Dude Ranches Pioneer Educational Travel

Educational Travel


Recently, a great article from afar.com How to take your kids out of school for educational travel experiences was released. There were some wonderful tips in this article for traveling families. It made me think, “what better educational travel opportunity than a dude ranch where the ranchers are dedicated to preserving and promoting the genuine Western way of life?” We are not only helping future generations appreciate nature, wildlife and the Western culture, but we are also helping families make memories that all kids deserve to have. 

A dude ranch vacation offers a variety of programming for kids of all ages, with daily schedules that are so engaging kids won’t realize they’re learning along the way! Kids’ programs and activities, many of which are overseen by dedicated wranglers and staff members, are designed to educate and entertain with activities ranging from ropes courses, scavenger hunts, horseback riding, panning for gold, wildlife excursions, overnight camping trips, campfire sing-a-longs, capture the flag, hayrides and much more.  

I think one of the best parts about dude ranch kids’ programs is that they really engage kids’ adventurous spirit and teaches them about many things they wouldn’t learn within the four walls of their classrooms. You can ask any kid the name of the horse they rode while vacationing at a dude ranch a month or even a later year and they will be able to tell you as well as the names of the kids and wranglers. It’s a unique memory that stays with them for many years.

There is only so much a child can learn from sitting in a classroom with 25 other kids. Don’t get me wrong I think traditional classroom learning is key to a great education. However, that being said, the things a child can experience while on vacation is simply something you can’t learn from a book.  You might get the “facts,” but the other things they learn along the way is impossible to recreate in a classroom.  You can get your kids involved in the planning stages of the trip, the research of where, when and how long you will be gone, what you will be doing, and more! Even let them help with the budgeting, what better way to teach them than to have them help you! Just think of all the actual conversations the above will inspire and let’s face it, in today’s world face to face conversations with your kids is priceless.

Below are several educational travel opportunities to help you and your family to start planning! 


Mountain Sky Guest Ranch:

Educational Travel

If you have a teen, the energetic teen counselors at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana are there to ensure that their guests 13 and older have the vacation experience of a lifetime! Activities include gourmet teen dinners (learn how to cook), hilarious talent show skit (a real confidence booster), a night at the challenge course or clay shooting range, and off-site adventures like trips to Yellowstone’s “Boiling River.” What better place to learn about the great outdoors than Yellowstone National Park?  Talk about hands-on experiences!

CM Ranch:

Educational Travel

Children will experience traditional ranch activities such as horseback riding and will learn the importance of the horse in the Western culture here, they may learn to fly-fish or how to rope too. They could spend an afternoon exploring nearby ancient Indian petroglyphs or visiting the local fish hatchery. As you can see the educational opportunities are endless at the CM Ranch in Wyoming.

Vista Verde Ranch:

Educational Travel

At Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado, your kids will explore on horseback, learn more skills in horsemanship clinics and how to herd cows. They will learn to paddleboard at a nearby lake, and they may take a hike learning the fauna and flora of the area. Maybe most importantly they get to experience all of this while learning that it is okay to be unplugged from their devices and still have FUN!

Paradise Guest Ranch:

Educational Travel

The educational programs offered at Paradise Ranch in Wyoming are designed to reconnect kids with animals and the great outdoors. Their programs expose kiddos to the natural world and all that it has to offer. They may be involved in a kid’s rodeo, may take an overnight camping trip or they may even learn how to fly-fish.  Remember this ranch is called Paradise for a reason!

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch:

Educational Travel

If your child has a real love for horses there is no better place to be than in Western Pleasure’s hands-on kid’s horse program in Idaho. Even before arriving at the ranch your kids will receive one of the ranch’s horsemanship manuals to help expand their learning experience. The program starts on Sunday evening and is concluded on Thursday evening with an actual horse show. Participants will be responsible for their own horse and equipment; they will learn horse husbandry skills and equipment care. Talk about life educational skills, WOW.


