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. 

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 the road. Who wants tacos for dinner? And you hear simultaneously, “I do!” and “No way!” and this process repeats itself until finally you order pizza and take it back to the hotel room. This just isn’t the case at a dude ranch. All the guess work is taken out of the equation and professional trained chefs make wonderful dinners for the whole family - even if someone has a special dietary need. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all planned out for you. And the best part? Moms get to enjoy this with the whole family, not worrying one bit about clean up, grocery shopping, making sure there’s something on the menu the kids will eat. Once you let the kitchen know what you’ll need for the family, the entire week will be “all gravy,” if you will, at the dinner table. 

Chores are non-existent 

A ranch vacation goes far beyond booking a typical hotel or even staying at a vacation rental home. We all know what it would take to replace mom’s job while on vacation, an entire team of folks. And that’s just what we’ve got for you for your week stay. With a two to one guest to staff ratio moms won’t have to worry about cleaning up your cabin - a swat team of house keepers are deployed every morning, that will sweep through every room, tidying up every sock and pj’s from the day before. And what about the dishes? There won’t be any fighting over who’s turn it is. Mom certainly won’t have to do it and neither will the kids. And, not one time during the week will anyone have to vacuum dirt dragged in from the barn. If something breaks, no worries, maintenance crews are on staff with all the right tools. 

The activity planning is already done

Moms won’t have to worry about scouring the internet for things to do at your destination. Stop the hassle of worrying about TripAdvisor reviews of afternoon excursions for outdoor adventures. The ranch will have you and the whole family covered for fun things to do. The best thing about this? You won’t have to plan every step or every activity out for the week before hand. You and the family can decide in the morning what you want to do. There won’t be any need for additional transportation. Fly into the airport and someone from the ranch will be there to pick you up. There won’t be any need for a map or navigation - unless of course you go geocaching while you’re there. 

family vacation

Bar Lazy J Ranch - Parshall, CO

Everyone can be together or free to be with their own age group.  

Sometimes the adults want to have some time together, and kid’s counselors makes this easy and fun for everyone. With a full day of programing, your kids have the option to be with their peers all day playing games and learning about the Western cowboy lifestyle. And mom and dad can make some much needed memories as a couple. 

Cell phones are put away!  

Without cell service in most locations and limited WIFI, everyone in the family will be encouraged to leave their phones alone. When you think about it, if you are spending your days at the barn riding horses or fishing, your hands are full and won’t be able to carry around your cell phone. Minimal opportunities for electronics are definitely something any parent will love about dude ranches. 

Hello Fresh Air and Sunshine 

Moms will have an easy time getting kids outside. Dude ranches are known for their beautiful settings in the mountains. With every horseback ride or afternoon rodeo, kids and parents will get plenty of time in the great outdoors. The only thing to remember is your camera. Although the pictures won’t do justice of the real-life experiences, you’ll enjoy looking back on the pictures of your kids on green grass and mountain views. 

family vacation

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch - McLeod, MT 

Crowds? What crowds? 

Dude ranches are full of wide-open spaces and an intimate number of people. Moms won’t have to worry about anyone getting lost in the crowd, or have to wait in long lines to do anything, really. With an average of 30 guests per week on most dude ranches, everybody will get to meet each other, the staff and other guests alike. By the end of the week everyone in the family is sure to have made a new friend.  Who knows? You might even book the exact same week next year to hang out with the same families.  

Moms will certainly be able to enjoy a much-needed vacation on a dude ranch. As a worry-free destination everyone will get to have fun and get to take a break from the normal day-to-day routines. Here are some great destinations to consider for your next visit. 

 

Family Vacation at a Dude Ranch 

7D Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Cody, Wyoming

Bar Lazy J Ranch Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Majestic Dude Ranch Mancos, Colorado

Tumbling River Ranch In the Rocky Mountains, Grant, Colorado 

Crossed Sabres Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Cody, WY

Elkhorn Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin Gateway, MT

Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch Near Yellowstone National Park, McLeod, MT

Paradise Guest Ranch In the Big Horn Mountains, Buffalo, WY

 

Looking for more options? Read about: 

Affordable Ranch Vacations for your Family  
A Family Dude Ranch Vacation - Fun for All Ages  
The Best Multi Generational Dude Ranches 

 

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ude 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. Read about all the reasons moms choose dude ranch vacations for a great family vacation.

