Florida Agritourism and Farm Tours
By Emily Nipps
For a truly memorable Florida experience, discover the hidden treasures among the more rural patches of the state by touring or staying at a farm or ranch.
The sweet sights, sounds, smells and tastes are unlike any others you will find at the beaches and other Sunshine State attractions, and they leave you with a sense of well-being and enlightenment after spending time among plants, animals and salt-of-the-Earth farming folks.
Agritourism has become a more popular industry as more and more visitors crave the experience of country life, of knowing where their food has been harvested and seeing a way of life that is vastly different from their own.
Florida is ripe for this, with its still-thriving citrus and cattle industries and vast swaths of land that are perfect for harvesting anything from vegetables to honey to salt.
Its year-round warm weather makes for happy pigs, goats, horses, alpacas and other animals that are either kept as livestock or as sanctuary pets. And you’ll find lots of friendly farmers and farm hobbyists willing to take you in, show you around and educate you on the simple pleasures of picking your own berries, feeding the chickens and riding horses through national parks that sit adjacent to their backyard fences.
Whether it’s a day trip, a weekend or a longer getaway, there’s plenty of farming and agricultural attractions in Florida to keep you entertained and possibly returning for more once you get hooked.
In the spring, you-pick-‘em berry farms are fun for the whole family and keep you stocked in sweet, juicy fruit for months since strawberries and blueberries freeze and preserve in cans well.
There are also several dairy farms throughout the state, such as central Florida’s Dakin Dairy Farms, which offers tours, has a market and cafe, has animals for children to pet and hosts fun seasonal events year-round.
And there are also some popular vineyards and wineries that do old fashioned grape stomps and harvest festivals, as well as regular tours and tastings.
Animal lovers enjoy visiting a number of potbellied pig and other exotic animal rescues throughout the state, as well as small and humane farms that raise their own meat and poultry which they often supply to nearby restaurants.
Ocala, known as Florida’s Horse Country, has a number of horse ranches and farms that offer tours, rides, workshops, overnight stays and other fun activities for the whole family.
For a true farm-to-table experience, several farms throughout the state cater to groups and special events, offering tours of their acreage and growing techniques and ending the day with a prepared sit-down meal made from fresh ingredients straight from the gardens or farm land.
Kai Kai Farm in Indiantown, Paradise Farms in Homestead and others combine the educational tours with the delicious showcase of results and make for great memories to take back home with you.
If you’re looking to spend a weekend or week getting to know the land, animals and friendly farm owners of Florida, some offer lovely B&B or cabin rental accommodations.