Looking for a retreat from the hectic pace of every day life? Take a rustic vacation with the kids that’ll really slow things down and get you in a rural state of mind. Farm stays are becoming increasingly popular and Oregon offers many places to take a family-friendly haycation, many within an hour’s drive of Portland.
Farm stays vary in terms of rusticity and effort levels—from a tent site at a working cattle farm to a more luxurious room at a bed-and-breakfast farm. Many offer you the chance to work on the farm, helping with chores and tending to animals. And they all provide an opportunity to experience nature in a way that is educational, inspirational, and fun. Another bonus: Prices are usually very reasonable and the accommodations are often large and well suited for families.
When to go: Keep in mind that most of these farms only accommodate one or two families at a time. This allows for a peaceful and very customized vacation. But you’ll want to book far in advance for popular farms during summer weekends. Many are open year round and feature fun seasonal activities (like animal babies in the spring!).
Leaping Lamb Farm (pictured)
From $125 per night
Enjoy the privacy of your own two-bedroom cabin at this popular farm. Help collect eggs and feed the sheep, hike trails into the surrounding rainforest. Abundant farm goodies? Check. Animals? Oh, yes. They have chickens (farm-fresh eggs for your breakfast), geese (retired), horses, a peacock (for color), and the requisite dogs and cats. They also sell their pasture-raised Heritage turkeys and grass-fed lamb products directly to local customers, restaurants and natural food stores. Depending on the time of year, most of these animals range freely around the property. All this only 40 minutes from the coast.
Abbey Road Farm
Guests looking for a “real farm experience” can find it an easy 35-minute drive from Portland. Ask about participating with tasks in the garden, the orchards and managing animal related chores. If you’re willing to spend a few hours weeding, stacking hay, or mucking stalls, they are only too happy to accommodate! Animals on the farm include chickens, llamas (including Bubbles the guard llama), goats, and donkeys. All five of their rooms have luxurious linens, jaw-dropping views, and Jacuzzi tubs.
Willow Witt Ranch
Tent camping from $40, Studio from $150
Somewhat of a National media darling, Willow Witt is a great place to stay, play, and farm on a working, historic, high mountain ranch. You can rise with the sun and experience the daily rhythms of caring for the animals. Lose yourself birding, botanizing, or hiking miles of wooded trails and wildflower meadows. The bright and airy studio sleeps up to six with two queen beds in the loft spaces and a futon downstairs. Or choose a luxury walled tent (with beds) or an old-fashioned campsite.
Deer Haven Farms
Deer Haven Farms is in the heart of Willamette valley’s magnificent rural wine country. They grow a bounty of fresh food, including tomatoes, greens, onions, corn, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, peas, beans, lettuce, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pumpkins, gourds and so many herbs and flowers. Animals include Otto the cat, Hoppy the bunny, chickens and two cows, Jo and JoJo. Their spacious guest suite offers exquisite views, two bedrooms, private bath, living room with a dining terrace & private entrance. They are very well known for their amazing farm breakfasts!
Draper Girls Country Farm
If you like cherries, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, apples and pears, you’ll love Draper Girls. This 40-acre fruit farm is the ideal place for your family to experience farm life and enjoy rest and relaxation time together. You can hang out on our farm and feed the animals, pick your own fruit or just enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Hood on your swing. In the summer spend the morning and afternoon exploring the Columbia River Gorge. In the winter enjoy some of the best ski and snowboarding in the state. Their farm home rental sleeps eight and features a breath taking view of Mt. Hood.
Long Hollow Ranch
Best for children six and older
Three-and six-day packages available
Looking for a dude ranch vacation, fly-fishing vacation, cowboy vacation, or horse ranch vacation? Long Hollow Ranch has them all. Explore the ranch on horseback, fish in the ranch reservoirs, or spend a relaxing afternoon reading on the veranda, pitching horseshoes in the yard by the campfire, or practicing your roping skills. This is a working cattle ranch, so you can live those cowboy dreams by working with ranch hands on authentic ranch activities from fixing fences to moving irrigation to working with cattle. Accommodations range from Ranch House rooms to private cottages.
— Cheyenne Terbrueggen