The #1 Adventure Destination for Solo Travel

Solo Travel

Nowadays, more and more people are saddling up and taking off to find themselves on soul-searching solo trips. From gap-year students to the recently single, everyone seems to have a thirst for adventure. Planning solo travel can be very intimidating and overwhelming; where should you go and what should you do? While venturing off to the rural mountains of India might not be intimidating to some people, it wouldn’t be our top recommendation for your first solo trip. If you’re looking for a solo vacation that is comfortable, yet pushes you out of your comfort zone, we recommend the #1 Western Adventure Destination: a dude ranch. There are many advantages to dude and guest ranch destinations for solo travelers, keep reading to learn about why a ranch vacation surpasses the rest!

Fun and Safe Environment

You won’t have to worry about getting lonely on the ranch! You will instantly feel like part of the family as there is great camaraderie amongst guests and staff. It instantly becomes your home away from home! Many guest ranches only accommodate up to 30 or 40 guests per week, which not only allows the staff to know your name but also results in you getting to know most of the other guests. Meals are often served family-style so there are always guests to chat with throughout the day, making sure you feel like part of the family and never like you are on the “outskirts” if traveling alone. Horseback riding will bring you closer with other guests too; engaging conversations with people on your rides as you share the beautiful landscape and memories together will be something you always remember.

Activities

There is never a dull moment at a dude ranch. There are activities to keep you busy from sunup to sundown such as horseback riding for beginner and advanced riders, fly fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, cattle roping, ATV-riding and SO much more. Plus, these activities are usually done in groups so you won’t encounter any “couples only” activities or events if you don’t want to. All of the DRA  member ranches are all-inclusive, taking away the burden of trying to decide where to eat and what to do. If you are looking for a little time by yourself though, relaxing at your cabin reading a good book or soak in nature at her finest in a hammock is an option too. The beauty of a dude ranch is that you get to choose your own schedule, your vacation can be as active or as quiet as you like!

Adult-Only and Specialty Weeks

Many dude and guest ranches report fewer “couples” visiting now than in the past. As a result, many of these ranches host adult-only weeks in the fall. Activities during these weeks range from wine and cheese tastings, guided hikes, cooking classes, country dance instruction, cookouts, themed cocktail receptions, fly-fishing clinics and much more. These weeks offer a great environment for solo travelers because mostly everyone is there for a relaxing getaway with no families and the opportunity to meet new people and bond over the mystic beauty of the Old West.

Develop As An Individual 

Solo travel is an empowering way to find your independence and develop more as an individual. Dude ranches are a great place to spend time alone to revive your body, spirit, and mind in some of the most spectacular areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. Whether it’s a rejuvenating day at the spa, an adventurous hike or a relaxing day reading a book under the sun, you are sure to have plenty of quality alone time. Many ranches will even allow you to completely “unplug” by being out of cell phone and internet service. You may be surprised at how good this could be for you once you get the chance to do so, especially in today’s world.

How to Find a Ranch for Solo Travelers

Finding the right ranch for a solo traveler might be a little overwhelming because of all of the varying options. Let the Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) help you plan the perfect solo vacation (for FREE!). Whether you are looking for an authentic cowboy experience or a luxury resort, the DRA can help customize the solo trip of your dreams. There are currently almost 100 DRA-accredited dude and guest ranches in the Western United States and Canada, all of which uphold the highest quality of services within the industry. Take a look at some fantastic DRA ranches suited for solo travelers by visiting www.duderanch.org. If you need further assistance in selecting a ranch, contact a dude ranch expert at info@duderanch.org!

Solo Travel

6 Misconceptions about Dude Ranch Vacations

Thought you knew everything there was to know about dude ranch vacations? Maybe you were right, maybe you were wrong—go ahead, see what you know!

1. We are going to eat pork and beans…from a can...over the campfire.

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about a dude ranch vacation is the food! I suppose this stems from watching old western flicks and observing what cowboys eat. Many ranches actually source local ingredients (some have on-site greenhouses) and create culinary masterpieces. Some ranches feature wood-fired pizzas and craft cocktails such as prickly pear margaritas, while others offer wine tastings and fine dining experiences. You can select a ranch solely based on your appetite!

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, allergies? No problem, with enough notice, ranch chefs are delighted to cater to special dietary needs.

dude ranch vacationsdude ranch vacations

Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, CO                                          Elk Mountain Ranch - Buena Vista, CO

2. We only ride horses.

Horses are a major part of the dude ranch experience as they relate to the tradition of dude ranches. Beyond horseback riding, there are several other experiences to enjoy. Nature lovers will relish in hiking, bird-watching and nature walks. Adrenaline junkies will love the mountain biking and whitewater rafting. Other activities for folks seeking something in-between include fly fishing, archery, and even cooking classes. Most all-inclusive stays at a dude ranch include any and all activities. See the complete list of activities here!

dude ranch vacations

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch - Winston, NM

3. We’re going to sleep on hay, right?

While some ranches may be considered more luxurious than others, all sleeping quarters are quiet, cozy and comfortable. Rustic and historic accents fill the rooms, from old poster beds to antique quilts.

dude ranch vacations

Smith Fork Ranch - Crawford, CO

4. Dude ranch vacations are only available in the summertime.

Some dude ranches close for the winter, but many are still open! When snow blankets the Rocky Mountains, the dude ranches simply shift their focus. Activities during your stay might feature snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing, with a long soak in the hot tub at the end of your day. If you still fancy a traditional dude ranch experience, escape the cold and fly south to a ranch in Arizona! Ride through saguaro cactus country, and soak up the neon sunsets in the evening.

dude ranch vacations

dude ranch vacations

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch - Wickenburg, AZ                                        Bar W Ranch - Whitefish, MT

 

5. It’s just so expensive.

For the most part, you’ll find that the all-inclusive rate at the dude ranches covers a full day of activities, food, and lodging. When you compare the rate for a stay at a dude ranch versus another family vacation, you will likely find that it’s actually cheaper! Plus, you won’t have to obsess over different places to stay, where to eat, what to do, and getting around. At a dude ranch you pay one rate, show up and simply enjoy time together with your family.

dude ranch vacations

Goosewing Ranch - Jackson, WY

6. There are too many kids.

Dude ranches make for an excellent family vacation—no doubt! There’s something there for everyone to enjoy. For some though, having a vacation means leaving the kids at home. Many of the ranches offer kid-free weeks, perfect for romantic getaways, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and maybe even corporate retreats. With or without children, you will find peace and tranquility during your dude ranch vacation.

dude ranch vacations

CM Ranch - Dubois, WY

This article was created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.

 

6 Misconceptions about Dude Ranch Vacations

 

Thought you knew everything there was to know about dude ranch vacations? Maybe you were right, maybe you were wrong—go ahead, see what you know!

 

 

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