Category: Family Vacations & Reunions

Why Moms Choose a Dude Ranch for a Great Family Vacation

 
Dude ranches make an incredibly memorable and enjoyable family vacation - for moms especially. With a sense of togetherness and shared experiences moms and the whole family are sure to love their time in the great outdoors, horseback riding and participating in a limitless number of outdoor adventures, such as hiking, fishing, white water rafting, cattle work, petting zoos, zip lining and more. Whether you’re an adventure loving mom (busy body) or a relaxation loving mom (spa and hanging out by the pool type), we’ve got you covered.  It is sure to be a blast for kids of all ages and we’re sure dads will have fun too, but here are the top reasons why moms love dude ranches for a family vacation.  Paradise Guest Ranch - Buffalo, WY 3 square meals are prepared daily (even for picky eaters) Traveling moms understand the task of finding a restaurant everyone will enjoy while on... Read More

Why a Ranch Vacation is the Perfect Destination for you

 
Ideal vacations allow for a perfect blend of adventure, recreation, and rejuvenation, at the same time maintaining a level of affordability that allows you to depart without spending more than you planned. Whether you’re a solo adventurer, a family man, or a friend vacationing with friends, you aren’t alone in your search for the optimal vacation experience. With respect to your many options, there’s an often-unsung choice that exists as one of America’s premiere vacation options. High-class hotels, destination outings, and stay-in vacations all have their place, but if you haven’t yet discovered the unique relaxation style and way of life that is a traditional ranch vacation, you’re selling yourself short. Stay tuned to discover the reasons why you deserve an authentic ranch vacation, the perfect destination vacation.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rancher_and_son.jpg 1. Immersion into Local Wildlife Sure, it’s great when your hotel or vacation rental features a panoramic view of the surrounding nature. The only... Read More

A Dude Ranch Family Vacation - Fun for All Ages

 
A dude ranch is one of the best options for your next family vacation. With programs centered around horseback riding and western lifestyle activities, you’ll have more fun with your family than you ever thought possible! Parents and children will get to relax and enjoy their vacation in a way that, even though your day is full of activities and outdoor adventures, the mental exhaustion of traveling is not there. Best of all, parents are free from planning entertaining activities for the kids, the only decision making you’ll have to do will be whether to lounge by the pool, go for a horseback ride or hike up to a scenic vista for the afternoon. All the details are taken care of by your ranch hosts, such as meals, activities and housekeeping. With ranches offering family centered activities or an all-day supervised kids program, you’ll be able to find the ranch... Read More

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

 
Family Reunions at Dude Ranches Offer Fun for Everyone. There is something for everyone to enjoy at a dude ranch and the best part is DRA dude ranches are all-inclusive. Meals, lodging, horseback riding and much more are included in one rate, making it simple to plan and budget for your next family reunion. Surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, serenity comes easy to each multi-generational family. Private family time. If your family is just looking to spend time with each other where you can totally reconnect a small intimate ranch where you are the only guests might be just the ticket. Where you ride together as a family, have meals together as a family and just get to know each other again. Dude Ranches Are Fun for Kids. Most ranches have daily activities offered for kiddos 3+ and many ranches can accommodate infants as... Read More

How to Choose the Right Dude Ranch for Your Family Vacation

 
Dude ranch family 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... 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

Five Reasons to Take Your Family on a Dude Ranch Vacation

 
Everything They Want, Everything You Need! Horseback riding and high-end luxury. Cookouts and craft wine. Zip-lining and line dancing. Rodeos and rafting. On a dude ranch vacation, you can have it all… and more. Indulge in the finest cuisine, pamper your senses, or satisfy your sense of adventure. Whatever you’re seeking, you’ll find it here on a dude ranch vacation. 1. Focus on the Family Your teenager’s a thrill seeker. Your little one wants to explore. And you’re caught between craving some peace and quiet, and some quality family bonding time. Dude ranches pride themselves on their ability to provide all of it: plenty of activities for all skill levels, opportunities to get close to nature, and chances to slow down, team up, and enjoy time together as a family.     2. Delicious Food Home to cowboy barbecues, farm-to-table fresh cuisine, and elegant wine selections, dude ranches offer an impressive culinary... Read More

