From an alligator ranch to a peach orchard to a citrus grove, here in Florida, you are welcome “down on the farm.” So when you are looking for something a little bit different to do, check out this list of Florida farms, ranches and groves that offer a variety of farm tours and other experiences to not only entertain but also educate you.
Here, we share a few of the places that welcome you. If you want to visit, please contact the venue before you go because details can change quickly.
Farm Tours to take in Florida
Al’s Family Farm, 2001 N. King’s Highway, Fort Pierce; 800-544-3366
Al’s is one of the few orchards operating today that grows, hand-packs and ships its own citrus. Now in its 39th year being run by the third generation of family farmers, it offers farm tours plus a chance to visit the bake shop, fudge counter and fruit store. Homemade fudge and baked goods are available, as is a taste of orange juice and fresh fruit
Other farm attractions include exploring a citrus grove; racing oranges using old-fashioned water pumps and chutes; and a visit to the O.J. Corral, where you’ll learn more about Florida citrus and the kids can play. A grove-side café in a historic red barn is an easy lunch option.
The 1½-hour farm tours are available by reservation only, at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from Jan. 3 through April 14. Closed Sundays. Call for reservations.
The VIP Tour ($8) includes a guided tour of the wet-line and packing house, plus a visit to the O.J. Corral. The Lunch Tour ($15) includes everything on the VIP Tour plus lunch at Al’s Red Barn Grill.
Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market, 10066 Lee Road, Boynton Beach; 561-733-5490
Set on 80 acres, this market with its fresh-from-the-field produce is only one reason to visit this family-owned farm. In season, there are U-pick veggies, including English peas, strawberries, peppers, sunflowers and tomatoes (check the website for availability).
Kids can enjoy panning for treasure or racing rubber duckies propelled by hand-pumped water. An audio cart tour of the farm is fun for everyone. Seasonal festivals such as a fall harvest fest also are big draws.
The market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. In season, tours run on the hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except Tuesday; they run continuously from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $4 per person, with children under 2 riding free.
Chautauqua Vineyard and Winery, 364 Hugh Adams Road, DeFuniak Springs; 850-892-5887
Since 1990, this winery has been making wines from muscadine grapes grown in Florida’s Panhandle. Stop by for a free taste and a tour to learn about wine-making. Then shop for gifts and souvenirs.
By the way, the winery gets its name from the fact that, from 1885 to 1928, the town was home to the permanent Winter Assembly of the Chautauqua Assembly. The assemblies were affiliated with the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua County, N.Y., which was started as a teaching camp for Sunday-school teachers and remains popular today as a summertime cultural mecca.
Many turn-of-the-century homes in DeFuniak Springs (and the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood) still stand around the lake that forms the center of the city.
The winery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Dakin Dairy Farms, 30771 Betts Road, Myakka City; 941-322-2802, ext. 303 (to book tour) or ext. 308 (farm store)
Learn where your milk comes from by touring this family-owned dairy farm. Dakin’s Dairy Tour (about 90 minutes) will take you in a hay-filled cart through the barns, where you’ll see cows milked and the milk bottled and packaged for delivery. The tour includes a taste of fresh milk, even the chocolate variety.
Here too you can enjoy a corn maze (if in season) and a 5-acre play area. Tour times vary, so check the online calendar before you go. There are four farm tour packages, priced from $5 to $15 per person.
Everglades Alligator Farm, 40351 SW 192nd Ave., Homestead; 305-247-2628
At the Everglades Alligator Farm, you’ll discover a lot about the Everglades and its well-known inhabitant, the alligator. Unlike most alligator farms, here they collect the eggs to sell to other alligator farms around the state.
Your trip can include an airboat tour of the surrounding River of Grass; a walking trail to see alligators, crocodiles, caimans and other wildlife; and a display of local and exotic snakes. Informational wildlife shows are presented every hour. And don’t miss the 14-foot “Grandpa” gator.
