How Important Are Family Vacations?

How important are family vacations?

How Important Are Family Vacations?

In today’s world, the simple idea of family can seem to get lost in all of the hustle and bustle. I know that it might sound a little crazy, but think about it. Between work, school, extracurricular activities and whatever else comes around, quality family time seems to get less and less with every passing year. Traveling to a soccer tournament or on a business trip where the family can tag along isn’t true family time. Someone is always occupied doing something else and the sole focus isn’t on strengthening the family roots and dynamics. 

If the kids feel like they are second to their parent’s work, that can take a toll on their childhood. And if the parents don’t feel like they are getting enough time with their kids, a significant amount of stress can overcome them. So, why is taking a family vacation important? The answer is simple really, to take the quality time for you and your family to rekindle relationships and strengthen bonds between everyone. Families need to go on a true vacation where you can all disconnect from technology and the outside world and reconnect with people, nature and the important people who surround you. You will feel a sense of peace and accomplishment when you look back on the trip and realize all of the good that happened! Take the kids and parents on a family trip that they will remember forever to a Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude or guest ranch. 

By taking a family vacation to a dude or guest ranch, you are giving everyone the chance at endless opportunities to explore. Experience something you have never done before like horseback riding or fly fishing. Take the time to truly relax and unwind, put the real world away for a couple of days and live in the moment. Enjoy some time at the spa or sitting on your cabin porch reading that book you have been meaning to get to. Go watch or even participate with your kids making precious memories that can’t be made anywhere else. Take a look at a few DRA member ranches below that are perfect for families looking to reconnect on family vacations! 

Black Mountain Ranch – Colorado 

How Important Are Family Vacations

At Black Mountain Ranch in Colorado, you will find activities for everyone in the family and a destination that is perfect for families to reconnect. Your entire family will remember your vacation at this ranch and will talk about the stories of horseback riding, driving Longhorn cattle (yes, like you see in the movies!), trap shooting, fly-fishing, white water rafting, going to the rodeo and so much more! No matter what your riding levels the options at Black Mountain Ranch will fit everyone. Come mealtime your family will get the chance to sit around the table and share stories of the day and enjoy food that everyone will indulge in, even the picky eaters of the bunch! The accommodations at the ranch are comfortable and are great for families as well. A family vacation here will be one to remember forever. 

Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch – Montana

How Important Are Family Vacations

The Averill family knows how to create the perfect family vacation for you and your group at their Flathead Lake Ranch in Montana. There are more activities than you can imagine at this ranch, horseback riding, mouse racing, barn dancing, sail boating, jet skiing and so much more. This ranch sits directly on the banks of Flathead Lake and has become the summer tradition for many families for generations. These families want to share the same experiences and memories with their children that they did when they were their age. The kids’ program at Averill’s is phenomenal, talented kids’ counselors and wranglers will make sure the kids are enjoying their time in the great outdoors and gaining confidence on the back of a horse. Being in the beautiful mountains of Montana and on the banks of the lake will give you time to relax and reconnect with your family. The memories you create here will be the talk of family dinners for weeks, months and probably years to come. 

Crossed Sabres Ranch – Wyoming

How Important Are Family Vacations

Grab your family and venture on out to the wonderful, wild state of Wyoming to the Crossed Sabres Ranch located just outside of Yellowstone National Park and the famous tourist town of Cody, Wyoming. Here, your family will reconnect under a golden, Wyoming sunset in the mountains of the wild west. Enjoy horseback riding, skeet shooting, a day trip to Yellowstone, fly-fishing and so much more while you are here. The fun adventures will be endless and so will the memories! Crossed Sabres Ranch is located in the Shoshone National Forest, there is no cell phone reception on the ranch and no Wi-Fi connection in the cabins. Everyone will be too busy to be concerned with screens anyway, but the ranch understands that sometimes you can’t completely disconnect, therefore there is Wi-Fi available in the lodge for business purposes and a landline in case of emergencies. There is no better place to disconnect from the real world than at a dude or guest ranch! 

Diamond D Ranch – Idaho

How Important Are Family Vacations

Diamond D Ranch, nestled beneath the beautiful Salmon River Mountains in the Frank Church Wilderness, is where you will find the perfect destination to disconnect and reconnect with your family. Comfortable cabins, delicious food and activities for everyone in the group await you here! Horseback rides, overnight pack trips, gold panning, target shooting, photography hunts, campfires, swimming and more keep the kiddos and the parents entertained all day long here. The best part is, you can do all of these activities together as a family. Explore the mountains of Idaho where only a few people have been and enjoy the incredible beauty that surrounds this ranch. This ranch does sit off the beaten path and is cut off from the power grid and most communication; this is a place you want to visit if you are looking to completely disconnect for a period of time. It may seem scary to think about at first, but trust us when we say you will find the most freedom you have felt in a long time at this ranch. 

Colorado Trails Ranch – Colorado

How important are family vacations

Head over to the beautiful valley next to the San Juan National Forest to find the hidden gem of Colorado Trails Ranch outside of Durango, Colorado. Here your family will have the chance to participate in activities that are great for all ages and make everlasting memories. Take the opportunity to go horseback riding, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, hiking, swimming in the heated pool or soak in the hot tub. If you are looking for some relaxation and rejuvenation though, you can opt-out of activities and enjoy a peaceful day on the porch of your cabin. The most wonderful thing about dude and guest ranches is that this is your vacation and it is entirely up to you how busy or laid back you want your schedule to be! Colorado Trails Ranch is all about family and bringing families together. Most of the guests that come to this ranch are families, sometimes multigenerational, which gives your group the chance to enjoy this magical place with other families. The kids will make fast friends and the parents will have the chance to make acquaintances too! 