Ranch Vacation for your Rodeo loving, Barrel Racing Children

 
Your children have gone absolutely horse crazy and all you hear about is horseback riding camps and more riding lessons. So, how can you compromise on a family vacation and have lots of horsing around and barrel racing for your children and moderate amounts of all types of adventure recreation for the rest of your family? Well, a barrel racing ranch vacation of course! For your barrel racing enthusiasts there will be some type of barrel racing throughout the week with authentic cowgirl staff. You might have the arena set up to "turn and burn" with some ladies (and gentleman) who have competed in the barrel racing world. You might dabble in all the experiences offered on horseback - some riding at different speeds, some team penning, some specialty rides, etc. You might take a all day picnic ride with the whole family where your interests in photography will have beautiful... Read More

Secrets to the Best Family Reunion

 
Family reunion planning can be tricky. Just picking a reunion destination spot can take time. I myself come from a large family and we’re lucky to have several amazing planners who handle our family reunions. Planning can be stressful and trying to find a perfect location which everyone will enjoy is a daunting task. Working at Red Horse Mountain Ranch for over a decade, I’ve come to know many of the challenges with family reunion planning. However, it is a small price to pay for some of life’s most enduring memories. Sadly, I think ranches are not normally on a family’s radar as a destination spot. There are definitely some true advantages in picking a ranch for a family reunion. A ranch can streamline your family planning, control your budget, reconnect your family, and make sure each member has an amazing time. There are also a few ways to help... Read More

Family Travel and Dude Ranches

 
One of the most meaningful comments we’ve read about family travel and dude ranches is this: Dude ranches reconnect adults to a simple and innocent part of their childhood and introduce their children to these same experiences. At dude ranches, everyone can discover magic. Photo courtesy of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch There’s something uplifting and joyful about that. Like when parents momentarily forget themselves and regress with their kids – revisiting beloved animated cartoons from their youth, or unabashedly belting out favorite ballads from bygone (to their kids) times. Now picture horses and corrals, Stetson hats and western boots, cookouts and wide open landscapes straight out of cowboy movies and novels. Your heart goes pitter-patter, just a little bit. Or a lot. Because in today’s era of quick-paced modernization, invasive technology and growing detachment from nature (and one another), the ranch appeal is arguably more potent — for all generations — than... 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

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

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

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

Staycation in Colorado This Summer at Your Local Dude Ranch

 
Have you already explored many local Colorado locations by hiking, mountain climbing, bouldering or cycling? What about by horseback riding? Journey into the old west, to a time before chacos and mountain bikes. A time when wagon wheels and horses were your means of transportation. A dude ranch vacation is themed in Western tradition. Don't worry, they won't make you wear a dress to ride, and suspenders are optional. The only requirements are cowboy boots and a desire to explore a new piece of country by a living means of transportation (horses). The below ranches are all located within driving distance from your downtown or suburban life in Colorado, and offer a spectacular new perspective on the state you call home. Trail riding in the National Parks and National Forests of the Rocky Mountains will be just the start of your historical dude ranch adventure. Your stay will also include fine... Read More

Plan Your Dude Ranch Family Reunion

 
When asking yourself how to plan your dude ranch family reunion it may be helpful to follow this question guide. The ranches listed here are great examples of places to take your family for your next family reunion. They are all accredited members of the Dude Ranchers' Association. As such they are held to the highest industry standards and are kept accountable to provide unforgettable destination vacations. Find your ranch today. Let us help. A Sylvan Dale Ranch Reunion When would you like to go? Planning ahead is essential. We recommend that the larger size the group the farther in advance you should book your stay. Ranches fill up quick during their peak season. Are you planning a vacation during the spring time? Then you should probably start looking the summer before and asking about availability.  You can do this for multiple ranch at once using our Favorites Feature.   Where would you like to... Read More

5 Ranch Activities to Connect with Your Family

 
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 guilty too. Too often, we’re reaching for our phones rather than connect with what’s truly important – strengthening family bonds and making memories that will carry well into the future. In fact, making time for your family to connect does more than provide a fleeting moment of happiness: it can make you healthier. Studies have indicated frequent family dinners lead to higher levels of emotional well-being and satisfaction. The only requirement? Keep your phones turned off. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a dude ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to connect as a family. Families can challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in the most breathtaking areas in the U.S. Listed below are the top 5 ranch... Read More

