North Carolina farms, wineries become hotspots for RV camps as agritourism grows during COVID-19 pandemic

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- As many look for activities to do while social distancing, the agritourism industry is booming across the nation as farms, ranchers, and wineries turn their land into a destination.

In North Carolina, part of the agritourism growth is in part due to the growing popularity of RV camping off the beaten path.

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One way campers are exploring new agritourism destinations is through a membership business, Harvest Hosts.

Members join Harvest Hosts and have access to more than 1,000 locations across the nation where they can stay for free in a self-containing RV.

In the Raleigh area, there are three Hosts within about 30 miles of the city including Fair Game Beverage Company in Pittsboro, Carden Farms in Franklinton and Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level.

Hinnant Family Vineyards has been a part of Harvest Hosts for a few years, however, Wine Club Director April Morgan said the Harvest Hosts business on their property has seen a big uptick since the pandemic hit.

"I want to say probably about the first of the year actually, we've had at least one every night," Morgan said. "But, then it started to happen two and three calls to stay overnight," she added.

While Hinnant Family Vineyards is open for walk-in tastings and tours outside of grape harvesting season. Morgan said the new customers discovering their properties through programs like Harvest Hosts is a welcome uptick amid all the uncertainty the pandemic brings for businesses.
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