded by an evergreen forest in Tuscany, is beloved among visitors who love foraging for wild asparagus and edible flowers. Truffle hunts lure travelers between September and November. With essential-oil making, cooking classes, jam workshops, art therapy, horseback riding, and farm chores like feeding chickens, the enriching on-site activities never seem to end. The ecologically oriented estate also hosts yoga retreats.

9. Mountain Goat Lodge (Salida, Colorado)

Photo: Mountain Goat Lodge

Tucked away on 20 acres at the foot of the Sawatch Mountain Range in the high desert of Colorado, Mountain Goat Lodge invites visitors to interact with dairy goats (and even bottle-feed kids). More than just simply looking adorable and bringing a smile to guests’ faces, these cute critters supply milk for housemade Greek-style yogurt, chevre, fresh mozzarella, feta, and paneer—all of which is up for grabs at breakfast. The cheese-making workshops are wildly popular. Guests can also learn new skills to bring back home by taking classes on raising backyard chickens and goat husbandry. When it’s time to call it a night, cozy rooms and suites await.

10. Cucumbi Farm (Alentejo, Portugal)

Photo: Emily Jean Photography

A soulful reflection of the agrarian roots and spirit of Alentejo, every aspect of Cucumbi Farm ties to the untouched region it calls home. It’s rustic and relaxing, with an emphasis on returning to simplicity. There are expansive fields to explore, crops to harvest, sheep and chickens to feed, and a saltwater pool to cool off in between chores and strolling the enchanting grounds. While the whitewashed apartments and suites—which don’t have TVs in order to help guests fully embrace the slower pace and unplugged nature of things—are all named after animals that reside on the herdade.

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