There’s one vacation category where extraordinary families can simply park the car, unpack their bags and settle in for a week of jam-packed action. It’s the Western dude ranch, a place where folks don’t have to think about what comes next because all the details are in place to let the good times roll! Sure, the horse and riding are paramount to any Western dude ranch experience. The Dude Ranchers’ Association is the first to confirm riding is at the heart of any ranch getaway. But, according to DRA Executive Director, Colleen Hodson, there are folks who wouldn’t dream of hopping on a saddle that choose a DRA Western dude ranch for active family vacations. In addition to riding or sometimes in place of riding, guests ride the rapids, paddle a canoe, play golf or tennis, hike in the wilderness, cycle the back roads and mountain trails, go caving, hot air ballooning or rock climbing. She says active parents usually participate in the same sports as their kids, and she adds, “Another beauty of multi-sporting at a dude ranch is when they want to take time for themselves, Dad can play a round of golf and Mom can relax with spa treatments.” The ranches listed below offer extraordinary opportunities for families. The information listed for each ranch is only the beginning. To find out more follow the links or give the Dude Ranchers’ Association a call at 307.587.2339.
A Bar A Ranch – Encampment, Wyoming
The ranch is a paradise for children, and our Children’s Program helps them explore it with fun and safe activities. Children ages 3 through 12 can choose to participate in the Children’s Program from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., including lunch, dinner, and snacks. Riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games are just a few of the activities offered by caring and fun children’s counselors.
CM Ranch – Dubois, Wyoming
Children of all ages are welcome at the CM. For children 5 years and older there is supervised riding with the kiddy wrangler, who makes sure they have a lot of fun while learning western riding skills. Children will experience flavorful ranch traditions and may spend an afternoon exploring nearby ancient Indian petroglyphs or visiting the local fish hatchery. Our large recreation building provides an abundance of space for crafts, games and music. The CM staff works hard to make sure everyone has the most enjoyable ranch experience possible.
Marble Mountain Ranch – Somes Bar, California
Our signature all inclusive “saddle and paddle” or raft and ride vacation joins our superb dining experience and our youth buckaroo program to create the best and most complete family dude ranch vacation. Our horseback trail riding and equestrian programs are spectacular, but our defining feature is our ability to keep whole families engaged with our variety of outdoor Western adventures. No other ranch can duplicate our all inclusive summit to sea experience with mountain trail riding, white water rafting, steelhead fly fishing, or jet boat tours to the Pacific Ocean!
Cherokee Park Ranch – Livermore, Colorado
We pride ourselves on our kids programs which are for 2-12 year old. We will keep them busy with arrow head hunting, bow and arrow shooting, boat building, critter petting, crafting, horseshoe painting, kickball playing, panning for gold, fort making, hiking, scavenger hunting, s’more making, & tee pee camp outs and of course, daily horseback rides! If you like, you may even join in on the kid’s ride! For young ones under three, we offer a unique opportunity: bring your own full-time baby-sitter, free of charge.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch – Emigrant, Montana
Why should the little ones get to have all the fun? Our energetic teen counselors are here to ensure that our guests 13 and older have the vacation experience of a lifetime! Activities include gourmet teen dinners, hilarious talent show skits, and off-site adventures like trips to Yellowstone’s “Boiling River”, rock climbing in Yankee Jim Canyon, and clay target shooting in Paradise Valley.