Get your hands dirty at a working desert farm in Lucerne Valley--you can bring the kids, too.
Drive two hours east of Los Angeles, past San Bernadino and its mountains, until the suburbs thin out to wide-open land on the fringes of the Mojave Desert. Welcome to Lucerne Valley, where horse ranches, rock formations, and two dry lakes make for strikingly beautiful scenery.
Barnyard buddies and city slickers alike will want to flock to the Flip Flop Ranch, a working 40-acre farm filled with furry friends and yummy breakfasts in the heart of Lucerne Valley. Stay in one of the colorful guest rooms in the bright and airy guesthouse, and experience country life at its best--more than your average farm, the Flip Flop is home to several endangered breeds of livestock and domestic animals. Each morning, you'll wake to a hearty, home-cooked breakfast that includes farm-fresh eggs and pancakes (gluten-free options are also available).
Feel free to roll up your sleeves and get grit under your nails alongside a family of good-natured farmers, learning as you go. Guests pitch in around the property, helping to feed the livestock, collect chicken eggs, and milk the goats. You can bring an apple or carrot to share with the horses, pet a sheep, or take a gander at the gaggle of endangered Cotton Patch geese--the ranch has the largest flock in the world--to learn more about the farm's conservation efforts.
Or, just kick back and enjoy the simple, unhurried atmosphere; you can spend time holding baby goats or napping in the afternoon. At the end of the day, a sky full of stars and roasted marshmallows around the fire will be your sweet rewards.
Check out Flip Flop Ranch on YouTube.