Plan your perfect trip to an outdoor spring break vacation at a dude ranch and leave the crowds behind. You'll arrive at to an exclusive place with fun in the sun and adventure. These horseback riding vacations in Arizona and New Mexico are spring break destinations you won’t soon forget. Wouldn't you agree it’s time for a much-needed escape from work, school and your winter routine? If you say yes, your family is ready to go an all-inclusive week-long stay to one of the ranches below. We’ve done the planning for you and gathered some of the best options for your next getaway for your family and friends. These ranches are accredited through the Dude Ranchers’ Association and approved by the generations of families over the years who still go back year after year. We're sure you'll have a great time.
Spring Break Destinations
for an Outdoor Adventure
Enjoy the moderate temperatures of Arizona at the Kay El Bar Ranch in Wickenburg. Registered as a national historic landmark, guests become part of the tradition of the ranch that started back in 1926. Known as a desert oasis, family and friends alike will enjoy horseback riding in the warm Arizona sun.
For that extra added adventure, the Kay El Bar Ranch offers cattle penning, or team penning for riders - and even children from 7 and up - who want to test their skills. You’ll receive instruction on this timeless cowboy activity that started with practicing common ranch work. Divided up into teams you’ll work together to move a cow from one area into a pen. Sounds easy enough right? Well, easy or not you are sure to have a blast on this spring break destination.
If you’re considering new spring break destinations, consider the Elkhorn Ranch in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. You might end up with a new family tradition, because this is certainly a place for the whole family. Multi-generational activities include horseback riding, sitting around the heated swimming pool or even swimming in it. Kids are mentored for the week by an authentic cowboy, learning how to care for their horse. Grandma and grandpa get to show everyone how adventurous they really are on a horseback ride through the desert.
The food has always been delicious at the ranch, with a variety of experiences for the refined palate from the finest southwestern cuisine in the nicely appointed dining room to a classic barbeque with hot dogs and s’mores over the open fire. See the softer, and family-oriented side of spring in Arizona at the Elkhorn Ranch. Unplug and enjoy a week together as a family.
The Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch welcomes guests to the ride through the Gila National Forest, near Winston, New Mexico. This 3.3 million-acre forest offers a diverse terrain for guests to explore. With nearly year-round sunshine, the outdoors is a very exciting place to be, especially on horseback. Daily rides will take you along the creek into dramatic canyons. Looking out you will see that 50 yards from the trail the mountains jut up from the canyon floor hundreds of feet on each side for a sight unlike anywhere else in the world.
When you are not taking in the scenery, cruising along in the saddle is the perfect time for a conversation with your family. Sighting local flora and fauna might be a welcomed interruption - humming birds, javelina pigs, wild flowers and you might even come across some 1,000-year-old pottery. This type of adventure would be a spring break package any family would be hard-pressed to resist.
This working cattle guest ranch will bring your childhood cowboy dreams to reality. You’ll feel the hay day of the American West through the ambience of the ranch accommodations and surrounding vistas. Located in the sleepy village of Puerto Luna near Santa Rosa, New Mexico the Creek Ranch will take you on a journey you will never forget. The wild terrain is the perfect back drop for a fun trail ride with your friends. Splashing through creeks, quiet evenings with your friends and even picnic lunches along the trail are only a few of the highlights of the experience.
The ranch has adobe style lodgings with a classic cowboy feel for only a select number of people. Only a dozen guests are hosted at a time on the ranch , so you are sure to get a warm experience with the cowboys at the ranch, who are eager to share their livelihood of cattle work with the guests. At the end of the day you’ll see views that will honestly take your breath away - and a sunset that will truly reach your soul. For that refreshing spring break location, Creek Ranch will be a great family trip.
Circle Z Ranch is great western ranch that has been in operation for nearly a century. It is the oldest, continually operating dude ranch in Arizona and offers a genuine western experience that has guests coming back year after year. With a high return rate, it’s an intangible feeling of this ranch being a second home that make guests feel more like family than a visitor. It is certainly an icon of western hospitality.
The accommodations of the ranch are located at the bottom of the Circle Z Mountain, the name sake of the ranch, and from this view point you can see a panoramic view of two mountain ranges and even look over into Mexico. At the top, guests become a part of the history at the ranch through a log book that has been around for ages. The ranch is also known for an emphasis on a great riding program, with exceptional horses, fun loping rides, horsemanship clinics and riding lessons.
More Spring Break Destinations
Make this spring break count at a dude ranch. Looking for more options than these? Discover more spring break destinations at ranches with critically acclaimed cross-country skiing, California rafting trips with horseback riding, or even rock climbing in Arkansas.
Keep in touch with dude ranch vacation news and updates by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.