The 9 Best Dude & Guest Ranches for an Arizona Ranch Vacation

Without question Arizona is a beautiful state and a wonderful destination for a dude & guest ranch vacation during the winter months, and all year long. The state is known for some of the most colorful characters in American history. Here, you can walk (or horseback ride) in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. With a personal guide for the many outdoor activities Arizona ranch vacations offer you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the particular area of each dude ranch.


With a variety of geographical features, you might ride in the mountains, deserts and grass lands. With 27 National Parks in Arizona the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the Saguaro National Park will be just the start to explore the state of Arizona.



Here are the 9 Best Dude & Guest Ranches for an Arizona Ranch Vacation and the top reasons for going to each one.

 

Tombstone Town Western


Visit One of the Most Iconic Western Towns

Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona when you visit here you will get to walk the streets that Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and outlaw Curly Bill Brocius once walked. It has been said at this ranch the guests don’t just feel like they got away, they feel like they have traveled back in time.

 

traditional


Saguaro National Park with western adventure, solitude and luxury amenities

The Tanque Verde Ranch just east of Tucson will make your next stay an unforgettable Arizona ranch vacation experience. With the La Sonora Spa, fine dining, great horseback riding and additional outdoor activities for all ages your whole family will love this dude ranch resort.

 

Circle Z Field View Cowgirl


Ride Across the Grasslands in Southern Arizona

At Circle Z Ranch you will get to experience the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands and thousands of acres of scenic horseback riding trails. You’ll get to ride out on the distinct Arizona grasslands, but also experience canyons and mountains rising suddenly and dramatically out of the desert lowlands. You might come for the views, but you’ll come back for the hospitality.

 

Elkhorn Ranch Arizona Ranch Vacation


Where the Baboquivari Mountains and the Altar Valley Meet

Whether you travel solo, as a couple or with your whole family, you will find friendship, rest and adventure at the Elkhorn Ranch and the miles and miles of mountain and desert trails. The area is home to an extensive variety of curious sonoran vegetation and birding.

 

White Stallion Running


All Day Riding and Team Penning

At the White Stallion Ranch near Tucson you can spend up to 6 hours a day in the saddle and practice your team penning skills three times a week. For your non-riding companions there’s still plenty to do. A tennis court, sport court, petting zoo, game room, movie theater and hiking program provide fun activities for all ages.

 

Flying E Barn Gather


Working Cattle Ranch to Ride and Roam   

The Flying E Dude Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona has 20,000 acres to ride and there is seldom a day without sunshine. This is a casual and relaxed ranch with home cooked meals served family style. You can enjoy beginner, intermediate and advanced riding as well as many non riding ranch activities.

 

Rancho De Los Caballeros Horseback Riding Golf

 

Ride horses and Tee off at one of Golf Digest’s Top 100 U.S. courses

Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona offers the perfect getaway to the old southwest. As a resort with the soul of a bed and breakfast you’ll feel the charm and intimacy of yesteryear with the amenities of a resort. Horseback riding and golf are just the start of the list of things to do at this Arizona Ranch Vacation.

 

Rancho De La Osa Historical Black and White


Arizona’s Most Historic Ranch

Rancho De La Osa in Sasabe, Arizona is a sportsman’s paradise and is surrounded by the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge near the Mexican Border. You can enjoy a scenic horseback ride on trails frequented by U.S. Presidents and legendary figures like Pancho Villa.

 

Stagecoach Trails Arizona Ranch Vacation

 

Family Atmosphere Welcomes all

The Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch invites guests to stay at the ranch and be a part of the guest ranch family, even if it is only for a little while. At the feet of the Mohave and Hualapi mountains you can be assured of breathtaking views, constant sunny days and a fantastic Arizona ranch vacation.



Pin this for later!

Without question Arizona is a beautiful state and a wonderful destination for a dude & guest ranch vacation during the winter months, and all year long. Here, you can walk (or horseback ride) in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. With a personal guide for the many outdoor activities Arizona ranch vacations offer you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the particular area of each dude ranch

What About Dude Ranch Horses?

