This study explores the importance of different motivations to visit three types of recreational settings-farms, private forests, and state or national parks. Data were collected via a mail-back questionnaire administered to a stratified random sample of households in Missouri (USA). Descriptive and inferential statistics reveal both similarities and discontinuities in motivations for visiting farms, private forests, and state or national parks for recreation. Being with family, viewing natural scenery, and enjoying the smells and sounds of nature were all highly important motivations for visiting the three types of settings. However, all 15 motivations examined were perceived to be significantly more important for visits to state or national parks than to farms or private forests. Findings suggest that individuals are more strongly motivated to recreate at state and national parks relative to farmlands or forests. Post hoc paired t tests comparing motivations between both agricultural settings (farms and private forests) revealed significant differences in eight different recreational motivations. Individuals tended to place more importance on the ability to use equipment and test their skills when considering recreating on private forests. Conversely, social motivations (e.g., doing something with the family) were more important when individuals were considering recreating on farmland. Collectively, the findings suggest individuals expect distinctly different outcomes from their visits to farmlands, private forests, or state or national parks. Consequently, all three types of recreational settings have competitive advantages that their managers could capitalize on when making decisions about how to attract new visitors or produce the most desirable experiences for current recreationists. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media.