I am pretty sure all parents want to see their kids succeed in the classroom, I know I did, but I can also assure you there is a world of learning that happens outside the classroom so why not give your kids that opportunity. Teaching your kids outside the “classroom” may be one of the best things you can do for them! There are many things that just can’t be taught in a classroom. 

For more information on dude ranch kids’ programs, contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association. They can make some great recommendations for your whole family! 

307-587-2339 ~ info2@duderanch.org

Educational Travel

Educational Travel

6 Dude Ranches with Great Kids' Programs

Kids' Programs for all Ages

Trying to plan a family vacation can be a hard thing to do. Arranging all the meals to make sure everyone is happy, including enough activities to keep everyone busy and finding accommodations that can fit everyone’s taste is nothing short of a challenge. Planning a family vacation is very tough and it seems like the options are never ending. One thing that is even harder in today’s world it seems, is trying to find a vacation where the kids are more excited about the activities happening everyday rather than the screens and devices in front of them. It has become increasingly harder to truly disconnect from the real world anymore, but on a dude ranch vacation disconnecting your entire family may have just gotten easier. Do you know what else got easier? Planning a family vacation to fit everyone’s needs and wants! 

One of the hidden gems of dude ranches is the fact that all of the ranches in the Dude Ranchers’ Association are all-inclusive. What does this mean exactly? This means that lodging, meals and most activities are all included in one price. Continue reading to learn more about 6 dude ranches that have great kids’ programs to keep everyone in your family entertained. The memories created at dude ranches will be talked about for years to come! 

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch – Emigrant, MT

kids' programs

The Mountain Sky Guest Ranch located in Montana, North of Yellowstone National Park is a ranch that truly has activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. This ranch takes a great amount of pride in their kids’ program. In order to ride at Mountain Sky, children have to be seven years of age or older. So, for kids under the age of seven, the kids’ program was developed in order to ensure no misses out on the fun at Mountain Sky. Some of the activities that Mountain Sky Guest Ranch’s kids’ program has to offer would be lead-line horseback rides, scavenger hunts, games in the heated pool, as well as many arts and crafts activities; those activities are just during the day! At night the kids are encouraged to join the buffet-style dinner tailored around the kids’ likes and appetites and then join the counselors for campfire cookouts, camouflage capture the flag, hays rides and many more great activities! Every age is welcome in the kids’ program at Mountain Sky, the programs are tailored to the age of the kids, and there is even a teen program! These programs facilitate parents to be able to relax and enjoy a wonderful vacation. The parents can enjoy a day riding, doing yoga, going to the spa or playing a round of golf. 

Marble Mountain Ranch – Somes Bar, CA

kids' programs

Looking for a great kid -friendly family vacation? Marble Mountain Ranch in California loves to have kids take over the ranch during the summer time! The folks at the ranch enjoying getting to teach kids what it is like to enjoy the outdoors and have a genuine fun time without electronics and screens. Marble Mountain really encourages the parents to be involved in the kids’ program they offer; they know how important it is, especially in today’s world, for kids and parents to bond. In the kids’ program, the activities include feeding small animals, harvesting chicken eggs, fishing competitions, campfires, lariat challenges, Western frontier games, river rafting and so much more! Families enjoy getting to raft together, fish together, eat together and ride as much as possible as a group. This ranch is a great destination for a family reunion or for a family that has some “water bugs” in the group! And if the parents are looking to enjoy some time of their own, there are adult programs too. The dude ranch allows families to create the vacation they really want; the freedom is a wonderful feeling! 

Wind River Christian Dude Ranch – Estes Park, CO

kids' programs

At Wind River Christian Dude Ranch in Colorado there is a kids’ program for every age and it gives the parents a great opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in a peaceful environment. Wind River Ranch takes pride in being able to provide correct child care for any age, even babies and toddlers! In 2012 the ranch built a nursery and every season it is fully staffed with child care providers to help make your vacation a great time for everyone. There are three groups in the kids’ program and they are broken out by age. Children ages 2-9 participate in “The Kids Club,” ages 10-13 are in the “Pre-Teens Club” and 14-18 can participate in the “Teens Club” if they choose. The activities for all of the kids include horseback riding for kids seven and older, ranch carnivals, pool parties, putt putt golf, guided hikes, kayaking and much more. The activities are endless for everyone and the ranch is a safe environment that disconnects kids and parents from technology and reconnects them with their families and nature. Wind River Ranch’s resort-like accommodations will please everyone in the family, and the activities will ensure that the kids, and parents sleep great at night! 