Dude Ranch - The Cure for Nature Deficit Disorder

 
Richard Louv, child advocate and writer of the bestselling books The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods, has coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder. He explains a growing body of research indicating the lack of nature in today's online generation. This term parallels the lack of nature to the growing trends of childhood obesity, attention disorders and depression. He explains, "Direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults"(richardlouv.com). At a dude ranch your are guaranteed to get your nature fix and spend the majority of your vacation outdoors in some of the most beautiful locations West of the Mississippi. With three square meals a day planned out carefully by a professional chef, you won't have to worry about feeding your children fast food on the road. Once you know your kids are eating right, what... Read More

Dude Ranches Come With Multi-Sport Family Adventures So You Don’t Have to Create Your Own!

 
There’s a new term popping up for the action-packed modern family vacation. It’s known as the “multi-sport adventure,” and it calls for multi planning as well. Long before anyone lifts a paddle or laces-up hiking boots they must first create an itinerary calling for frequent stops, hiring a local outfitter, and arranging for suitable food and shelter along the adventure. Linking together the components of the multi-sports adventure can get complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s one vacation category where sports loving 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. All the details are in place to let the good times roll! Sure, horses and riding are paramount to any Western dude ranch experience, but in addition to riding (or sometimes... Read More

Dude Ranches for Family Vacations - Spring Break

 
Family Travel Magazine wrote a great article about Dude Ranches being a great option for Spring Break.  Enjoy the article and know that there is a ranch for every occasion! While many of our spring break picks have involved beaches and warm weather, there are lots of other spring break ideas that may work better for your family.  One of the family vacations that I’m hoping to do one year is a dude ranch family vacation.  Most of them are located in gorgeous areas of the United States, and include lots of different activities including horseback riding, fishing, whitewater rafting, yoga, and cooking classes.  Events, meals, and activities are generally included in the cost of your spring break dude ranch family vacation! If you are interested in trying out one of the more than 100 dude ranches for your family vacation, the Dude Ranchers’ Association is where you want to... Read More

Enjoy Every Opportunity for Family Fun at White Stallion Ranch

 
Michelle McCoy is a blogger for Trekaroo.  Michelle was kind enough to share her latest blog about her family's wonderful trip to White Stallion Ranch with us and I wanted to make sure to pass it on for you to enjoy as well. Going on an all-inclusive guest ranch vacation is now at the top of my family’s list of All-Time Fun Vacations! For the kids, they were absolutely thrilled to eat cookies out of the bottomless jar, drink lemonade, ride horses, swim in the pool, play air-hockey, and shoot pool in the game room all day long. For us parents, there was nothing better than feeling the freedom to enjoy all those things with our kids. There was no worry about where we were going to eat next, what we were going to do with our time, and how we would get there. I so enjoyed playing a game... Read More

High Lonesome Ranch Review - A Colorado Dude Ranch that is the West at its Best

 
Splash Magazine published a great review of The High Lonesome Ranch so I wanted to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy it! By Andrea Gross; photos by Irv Green With well over thirty dude ranches in Colorado, you wouldn’t think that there was a need for another one. But in May of 2012, High Lonesome Ranch, a luxury getaway for fly fishermen and big game hunters, began welcoming wannabe cowboys as well. The property, which is situated on the west slope of the Rockies, consists of 300 square miles of leased and permitted land. As such it is bigger than 25 of the nations 58 national parks. Paul Vahidiek Jr., a Houston attorney who began buying some of the property in 1994, is determined that this land—a mix of high mesas covered with sparse vegetation and deep valleys filled with greenery—be preserved and protected from rampant development. Opening the... Read More

Hosting Guests Helps Ranchers Endure Lean Times

 
Fount this article at Capital Press and thought you might enjoy it! By JOHN O'CONNELL Capital Press When cattle and sheep prices dipped eight years ago, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, rancher Ken Andrus and his family supplemented their income by opening their home to visitors. The customers still come from throughout the world to ride horses and experience the open space and cowboy life at the Andrus Guest Ranch. Andrus, the Republican chair of Idaho's House Agricultural Affairs Committee, enjoys the stable revenue the side business generates and the opportunity to employ his children on the ranch, which he runs with his brother. They raise 350 head of cattle and another 350 head of registered Suffolk sheep. They also offer two-hour trail rides for $50 each, a bed and breakfast for $100 per person and a six-day guest ranch experience for $800 per adult, with reduced rates for children. "Compared to the... Read More