Elkhorn Ranch Horses

Horses are the magnificent, noble center piece of which dude ranching is built around. Horses have been carrying riders for centuries and provide the most in depth way to experience and explore the historical American West. Members of the Dude Ranchers' Association offer the best and most reliable horses you and your family could want. Please take a look at the following ways to enjoy different horseback riding programs. There are many ways to find your perfect horses: From the way the horses are raised, riders experience levels and to the locations or types of riding you want to do. Be specific and select the ranch that matches you and your family's dude ranch vacation dreams. There is perfectly fitting ranch for everyone.

Ranch Raised Horses

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Standpoint, Idaho is very proud of their four-legged working partners. They maintain a herd of about 40 registered Quarterhorses, Appaloosas, and Paints for their saddle horses. Two teams of Belgian, two teams of Percherons and one team of Shire-cross are used for their sleigh and wagon rides. Most of the horses are either born and raised on the ranch or born on one of the owners' brothers’ ranches. The horses are worked with and handled at an early age to begin adapting them to their future uses. As two-year olds, their official training begins, getting them used to the saddle and working them in the round pen. They then graduate to the arena. And then to some short trail rides. A training system called the “Basic Handle,” founded by Monte Forman and Pat Wyse is used. This system creates a safe, responsive, and sensible horse. As three- and four-year-olds, these horses are used as mounts for the trail guides. Then, as five-year-olds, they begin their career as mounts for our guests. They use both mares and geldings and rotate mares in and out as they produce more offspring for our future string. Click here for more information about Western Pleasure's individual horses.

Riding for All Levels - Experienced Riders to Can't-a-lopes

With relaxed instruction from our capable wranglers, you will soon feel safe and comfortable on horseback at Elkhorn Ranch in Montana. As the terrain permits, more experienced riders will lope their horses from time to time.  Wranglers are always happy to instruct any guest who needs a little extra help sharpening their riding skills. Grown-ups, fossils or can’t-a-lopes as they are affectionately known, will be offered a variety of horseback trips each day designed to suit their interest and ability. They will get them into the high country as the week and their confidence progress.  Rides are small, normally with less than eight guests in a group. Our youngest, the Peanuts, ride, play and eat together.  On the trail, they go for carefully supervised rides.  may include a river swim, a visit to an old cowboy fort or a trip to the Bear Caves.  Teenagers also band together, and invariably have spirited rides full of adventures that always seem to grow in the retelling.  Whether you choose short and relaxing or long and challenging, sharing a mountain trail seems to build friendships for guests of every age.  As you brush your horse down before heading back to your cabin, you will  smile at the prospect of returning to the barn tomorrow – well-fed, well-rested, and ready to enjoy another spectacular summer day on a high country trail in the Montana Rockies.

Mountain Trails and Arena Events

Paradise Ranch Horses

Paradise Guest Ranch's riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices. They offer two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides. Some day rides include lunches packed on mules & cooked along the trail. Horsemanship classes are available.  Hook up with one of our seasoned wranglers and spend a morning riding through the wildflower strewn mountain meadows in the surrounding Bighorn National Forest. You’ll ride trails through mountain scenery that will take your breath away. Or spend an afternoon in our private rodeo arena practicing team penning or barrels and poles. These are timed events and competitive with fun for all. Special team penning classes are available. And the week ends with a special kids' rodeo featuring the ranch's most kid friendly horses. Unescorted Explorations Eatons' Ranch offers our guests the unique opportunity to ride one of our 220 horses unescorted with the permission of the Ranch. This allows guests the remarkable freedom to fully explore this beautiful 7,000 acres of country. Guests can ride out from our Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. We also have all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides. Riding is a bit more limited on weekends; there are only morning and afternoon rides on Saturday, and on Sunday there is only a morning ride as the rest of the day is our horse holiday. Wranglers are always available to guide rides and offer instruction. Watch this video about Eatons' Ranch and their riding program.

Rowses 1 + 1 Cattle Drive Horses`

Work Cattle in True Cowboy Style When you stay at Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch, you’ll live a real ranching life, and experience the simple pleasures of our western American heritage. It’s a land where neighbors have lent a helping hand for generations. A place where the front door is always open and fresh coffee’s waiting.  Spring, Summer or Fall…Each season is different and special at the 1+1 Ranch. No matter the season you’ll get plenty of time in the saddle on the best of our ranch horses. Spring brings the excitement of calves and foals being born, working cattle, cattle drives, and brandings. Summer brings long pasture rides checking cattle, cattle drives, working cattle, cowboy socials, team roping, and team penning. October is fall Round-Up, which involves long cattle drives on horseback, team roping, and penning.