Three Bars Guest Ranch – Cranbrook, BC

kids' programs

Three Bars Guest Ranch located in beautiful British Columbia, Canada is the perfect family ranch vacation for the little cowboys and cowgirls of the family. Kids of all ages feel at home at Three Bars, and they experience a sense of freedom and comfort on the ranch. Kids ages six and older will have to ability to go out on trail rides and experience some of the best kids’ horses around! The kid’s horses at Three Bars have been around for many years and are trusted to take great care of their new riding companions each week. While out on the rides, the kids may find themselves stopping at destinations to catch frogs, pan for gold or build forts. This ranch has a special way of connecting kids to the outdoors world and making them forget about their tablet or phone sitting in the cabin. For the kids not old enough to go on trail rides, they will have the chance to gather chicken eggs, feed the sheep and see the other farm animals in the ranch petting zoo. The kids can cook marshmallows over the campfire and the parents are of course welcome to join, s’mores have no age limit! A ranch vacation at Three Bars can be as family oriented as you choose. The kids will make friends of their own and can still come together for family time on rides or in other activities. The accommodations and food are very family-oriented and the ranch strives to make everyone feel at home.

Red Horse Mountain Ranch – Harrison, ID

kids' programs

If you are looking for a ranch vacation where your toddlers can ride their very own horse, Red Horse Mountain Ranch in Idaho is definitely a place to consider. Ages three – six will get to ride their own horse and gain confidence while a wrangler leads them for a little extra guidance. Trail rides and lessons are available for ages three and up and learning as much about horses as possible is a big goal of the ranch. Along with horseback riding there is an abundance of other activities available. Ziplining, kayaking, mountain biking, shooting sports, bobbing for applies are just a few activities to do in the kids’ program. This ranch is a kid’s paradise! They will make new friends and create memories with those friends as well as family members that they will not soon forget. All of these activities are available for the parents as well! Test your skills on the climbing wall and ropes course or take a relaxing kayak trip out on the lake. The accommodations are beautiful and the food superb. When looking for a truly memorable family vacation to entertain every age, truly consider Red Horse Mountain Ranch! 

Red Rock Ranch – Kelly, WY

kids' programs

Your kids will be talking about the program at the Red Rock Ranch in Wyoming for many years and there is a good reason why! The kids’ program at the ranch is very horseback riding centered. The kids will become very confident of the back of a horse and will have top-notch wranglers helping improve their skills and confidence levels. Kids must be six years or older to participate and it is a completely supervised program. The kids will learn to brush, saddle, bridle and completely care for their horse while at the ranch. The kids will participate in Gymkhanas, full and half day rides, team penning, gymnastic skills (vaulting) on horseback as well as many other activities. When not around the horses, you can find the kids in the swimming pool, in a fly-fishing clinic, hiking and playing games. There is no need for devices or screens at Red Rock, the kids will simply not have the time! The parents will have the opportunity to watch their kids grow while at the ranch and can watch all of their activities if they choose. Parents will also have the option to go horseback riding, fly-fishing, square dancing or simply relaxing on the porch with a good book. The cabins at the ranch are perfect for families and have a great western charm. The food is fantastic and the baked goods, you will just have to test for yourself because they are too good to explain! A family vacation at the Red Rock Ranch may be the vacation your family has been searching for for a long time!

Dude ranches are the perfect destination to find activities for everyone! The Dude Ranchers’ Association represents over 100 ranches that are all different and each ranch has something unique to offer. There are activities for everyone on a dude ranch and the ranch vacation experts at the DRA can help you find the right ranch for your needs and wants!

Save this Pin! 

Memories created at dude ranches will be talked about for years! Read about 6 dude ranches that have great kids’ programs to keep everyone entertained!