Now that you have learned a little bit about why family vacations are so important, what are you waiting for? Grab the kids and start planning the vacation of a lifetime! Everyone in the family will appreciate the time and dedication to strengthening family bonds. Unplug and reconnect with your family, you will not be sorry you did! 

For more information on dude ranch vacations and for help finding the right ranch for you and your family, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association at 307-587-2339 or info@duderanch.org

Click here to see a list of more DRA member ranches that are great for any type of traveler! 

How Important Are Family Vacations

Dude Ranch Vacation is the way to enjoy Eco-tourism in the US West

The High Lonesome Ranch Colorado Dude Ranch Vacation

Having a vacation is great, but it is even better to enjoy a vacation that respects the environment with the help of healthy practices. What does this mean? It means to have a great time and get the most of what nature provides without ruining its balance. We need time to relax and unwind, but it is worth knowing that we can do this without triggering a negative impact on the environment. There are already enough environmental issues these days and it is worth doing anything we can to minimize the impact of these issues on our environment.

If you are looking for eco-friendly vacations, it is worth knowing that dude ranches selected by the Dude Ranchers’ Association have their entire structure based on eco-tourism. They are dedicated to offering outstanding vacations while preserving natural ecosystems and teaching people how to enjoy their time without negatively impacting nature. By simply visiting a dude ranch, you will learn how to have fun while being eco-friendly, what to do to increase your recycling rates, and what practices to adopt for keeping nature intact. These ranches have been around for a while, but ever since they appeared, they have worked in perfect communion with nature. Now that they are accepting guests, things haven’t changed much, as these ranches are determined to teach people about ecologic responsibility and enjoying spare time in a responsible manner.

 

So, would you like to give eco-tourism a chance? Most certainly you will return home not just relaxed and refreshed, but also feeling much better about yourself, knowing you did something responsible to preserve the environment. Here is a list with some of the best dude ranches that promote eco-tourism and help guests enjoy the beauty of natural landscapes without triggering negative impacts.

 

1. Diamond D Ranch, Idaho

Diamond-D-View-Valley Eco-tourism

Diamond-D-Chapel-wedding  Eco-tourism

Still a family owned and operated business, the Diamond D Ranch will make you feel like part of the family, instead of just being a guest. This ranch is famous for the fact that it produces its own electricity, with the help of a hydro-electric generator. So, this self-sufficient farm has what it takes to allow you to enjoy a relaxing vacation while adopting a responsible attitude. You can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, pleasant walks to observe the birds and flora, fishing trips, or simply lounging by their outdoor pool. At mealtime, you will enjoy food just like you do back home. Everything is made by the hosts out of fresh ingredients and cooked like the dinner is made for their family. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly and living off the grid for a while can do wonders when it comes to replenishing your reserves of positive energy.

2. High Lonesome Ranch, Colorado

High-Lonesome-Lake-eco-tourism

High-Lonesome-Garden  Eco-tourism

Back in the days, farms were capable of providing everything that was needed for a family to survive. The same happens at the High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado these days as well. Everything needed is still grown at the farm, so every dish made here contains only fresh ingredients that are grown on the premises. Following a farm-to-table philosophy, the food is slowly cooked, so that it preserves the flavor, savor, and nutritional value. But there are more reasons to visit this farm than the food it provides. This is the best dude ranch to visit if you want to vacation and learn more about environmental responsibility. While enjoying your stay at the ranch, you can acquire a lot of knowledge about the conservation of nature, sustainable development, restoration of streams, and many other valuable pieces of information. Staying at this ranch can literally change your life, once you find out what you can do to make the environment a cleaner and safer place.

3. Zapata Ranch, Colorado

Zapata-Bison-dude-ranches-ecotourism

Zapata-Breakfast-Fire

The Zapata Ranch dedicates its entire activity to two main aspects. One is showing sufficient support to the ranching heritage specific to the West and the other is the conservation of natural landscapes and biodiversity in the area. If you really want to feel like being on a ranch while knowing that you’re doing something significant for the environment, you should visit the Zapata Ranch. Part of Nature Conservancy, this ranch deposits a consistent amount of effort into the preservation of ecosystems. A good example is the efforts deposited to transform a former golf course into what it once was, which means a pasture with native grass species, instead of a field of weeds. All the ecosystems and habitats from around the ranch are closely monitored and rehabilitation is done in a consistent manner. The goal is to give the area its pure beauty and maintain the local landscapes just as they were before mankind appeared in the area.

 

4. Flat Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Flat-Creek-Ranch-Trail- Eco-tourism

This particular ranch was founded back in 1921. Ever since then, the main purpose of the ranch was to preserve the local landscapes and biodiversity. It functioned in communion with nature and respecting it, still doing the same decades after. It is worth mentioning that the ranch acquired the Business Emerald Sustainability Tier for the achieved sustainability performance level. Only one more business in Jackson Hole managed to acquire the BEST distinction. In order to receive BEST, a business must follow rigorous criteria concerning environmental protection and sustainability at community and economic levels. Flat Creek is a ranch that operates entirely off the grid, so it is easy to see why sustainability is such an important aspect for them. If you want to enjoy the pure natural beauty and daily activities that are done with respect and awareness for nature’s health, this is the best place to be.

