My family and I love to travel, and we take all kinds of trips: domestic, international, road trips, camping, you name it.
This period of social distancing has been tough for us in that respect. While we fully understand the need to stay a little distant from others right now, it’s been disappointing to have to cancel trip after trip and plan after plan. So I was pretty excited when a bit of late-night Googling led me to a new site: Yonder.
The premise of Yonder is pretty straightforward: The site connects travelers with people who own properties that are steeped in nature.
You can search by keyword (anything from “pet-friendly” to “tree house” to “animals” will work) and by city and state, and the site will bring up countless options for you to choose from.
I quickly realized that Yonder might be the key to my family’s perfect summer getaway. We’re already big fans of nature, and I love that a site exists that takes out half of the searching I usually have to do myself. I wanted to know a little more, so I reached out to the Yonder team. It turns out Yonder has a ton to offer everyone.
Tim Southwell and Freyr Thor founded Yonder in 2018, hoping to “connect people to the healing powers of the natural world, and in turn, inspire them to actively protect our planet.” Yonder has a website and an app that visitors can use to “book a variety of overnight stays and activities.”
Those stays can be at a ton of different places. Yonder has farms, ranches, vineyards, and more nature-immersive properties available.
At first glance, so many of the properties seemed a little … polished to me. So I asked the team how many of the properties are family-friendly. I don’t know about you guys, but when my 11-year-old is in nature, he goes kind of hard. I wanted to make sure that the site would really be helpful for my family and families like us. It turns out that 70% of the options on Yonder cater to families — that’s pretty amazing.
We live in the Southern US and are big fans of being near water: oceans, rivers, streams, you name it! So for my first search, I wanted to see what family-friendly properties might be near us here in Tennessee. I was immediately hooked on the first property that I found and started to explore more.
If you’ve ever used any other vacation rental sites, Yonder works more or less in the same way. Each listing has several photos (and they’re all pretty high quality) and details.
As I started going through the photos, I realized that the site just made me feel good — even just looking at photos of these nature-rich properties made me happy. It’s also easy to tell that the team at Yonder has put a lot of thought into the properties that they share.
It turns out this is by design; each of the properties on Yonder are “carefully selected and vetted for exceptional hospitality, natural surroundings, and activities.”
Yonder has also made a point to emphasize the experience that a family or traveler will have while at one of its properties — it’s not just about what it costs and where it is. Yonder highlights what the owners of the properties, or stewards, believe as well and how their personal philosophies about a nature-rich life are incorporated into the each stay.
In fact, Yonder takes its relationship with nature so seriously that the organization recently became a public benefit corporation. This means that the site places equal weight on “creating both profit and positive societal and environmental impact.” The hope is that by providing access to beautiful, nature-rich locations, Yonder will inspire visitors to help protect the planet.
Yonder is also tremendously helpful right now, as many families are looking for ways to still have a summer vacation without putting their health at risk. Yonder offers trips and properties that are “nature-based, often off-the-beaten-path, and full of lessons about how to rebalance our lives,” which definitely sounds pretty ideal these days.