 

Email Marketing Sign Up newsletter Keep in Touch with Ranch Vacations

Luxury Dude Ranches for your Next Vacation

Are you looking for a fun and entertaining vacation for your family, but also want a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway at the same time? Luxury dude ranches are the vacation you have been searching for! Luxury dude ranches offer a great atmosphere of entertainment and relaxation all at the same time. You can go out for a horseback ride through beautiful landscapes and scenery in the morning, enjoy a wonderful afternoon at the spa or retreat peacefully to your room to read a book. It really is all up to you!

But what will the kids do you may ask? Most luxury dude ranches have a great kid’s program where the kids can interact with other children their age and make memories to last a lifetime. There is no doubt that the kids will talk about this vacation for years to come and that large amounts of fun will be had! Most families that have vacationed at dude ranches agree that kids sleep well while on a ranch vacation, they wear themselves out with all of the excitement, activities and fun!  Whatever activities you are looking to mark off the list, these luxury dude ranches, members of the Dude Ranchers' Association, will fit the bill of a fantastic vacation for the whole family. 

Luxury Dude Ranches

 

Smith Fork Ranch - Colorado

Nestled in the valley of the West Elk Wilderness lies the Smith Fork Ranch, truly a hidden gem of Colorado. Smith Fork is a beautiful private luxury dude ranch that offers traditional western adventures, gracious hospitality, unique farm to table cuisine along with an award-winning wine list! If you are looking for a great family vacation and a highly rated luxurious, relaxing getaway you should definitely consider Smith Fork Ranch. Their farm to table cuisine program is like none other in the area and their spa is really fantastic. This ranch is rated at the top of many luxury dude ranch articles, so do not miss out on a wonderful ranch vacation at Smith Fork! 

luxury dude ranches

Smith Fork Ranch - Crawford, CO

Lost Valley Ranch - Colorado

An authentic Colorado dude ranch vacation with a little luxury mixed in waits for you at the Lost Valley Ranch. With an abundance of activities for the kids to enjoy, beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery on horseback rides and the option of an in-cabin massage after a fun-filled day, what else could you ask for in a dude ranch experience! Lost Valley is a very historic ranch with a special kind of charm, it holds qualities of a high-class resort, but also a family and kid friendly atmosphere. If you are searching for the perfect luxury dude ranch for a large family, take a look at Lost Valley Ranch. 

luxury dude ranches

Lost Valley Ranch - Sedalia, CO

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch - Montana

Located just 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park makes the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana a prime luxury dude ranch destination for families and couples. There is literally something for everyone to do at Mountain Sky. Whether you are an avid horseback rider, enjoy fly-fishing or hiking, want to play a round of golf at the on-site golf course or spend an incredible day in the ranch’s world-renowned spa, you will not be bored on this vacation! The kids will not be bored either, Mountain Sky has a truly unique and impressive kids’ program that is suitable for all ages. There will not be a thing you have to worry about while on this luxury dude ranch vacation; book the trip, pack your bags and prepare yourself for a vacation filled with excitement, relaxation and memories no one will soon forget! 

luxury dude ranches

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch - Emigrant, MT

The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado

You may not get much more luxurious than the Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley. Just a short ride up the mountain from the Broadmoor sits the beautiful Ranch at Emerald Valley, a distinct western experience. This ranch is definitely in the high-end rustic retreat category. So, if you are in search of an extremely highly-rated luxury dude ranch for a romantic getaway or family vacation, don’t overlook this ranch. Here you can experience a variety of high-class activities along with a full-service spa. Your vacation to the Ranch at Emerald Valley will be the perfect mix of western charm and a fine resort. Tons of activities and great memories await you and your chosen travel partners at the Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley.