 

5. Laramie River Ranch, Colorado

Laramie-River-Sunrise-Gather  Eco-tourism

Laramie-River-Ranch-Family-Kids

Everything about this ranch is about creating a sustainable existence and limiting the impact on the surrounding environment. Electricity comes from green sources, such as wind and solar generated energy, the vehicles used are chosen to be the kind that produces low emissions, and as many materials as possible are recycled. Also, both food and agricultural leftovers are transformed into precious compost, which is later used to fertilize the ranch’s crops. The ranch also does its best to maintain clean air and water around the ranch, by choosing machines that create less pollution and adopting practices meant to maintain the quality of water at high levels. So, if you choose to stay at this ranch, you know that everything is made in a manner meant to reduce negative effects on the environment.

6. Goosewing Ranch, Wyoming

Goosewing-Ranch-Solar-Panels  Eco-tourism

Goosewing-Ranch-Riding-the-River - Eco-tourism

This ranch has a very healthy view of how things should be made to keep the guests and community happy while preserving the environment. The ranch’s team closely monitors the impact their settlement produces on the surrounding environment and devotes constant efforts to increase their level of sustainability. The truth is that only ranches that work hard on reducing their “footprint” on the environment are selected to be part of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. The Goosewing Ranch made it due to the fact that it is indeed environmentally sustainable. The ranch recycles used motor oil by utilizing it for heating purposes and harvests its own timber, by choosing ill or dead trees, leaving the healthy ones to reign the forest. Waste is reduced by using anything that can be re-purposed instead of just throwing it away. Also, every staff member receives proper training in order to embrace the best practices for environmental protection.

7. Rocking Z Ranch, Montana

Rocking-Z-Grounds-View -  Eco-tourism

Rocking-Z-Ranch-Loping -  Eco-tourism

The Rocking Z Ranch is another eco-friendly dude ranch that is worth visiting. Waste management is very important here, by re-utilizing everything that is possible instead of simply throwing it away. Even the horseshoes receive a different purpose once they accomplished their purpose, becoming bridle racks for old barn wood, which are both transformed into beautiful photo frames. Besides this, the team at this ranch does everything it can to keep their daily activities clean for the environment. The irrigation pump runs on pure vegetable oil, the pump engine starts and gets cleaned with bio-diesel, and horses are fed with barley sprouted in a hydroponic system. If you want clean air and a clean environment during your vacation, this ranch has what it takes to provide all these and more.

Rocking-Z-View-Edit

Did you know that you have the power to change things? The Dude Ranchers’ Association supports sustainability through the Dude Ranch Foundation, created to protect and maintain land conservation. You can also be part of this plan and get involved too through the available membership program. It is your chance to contribute to a greener and cleaner tomorrow by joining a very dedicated team.

The popularity of eco-tourism has increased in recent times, as people become increasingly sensitive to the existent environmental issues. We cannot sit around and do nothing while the environment degrades every passing year. This translates in people’s desire to enjoy a cleaner vacation, with less impact on nature. Dude ranches have always been in great connection with nature and protected it from the beginning of their activity. These days, these ranches deposit efforts in teaching their guests in leading happier and healthier lives, while offering unforgettable vacations. Time spent at one of these ranches will show you that it is possible to have fun and enjoy all the comfort you can get, without posing a threat to the environment. Yes, technology may be less present over here, but the regained connection with yourself and nature are much more valuable than an Internet connection. Try an eco-friendly vacation at a dude ranch and you will never regret it.

Eco-tourism on Dude Ranch Vacations

If you are looking for eco-friendly vacations, it is worth knowing that dude ranches selected by the Dude Ranchers’ Association have their entire structure based on eco-tourism. They are dedicated to offering outstanding vacations while preserving natural ecosystems and teaching people how to enjoy their time without negatively impacting nature. By simply visiting a dude ranch, you will learn how to have fun while being eco-friendly.

This article was written in conjunction with Olivier James at Luxurytravelersguide.com

Bonus Boise! Dude Ranch Vacation and a Visit to the Fastest Growing City in America!

Whether you’re a millennial and can’t stay put for more than three days or are curious about the buzz on Boise, here are some ideas for a day trip off the saddle from Idaho Dude Ranches — McGarry Ranches, Red Horse Mountain Ranch, Diamond D Ranch or Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

Hip FactorRed Horse Creek-1

Boise is the fastest growing city in America! The airport is easily accessible to downtown Boise via a ten-minute ride. It’s a small, ‘bigger’ city with a mixture of hipster shopping and eateries and old town charm. 

Beddin’ Down

If you choose an overnight, Inn at 500 should be your first pick. (innat500.com) It’s the newest and most luxurious hotel in the capital city and has whimsically-themed rooms such as Boise Art Museum (curated by museum staffers), The Flicks (for the art-house movie theater next to the hotel), and Idaho Wine (note that all guests get complimentary glasses at check in), and wins for location. Grab a drink or dish at Richard’s in the hotel aptly named for Chef Richard Langston, a James Beard 2014 semifinalist for Best Chef Northwest, and storied Boise resident and restaurateur.

Grub

Downtown Boise is extremely walkable and worthy of a few hours of shopping, touring the capital, and eating in this growing culinary hotspot. Boise boasts the largest Basque population outside of Spain, and much homage is paid to this culture throughout the city. Stop by The Basque Market for paella lunches and a trendy meat, cheese and tapas market. Head to Bardenay for a bloody Mary (with house-made vodka made from Idaho potatoes) or Red Feather Lounge. Don’t miss Boise Fry Company for the best spuds (get a burger on the side). 

