Go Camping On These 5 Maryland Farms
Farmers are seeking other sources of income through agritourism, more specifically camping accommodations. Maryland farmers are offering their land, sharing resources, and teaching others about eco-friendly practices utilizing an online platform similar to Airbnb, Hipcamp.
Each farmland is unique in its landscape, functionality, and guest amenities. Yet all the farm hosts seem to share the philosophy that Hipcamp brings to the forefront. “At Hipcamp, our mission is to get more people outside and to inspire the next generation of people who are passionate about exploring AND protecting our lands.”
Camping on Maryland farms
The following are just a handful of Maryland farms that joined with the online company. They each offer varying camping accommodations, including site set-up, services, and outdoor activities. Each has experienced positive feedback from campers all across the nation and across the globe.
1. Hawkwood Farm Camping
Hawkwood Farm is a 90-acre farm with a small orchard and vineyard. The owners, Erin and Angela Aylor, have set up two campsites. The Meadowland campsite features an open field with an unobstructed view of the sky, and the Rainbow’s End site sits close by a stream.
“People have come from near and far to stay on our property,” Angela said. “We have had people stay for as little as one night, and up to two weeks.”
With a steady stream of campers, the Aylors have profited with little effort on their part. “We’ve generated more income through Hipcamp than we ever did making hay in the field,” Angela said.
2. Empty Cupboard Farm
Peggy Dean was a bit hesitant to jump on the Hipcamp bandwagon initially. “I was reluctant to try it, but have subsequently found it rewarding to know I am sharing our little valley with others that see and reap pleasure from its nature as do I,” she said.
“What I thought might be little pocket change with little effort has become more than that for me — it has been a fresh and broad connection to the outside world during this time of concern and restrictions.”
Dean is a third-generation owner of Empty Cupboard Farm. Since 1918, it has served as a dairy farm, a beef cattle operation, and is now mostly in corn and soybeans. Currently, it is in preservation with three conservation programs, and Dean has upcoming plans for a lowlands renewal project.
Due to county regulations, Dean hosts one camping group at a time. She offers dry camping options for her guest, meaning that unless you own a self-contained RV, you won’t have access to a toilet. (Hosts are required to provide a toilet on smaller properties, less than 20 acres.)
Campers have the pick of the litter when it comes to campsites on Dean’s farm. “Over these few months, campers have selected a variety of sites in our 8 acres of valley yard — behind the barn, by the locust tree, near the pond, near the fire pit,” Dean said. “Some have fished in the pond, some have hiked, biked in the woods. Most like sitting by a campfire in the evening. All have wanted a tour of our 1886 barn.”
3. Willet Family Farm Camping
“In 2006, the farm had to be sold outside of the family, but to honor past generations and preserve the heritage of what the farm stood for — faith, family and hard work — I purchased the farm back in 2017,” Jeremy Willet of the Willet Family Farm said. “The 13-acre farm is perfectly located in the middle of over 200 acres of farmland owned by my parents and cousins.”
Willet has hosted over 200 campers. The farm has undergone several projects to not only improve areas of the land but also enhance camper experiences. The Willets offer pay-what-you-can with farm goods like produce and eggs, have restored streams and ponds, built hiking trails, and set up areas for camping and special events.
The Willet family is helping to pave the way for other farm owners to participate in agritourism opportunities as well by working with their county to have zoning codes changed. “The outdoor spaces for campers, the revenue stream for farm owners, and the local economic benefits from tourists for the local community creates a win-win-win situation,” Willet said.
4. Wildom Farm
Julie Friend raises pigs, chickens, turkeys, and some produce on her 154-acre farm. “Our campers can access the entire farm during their stay and take guided farm tours that are available by request.”
On top of this, Wildom Farm is located just minutes from a major lake and resort offering an abundance of outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, kayaking, and boating.
Regarding her three campsites, Friend explained,
“The sites are located in a private setting, away from most of the farm activity, beside a lovely creek. It’s a pretty simple set-up, the sites consist of a semi-cleared spot and a fire ring. We also provide campers with disposal bins for compost, recycling and landfill waste. We have an outhouse with a compost toilet that is shared between all three sites.
Near the barn, campers can access potable water. Campers bring their own tents. We always greet the campers upon arrival, give them a little rundown of our operation, the property lines, what we sell, what’s nearby, and then escort them down to the campsites.”
She also added, “I’m surprised, in a good way, by the amount of people who come from cities with young kids to get them out in nature exploring. It’s so awesome to see their family trips to our farm, watch them interact with the animals, hear the questions they ask on tours, and really just witness them connect with the land and their food in a way they have never had the opportunity to before.”
5. Button Farm Camping
The Button Farm is a small property that has two campsites. They have been Hipcamp hosts for three years.
Although their first couple of years were slow-going, farmer Steve Gillick said that this year saw a significant uptick in bookings.
“When local COVID restrictions were lifted for camping this year, we weren’t sure if we would get visitors, but bookings have gone through the roof. People are seeking places to get away yet remain safe during the pandemic.”
What is it like to camp on a farm?
Check out the video below. Farm hosts talk about their positive experiences with campers.
Hipcamp offers glamping accommodations all over the nation in tents, RVs, cabins, and treehouses. Campers can choose to stay on private lands, like the farms detailed in this article, or camp on public land.
If you like these Maryland farms, check out these other great camping destinations: