Only 23% of employees are taking all of their eligible time off, according to a recent survey by job site Glassdoor. In fact, the average employee takes about half (54%) of his or her vacation time—a number that hasn’t changed much since Glassdoor asked the question in 2014.
We are often asked why do dude ranches want you to stay a full week versus a couple of days? Well, there are many reasons which we will get to but first, we wanted to give you some facts about why using all your vacation days is so important to not only your physical health but your mental health. The top four reasons that we found are:
• Vacations clear your mind and relieve stress – Allowing you to actually think about what is really important to you and what makes you happy, not your employer.
• Disconnect and recharge – Helping you reconnect with family and friends in person.
• They give you more energy, you naturally get exercise when traveling which in return will help you sleep better.
• Getting outside and connecting with nature.
Here are a couple of great articles supporting the importance of taking time off:
Now back to full weeks versus shorter stays at dude ranches. As you all know dude ranches are all-inclusive destination vacation spots. Therefore, they operate on a schedule to make sure you as a guest get to experience everything there is to experience. Below are the top three reasons to spend a week at a dude ranch:
1. If you leave only after three days you will definitely be missing out on either the breakfast ride, the all-day ride, the white-water rafting trip, the talent shows, the rodeo, the dance night, the campfire cowboy singer, steak night, an incredible morning hike to watch the sunrise and the list goes on and on.
2. In this busy world that we all live in it takes the first three days on any vacation just to destress, disconnect and get your mind off work and all that encompasses. At a dude ranch, you need time to really experience not only all the activities but the beautiful surroundings these ranches are located in. You need time to sit on the porch with a good book, have an actual conversation with your kids, or how about just being still enough to hear the wonderful sounds of nature, a babbling stream, the beautiful sounds of a meadowlark? Trust me you will not need your “White Noise” app to get a good night’s sleep here.
3. Because of dude ranch’s small guest capacities, the atmosphere lends itself to really connecting with the other guests there. Trust us, if you stay the entire week you will make lifelong friends. The DRA has ranches that have guests that come back year after year the same week so they vacation with the people they met the first time they visited the ranch. It is really hard to make these valuable connections in less than a week. The longer stay gives your kids the chance to connect not only with the other kids but with their horses and the amazing kids’ wranglers these ranches have on staff.
Below is a sampling of ranches in The Dude Ranchers Association that offer week-long stays during their prime season:
Bar Lazy J Ranch, Colorado
Nestled in a peaceful valley along the banks of the Colorado River, they are considered the oldest continuously operating Colorado Dude Ranch. Since 1912 their family-friendly ranch has been welcoming guests for recreation and relaxation. That’s over 100 years of creating lasting memories!
JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Montana
Their all-inclusive Montana ranch vacation getaways are for anyone, from the beginner to experienced rider, hiker or fisherman. Included are excellent meals, private log cabin lodging, unlimited outdoor activities, responsive horses, friendly staff, fantastic kids’ programs or special adult-only weeks. Great for families! The folks at JJJ believe in Western hospitality, gracious service, and lasting friendships.
7D Ranch, Wyoming
Surrounded by national forest and just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, the 7D offers a setting of extraordinary beauty. Whether you are looking for a great guest ranch vacation, a pack trip into the Wyoming wilderness, or a fall hunting trip, let 7D’s friendly family and staff provide you and yours with an experience of a lifetime.
Cherokee Park Ranch, Colorado
Cherokee Park Ranch is a family-owned, all-inclusive Colorado dude ranch vacation and horseback riding destination nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Livermore, Colorado. They always say, “Come as a stranger, leave as family,” and they promise that as a guest, Cherokee Park Ranch will forever hold a special place in your heart. In fact, 86% of their guests are returns, that just goes to prove how special this place really is!
McGarry Ranches, Idaho
If you wish to experience the lifestyle of the American Cowboy with a legitimate cattle outfit, riding daily on an American Quarter Horse, then this is the ranch for you. Located in southeastern Idaho along the Snake River, log cabins surrounded by a slough is scenic and restful. A fire pit just outside your door makes for relaxed comfortable evenings with your fellow wranglers from many parts of the world.
Triangle X Ranch, Wyoming
Surrounded by Grand Teton National Park, you will enjoy spectacular scenery, warm hospitality, and a relaxed pace beneath sunny, western skies. The activities include horseback riding, unmatched wildlife viewing, cookouts, square dancing, hiking, sightseeing, an engaging children’s program, world-class fishing, and scenic float trips on the Snake River plus so much more! You do not want to miss out on this ranch which has been in the Turner family for generations!
Marble Mountain Ranch, California
Marble Mountain’s signature all-inclusive “saddle and paddle” or “raft and ride” vacation is combined with a superb dining experience and youth buckaroo programs to create the most complete family dude ranch vacation. This ranch meets the diverse interests and needs of your entire family or group. Their horseback trail riding and equestrian programs are spectacular, but their defining feature is their ability to keep whole families engaged with the large variety of outdoor Western adventures.
While we want you all to experience everything dude ranches have to offer during a full week stay there are several amazing ranches that will let you “sample” what a ranch vacation is all about with a shorter stay. You can find a list here. Either way please do yourself and your family a favor and TAKE YOUR VACATION DAYS! You will not regret taking the time off.