luxury dude ranches

The Broadmoor's Ranch at Emerald Valley - Colorado Springs, CO

Lone Mountain Ranch - Montana

Lone Mountain Ranch is big enough for any family reunion and will appeal to all families, traditional or luxury! It is also the perfect romantic getaway for couples too.  With high quality luxurious food options, beautiful western furnished cabins and activities for every guest, big or small, Lone Mountain has it all. Relax in your cabin or on the porch listening to the sounds of nature and the stream that flows right through the ranch. Maybe you would like to go for a long refreshing hike into the incredible surrounding Gallatin Mountains, take a horseback ride to the mountain tops and gaze over the stunning Gallatin canyon, or maybe you would like to sit and watch the kids laugh and play on the big front lawn. Whatever your definition of relaxation and rejuvenation may be, the luxury of Lone Mountain Ranch will help you escape reality and help you to truly enjoy your vacation and time away.

luxury dude ranches

Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, MT

The High Lonesome Ranch - Colorado

A high-class dude ranch that offers many activities including working cattle; luxury mixed with a true western cowboy experience can be found at the High Lonesome Ranch in Colorado. With an upscale rustic charm, the High Lonesome provides a unique atmosphere perfect for both families and couples with their accommodations, exquisite food provided by a local farm-to-table program and many different activities, including cattle drives. Spa services are available on the ranch for those who are looking to reach full relaxation. Yoga and a swimming pool are also available so you can get a workout too! High in the mountains of Colorado lies this little slice of serenity. No matter the type of vacation you are looking for, you will not want to miss out on the High Lonesome Ranch. 

luxury dude ranches

The High Lonesome Ranch - DeBeque, CO

A Bar A Ranch - Wyoming

Experience a piece of history and luxury at the A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming! This ranch has been in operation since 1926 and is nearly 100,000 acres in size, all of these acres are available for you to explore and enjoy! With incredible cuisine, beautiful cabins and guest houses and so many activities for you to experience, you may have a hard time picking which ones to participate in. A Bar A is the perfect family vacation, the kids will have several ways to burn off that stored up energy, and mom and dad can kick back and relax. Play a round of golf, check out what the spa has to offer or lounge by the pool and hot tub. The amount of ways to relish in your vacation are endless at A Bar A. This Wyoming luxury dude ranch may just check all of the boxes on your wish list for the perfect vacation! 

luxury dude ranches

A Bar A Ranch - Encampment, WY

4UR Ranch - Colorado

Can you imagine a place more luxurious than a vacation with a natural hot spring right on location? The 4UR Ranch in Colorado is home to two historical natural hot springs that supply the warm water for their hot tub  and other pools. These natural wonders were first discovered by Ute tribe and the ranch was constructed around them to make sure no damage was made and to preserve history. The healing waters provide serene relaxation and many people believe they are a natural healer. The 4UR has much more to offer than just their top-notch spa, they have horseback rides, incredible cuisine for all ages, great fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking and much more! So, while mom and dad relax by the water, the kids will be entertained all day! Make it a wonderful family vacation and have luxury meet you at the door at the 4UR Ranch. 

luxury dude ranches

4UR Ranch - Creede, CO

The Home Ranch - Colorado 

Colorado’s only Relais & Chateaux affiliated luxury dude ranch awaits you! The Home Ranch is nestled at the end of the valley where the Elk River flows from the Sawtooth Mountain Range. This is the perfect destination for your family to enjoy time together and to unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Relax by the ranch’s outdoor heated pool, read a book, work on your tan or take in the clean mountain air. The kids will have plenty to keep them busy while being involved in the children’s program and making new friends around the ranch. Of course, there will be time for you to connect as a family, but when you want to truly relax there is an activity for everyone. Do not worry about the food either, the chefs at the Home Ranch are phenomenal and will provide great meals for everyone. Experience a high-class luxury dude ranch vacation and a trip the kids will always remember at the Home Ranch! 

luxury dude ranches

The Home Ranch - Clark, CO

Save this Pin for Later!

Looking for a fun and entertaining vacation for your family, but want a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway too? Luxury dude ranches are the vacation you have been searching for!

