If you haven’t experienced the wonder of a dude ranch vacation, you definitely need to get it on your family vacation bucket list. Where else can the kids spend the day learning horsemanship while you enjoy some relaxation at the spa? It’s the perfect balance of rustic and luxury, with many providing all your meals along with activities during your stay.
Some of our top spots
Greenhorn Ranch | Quincy, CA
Just north of Tahoe, you’ll find the gorgeous, off-the-beaten-path area of the Lost Sierras. Here you can really get away from it all and spend some time with your family among massive trees and native animals. Your stay at Greenhorn Ranch includes all your meals from taco night to the Saturday Night BBQ. If you are there on a night of their cookout, you can choose to take a trail or wagon ride to and from your meal.
What to do: At Greenhorn Ranch, cowboy culture takes center stage with horseback riding being one of the main activities on the Ranch. Adirondack chairs and hammocks dot the property and are the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon. One of the biggest draws for kids is the pond that’s just outside the saloon. Here little anglers can borrow a fishing rod and some worms to cast into the pond.
Read more: tinybeans.com
Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch | Stanley, ID
Mountains, streams, lakes and some of the nation’s most glorious scenery can be found at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch. Perfect for multi-generational family gatherings, the 900-acre ranch offers the opportunity to slow down, sit by the fire and play a game of cards with the Sawtooth Mountains in the distance.
What to do: The Ranch offers mountain bikes to borrow including a handful of kid-sized rides. There are loads of trails for hiking and a pond on the property where you can fly fish (catch and release only), try out stand-up paddle boarding or head out to see if you spot the resident beaver while on the pedalboat. You’ll find a number of guided activities for guests including hiking, fly fishing clinics and yoga. You can also book a massage appointment.
We definitely recommend booking a half-day horseback ride with Pioneer Outfitters while at the Ranch. Their stables are located just across the street from the Ranch and their knowledgeable guides will take you on the trails so that you can get a bird’s-eye view of the valley. There’s nothing like seeing this gorgeous area on the back of a horse!
Read more: tinybeans.com
Tanque Verde Guest Ranch | Tucson, AZ
One of the most distinctive resorts in Tucson, Tanque Verde has been welcoming families with scenic desert and mountain views for years. Guests can experience its varied history with miles of exciting horse trails, four tennis courts and a bright swimming pool that sparkles in the Arizona sun. Visit with the property’s 150 horses and enjoy southwestern cuisine and happy hour at the Dog House Saloon.
What to do: Breakfast rides, cowboy cookouts and all the relaxation you need are central to a stay at Tanque Verde. Mountain biking, fishing, guided hikes, yoga and wellness activities, arts and crafts, tennis, and more are also available. Guest can take advantage of the robust kids’ program that includes a full day of activities including riding lessons, pool time, tie-dye and all the cactus crafts you can imagine. Enjoy some relaxation time at the La Sonora Spa while the kids are taken care of (they won’t even miss you!).
Read more: tanqueverderanch.com
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo | River Ranch, FL
You’ll love your visit to this Florida property that recently unveiled new sleeping accommodations that kids will love—Conestoga wagons and glamping tents. These premium offerings are the latest addition to the unique lodging experiences available at this secluded luxury glamping resort, located one hour south of Orlando and two hours north of Palm Beach County, Florida.
What to do: The Ranch, which lies on 1,700 acres overlooking the scenic Kissimmee River, features horseback riding, an award-winning Saturday night rodeo and much more.
Read more: westgateresorts.com
Alisal Guest Ranch | Solvang, CA
Alisal Ranch is an old cowboy ranch—a working one that dates back to 1843—and it has been welcoming guests since the 1950s. One of our favorite things about Alisal is what a great job they’ve done combining the fun activities of a ranch with the pampering of a resort. The ranch feels low-key and welcoming to the whole family (where many resorts often leave you feeling like they wish you’d left the kids at home), but never skimps on the creature comforts.
What to do: Whether you want to spend the weekend riding the range (or taking your first horseback lesson), eating at a campfire, catching fish, being pampered at the spa, listening to the roosters crow, reading a book by the pool, gathering eggs, playing an 18 hole private golf course, tasting local wines or hiking, you’ll all find the perfect activities.
Read more: tinybeans.com