Ranch Activities - So Much to Do, So Little Time

A Western ranch vacation is your one stop shop for a vacation where you and your travel companions (young or old) can safely scatter into the mountains on your adventure of choice. Horseback riding, hiking, fishing, etc. And by "etc." we mean there are so many ranch activities you will be hard pressed to get all the exploring and experiencing done in just one week. While you’re there you'll get into the rhythm of the western way of life specific to each family operation.  You’ll certainly get to "get Local” at these ranches. But, it's not roughing it like you might imagine. It's living it. It's an experience that is high class, polished and refined. There is so much to do in a week that every minute will seem important to get the most of the experience. Time flows from one adventure to the next, with only as much, or as little... Read More

Surprising Places You’ll Find Dude Ranches

Do you think a dude ranch vacation is limited to cowboy country? Think again! Although most people associate dude ranches with Colorado and Wyoming, some of the best dude ranches for families are located in some surprising places! Read on to learn about ranch adventures in some surprising places – and how your family can enjoy a dude ranch experience, no matter where you are! Some of the best dude ranch experiences come in unexpected places. Try some out-of-the-way ranches for an excellent adventure of your very own! Photo courtesy of The Dude Ranchers Association.   Blame Hollywood. Thanks to the cowboy westerns we’ve seen on the big screen, many of us think that dude ranches are strictly found in states like Wyoming and Colorado. Of course, those states do boast some great ranches, but why limit yourself? You can find some of the best dude ranches for families almost anywhere in the... Read More

6 Things to Know Before Booking a Dude Ranch Stay

A common misconception when it comes to a dude ranch vacation is that it is a working vacation, as in you are paying to work as a ranch hand. Not so, my friends. In fact, a dude ranch vacation is one of the most relaxing vacations you can take. Take it from me and my family -- who now have experienced three dude ranch vacations -- and look forward to our next!  Your dude ranch stay will move at a pace that best suits the guest, and in this fast-paced world, it is  a gift to be able to take advantage of such a schedule.   You won’t be roughing it….unless you really want to.     Take a look at one of the cabin’s at Rawah Guest Ranch Photo Credit: Allison Taylor   With three dude ranch vacations under our belts, I can safely say that my family’s experiences were the farthest thing from being... Read More

Can You Have a Luxury Dude Ranch Vacation? Yes!

Dude ranch vacations don't typically conjure up visions of luxury. Instead, images of horses, log cabins, bunk beds, and cowboys come to mind. But, with the new crop of dude ranches, all that has changed. Many now offer first class accommodations and food and make getting there half the fun. It is all about picking the right one for you. When you put luxury and dude ranch together consider location, accommodations, dining, and activities, and the choice should be easy!     My family loves being in the outdoors on vacation, but we also love to be pampered, fed well, and have nice thread count sheets to jump into at the end of the day. Little did we think we could find all that at a dude ranch, but we did and on more than one occasion. The luxury came in not only through the experience at the dude ranch, but in the... Read More

Favorite Dude Ranch Desserts (With Recipes)

  Favorite Dude Ranch Desserts   Move over campfire s'mores and simple scout camp recipes that your grandparents taught you, these promising dude ranch dessert recipes are sure to knock your socks off! We have compiled a list of dude ranch dessert favorites from four dude ranches across the United States and can't wait to see which one you like best   The tradition of great cowboy cooking and how ranchers continue that tradition at dude ranch vacations is one of the big draws for visiting these majestic destinations across the country. The real pleasure lies in tasting - and making -- these delicious dude ranch dessert recipes. Medicine Bow Mud Pie from Medicine Bow Lodge Relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with loved ones at the Medicine Bow Lodge. 22 miles from Saratoga, Wyoming, in the Medicine Bow National Forest, sits this 100-year-old Ranch. The Medicine Bow Lodge is rustic with a touch of elegance. Activities at this all... Read More

What to Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation

A dude ranch vacation is such a fun experience for the entire family. Memories will be made under the stars, around campfires, and while engaging in various outdoor activities. Connect with nature on a whole new level. Plan to go horseback riding at sunset, or enjoy fly fishing for an afternoon. There are so many ways in which a ranch vacation can bring families together and give everyone a much-needed break. As you plan this trip you might find yourself with a list of questions. One of those might be about packing. Cowboy boots and hats are part of the dude ranch experience; however, there are other things you should remember to bring. Depending on the various activities you want to try, we have recommendations on what you should be packing in your suitcase.   Whether you're flying or driving, pack all of the essentials for your dude ranch adventure! Photo Credit: Sherry... Read More

How to Choose the Right Dude Ranch for Your Family Vacation

Dude ranch vacations began way back in the late 1800s, giving city slickers an opportunity to be a real cowboy and experience the Old West. Today, this American tourist attraction is still as popular as ever, especially for family vacations. With settings that encourage families to kick up their heels or kick-back, dude ranches are scattered throughout the West (and even in Canada!) and come in all shapes and sizes. Yet dude ranches are not all created equal. So how do you know which dude ranch is right for your family vacation?  Looking to get away from it all and take on a new adventure? Wanting to reclaim family time and unplug? Discover the perfect all-inclusive family vacation at a dude ranch. What, you say, a dude ranch? I get it. Even though I live in Colorado near all those wide open spaces and grew up on an Iowa farm, I hesitated... Read More

6 Things I Learned on My First Dude Ranch Vacation

My first dude ranch experience has me wanting to get back in the saddle again. But since my buckaroos are busy with school, I’ll have to instead wrangle up my memories of our trip. I came in as a novice but am now a ranch hand after our first dude ranch vacation. Here are 6 things I wish I knew before we said “giddy up” on our dude ranch vacation.  Saddle up for one heckuva vacation at a dude ranch. Photo by Sherry Boswell.   This summer, I had my first dude ranch vacation, and it won’t be my last. From outdoor excursions to horseback adventures, the fun quotient at a dude ranch is through the roof! What drew me to a dude ranch vacation in the first place was its complete immersion in nature and that it would be unlike any other trip our family has done. Boy, was I right on... Read More

Best Things to Do at a Dude Ranch When You Aren't Horseback Riding

Dude Ranches are a super family vacation destination. But what if one of your family members is just not that into horses? Relax. In addition to trail rides, dude ranches offer a wide range of appealing activities. Give archery a try or perhaps take a cooking class. Maybe you just want to curl up with a good book before a nap. Optimism TravelingMom Cathy Bennett Kopf shares some of the activities available at a dude ranch that don't involve a horse.     Flyfishing is an activity offered at many dude ranches, such as Rawah Ranch in Colorado. Photo: Allison Bean Taylor/Family Vacations US.com   What if my knee flares up? Booking a dude ranch vacation for my family is something I plan to do. In fact, we schedule biennial reunions for 20 of us and, on our last trip, we all voted for one that involves horseback riding. I voted “yes’ reluctantly. For the past few years,... Read More