Golf Lovers Guide to Ranch Holidays

For the 24 million golf enthusiasts in the US, a holiday without golf could be likened to a golf ball without dimples – seriously below par. Dude Ranch vacations are a great way to combine a unique and unforgettable holiday with a spot of your favorite sport and with many properties boasting premium standard courses on site, there’s no need to worry about traveling to hit the fairways either. Our top tips will ensure your golfing ranch holiday is guaranteed to hit the ‘sweet spot’.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Why travel to an off-site course when you can have a full 18-hole course within putting distance of your ranch.  Pick a ranch with a golf course on property to ensure you pack as much golf into your stay as possible. Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona, is a great example, where you can tee off at one of Golf Digest’s top 100 US courses. If you’re travelling with family there’s a wealth of other activities to keep them occupied while you’re on the golf course.  A full kids program will keep the young ones entertained, and other family members can choose from shooting sports, or a spot of relaxation in the spa and of course horseback riding comes as standard. Similar facilities can be found at Mountain Sky Ranch in Montana and A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming.

Golf vacations

18 holes of golf with a beautiful view at Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona

Be Game Ready

To those who don’t play golf, it may seem like one of the more relaxed sports but the average 18-hole course is over 4.03 miles and most golfers walk much further than the course length during a game.  Add to that long hike the strength, power and agility needed to repeatedly swing the clubs (up to 300 times in a game) and hit the ball up to 300 meters– not to mention carrying the kit (unless you’ve brought your caddy along); it’s clear that a round of golf equals a demanding workout. Regular moderate cardio at least three times a week in the lead up to your stay will ensure you have the stamina to tackle the course as many times as you desire throughout your vacation.  There are also exercises that can significantly improve your performance on the course.  Warming up for instance can improve scores as well as limiting the chance of injury. Similarly, stretching will give you a much better swing.

Golf vacations

Play a round of golf in on one of the most unqiue golf courses in the west at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana.

Be an early ‘Birdie’

Whilst on vacation you may be tempted to hit the snooze button and idle in bed until lunchtime but when it comes to an early tee time, the early ‘birdie’ really does catch the worm.  Not only will you be fresher, more alert and less fatigued from other activities. Get to the course early and you’ll enjoy fresh greens and fairways – spike mark and divot free – and most likely you’ll have the course to yourself to play at your own pace (no waiting for the next tee or rushing to alleviate the queue behind you). It’ll also leave the rest of the day to enjoy the wealth of activities along with the history, heritage and hospitality of your ranch stay.

Dude Ranch stays are always memorable and offer the opportunity to take part in a wide range of outdoor activities (not just horseback riding), so why not combine your favorite pastime with an outdoor adventure like nothing else.

Save this pin for golf lovers! 

Dude Ranch vacations are a great way to combine a unique and unforgettable holiday with a golf excursion, no need to travel far to hit the fairways!

Fine Dining Dude Ranch Vacations for Foodies

The Dude Ranchers' Association has scoured the Western United States and found the best dude and guest ranch vacations money can buy. As with the nature of a ranch, horseback riding is a key outdoor adventure of the day's activities, but for some foodie families, the magic really starts with hors d'oeuvres, runs with a full course meal and culminates after dessert with a glass of fine wine and a peaceful sunset. We've picked out some of the best dude ranch vacations for foodies. We promise, you'll certainly get a craving for the culinary experiences offered by the dude ranches below. But, don't just settle for one ranch, try them all!

 

Dude Ranch Vacations for Foodies

 

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch

You'll soon discover that at Mountain Sky the meals will be one of the most memorable parts of your stay. The ranch kicks things off with hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the saloon followed by a three to five course dinner featuring carefully crafted and regionally inspired dishes. Complement your dinner with a bottle of wine and try to leave room for a slice of chocolate decadence or Basque cake. 

More Montana Dude & Guest Ranch Vacations

Mountain Sky Ranch Fine Dining Dude Ranch Vacations for Foodies

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch is happy to accommodate any dietary needs, requests or allergies. 

 

Gros Ventre River Ranch

Here at this Jackson Hole Wyoming dude ranch, dining is serious business. If you mention a tie at any of the meals at Gros Ventre River ranch it had better be in reference to fly fishing. While the sit down dinners are fine dining, the dress code is anything but formal. You'll find that jeans and boots pair well with a rack of lamb, elk tenderloin and grilled salmon. 