 

Drink

Boise Idaho - Dude Ranch Day Trip

As with most towns across the West, the craft beer is strong. Payette Brewing, Bittercreek Alehouse, Cloud 9 Brewery, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse and Boise Brewing are all standouts. But note it might be the craft women winemakers of the Snake Valley River AVA that are garnering the most awards and attention. Cinder, Coiled Wines, Split Rail Winery, Syringa Winery and Telaya Wine Co. are a handful of the most popular and offer tastings and comfortable sitting areas.

Activity

Chances are you will be visiting in summer when the majority of ranches run their seasons. Rent a bike and cruise along the Boise River Greenbelt with numerous parks, eateries, and wineries along the way. Stop and grab a SUP from Idaho River Sports and hop on Quinn's Pond to paddle around for a couple of hours.

If you’re looking to grab some authentic items to remember or commemorate your dude ranch week, visit Mixed Greens for hundreds of boutique items, Idaho Made for Idaho-made gifts and crafts, or pick up a culinary treat at City Peanut Shop and The Chocolat Bar. The Capital City Public Market and The Boise Farmers Market in season are excellent options for finding local vendors and wares. 

Spring through late summer the Idaho Shakespeare Festival runs in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater. Come early to explore the grounds and bring/purchase a picnic to enjoy with the show. Wednesdays throughout summer, Alive After Five fires up in Grove Plaza with music, beer and wine vendors, food trucks and restaurants, fountains for the children to splash and cool off, and a great downtown experience.

Don’t Miss

Check out the Oregon Trail—you can even see ruts from wagon wheels and "advertising" rock art still carved in stone near Boise. Connect to the trail easily at the Oregon Trail Reserve, but if you want more Idaho history, visit the newly-opened Idaho State Museum, just steps from the Inn at 500. 

 

Read more about Idaho Dude Ranches

 

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Whether you’re a millennial and can’t stay put for more than three days or are curious about the buzz on Boise, here are some ideas for a day trip off the saddle from Idaho Dude Ranches

The Best Idaho Dude Ranch Vacations

Here is the ultimate guide for Idaho dude ranch, guest ranch and working cattle ranch vacations. These Idaho dude ranches offer all-inclusive vacation packages for families with activities centered around horseback riding and adventure outdoor experiences like whitewater rafting, hiking and fishing. Some offer a full program of kid-centric activities and others offer adult-oriented immersive cowboy & cattle ranch activities. And what’s more, you’ll be extremely satisfied with the quality of the food and the accommodations at an Idaho dude ranch.

The living history of the Old West is infused and celebrated in every facet on these Dude Ranchers’ Association member dude ranches. With a culture that dates back to the pioneer days of the United States, Idaho is much more than just potatoes. If you are looking for big valleys, big views and spectacular rivers than this is the state for you. And, although the Grand Tetons are actually in Wyoming, they can also be viewed from the Idaho side of the Teton Scenic Byway which begins on the Idaho Highway 31 at Swan Valley. With these reasons it’s no surprise Idaho is a great destination for your next vacation.

Take a look at the list of the Best Idaho Dude Ranch Vacations.

 

 

McGarry Ranches Idaho Dude Ranch Working Cattle

McGarry Ranches

Are you looking to be introduced to the lifestyle of the American Cowboy? Theron McGarry of the McGarry Ranches invites you to be a ranch hand guest on his cattle ranch, riding daily on the classic American Quarter Horse. Not only that, this Idaho dude ranch is only 1.5 hours away from the Western entrance of Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park

Click here to view all Idaho Ranch Vacations

 

Red Horse Mountain Ranch Idaho Dude Ranch Vacation

Red Horse Mountain Ranch

At only 1.5 hours from Spokane International Airport, the Red Horse Mountain Ranch specializes in the Idaho dude ranch for guided adventure activities. Horseback riding is just the start! They offer family vacations for all ages and a couple of weeks each season for adult only weeks and even a singles week! Read about their extensive list of activities here

Click here to view all Idaho Ranch Vacations

Diamond D Idaho Dude Ranch

Diamond D Ranch

Nestled in a serene valley in the Frank Church Wilderness the Diamond D Ranch is surrounded by mountains in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states. With an endless amount of country and wildlife to see this Idaho dude ranch is perfect for families. 

Click here to view all Idaho Ranch Vacations

 

Seven Devils Lodge Idaho Dude Ranch

Seven Devils Lodge 

Located in the central part of the state, the Seven Devils Lodge is an Idaho dude ranch in the unique area with neighboring jutting canyons, high desert trails and soaring mountain vistas. The lodge is only nine miles from the famous Hells Canyon, known as the deepest canyon in all of North America. Open January through November the lodge is open to horseback riding, guided hunts, fishing, hiking, trap shooting, an archery course and snowmobiling throughout the year. 

Click here to view all Idaho Ranch Vacations

Western Pleasure  Idaho Dude Ranch Vacation

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

With gourmet dining and warm, western hospitality the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch offers not only the dude ranch vacation of your dreams, but a true western experience in the wilderness of Idaho. In addition to horseback riding, the ranch also offers special activities such as horse drawn wagon rides, mounted scavenger hunts and geocashing. 

