Visit These City-Adjacent Farms for Late-Summer Fun
Ah, summer. Time to hit the beach, the lake, the... farm? Moo-ove over, shoreline. It’s barnyard season!
While visiting a farm might not be first on your sunny day bucket list, consider it an excellent means of trading bustling city vibes for easy, breezy, and much greener pastures. Making the trek to a farm near you is also a great way to get educated on what we eat and where it comes from, all while finding ample options for fun for all kinds of people. From dairy farms to mile-long corn mazes and all the fruit in between, here’s our list of farms worth visiting from cities.
Drive just an hour from the Big Apple for all things Alstede Farms, some 600 acres purchased by Chester native and first-generation farmer Kurt Alstede in 1982, with the mission to grow local, healthy, and nutritious food in a responsible way. These days, the Alstede family continues to produce a huge variety of homegrown fruits, vegetables, and flowers using only sustainable and certified organic production methods.
The farm is also home to a range of farm life, including cows, horses, sheep, goats, peacocks, bunnies, ducks, and an extra special pot-bellied pig named Spike. Visitors have the option to feed the animals with carrots, lettuce, or apples brought from home, or purchase animal feed bags filled with nutritious veggies. Guests can pick all kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables (for feeding themselves), as well as enjoy the farm’s unlimited hay and pony rides, plus scoops of fresh ice cream.
Make the three-and-a-half hour trek to Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville for a deliriously happy stomach and newfound appreciation for dairy farming. A 7th-generation, family-owned farm specializing in the handcrafted production of artisan and farmstead cheeses, the Marcoot family milks 65 Jersey cows (all of which have names) twice every day and makes 18 varieties of cheese and a dozen seasonal flavors of ice cream.
If you’re not in a dairy coma after all’s said and done, $3 gets you a behind-the-scenes look at the milking parlor, calf barn, and cheese-making process. The creamery also hosts plenty of seasonal events, from fondue parties to fall fests, “moovie nights,” and dinner events bursting with local ingredients sourced from the farm and other farms in the community.
HausBar Farms is a sustainable urban farm in East Austin that’s loved for its bounty of seasonal vegetables, day camps, and gardening workshops. Another plus? It’s barely a 15-minute drive from downtown Austin.
The farm is home to plenty of farm life—two donkeys, hundreds of chickens, dozens of rabbits, some geese, a few ducks, three pet birds—and prides itself on a sustainable approach to farming and living, and sharing its focus with the surrounding community.
Visitors looking to stay awhile can book a sleepover in the HausBar GuestHaus, a one-bedroom residence right on the grounds, and enjoy a fridge stocked with local provisions, a stroll around the grounds, and easy access to Austin’s downtown shops and restaurants.
Make the hour’s drive north from Denver for Jack Lantern's Corn Maze, a farm promising "90 acres of fear, fright, and fun" for over 15 years. The “fear” is seasonal of course, with haunted corn mazes offered from October 6-31. If getting spooked isn’t your thing, visitors can stroll through a friendlier 15-acre corn maze, check out the farm’s petting zoo, or test your knack for physics by launching a pumpkin on the giant catapult. And don’t miss out on the farm’s two acres of pumpkins to pick from. Afterward, hop in on a wagon ride and enjoy a free tour of the grounds.
At the base of Wilshire Peak sits Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho, a farm where guests can ride horses, wander trails, and enjoy nature’s bounty. It’s all just a two-hour drive from downtown Los Angeles. Once there, visitors can choose from a variety of seasonal crops, including over a dozen kinds of apples, strawberries, and raspberries in the summer, apples in fall, and pumpkins through November. Seasonal events here are aplenty too, with festivities like Riley’s Hometown Jamboree featuring dinner and live jam sessions, and the ranch’s Movies on the Green, where families and friends can lay out their picnic blankets and enjoy a classic film under the stars.