How To: Tips for Camping at a Farm

We’ve stayed on a number of farms in our van life travels. Almost all of them we found on Hipcamp. Some of the places we’ve camped have been hobby farms and some of them have been working farms. As a result we’ve had the chance to meet some of the sweetest animals. Some of them are pets, some of them are work animals and some of them are being raised for food. All of them have been sweet. Meeting new animals has been one of our favorite things about van life. You never know who or what is just around the bend! Here are some of our thoughts on farm stay camping tips.

  1. Secure your van.


    We’ve made the mistake a couple of times of leaving all of our doors and windows open at a farm only to be surprised when we then realized a goat has climbed in the back. If you don’t mind this sort of thing, leave ’em open. Otherwise, keep ’em shut because you’ll have cats and other new friends coming to say hey pretty quickly.

  2. Check to see if they have roosters.

    It’s pretty cool to wake up when the rooster cock-a-doodle-doo’s but it can also be a bit much to hear them all day long if you’re not used to it. If roosters are on the property, bring earplugs! Though they make for some great photographs with their colorful plumes and strutting, they can be awfully loud so come prepared.

    A rooster in a tree!
    Roosters are better than alarm clocks!
  3. Ask before you touch.

    Though it might seem okay to pet animals that seem friendly, it’s always a good idea to ask before doing so. It’s a way of showing respect to both the animal and the host.  Get permission and then if they say it’s okay, pet away!

    Petting a dog on a farm.
    Look at the eyes on this dog! So sweet.
  4. Watch out for the electric fence!

    Touching an electric fence probably won’t kill you but it sure as heck will wake you up! Look for the wires and do your best to avoid this at all costs! YEOWCH!

    A horse behind an electric fence
    Beware of the electric fences!
  5. Shut the gate behind you.

    Common sense says that if you open a gate, you should shut it behind you. But sometimes in a  new place you can forget common sense because you get so caught up in the experience. Just remember that animals without secure boundaries can be a danger to themselves and others, like motorists, if they get out. Keep the gates shut and keep ’em safe.

    Sheep in a field.
    Aren’t they cute?!
  6. Wear old shoes with closed toes.

    You know where we’re going with this one don’t you? Keep your feet dry and poop free by wearing boots or shoes instead of flip flops! Also, if you’re going to be around larger animals, this is to keep your feet safe just in case they get stepped on. We’ve actually visited a couple of farms where the host has asked us to put shoes on because their insurance policy requires it.

    Dog looking up.
    Got any snacks for me?!
  7. Keep food out of your pockets!

    Most animals have an awesome sense of smell, even better than our own, and they love food. Keep your food out of their reach. They don’t always know what’s best for them. Some human foods can make animals sick.

    Woman and a dog in a field.
    Never know who you’re gonna meet and the new friends you’ll make.
  8. Be mindful of your waste.

    Your food waste and your human waste. Obviously unless the farm has a dump station which most don’t, you shouldn’t empty your black tank there! Many of the farms we’ve stayed at have a composting toilet so if it’s there use it. And keep in mind that a lot of farms might prefer that your food compost doesn’t go in the composting toilet. Either pack your food compost out with you or find out where the farm compost is located.

Van Life: Tips for Staying at a Farm Recap

As you might guess, the basic rules and tips for camping apply to farm stays as well. Only build fires in designated areas, try to leave the place better than when you left it, keep the noise down, etc. To read more about Campsite Etiquette check out our post HERE. Heading out on your first adventure and not sure what to bring? We’ve got you covered with a Summer Road Trip Packing Guide.

Been to a good farm lately or looking to stay at one? We’d love to hear about it. Please leave your comments below!

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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