Click here to view all Idaho Ranch Vacations

 

 

For more information take a look at the best dude ranches in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona and the rest of the West!

 

Pin this for later the best options for an Idaho Dude Ranch.

Are you looking for the ultimate guide for Idaho dude ranch, guest ranch and working cattle ranch vacations? These Idaho dude ranches offer all-inclusive vacation packages centered around horseback riding and adventure outdoor experiences like whitewater rafting, hiking and fishing. Some offer kid-centric family activities and others offer immersive cattle ranch activities. And, you’ll be extremely satisfied with the quality of the food and the accommodations at an Idaho dude ranch.

Where to Have an All-American Vacation Experience

'Made in America' continues to surge in popularity for not only domestic-minded shoppers in the U.S., but also for travelers. For those searching for an authentic getaway that stays true to your roots, consider exploring the Wild West. It doesn’t get any more authentic than the original all-inclusive, All-American experience: a dude ranch vacation – think cattle drives, hiking, rodeos, campfires and fishing.

A dude ranch vacation allows people of all ages to spend quality time in some of the country’s most beautiful, awe-inspiring settings. They are rooted in American tradition and principles – horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart – and that’s just the beginning.

Below are 8 All-American Dude Ranch Experiences:

 

1. Saddle Up, Like a Cowboy: Overseer Theron McGarry, a lifelong cowboy and fourth generation rancher, sees to it that guests at McGarry Ranches get the complete Western experience on these fully operational cattle ranches in Rexburg, Idaho. Guests have the opportunity to walk in a rancher’s shoes during their stay by completing typical farmhand tasks from filling water troughs and rescuing stray cows and calves to roping and fence mending, all while being treated to views of Snake River and the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

2. Participate in a Rockin' Rodeo: Saturdays at Rainbow Trout Ranch in Antonito, Colo., are spent in the arena preparing for the ranch’s rodeo. Kids, teens and adults spend the day trying their hand at traditional cowboy roping including corralling barrels and looping on to poles. The day culminates with a fast and furious "pony express" race between the wranglers, which is sure to enthrall rodeo lovers of all ages!

3. Take in the Views on Horseback: Everyday, twice a day, Bar Lazy J in Parshall, Colo., takes guests on adventure horseback rides with gorgeous views through canyons, forests and valleys. The ranch’s claim to fame is that no two rides are ever the same! Bar Lazy J offers extended rides featuring longer stretches of loping that are typically at a faster pace, perfect for thrill-seekers. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and animals as you ride through the various terrains.

Bar Lazy J All-American Dude Ranch experience

4. Learn to Fly Fish: The fly fishing and guided fishing tours at Diamond D Ranch are truly like no other. With streams 50 yards away from the cabins and a private lake on the ranch grounds in Stanley, Idaho, guests do not have to go far to relax and catch fresh rainbow and other native trout. Diamond D Ranch offers guided fly-fishing tours that range from a quick afternoon on the creek to multi-day, pack trip expeditions. It truly is an angler’s paradise!

5. Watch and Learn from the Rodeo Pros: Every Wednesday afternoon at White Stallion Ranch in Tuscon, Ariz., guests get to watch a real, traditional rodeo in action! As a tradition for almost 50 years, the wranglers and their families and friends come together in the White Stallion arena to compete in team roping, barrel racing and breakaway roping. Throughout the rodeo, narrators regale ranch guests with tales of the traditions behind the rodeo and the history of the West.

White Stallion Roping All-American Dude Ranch Experience

6. Become a Sharp Shooter: Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Harrison, Idaho, provides guests with a one-of-a-kind shooting experience with its 3D archery stations. Participants are taken on a hike through a trail in the woods to the course with life-size targets. These targets vary from life-size turkeys and elk to the occasional mountain lion, simulating a real hunting expedition.

7. Experience an Adventure Pack Trip: Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch in Seeley Lake, Mont., offers pack trips in the crown jewel of America’s wilderness system. These pack trips, which range from five to 10 days, take place in the 1.5 million acre Bob Marshall wilderness full of valleys, lakes, streams and mountains. Adventurers are on horseback and move camp every other day, with the non-riding days filled with fishing and exploring.

Rich Ranch Pack Trip Mountains All-American Dude Ranch Experience

8. Participate in Rodeo Games: One of the most unique and authentic activities at Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch in Quincy, Calif., is their Guest Rodeo Games. After a hearty Hamburger Cookout, guests meet at the corral for an afternoon of fun with the wranglers. The famous Greenhorn Games are for everyone in the family and feature barrel racing, pole-bending, keyhole competitions and even an egg race!

 

For more information or help in choosing the perfect ranch for you and your family please contact us at 307-587-2339 of shoot us an e-mail at info@duderanch.org.

 

‘Made in America’ continues to surge in popularity for not only domestic-minded shoppers in the U.S., but also for travelers. It doesn’t get any more authentic than the original all-inclusive, All-American experience: a dude ranch vacation – think cattle drives, hiking, rodeos, campfires and fishing.

Dude Ranch Weddings - Ride Off Into The Sunset

Make your Wedding day truly extraordinary. Dude ranch weddings are the perfect setting for your ceremony. With their spectacular scenery and private settings you’ll create a lifetime of memories.

