Where can I vacation in a family-friendly bed and breakfast — on a working farm — in Washington State, Oregon or British Columbia?
– Juliana, mom of two kids (5 and 1), Seattle, Wash.
Thanks for the great question! Here’s a quick rundown of what I found online. Unlike larger hotels, most bed and breakfasts do not allow children to stay free, but you’ll get a cool experience in exchange.
Because few are listed on sites like Tripadvisor.com, I might call to speak with the owners, and ask for a reference if you’d like to hear from someone who enjoyed their visit.
British Columbia family-friendly farm stay:
Arrowvale Farm has Sicilian donkeys, horses, a cow and goats. Sleep in one of the cottages (kids are $15/extra), or during summer, the campgrounds are a steal at around $25/nt. Located in Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, 2 ½ hours from Victoria, BC.
For a more upscale experience, foodie farmer Mara Jernigan offers cooking classes for grown-ups, and luxe cottages for families (summer only) in BC’s fertile Cowichan Valley, 45 minutes north of Victoria, BC. The 130-acre Fairburn Farm farm raises one of the most unique animals among the farms I saw – water buffalo!
On Quadra Island, off of Vancouver Island’s coast, the Bold Point Farmstay program allows kids to pick produce, feed the chickens, ride a ram or just hang out. The distance may be too far for many though – about 3 ½ hours north of Victoria, BC.
Family-friendly Oregon farm stay:
The adorable-appearing Leaping Lamb Farm encourages visitors to help collect eggs and feed the sheep. Kids 3 and under stay free. This farm appears to particularly welcome families with kids, based on their site. Located two hours south of Portland in Alsea, Ore., and you could include it en route an Oregon Coast vacation.
Washington State family-friendly farm stay:
Dog Mountain Farm is rustic but interesting — $150/nt to stay in a platform tent, with a furnished interior. Or stay on the farm’s campgrounds. From June through September, the “Young Farmers Program” keeps kids busy with an hour of farm chores and a packet of information. Collect eggs, feed and water horses, chickens, dogs and cats. There are even beekeeping(?!) opportunities. Located in Carnation, Wash., 40 minutes east of Seattle.
If you like, you could also consider a home rental. This one on Whidbey Island, Wash., is located on a working farm, and kids can help with farm chores. It’s located Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, which is a great bird-watching destination.
Good luck! And if any readers know of another farm stay, let us know? E-mail your questions to lora AT cascadiakids.com