Category: Family Vacations

13 Best Dude Ranches for Families

 
The ultimate family vacation has grown exponentially in terms of options and accommodations — and dude ranch vacations are no exception. In fact, there are very few resorts that emulate the offerings of the dude ranch community. “Activity options have skyrocketed. From ropes courses and ziplines to rock climbing, cooking classes, and more, some dude ranches now have more than 100 activities,” says Colleen Hudson, Executive Director of The Dude Ranchers’ Association. The diversity and abundance of activities for families, along with stunning resort locations near national parks and public lands, solidify the Western dude ranch as one of the best family vacation experiences on the planet. These are the best of the best. 13 Best Dude Ranches for Families    1. The Home Ranch – Clark, CO Best For: Cuisine and Cooking The Home Ranch does many things exceptionally well, including innovative cuisine and cocktails, luxury accommodations and extraordinary programming. Nestled in Clark, Colorado, a... Read More

10 Great Dude Ranch Vacations for Families

 
From the littlest to the biggest kid, everyone will get a chance to play. The Dude Ranchers’ Association has only the best of ranch experiences offering phenomenal kids programs, healthy food, horseback riding and more outdoor adventures than you can imagine. Here are 10 of North America’s best family ranch vacations on dude and guest ranches. Each has its own unique style and offerings allowing you to pick the right ranch for your family vacation. All are family friendly ranches and have a full schedule of activities for your family.   Wyoming Family Ranch Vacations The Red Rock Ranch, Kelly, Wyoming Dates Open: June through September The Red Rock Ranch is a family owned authentic western dude ranch with polished amenities. Children will love the freedom of just being kids in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. There is no TV or video games, but they will be busy with horseback riding, caring for... 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

5 Reasons a Ranch Vacation Is Better Than Disney

 
There’s no denying that a Disney vacation is at the top of most children’s list of travel wishes. Unfortunately for parents, a Disney vacation often means long lines, overcrowded parks and high expenses, all without much time for genuine family bonding. While amusement and theme parks are an easy, go-to solution for family vacations, there are other magical travel options that can offer exposure to new activities, interaction with nature, and discovery of culture and history outside of most families’ normal comfort zones. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a dude or guest ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Dude ranches give families the opportunity to challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in some of the most breathtaking areas in the U.S., with a myriad of outdoor adventures such as rock climbing,... Read More

Kids and Cattle Drives on a Family Vacation

 
Take your family this summer to experience a ranch vacation and maybe a cattle drive (or 2).  On this vacation you will develop a deeper appreciation for cattle and cowboys.  Your question might be "Can I take my children on a cattle drive too?" The answer to that question is a very big yes, yes you can. Adults are not the only ones able to go on such adventures, your kids can too. The DRA accredited ranches below will get your kids and cattle drives together for a unique ranch vacation. Take a look at the different ages, riding abilities and type of activities to pick out the one that's right for your family's next vacation.   Ages 8 & Up   Intermediate Riders ages 8 & up are invited to the Bonanza Creek Ranch to hone in on their western horseback riding skills at this working cattle ranch. With the ability to canter... Read More

Pass the #TravelSauce While Vacation Planning During the Holidays

 
Take the time this holiday season – when bellies are full, spirits are high and good will is in abundance – to sit with family and pass the #travelsauce, by planning next year’s perfect family vacation to a dude ranch. This Thanksgiving and through Christmas is the designated time every year for family's to come together and share not only a meal, but also experiences from the past year and hopes for the year to come. Take this opportunity and seize the moment to plan your family's next Western adventure vacation at a dude ranch. Here's the perfect way to "pitch" a week at a ranch to the family: There's plenty of room Whether your are traveling with your nuclear family of kids and parents or as an extended family reunion a dude ranch is set up to accommodate families of upwards of 200 people. Reservation specialists can help you book... Read More

From Babies to Teens - Bring Your Children to the Ranch

 
Traveling is one of many wonderful things a parent can do for a child's education and early experiences. Many families may be come dismayed while searching for a destination to take their young ones. That being said, here is a great solution for families with babies as new as one month can find suitable - or rather an amazing - ranch vacation. The Wind River and Tumbling River Ranches are just those type of spots. Although you may be looking for a baby friendly place the fun doesn't stop there. Nope, it continues on to great times for small children through the teenage years and settles in with activities for parents and grand parents alike. These are adventure ranch destinations with amazing experiences for all ages. Bring your children of all ages Wind River Ranch, takes care of your entire family’s needs and desires seriously. They know that kids and teens need... Read More

Dude Ranches Guarantee an Unforgettable Family Vacation Experience

 
California in particular is known for its beauty and geographical diversity. In the mountains of remote northern California, the weather boasts a balanced diet of four complete seasons. The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) can help you plan the perfect family vacation to one of its 100+ accredited guest ranches. The term ‘dude ranch’ typically brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, a la the popular 1991 comedy, “City Slickers.” While dude ranches still evoke those same memories and are rooted in American tradition, they are much, much more. There is a broad spectrum of guest ranches across North America, ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches. From valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest, you can find DRA-accredited ranches throughout the Western U.S. in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as... Read More