Dude Ranch Weddings 

The options are endless; a magical hand built chapel at Diamond D Ranch, the remarkable back drop of the Wyoming Tetons at Moose Head Ranch or under the glorious Colorado skies at C Lazy U Ranch

 

C Lazy U Ranch Colorado Dude Ranch Weddings

 

Extraordinary gourmet cuisine is what Red Reflet Ranch and Tanque Verde Ranch do best, while at Sundance Trail Ranch it is not unusual to see the bride and groom ride off into the sunset. 

 

Red Relfet Ranch Wyoming Dude Ranch Weddings

 

Celebrate your first kiss as husband wife at Greenhorn Creek Ranch during the running of the horses, take a wagon ride under the stars at the Bar W Ranch or let Sylvan Dale Ranch help customize your dream wedding. 

 

Bar W Ranch Montana Dude Ranch Weddings

 

With our Western Hospitality you can be assured your wedding day will be perfect!  

 

Read more about Dude Ranch Weddings 

Here are some great luxury wedding destinations from our friends at LuxuryTravelersGuide.com 

and more articles about dude ranch destination weddings from our blog

 

Bull Hill Ranch Washington Wedding 25 Great Reasons to Have a Dude Ranch Wedding

Anyone who has been involved in planning a traditional weeding knows that it can be a really demanding undertaking for one of the most important milestones in a couples future. There seems to be countless decisions to make: from booking the venue, selecting the theme, narrowing the guest list, creating and sending invitations, gift registsrations, florists and the music playlist. All to make your day look as "Pinterest Perfect" as your wedding board has created. 

 

RawahRanch_HorsebackRiding_Meg&Tim_Sm4 Honeymoon Trends at a Ranch Vacation

Get inspired for your honeymoon with a ranch vacation experience you won't soon forget. Think outside the sand box of a beach destination and go for adventure recreation at a honeymoon paradise. These DRA accredited ranch vacations will exceed your expectations and make many opportunities to creatively start your journey together.

 

Bride-and-Lazy-LB-Ranch-horseA Splendid Ranch Wedding at the Lazy L&B Ranch

 I have been to a few ranches and absolutely loved the lifestyle, the way my body and spirit felt. My inspiration was ignited every single time in unexpected ways and, aside from allowing my senses to absorb it all in, I have shared my journey with others through images and words. It was through a chain of magical coincidences that I was called upon to capture Michele and Jason’s Western inspired wedding at the breathtaking Lazy L&B Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming.

 

Make your Wedding day truly extraordinary. Dude ranch weddings are the perfect setting for your ceremony with their spectacular scenery and private settings. Read about some of the top dude ranches for weddings and other wedding planning resources.

The Great American Family Holiday – on a Dude Ranch

Sylvan Dale Ranch Great American Family Holiday Clint the donkey gets a hug at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.

Ride ‘em cowboy! Sure there can be plenty of time in the saddle when you take the kids on a dude ranch vacation. But these days, there’s plenty else to do. In fact, ranch goers acknowledge, they often spend less time riding than they expected because of so many other activities and so much land to explore. That’s especially true for multi-generational groups who find guest ranches ideal for family reunions. They are all-inclusive so there is no bickering—and no surprises—with the final bill. No one has to get groceries, cook or clean up. And there are activities for all ages. How about mountain biking? Organized kids’ activities often include everything from riding to soccer, sack races, art projects and talent shows. Programs like at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Colorado, means the adults get some time to catch up and parents don’t have to worry about their children’s whereabouts. The closeness of the cabins, dining room and other facilities makes it easy for parents to keep an eye on them, and means the property is more convenient to navigate for older guests. You might not have realized dude ranches today offer so many options:

A visit to a National Park – Many dude ranches are located near some of the country’s most popular national parks. White Stallion Ranch borders Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, while Rimrock Ranch is only miles outside the East entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Medicine Bow Lodge & Guest Ranch is located in the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming; while many guests at Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana head to Glacier National Park for a day.

Bar W Dude Ranch Vacation

Picnic at the Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana

A hike in the wilderness. Most dude ranches are off the tourist grid on lots of land, ideal for exploring on foot. The Diamond D Ranch, nestled in the Frank Church Wilderness Area of Idaho, offers excursions into the wild and fishing in the Salmon River Mountains, among many other activities.

Diamond D Ranch Fishing

Indulge in a massage Many ranches now offer spa treatments, like White Stallion Ranch  in Tucson, AZ and Vista Verde Ranch just outside of Steamboat, CO.

Take a yoga class. Many ranches that offer spa services also provide yoga classes and training. Before a long day in the saddle, guests can have a relaxing limbering-up session with certified trainers.

Try some new wines. Gourmet cuisine and wine paring are gaining popularity at dude ranches. At Smith Fork Ranch, favorites from their private cellar and wineries they especially like are among the choices, including some Colorado wines.

Go tubing or white water rafting. Three Bars Guest Ranch in the Canadian Rockies offers weekly white water rafting tours on the unspoiled  Mary’s River.  Put in only a 10 minute drive from the ranch.

Give shooting sports a try at Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho, there is instruction in a safely controlled environment. There are 5 stations, each providing their own unique targets.

Ride a Zip Line The Bar Lazy J Ranch has one of Colorado’s longest and fastest zip lines and is the only one that crosses the Colorado River. The zip line starts on a steep bluff overlooking the Colorado River dropping 82 feet in elevation as it crosses the river, through the trees and across a pasture to the landing platform. You will be zipping along at speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour. This activity is for guests ages 13 and up.

Go fishing Rainbow Trout Ranch near several historic Spanish land grants in Antonito, Colo.,encourages guests to go trout fishing; Try your hand at fly fishing at 4UR Ranch in Mineral County, Colo.