 

The Gift of Memories - Holidays at the Ranch

Seven Devils Snow SnowmobilingThe best holiday gifts don’t sport a designer logo. Nor do they come from a big box store. The best gifts are meaningful, lasting long after the credit card bills are due. This season enjoy the gift of family time on a Western dude ranch vacation. Gather your loved ones and retreat to the tranquil surroundings of a Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) member ranch. A DRA ranch promises families an exceptional retreat far from the madness of holiday commercialism. There are more than 100 DRA ranches, found in the deserts and mountains of the American West and Canada.  Your family can spend the holidays at the ranch best suited to your interests and lifestyle. Ranches come with all-inclusive rates and many offer special holiday rates and packages. Our ranches in Arizona offer trail rides under a warm desert sun, as well as hiking, mountain biking, tennis and swimming. Northern ranches from Colorado to Canada entertain families with guided snowmobile tours, access to downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling? But best of all, dude ranches offer families something that can’t find in a shopping mall; cherished quality time spent together making lasting memories. See the ranches below that provide an exceptional experience during the holiday season.


CIRCLE Z RANCH Circle Z Ranch is open from late October through early May. Located in the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands, this desert oasis treats guests to vistas dotted with grasslands, canyons and mountain ranges. There are more than 100 miles of trails spanning landscapes of Sonoran prickly pear and ocotillo, to oak and pine forest. In addition to horseback riding, activities include nature education programs, hiking and bird watching, as well as lots of photo opps and fine dining. Circle Z offers several packages tailored for winter travelers.   

SEVEN DEVILS GUEST RANCH & GUIDE SERVICE Located in central Idaho, just south of the Seven Devils mountain range, the Seven Devils Lodge lies in a unique area, neighboring jutting canyons, high desert and soaring mountains. Winter brings some of the best back country snowmobiling to life at Seven Devils Lodge, with many guests returning year after year for the experience. Riders from all over seek out the guest ranch because of its unparalleled access to trackless back country snowmobiling. Riding begins right out the front door, and offers trails for the novice to the highly skilled.

ELKHORN RANCH Fifty miles southwest of Tucson, Ariz., Elkhorn Ranch is nestled in secluded Sabino Canyon. At an altitude of 3700 feet, the ranch is surrounded by the picturesque Baboquivari Mountains and the open Sonoran desert country of the Altar Valley. From November through April, guests can enjoy a traditional winter season guest or dude ranch vacation experience, made complete with horseback riding suitable for riders of all ages and experience levels. Whether you travel solo, as a couple or with your family, you will find friendship, rest and adventure amidst miles of mountain and desert trails.

WESTERN PLEASURE RANCH The first hint of snow means it’s time for sleigh rides, skiing and snowmobiles at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Northern Idaho. Spend time with loved ones while enjoying a dinner and sleigh ride. Explore the ranch via snowshoes or cross-country skis. Or enjoy a Bed and Breakfast stay. Western Pleasure is located on 1,100 acres and adjacent to thousands of acres of land with breathtaking views of the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains. Winter specials include several ski packages, a snowmobile package and spa package.  

LATIGO RANCH Located approximately 130 miles west of Denver, Colorado, Latigo Ranch is situated in one of the most beautiful places on earth and offers a panoramic view of the Continental Divide. Guests can drink in the views, inhale the crisp mountain air, and gaze in awe at some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery from the front porch of the ranch’s historic log lodge. Guests will experience warm hospitality and winter activities, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing that keep Latigo Ranch guests coming back year after year. The outdoor activities are as invigorating as the inside comforts are cozy. Winter rates and packages start just before Christmas and run through late March.

LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH For the ultimate Rocky Mountain winter adventure, visit Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Mont. The ranch is perfectly situated just six miles from some of the best skiing in the country and was voted as the No. 1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine. Winter activities include skiing (Nordic, downhill and backcountry), snowshoeing and sleigh ride dinners. Guests can even take a short shuttle ride to explore Yellowstone National Park or the Gallatin National Forest by skis or snowshoes. Winter packages are currently available.


     

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