Ride Horses Off Into the Sunset at These Great Family-Friendly Dude Ranches

 
I came across this great article from May 2010 issue of Travel & Leisure Magazine  and wanted to share it with you! From May 2010 By Lee Magill It’s a little past dawn as you and your family lead horses through a still-damp Colorado meadow, the awakening sun turning distant mountains a gorgeous shade of purple. The Continental Divide appears, and soon you arrive at a dramatic overlook, the Western wilderness stretched out before you. You dismount to find breakfast sizzling over a charcoal fire, and chow down in awestruck wonder. Riding horses at a dude ranch is one of the West’s iconic experiences, and the Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, CO, has been saddling up families for the past 82 years. But Latigo’s hardly the only one. Dude ranches exist all over America, offering the opportunity to combine a trip into the great outdoors with some quality family time. Dude, of... Read More

10 Great Dude Ranches for Families

 
Saddle up at one of these dude ranches for families by:  www.travelsavvymom.com Of all the many trips I’ve taken with my family, I get the most questions about our horse back riding vacations.  It turns out I’m not the only one who with a cowgirl fantasy. When I planned our first dude ranch vacation, I used the Dude Rancher’s Association website (full disclosure: they are now an advertiser of ours). Using their search tool, I was able to browse their 100 member properties by amenity and then compare them side by side.  Here are ten that stood out: Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch Where: Big Fork, Montana Rates: $342-464 Open: May-October Is there any image more iconic than kids jumping in a lake?  When you’re not jumping in the lake, you can sail, canoe, water ski, paddle board, kayak, and fish in it too.  Plus, all the usual horse-y fun. You’ll... Read More

Dude Ranch Family Vacations

 
 Written by Diana Lambdin Meyer www.familyvacationcritic.com   Few vacations are more all-American than one that involves riding horses in the great open spaces of the American West. But if an adult-acquired fear of actually riding a horse compromises your willingness to fulfill your children's vacation dreams of being a cowboy or cowgirl for a week, do not fear. There's plenty for mom and dad and the entire family to do at many dude ranches other than ride horse. Think swimming holes or swimming pools, hikes in the woods, fishing, square dances, star gazing, bird watching, or just sitting in a lawn chair reading a good book. Dude ranches, which are often called guest ranches, are as diverse as the clientele they serve and the individuals who operate them. Many are located in some of the most intriguing parts of the country adjacent to national parks, along historic pioneer trails and near charming... Read More

The Horse We Shared at the Colorado Dude Ranch

 
Posted on May 7, 2012 via rainbowtroutranch.com A TRIBUTE TO CD, The Horse We Shared By Andrea Hansell      Our family first came to Rainbow Trout Ranch in July of 1997.   Before we arrived, I spent a good deal of time discussing horse choices with Jane on the phone.  I had enough riding experience to want a horse with some spunk, but being afraid of heights, I also wanted a horse that I could absolutely rely on to be cautious and sure-footed on steep trails.   Jane decided that the best horse for me was CD, short for Coupe DeVille.   On my first ride out, I immediately fell in love with this handsome dark brown horse with the white socks and forehead  blaze. Andrea with CD in 1997 When I was feeling comfortable in the flat meadows and on the logging road, CD let me be totally in charge, and responded to my slightest nudge of... Read More

Saddle up! - Group Adventure Travel

 
March 28, 2012 Looking for a unique, authentic way to enjoy the best of Arizona? Consider a visit to a dude ranch. At one of the nine ranches affiliated with Arizona Dude Ranch Association, it is possible to savor the real western lifestyle, where the world moves at a more relaxed pace and where horseback riding is an everyday treat. A girlfriends getaway, an intergenerational adventure or any other group outing can be enjoyed. The ranches are as diverse as the state, “ranging from the more traditional smaller, remote ranches, where horseback riding and ranching are the primary focus, to our larger resort-style guest ranches, with all the amenities,” said Lacy Gambee, a spokesperson for the association. Circle Z Ranch  Circle Z, located 60 miles southeast of Tucson, is a guest ranch operated continuously since 1926. Here, guests ride ranch-bred horses through the foothills of the historic Santa Rita Mountains. As... Read More
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