More Wyoming Dude & Guest Ranch Vacations

 

Gros Ventre Steak Food Picnic Fine Dining for Foodies

You'll definitely remember a savory barbeque complete with a cowboy singer around the fire pit at Gros Ventre River Ranch.

 

 

Vista Verde Ranch

The culinary program and foodie philosophy at Vista Verde Ranch is designed to impress even the most experienced palates. With each meal Executive Chef Cholly McGlynn balances ranch-y with fancy, comfort food with a lighter option, as well as accommodates any dietary restrictions. 

More Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Vacations

Vista Verde Food Wine Foodie Dude Ranch Vacation

Attend a wine tasting class at the Vista Verde Ranch. The love of wine is a lot like the love of horses - you'll never be an expert, because there's always more to learn. 

 

The Home Ranch

As a Relais and Chateaux property the Home Ranch serves inspired Farm to table cuisine. By farm to table they mean the chef's serve Sand Mountain beef, pork and poultry along with all of the produce, herbs and flowers the ranch's greenhouse and raised bed gardens can grow in a season. 

More Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Vacations

Home Ranch Breakfast Foodie Dude Ranch Vacation

And every day starts with a great breakfast at the Home Ranch.

 

4UR Ranch

One of the highest considerations at the 4UR Ranch is the quality and creativity of the food prepared for guests and staff. You can expect the food to be beautiful and delicious as well as home grown and locally sourced. You'll appreciate Chef Blake's Le Cordon Bleu's perfected talents whether it's dinner in the lodge or a lunch picnic next to the stream. 

More Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Vacations

4UR Ranch Dude Ranch Vacations for Foodies

While most ranch resorts serve meals family style, the 4UR ranch prefers to reserve a table for you and your family for the entire week of your stay. 

 

In love with the Dude Ranchers' Association's selection of dude ranch vacations for foodies? 

Whichever ranch you choose to go to first, your foodie vacation will surely take your taste buds on a fresh discovery of flavors and menu's. However, you'll also realize that the food isn't the only highlight of your vacation. You'll love every minute of these western ranch vacations. From fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding to water sports. During the day you'll work up an appetite in some of the most remote, mountainous locations in the West. From California to Arkansas the Dude Ranchers' Association represents the best of all luxury dude ranch vacations, working cattle ranch vacations and traditional guest ranch vacations

 

Read more about culinary dude ranch experiences & dude ranch recipes here. 

 

Dude Ranch Vacations for Foodies

 

As with the nature of a ranch, horseback riding is a key outdoor adventure of the day's activities, but for some foodie families, the magic really starts with hors d'oeuvres, runs with a full course meal and culminates after dessert with a glass of fine wine and a peaceful sunset. We've picked out some of the best fine dining locations for you. We promise, you'll certainly get a craving for the culinary experiences offered by the dude ranches below. But, don't just settle for one ranch, try them all!

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?

By Eileen Ogintz at Takingthekids.com Save Save Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

5 Reasons a Ranch Vacation Is Better Than Disney

There’s no denying that a Disney vacation is at the top of most children’s list of travel wishes. Unfortunately for parents, a Disney vacation often means long lines, overcrowded parks and high expenses, all without much time for genuine family bonding. While amusement and theme parks are an easy, go-to solution for family vacations, there are other magical travel options that can offer exposure to new activities, interaction with nature, and discovery of culture and history outside of most families’ normal comfort zones. As the original all-inclusive destination for families, a dude or guest ranch vacation guarantees plenty of time to bond and spend time as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Dude ranches give families the opportunity to challenge and revive their bodies, minds and spirits in some of the most breathtaking areas in the U.S., with a myriad of outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, cattle roping, horseback riding, zip lines, ATV riding and whitewater rafting. Here are 5 reasons a dude ranch vacation is better than Disney:

Explore, play and more – Located along the banks of the North Platte River in the heart of southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains, A Bar A Guest Ranch is one of the oldest and largest dude ranches in the country, with nearly 100,000 acres for guests to explore. The ranch is a paradise for children, with activities including horseback riding, fishing, soccer, arts and crafts, music and drama, swimming, tennis, and educational games, such as cork boat and sack races. Teenagers can enjoy inner tubing down the river and golf before settling down with their family to enjoy dinner cooked outside over an open fire.