Family Bonding – Dude Ranch Style

 
There is much to be said about children getting too much screen time in today’s tech-saturated world. But look around most playgrounds and you will see that parents are just as guilty. Too often, we’re reaching for our phones rather than focusing on what’s truly important – strengthening family bonds and making memories that will carry us well into the future. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family sans technology, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Try a warm family getaway that breaks the spring break cliché of crowds and beaches or, a special trip designed to include the extended family. Dude ranches can accommodate and entertain family members of all ages. This vacation promising a one-of-a-kind vacation with opportunities for the young and young at heart, and everyone in between. Families can challenge and... Read More

So Many Things to Do

 
“I had no idea there would be so many things to do ” or “There just isn’t enough time to do everything” are two common comments heard on dude ranches throughout the West. Most folks think of horses when they think of a dude ranch which is natural since horses are the primary focus. What many people don’t realize is that ranches offer a wide variety of activities for those who want more than riding. Hike to the summit at Hawley Mountain Ranch Like hiking, for instance? Ranches are usually located in the most beautiful, natural areas of the western states and typically offer fantastic hiking opportunities in the adjacent national parks, forests or other public lands. Experience gorgeous arrays of brilliant wildflowers, the fragrance of a pine forest, or the excitement of sighting an undisturbed elk or mule deer in a misty mountain meadow as you tread where few others have... Read More

5 Extraordinary Dude Ranches for Families

 
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... Read More

There's a Dude Ranch for Everyone

 
Enjoy a taste of the authentic American West where horses, hats, history and hospitality abound. With over 100 carefully chosen member ranches, the Dude Ranchers' Association (DRA) has one to match your dream vacation – perfectly, all while protecting lands, parks, forests and wildlife. Our Dude, Resort and Working Ranches are in the most picturesque regions of the USA and Canada near historic sites and national parks for a photographer’s heyday! Each has its own unique history, incredible horseback riding tailored to the rider’s age and ability, and exciting outdoor adventures like white water rafting, paradise fishing on scenic rivers, fun hay rides, hikes, golfing. Blue skies, starry nights and the sounds of silence are also included in your dude ranch vacation. Lounge in a hammock until the dinner bell rings and then breathe pure clean air as you rediscover the brightest shining stars peeking out from Heaven. Want to... Read More

Splash into Summer with a Dude Ranch for Teenagers

 
When the kids are little you try to make sure the parents have their space, but as teenagers, they would like some activities geared towards them. Plan a dude ranch vacation next summer where everyone has an equally great time. Each family member, regardless of age can experience a little bit of freedom and a chance to do something unique at the ranch. There is plenty of flexibility at a dude ranch to appreciate things individually, as a family or with new friends you meet along your stay. As an all - inclusive destination you might find yourself doing any number of outdoorsy activities, horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting, zip lining, fishing, etc. There are so many things to do! Careful, time flies when you are having fun, so be sure to book your stay long enough to enjoy everything! Swim Your Horse Sweet Grass Ranch, Big Timber, Montana... Read More

A New Twist on an Old Trend Seen By Dude Ranch Owners

 
“Same time, same place next year,” is a promise often heard on the trail and around the campfire of a dude ranch.   The remote, peaceful setting lends itself to easy camaraderie, so it’s not uncommon for lifetime friendships to develop during a ranch vacation.   Statistics bear out this phenomenon with dude ranch owners reporting more than a third of all reservations each season made by repeat visitors. Colleen Hodson reports a similar yet different pattern among the daily inquiries she receives at the headquarters of the Dude Rancher’s Association in Cody, Wyoming. Hodson, Executive Director of the DRA, as it’s known, says she’s starting to hear from folks she refers to, (tongue in cheek,) as “ranch junkies.”   These are travelers loyal to the Western ranch destination but preferring to explore a different DRA ranch each trip. The traditional pleasures of Western living - riding, hiking, camping and fishing are still the... Read More

Western Adventure Vacation

 
Whether you are looking to get your family to unplug and reconnect or to challenge and revive your body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales, an all-inclusive dude ranch is the perfect vacation destination – paired with thrilling adventures, opportunities to recharge and a chance to explore the “Wild West.” Think horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart. And that’s just the beginning. As the original all-inclusive western adventure vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary and no additional costs once you arrive to your destination. Guest ranches also offer a wide variety of activities. From horseback riding and hiking, to zip lining and archery, to swimming and yoga, a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience and memories that will last a lifetime. The three most asked questions when people call the... Read More

Dude ranch makes for a blue-ribbon family roundup

 
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently wrote a wonderful article about Tumbling River Ranch.  I have included a short piece of the article along with the link. Be sure to click through to read the complete story! Article by: Tony Jones , Star Tribune Updated: October 26, 2013 - 4:07 PM You probably wouldn’t take me for a barrel racer, and surely not for a blue ribbon-winning, rodeo barrel racer. But I am, and no one can take that away from me. Many years ago, my parents took my brothers and me to a dude ranch in Montana. It was almost universally commended as our best-ever family vacation. As my mother’s 70th birthday approached, she hoped to re-create that magic as a present to herself. But 30 years later, this trip would include spouses and a new generation, her grandchildren. All told, 17 of us from three generations converged on the Tumbling River Ranch,... Read More
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