Got “getaway” on your mind? For many DMV-ers, the beach beckons with its salt air and its ocean breezes. But if you want to avoid crowds, consider a rural retreat for an equally restorative family vacation. Farm stays offer a resort-like experience off-grid. Your kids will enjoy a host of activities — like hiking, fishing, feeding farm animals and more — without the need of carting the whole family off property.

photo: Rocky Acre Farm

Rocky Acre Farm
The owners of Rocky Acre Farm have seamlessly run a bed-and-breakfast style experience alongside a working farm for over 50 years. Rooms are clean and well-equipped, with most having bunk beds and queen beds together so families can share quarters. The farm attracts visitors who often make this their home away from home, coming year after year  (and some multiple times a year). Breakfasts are homemade and hearty and often include pancakes, waffles, fresh farm eggs, sausage, homemade jams and baked treats. Kids will enjoy getting hands-on experience collecting eggs, tending to baby calves, and helping with basic farm chores. Other amenities include an onsite playground and hayrides. For those looking to venture beyond the property, Lancaster County offers plenty of fun, farm activities.

1020 Pinkerton Rd. (Mount Joy, PA)
Phone: 717-653-4449
Online: rockyacre.com

Belle Meade Farm
The owners of this sustainable farm (think free range animals) affectionately call the Belle Meade a holistic retreat. Set on nearly 140 acres, you are sure to find an activity to capture the heart and mind of each and every person in your brood. There is an outdoor pool for little ones, an old fashioned swimming pond with a floating deck and rope swing for the bigger kids and a hot tub for moms and dads. For those wishing to get their hands dirty, you can help tend to pigs, horses, cattle, chicken and rabbits. Nearby you’ll find hiking and canoeing in Shenandoah National Park. Breakfast, which is included with room reservations, is made from locally sourced foods and farm fresh ingredients.

Cost: Rates for single rooms start at $160; there are four guest rooms in the main house. A separate cottage rents for $210 a night.

353 F.T. Valley Rd. (Sperryville, VA)
Phone: 540-987-9748
Online: bellemeade.net

photo: James W. Bailey via flickr

Mountain Quest Inn
This West Virginia Inn offers the opportunity to roam 450 acres, 150 of which are utilized as a farm. You and your kids will discover horses, llamas and cattle. A gentle hike up the mountain gives visitor’s a chance to gaze down on a fresh, green valley, which is a refreshing sight for those used to the congestion and development of the D.C. metro area. Other outdoor activities include biking, trout fishing, and star gazing. For those struggling to completely unplug, the onsite community center offers movies, books and arcade games.

Cost: Room reservations include a breakfast buffet and start at $129;  $149 for double occupancy. There is an additional charge of $10 for each child 6 to 17. Children 5 and under stay free. The deluxe quadruple room is property’s largest room at 400 square feet.

303 Mountain Quest Ln. (Marlinton, WV)
Phone: 304-799-7267
Online: mountainquestinn.com

Allegheny Mountain Institute
This farm is home to chickens, cows and bees. School aged kids will enjoy the hands-on workshops offered (almost) every Wednesday at this Highland County farm. Guests can learn about a range of topics, like beekeeping, seed saving, mushroom cultivating and more. The Institute suggests a Tuesday and Wednesday evening stay for those wishing to attend a workshop. Classes are an additional small fee and include meals. A continental breakfast is included; guests who stay midweek are also welcome to participate in family style meals at no additional charge.

Cost: The property’s lodge, which accommodates up to 8 people, can be rented for $250 a night. Rooms can also be rented individually.

2599 Bear Mountain Rd. (Hightown, VA)
Phone: 540-468-2300
Online: alleghenymountaininstitute.org

photo: Sheryl via flickr

Berriedale Farms
Berriedale holds an unusual title. It’s the only farm in the United States that is protected by both land and breed conservation. You’ll find The George Washington National Forest to the east of this little hamlet and the Highland Wildlife Management Area to the west. The farm itself is home to heritage cattle, which means these cows are on the brink of going extinct. Berriedale is a great place for kids to learn about the importance of breed diversity in our agriculture system. It’s also ideal for families that want to “get away from it all.” You won’t get cell reception here. Or have access to a television. The log cabin accommodations are rustic (but they do have electricity).

Cost: Contact the farm for seasonal rates.

10245 Cowpasture River Rd. (Williamsville, VA)
Phone: 540-925-2308
Online: berriedalefarms.com

Oakland Green Bed and Breakfast
This working cattle farm is just an hour west of  D.C., in Loudoun County. Built nearly 300 years ago, this rural retreat boasts over 200 acres to explore. Spend your summer days playing lawn games, exploring the gardens, taking a dip in the swimming pool or fishing in the pond. While there isn’t a lot of hands-on opportunities at Oakland, nearby JK Community Farm, which provides  organic food for children, families and seniors in need through donations to hunger relief organizations and shelters, offers those interested in hands-on farm work a chance to volunteer.

Cost: Guests can rent the oldest section of the house,  Log House Suite (starting at $125).

19192 Oakland Green Rd. (Lincoln, VA)
Online: oaklandgreen.com

—Meghan Meyers
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