The breeze in your hair. The smell of overturned earth. Warm sunshine on your face. There’s nothing quite like a day on the farm. While we have plenty of urban farms within the city limits, their limited real estate makes them more functional and less fun.
But with a short drive out of town, you can access some huge farms where the whole family can spend the day communing with nature and having a great time. I’d say to leave your cell phone in the car, but you’ll want to take photos of all the memories you’ll make at these charming places.
Every farm on this list is within an hour of downtown Austin. Pick some good tunes for the drive and you’ll be there in no time. And remember, all farms are seasonal. So check their websites for hours before you make the trek.
Barton Hill Farms
Sure, you could pick up strawberries or a Halloween pumpkin at the grocery store. But it’s so much more fun to go pick your own out on a farm, isn’t it? Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop sits right on the banks of the Colorado River, making it one of the prettiest farms in the area.
There are two major seasons out on this farm. In the spring, you can pick ripe strawberries or bright zinnias right from the fields. And in the fall, you and the fam can pick your own pumpkins to take home, and explore their giant corn maze. Themes change from year to year, but previous mazes have included Lonesome Dove and Wizard of Oz.
There are tons of activities for the kids here, plus beer and wine for the grown-ups. And it’s only about a 30-minute drive from downtown Austin.
Where: 1115 FM 969, Bastrop, TX 78602
Phone (855) 969-1115
Clark Griswald tramped out to the middle of nowhere and ripped a tree out of the ground to bring home to his old fashioned family Christmas. Instead of doing that, you can choose and cut down your own tree at Evergreen Farms in Elgin.
During their Winter Weekends, you and the family can roast marshmallows around the campfire and paint pinecones. Go for a walk on the nature trail, pet the farm animals, and hit up the concession stand for hot chocolate and sausage wraps.
In the fall, you can ride the wagon out into the tree fields to hunt for mini pumpkins before decorating them back at the pavilion. Plus they have activities like a zip line, pumpkin races, train ride, bounce house, and more. There’s a ton to do out here, and it’s a great way to get out of the house during the mild Texas falls.
Where: 242 Monkey Road, Elgin, TX 78621
Phone: (512) 281-4833
Boggy Creek Farm
Boggy Creek Farm is located right here in Austin. After 30 years of experimentation and effort, Boggy Creek has become a sustainable, no-till farm that provides fresh produce to some of Austin’s best restaurants, like Wink, Texas French Bread, Barley Swine, Olamaie. The on-site farm stand offers freshly harvested produce, locally sourced meats, cheeses & more.
A visit to Boggy Creek will be a crash course in farm life, regenerative, sustainable agriculture & and Texas History. During a tour of the farm, kids (and adults) can learn about photosynthesis, composting, pests and pollinators. They also get the chance to feed the hens while learning fun chicken facts. Guided farm tours require a minimum of 10 people, so get some friends together and bring the family.
Adults can take a guided tour of the historic farmhouse on the property as well. Completed in 1841, this is one of the two oldest homes in Austin that still stands; President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, dined here at a wedding supper in 1841. The farmhouse is the home of the farm’s owners, so tours are limited!
Where: 3414 Lyons Road, Austin, TX 78702
Phone: (512) 636-7751
Sweet Eats Fruit Farm
Fredericksburg gets all the love around here when we think of Texas peaches. But it turns out we have a great peach farm even closer. Sweet Eats Fruit Farm in Georgetown grows peaches, nectarines, pears, blackberries and strawberries on their 80-acre farm.
In addition to picking seasonal fruit, kids can go on pony rides, bounce on the jump pad, play tons of games, and traverse the obstacle course. There’s also a petting zoo with goats, bunnies pigs, and alpaca. And in the fall, there’s a corn maze and pumpkin patch, plus an apple slingshot and pumpkin launcher.
Sweet Eats is open most weekends, plus Wednesday through Friday during their fall festival.
Where: 14400 East State Highway 29, Georgetown, TX 78626
Phone: (512) 766-3276
Crowe’s Nest Farm
About 30 minutes from downtown Austin in Manor is a rescue farm with one of the most interesting assortments of animals you’ll find anywhere. Where else can you find hawks, owls, llamas, miniature horses, peacocks, ostriches, emus, a bobcat, tortoises, and over 100 prairie dogs all in the same place?
Crowe’s Nest Farm is only open to the general public during their Saturday Fall Festivals in October. Activities include cow milking demonstrations, raptor shows (the bird, not the dinosaur), snake shows, live music, and local vendors with hand-crafted goodies, honey, jam, and bread.
During the rest of the year, visits must be scheduled ahead of time. Your family can join a field trip day during the week, or your group of 20 or more can book a tour on the weekend. The tour will start with live reptiles, amphibians, & insects in the Big Red Barn. Then there’s a hayride where you’ll see American bison and ostriches. After that, you’ll be free to explore the grounds and wandering the gardens.
Where: 10300 Taylor Lane, Manor, TX 78653
Phone: (512) 272-4418
Sweet Berry Farm
Technically, Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls is only an hour away from downtown. Unlike all the other farms on this list, entry is completely free. You only pay for fruit and the activities you want to do.
In the spring, the main attractions here are the berries that you can pick to take home. You can also pet the farm animals, make a sand art necklace, or paint a pot. In the fall, get lost in the corn maze, stuff a scarecrow, or go for a hayride.
One of the great things about Sweet Berry Farm is Farmer Dan’s regular updates about strawberry availability and farm conditions. He posts a journal entry nearly every day during the season, providing info about frost, mud, and berry ripeness. So you’ll know what the status of the farm is before you make the drive.
Where: 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls, TX 78654
Phone: (830) 798-1462