Earlier this week, we posted about how the sharing economy produced another awesome idea of camping at farms. We came upon this gem while researching ways to level up our family camping experience while exploring nearby Vermont. As a family of 5 with a baby, a toddler, and a 5-year-old living in NYC, aka the city that never sleeps, we didn’t think our little attention spans would survive a secluded campsite off in the woods. The RV campground style camping with playgrounds and video games and overcrowding is too contrived for us though so we started researching a good middle ground. Enter Farm Camping. We came, we tried, and we fell in love with the experience.
Read along for details of our Vermont farm camping itinerary along with a few tips and recommendations. We spent a lot of time speaking to camp hosts and locals to curate the experience, but none of the content on this page is sponsored. 🙂
There are many options on where to sleep in Vermont, but our itinerary included camping on a farm. There are cute hotels in Burlington or traditional state park campgrounds throughout the state, but we opted for a farm as something unique. We also opted to stay in a cabin rather than a tent campsite. While we have a lot of experience tent camping, even with the kids, our tent is on its last legs and our baby is a horrible sleeper so we leveled up our typical shelter in favor of a roof, but at an attractive price.
Finding a campsite
We have another entire post on farm camping in general, including how to find one, but there are basically two websites that are helpful in finding a farm campsite.
Tentrr – Tentrr tends to cater to the glamping experience, with unique and stylish campsites throughout the USA. There are filters but you cannot select ‘farm’ so you’ll have to look at the photos.
Hipcamp – Hipcamp is basically the same thing as Tentrr, but we found pricing to be a little bit cheaper. I’m not sure if that is by design or luck. I found it odd that I didn’t see a lot of overlap as campsites tended to either be on Tentrr or Hipcamp. Hipcamp also lists public campgrounds in the area so you have an idea of what’s nearby. We booking through Hipcamp just because we found the farm we liked most with this service.
We ended up at Sandiwood Farm, in Wolcott, Vermont after interviewing four other farmer hosts. We wanted something scenic, rustic, cheap, secluded, and kid-friendly. I like photography (no comment on my actual skills). We live in the city and need to experience nature. Also living in the city doesn’t give us what some would call, “disposable income.” Our baby cries at 3 am so we don’t like waking nearby campers, and we also don’t like loud neighbors waking him up. Finally, we have kids, everything needs to be extremely kid-friendly.
Sandiwood was the only spot that checked all the boxes. An unexpected bonus was the host farmer, Sara, and her family were exceptionally nice and accommodating. Other farms either seemed overcrowded, commercialized or had a wedding venue booked for an event in close proximity to where we would be sleeping.
We also chose Sandiwood because it is an organic vegetable farm dedicated to sustainability. So it has a great mission, and without all the pigs and cows, we wagered that it would smell less like animal poo than other farms, and we were right.
Our campsite was located in the back corner of the farm, far enough to feel detached from the bustle, but close enough that I felt I could reach Sara, the host, in case of an emergency. Sara was also very responsive via text message. We were in a super rustic wood cabin made mostly of plywood with bare minimum amenities, which is exactly what we were looking for. There were a few other cabins on site that were a little more “finished” (we know because nobody else was there and we played hide and seek in all of them), but ours was the deepest in the woods, which was most attractive to our kids interested in building forts with sticks.
The farm itself is an organic vegetable farm, not huge, but with a great variety. They also grow medicinal hemp, which looks like it will become their main crop in the future. Note this is not the kind of marijuana that will make you high so don’t get any ideas. The only animals on site were the dog, Coco, and the chickens. Coco is the sweetest dog you’ll meet and the boys had fun walking in the chicken coop inspecting the freshly laid eggs.
First day of our Vermont itinerary
Moss Glen Falls
After settling into our cabin for the night, we woke up made an excellent camp breakfast at the shared camp kitchen to kick off our Vermont itinerary, and trekked a short drive to Moss Glen Falls. We chose Moss Glen because the hike to the waterfall was only about 1/4 mile. We weren’t sure how the boys would behave or how we’d sleep the first night so we picked something flexible and fun, and the boys loved it.