The farm is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Three Alligator Farm Shows, a self-guided tour of the farm and an airboat ride costs $27 for adults; $19.50 for children ages 4 to 11; under 4 are free. The Alligator Farm Shows, by themselves, cost $19.50 for adults; $14.50 for children. A schedule is available online.
Farm Tours of Ocala, 801 SW 60th Ave., Ocala; 352-895-9302
Horse lovers, listen up. Enjoy what is described as an “interactive experience with horses” on this tour of Ocala horse country. Your tour guide is guaranteed to be an avid horse person who will take you behind the scenes at three working horse farms or related venues where you can get up close and personal with horses and the professionals who serve them.
The three-hour tours begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders Association (at the address above), where you leave your car to board a van.
Cost is $45 per person and you must reserve your seat by visiting the online calendar.
Florida Orange Groves Winery, 1500 Pasadena Ave. S., St. Petersburg; 800-338-7923
Producing premium tropical, citrus and berry wines, this distributor/wine-maker produces 43 wine varieties from 100 percent of the juice indicated on the label. These are pure tropical-fruit wines — such as Mango Mamma, Orange Sunshine, Grapefruit and Tangerine — that can require over 9 pounds of fruit per bottle.
Winery Tours are 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon and 4 p.m. Sunday. The tasting room is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Kai-Kai Farm, 8006 SW Kanner Hwy., Indiantown; 772-597-1717
Join farmer Diane Cordeau for a one-half-mile walking tour of this 40-acre farm, on which she and her husband Carl Frost grow crops on about 7 acres. They grow vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, peppers, calabasas, Seminole pumpkins, squash and eggplants. They provide a CSA as well as vegetables to chefs. The farm features a number of green initiatives and is able to produce year-round.
The free farm tours are offered at 3:30 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month and at 10:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. It’s recommended you bring water, a hat and sunscreen and that you wear walking shoes suitable for sand.
Showcase of Citrus, 5010 U.S. 27, Clermont; 352-394-4377
This is a 2,500-acre working citrus grove and cattle ranch. In season, you can pick your own oranges, grapefruits, lemons and tangerines from the lakeside grove (go online to see what’s available).
You also can buy already picked citrus, orange blossom honey, and preserves and jams. Kids will enjoy petting animals — and catch-and-release fishing if you bring your own pole.
Or you can take a 4×4 Adventure Tour of the whole farm. You ride on a massive truck that sits 12 feet in the air to enjoy a narrated tour of the native woodlands, pastures, groves and swamp. Along the way, you may see a zebra, watusi, water buffalo, alligator, snake or exotic bird.
Showcase of Citrus is open daily year-round from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 4×4 Adventure Tour is $25 for adults; $15 for children 4 to 12; and free for kids 3 and under. Phone reservations suggested.
Southern Peach Co., 13231 State Road 674 (Ruskin-Wimauma Road), Lithia; 813-277-6028
You may have heard of Georgia peaches, but now it’s time to discover peaches grown in Florida. Plan to visit this U-pick peach orchard when the fruit ripens, usually May through June. Also, bring your wallet ’cause it’s cash only. And while you are there, refresh yourself with a free glass of peach lemonade, and then shop for peach favorites such as peach preserves, butter and salsa.
The farm may be difficult to contact out of season, but they do answer Facebook messages.
Uncle Donald’s Farm, 2713 Griffin Ave., Lady Lake; 352-753-2882
This 50-acre beef farm run by three sisters has been open to the public since the 1980s.
Here, you can ride a pony, milk a goat, pet a pig, touch a chicken (look for the one that lays green eggs) and hand-feed cattle, as well as watch for llamas and ostriches. When you tire, enjoy the lunch you brought with you in the picnic area.
Admission is $11.75 for adults; $10.75 for those 60 and over; $10 for children 3 to 12; and free for 2 years and younger. Pony rides are $4. You can feed animals with food purchased at the farm. A snack bar and gift shop also are available.