Do si do with the wranglers or sing your favorite western songs around the campfire at ranches including – Mountain Sky Guest Ranch sits on over 10,000 operational acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of Yellowstone Country in Emigrant, Mont Got your cowboy hat?

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Where to Have an All-American Vacation Experience

‘Made in America’ continues to surge in popularity for not only domestic-minded shoppers in the U.S., but also for travelers. For those searching for an authentic getaway that stays true to your roots, consider exploring the Wild West. It doesn’t get any more authentic than the original all-inclusive, All-American experience: a dude ranch vacation – think cattle drives, hiking, rodeos, campfires and fishing. A dude ranch vacation allows people of all ages to spend quality time in some of the country’s most beautiful, awe-inspiring settings. They are rooted in American tradition and principles – horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart – and that’s just the beginning. Below are 8 All-American Dude Ranch Experiences:

  1. Saddle Up, Like a Cowboy: Overseer Theron McGarry, a lifelong cowboy and fourth generation rancher, sees to it that guests at McGarry Ranches get the complete Western experience on these fully operational cattle ranches in Rexburg, Idaho. Guests have the opportunity to walk in a rancher’s shoes during their stay by completing typical farmhand tasks from filling water troughs and rescuing stray cows and calves to roping and fence mending, all while being treated to views of Snake River and the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

McGarry Ranches

  1. Participate in a Rockin' Rodeo: Saturdays at Rainbow Trout Ranch in Antonito, Colo., are spent in the arena preparing for the ranch’s rodeo. Kids, teens and adults spend the day trying their hand at traditional cowboy roping including corralling barrels and looping on to poles. The day culminates with a fast and furious "pony express" race between the wranglers, which is sure to enthrall rodeo lovers of all ages!
  1. Take in the Views on Horseback: Everyday, twice a day, Bar Lazy J in Parshall, Colo., takes guests on adventure horseback rides with gorgeous views through canyons, forests and valleys. The ranch’s claim to fame is that no two rides are ever the same! Bar Lazy J offers extended rides featuring longer stretches of loping that are typically at a faster pace, perfect for thrill-seekers. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and animals as you ride through the various terrains.
  1. Learn to Fly Fish: The fly fishing and guided fishing tours at Diamond D Ranch are truly like no other. With streams 50 yards away from the cabins and a private lake on the ranch grounds in Stanley, Idaho, guests do not have to go far to relax and catch fresh rainbow and other native trout. Diamond D Ranch offers guided fly-fishing tours that range from a quick afternoon on the creek to multi-day, pack trip expeditions. It truly is an angler’s paradise!
  1. Watch and Learn from the Rodeo Pros: Every Wednesday afternoon at White Stallion Ranch in Tuscon, Ariz., guests get to watch a real, traditional rodeo in action! As a tradition for almost 50 years, the wranglers and their families and friends come together in the White Stallion arena to compete in team roping, barrel racing and breakaway roping. Throughout the rodeo, narrators regale ranch guests with tales of the traditions behind the rodeo and the history of the West.
  1. Become a Sharp Shooter: Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Harrison, Idaho, provides guests with a one-of-a-kind shooting experience with its 3D archery stations. Participants are taken on a hike through a trail in the woods to the course with life-size targets. These targets vary from life-size turkeys and elk to the occasional mountain lion, simulating a real hunting expedition.
  1. Experience an Adventure Pack Trip: Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch in Seeley Lake, Mont., offers pack trips in the crown jewel of America’s wilderness system. These pack trips, which range from five to 10 days, take place in the 1.5 million acre Bob Marshall wilderness full of valleys, lakes, streams and mountains. Adventurers are on horseback and move camp every other day, with the non-riding days filled with fishing and exploring.
  1. Participate in Rodeo Games: One of the most unique and authentic activities at Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch in Quincy, Calif., is their Guest Rodeo Games. After a hearty Hamburger Cookout, guests meet at the corral for an afternoon of fun with the wranglers. The famous Greenhorn Games are for everyone in the family and feature barrel racing, pole-bending, keyhole competitions and even an egg race!

For more information or help in choosing the perfect ranch for you and your family please contact us at 307-587-2339 of shoot us an e-mail at info@duderanch.org.


Dude Ranches: Activities and Programs for Millennials

Millennials are the world traveling generation; they crave excitement and unique experiences that cannot be satisfied with just any vacation. According to a recent study done by MMGY Global, millennials travel more often than any other generational group. With an influence forecasted to grow even more over the coming decades, millennials are looking for destinations that provide them with one-of-a-kind, authentic activities along with “green” and sustainable travel experiences.

With the DRA representing more than 100 dude and guest ranches that offer an abundance of unique activities to satisfy any millennial’s adventurous spirit, we think we are the perfect fit for them. From sunup to sundown, millennials can go horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV riding and much more.

A dude ranch is an all-inclusive, one-stop shop with a variety of offerings that cater to the millennial set, from accommodations and scenery to lessons and excursions. Additionally, DRA-accredited guest ranches have been the pioneers of green living and sustainable vacations for decades. From growing organic food and using energy-efficient appliances to making their own biodegradable fuel, dude ranches offer guests the ability to enjoy travel while reducing their “footprint.”

Below please find a sampling of unique programs and experiences available at DRA member ranches that appeal to millennials.

