The coffee is hot and breakfast is served—the perfect wake up call. You pull up your boots and meet your guide for the day. As you make your way outside, the air is crisp and cool. You slip a saddle on your horse, and head out onto the trail. Your guide points out mountain ranges in the distance and identifies bird species in nearby trees. As lunch approaches, you pull off at a spectacular viewpoint, then enjoy your packed lunch.
The ride back to the ranch is effortless and relaxing. When you return, you kick back on your front porch and read the next chapter of your gripping novel. A group of kids are having their first experience on horseback in the distance, giggling as they trot along. You have the option of activities for the afternoon including tennis, pickleball, swimming, mountain biking, or rafting. As the sun begins to set, cliffs are silhouetted in the distance. Finally, it’s time for dinner!
A multi-course meal paired with a variety of wines awaits you, and farm-to-table freshness is the name of the game at these dude ranches. After dinner, you join the group around a campfire and sing along to Tom Petty songs as someone strums the guitar. For the next day, will you do the same thing or something different? The choice is yours. Finally, a vacation where you can truly reconnect with yourself and your family. The Dude Ranchers’ Association offers authentic vacations in most states west of the Mississippi, all the way to British Columbia. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed vacation or something more adventurous, dude ranches have something for everyone.
To meet your needs, you have the choice of three different styles of dude ranches:
Working Dude Ranch: On this ranch, you will immerse yourself in the ranch life and help with the daily duties. You might help move cattle, and you can expect longer days of horseback riding.
Dude Ranch: The traditional dude ranch involves a greater focus on the horse and riding. These ranches feature longer trail rides, and a wider availability of other outdoor activities.
Resort Dude Ranch: These ranches are typically larger than the other two, which is perfect for big groups. There are more amenities available at these ranches and options for guided activities. A naturalist may accompany you on hikes and identify flora and fauna. Horseback riding is still a highlight at these ranches, and you can also enjoy other adventurous activities. Moreover, many also have tennis courts and swimming pools. Don’t miss the wine pairing dinners!
You can expect a high quality experience from all ranches under the Dude Ranchers’ Association! Each ranch is personally and carefully inspected. Furthermore, each ranch is evaluated based on its facilities, horse program, food, and—most importantly—safety. The food at all dude ranches is exceptional; most ranches raise their own beef and grow their own vegetables. Additionally, all meals are farm-to-table fresh and can cater to special diets.
Whether you’re interested in a solitary vacation, a girls’ weekend, or a family reunion, these dude ranches are sure to present a fun and unique experience. The summer months are popular with families, and all ranches have excellent kids’ programs. Children can have close encounters with many ranch animals, learn line dancing steps, hop aboard a sleigh ride, or even learn some rodeo skills! Alternatively, if you’re seeking an adult-only vacation, September is a great month to visit.
The Dude Ranch Foundation is committed to preserving the way of the real west and the role dude ranches have played over the years. Not only is visiting a dude ranch a special experience, but it’s also a taste of history. The Dude Ranch Foundation is committed to the conservancy of land management and sustainable practices. Find a ranch today!
This story has been created in partnership with the VisitUSAParks.com.
Pin this for later