It takes about 10 minutes at toddler speed to hike over wood planks to the falls. There aren’t many things more fun than lunging onto a wood plank causing it to squirt mud on the other side. You’ll pass a pretty cool beaver dam next to a few impressive trees that beavers mauled down. We spent a solid 45 minutes throwing rocks in the water and climbing the boulders in the river, always highlights for our boys. I’m just glad they don’t take their love of throwing rocks at things back home to the city, but our little dudes can chuck rocks into the water for hours.
After throwing out my arm and chuckling at other families trying to nail that perfect Instagram shot, we moved on to continue the trail. This was the adult highlight of the day. After a short climb, you’ll reach an overlook where you get an excellent view of the falls, but without nearly as many other tourists. If you hike a little further, you’ll surely be on your own on a wide, well-marked trail. We’re not sure where the trail leads because we gave up after about a mile and a half, but it’s a nice little secluded hike.
The sugar house
Back at the farm, we hiked around the campsites until we found the sugar house. The trek was pretty educational, even without a guide, and the boys loved exploring and asking questions about everything they saw. We eat pancakes or waffles at least once per week so we know our maple syrup and booking at Sandiwood gets you a free nip of the sweet stuff. I ended up drinking it from the bottle and we didn’t leave without buying a gallon for use at home. I mean, you don’t get this round shape without a little effort!
Day two of Vermont itinerary
Elmore State Park
On the second day of our Vermont itinerary, on the advice of Sara, we visited Elmore State Park. Our venture here was two-fold. First, we wanted a day of family fun, but we also needed to shower. Elmore costs $10.00 to enter but also has pay showers that are $0.25 per every 2 minutes, so we all got to feel so fresh and so clean. Just be sure you plan for this and bring quarters because there are no quarter machines nearby. We found less loose change than we were hoping to find, and let’s just say we got clean, but the situation was…. comical.
The highlight of Elmore for us though was the beach. Unlike the overcrowded beaches of NYC, Elmore has a quaint little beach with gorgeous mountain views. For a small fee, you can rent kayaks or canoes, which we took full advantage of. There’s a small snack stand, but we opted to pack in a lunch and had a little picnic under a tree.
Von Trapp Family Beirhall
After cleaning up, we went out for dinner nearby at the Von Trapp Family Bierhall. The original plan was to eat at one of the local breweries, but they were all closed on Monday for some reason and Von Trapp was a good fill-in considering my German roots. It was OK, but pricing was a little too similar to back home in NYC. The property was nice though and the boys had a fun time playing corn hole.
Day three of Vermont itinerary
Ben & Jerry’s
You can’t plan a Vermont itinerary and not spend a few hours at the Ben & Jerry’s factory. It is a little touristy, but it is well laid out for kids. The tour pricing cost us $10.00 for our entire family and the scoop of free ice cream at the end is more than enough for the kids. Sadly for us, we previously promised the boys another scoop after the tour so we were forced to buy more. You can’t go back on your word, right? 😉 We read a few reviews about the wait for the tour, but note that there is a playground near the parking lot so you can simply buy your tickets, head to the playground for about 30 minutes, and then walk right in to your tour after working up a sweat. It’s well thought out and perfect.
Sandiwood Farm … again!
Before having dinner at the farm, the boys helped Sara harvest potatoes, tomatoes, beets, carrots, and a few other treats. Once we harvested, we cleaned everything up and made a few spur of the moment bulk maple syrup purchases. We also filled in the rest of a basket for basically what amounted to a mini CSA haul and called it a day. We had a lot of great lessons for both young and old.
Sunset on the farm
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the beautiful sunset to end our trip on the farm. Sara encouraged us to trek up to the fire pit at the top of the hill basically every day and we finally took her up on the offer on our final night and we did not regret it. The view and the sunset were incredible and a perfect way to end our stint.
We hope you find our itinerary helpful! When planning our trip, we were worried about how much driving we would need to do to fill our days in Vermont, but the scenery is so beautiful it was really a pleasure. Have you been to the Northeast? What should be our next adventure?