Dude Ranches: Activities and Programs for Millennials

• Many DRA-accredited dude ranches like Rainbow Trout Ranch and the Bar W Ranch have whitewaterrafting expeditions for guests to enjoy. Experience whitewater rafting dude ranch-style at the Bar W Ranch in Montana or at Rainbow Trout Ranch in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and challenge yourself to an adventure through the wild rapids. Take in the scenic backdrops of the beautiful Rockies or rolling ridges that adorn the Montana countryside while working together as a team.

Horseshoe Canyon activities Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is offered at multiple dude ranches like Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas. Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is known in the climbing community for some of the finest sandstone sport climbing in the world. Come experience it for yourself as you scale large cliffs and peer over the breathtaking terrain.

• Celebrating farm-to-table cuisine is an important part of Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford, Colo. The ranch’s own farmstead garden cultivates over 80 varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemicals. Additionally, with access to 1.3 million acres of the Gunnison National Forest and West Elk Wilderness, the ranch has a nearly unlimited and untouched outdoor kingdom right outside its doorstep.

• Situated in the heart of the Salmon River Mountains in Stanley, Idaho, Diamond D Ranch is completely off the power grid as electricity is provided by the ranch’s very own hydro-electric generator. The ranch features an endless variety of country and wildlife to see, streams to fish, and mountains to hike or horseback ride.

• Dude ranches like Gros Ventre River Ranch and the Home Ranch offer diverse horseback riding programs. At Gros Venre River Ranch, choose between a scenic walking ride or a challenging excursion into the surrounding hills. For a different take on horseback riding, visit The Home Ranch in Clark, Colo., for a unique luxurious week of health, wellness and relaxation with its “Experience Yoga and Horses Retreat” that takes place during exclusive weeks in late May and October.

 

Dude Ranches: Activities and Programs for Millenials

With the DRA representing more than 100 dude and guest ranches that offer an abundance of unique activities to satisfy any millennial’s adventurous spirit, we think dude ranches are the perfect fit for them. From sunup to sundown, millennials can go horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV riding and much 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.

Hawley Mountain Ranch - Things to do - Hiking Summit

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 been before you. If wetting a fly line is your passion, you’re in luck again. Many ranches are located along private stretches of world famous trout streams and rivers. Others are within easy reach of cold, clear mountain lakes and streams that see little action, except from ranch guests. Many ranches offer fly fishing lessons and expert guides that can help you find that perfect spot. Some even have Orvis endorsed fishing programs. Almost all have a stocked fishing pond right on the premises.

Nine Quarter Circle Ranch - Things to do - Cast a line

Cast a line at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Learn about our natural history, hunt for arrow heads, or even find a dinosaur bone! You can do it on a dude ranch. Try out Native American crafts or skills, join one of the ranch trips to nearby historical or archaeological sites, or pack a lunch and spend a day on a guided 4X4 trip touring gold mines, ghost towns or your favorite national park. Don’t forget your camera! Looking for a more relaxed pace? No problem. Wile away the day lounging by the pool or hot tub, read a good book in the shade of a stream-side tree or see how many of the abundant and colorful birds you can identify from your cabin porch swing. Evening walks in the meadow with family or friends are good for the soul - - and you might even see that doe and fawn coming to the stream for a drink. Don’t forget the optional overnight pack trip, river rafting, mountain biking, tennis, cookouts, hayrides, campfires sing-a-longs and line or square dancing offered by many ranches.

Diamond D Ranch - Things to Do - Pack Trips

On the way to your pack trip at the Diamond D Ranch

Remember, no cooking, cleaning or chores of any kind on a ranch vacation (unless you want to help the cowboys round up a few strays or feed the horses), just more fun and relaxation than you can imagine. Can’t fit it all the things to do in to one week? Don’t worry, there’s always next year to look forward to.

Find more things to do

Search www.duderanch.org for more things to do on our Find a Ranch by Activities and Amenities interactive search page.  

Adventures in Living ~ Idaho Dude Ranches

Idaho is more than just potatoes. It is also home to your next mountain adventure. Whether this state is your next vacation destination or you are just passing through, it is worth an extra moment to enjoy. For a top quality ranch experience, stay at one of these Idaho sweet spots. A destination wedding, some 'ranch-y' cattle work or a guided hunt into the wilderness is just the beginning. Find more Idaho family or horsemanship locations here.

Happily Ever After

Diamond D Ranch in Idaho

Say your vows in the chapel built by hand, to create some of your most incredible memories at the Diamond D Ranch.  This special chapel was the vision of Linda Demorest and it took 11 summers to complete, built rock by rock. Linda is a minister and performs many weddings in this small, beautiful chapel built along Loon Creek.

Dates Open June 1 - October 15


4th Generation Cattle Ranch

McGarry Ranches Cattle Drive 2

Theorn McGarry, a lifelong cowboy, oversees the day to day cattle operations.  As the fourth generation rancher he invites you to participate in the maintenance and well being of his ranch cattle herd. Day to day activities also include roping, driving cattle to new pastures, fence mending and never ending odd jobs on over 55,000 acres at the McGarry Ranches.

Dates Open May 1 - October 31


Elk, Deer & Bear Hunts

Seven Devils Lodge in Idaho

Seven Devils Lodge & Guide Service hunts are guided on all private land with no fences.  Because the lodge is so passionate about the entire hunting experience they look forward to glassing in the morning and being out at first light just as much as the hunter.   A true sportsman experience is what we’re about.

Dates Open ~ January 1 - November 30


     

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