Reconnect with nature on horseback – If your family is in need of reconnecting, then you’ve found the right place. Rustic yet replete with all the modern amenities you’ll ever need, Rainbow Trout Ranch caters to children of all ages. Located near several historic Spanish land grants in Antonito, Colo., Rainbow Trout is surrounded by the spectacular San Juan Mountains. Ride horses, catch some trout, hike to an overlook with your kids, relax and more. Kids ages six and older – fondly known on the ranch as “Cowpokes” – are given their own horse for the week, and “Buckaroos” – children age’s three to five – are led on short rides by ranch counselors.

Drowsy Water Ranch Vacation Better than Disney

Learn to work as a teamDrowsy Water Ranch, situated 90 miles west of Denver, Colo., has programs for children of all ages, from infants to teenagers, along with plenty of activities for parents and grandparents. Capture the fun and your children’s hearts when you help them lasso a steer-head. Ditch technology for outside activities like obstacle courses, zip lining, swimming, hiking, archery and rafting. Afterward, head to the main lodge to enjoy playing cards, browsing the library or just visiting with new friends while drinking lemonade.

Relax, rejuvenate and reconnect in styleMountain Sky Guest Ranch sits on over 10,000 operational acres of unspoiled wilderness in the heart of Yellowstone Country in Emigrant, Mont. The ranch combines outdoor adventure for the entire family and the comforts of an upscale resort in the region’s most spectacular location. There’s no doubt your family will enjoy the breathtaking views, fine dining and luxury environment. From a crisp morning hike, to rafting down the Yellowstone River, to horseback rides through acres of meadows, there’s something for every member of the family. End the day with a mealtime horseback ride, where you’ll be treated to tasty barbecue, learn to dance with the wranglers and sing your favorite western songs around the campfire.

One-of-a-kind fishing adventures4UR Ranch provides an all-inclusive family vacation adventure in Mineral County, Colo. Try your hand at fly fishing with access to some of the finest waters around, including one of the only entirely private tail-water trout streams in the American West, trophy ponds, and both sides of the legendary Rio Grande River. Grab one of the ranch’s guides for a personal introduction to the area’s waters and trout. Whether you’re a family of anglers or not, no one will be bored on this vacation. Here, kids and adults can enjoy their own level of adventure. The ranch’s staff sees to the kids’ needs while the parents are off hiking, horseback riding or fishing. From nature explorations, to soaking in the hot springs, to a round of golf at the nearby Rio Grande Club – there’s plenty of adventure to suit everyone’s tastes.

5 Reasons Ranch Vacations are Better Than Disney

5 Reasons Ranch Vacations are Better Than DisneySave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Family Travel and Dude Ranches

One of the most meaningful comments we’ve read about family travel and dude ranches is this: Dude ranches reconnect adults to a simple and innocent part of their childhood and introduce their children to these same experiences.

Western Pleasure Ranch Family Travel Destination

At dude ranches, everyone can discover magic. Photo courtesy of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

There’s something uplifting and joyful about that. Like when parents momentarily forget themselves and regress with their kids – revisiting beloved animated cartoons from their youth, or unabashedly belting out favorite ballads from bygone (to their kids) times. Now picture horses and corrals, Stetson hats and western boots, cookouts and wide open landscapes straight out of cowboy movies and novels. Your heart goes pitter-patter, just a little bit. Or a lot. Because in today’s era of quick-paced modernization, invasive technology and growing detachment from nature (and one another), the ranch appeal is arguably more potent — for all generations — than ever before. “Perhaps it is the allure of the Western lifestyle that people long to experience. Perhaps it is the adventure that draws guests to a ranch in the first place. Most likely, it’s a combination,” believes Kari Kilmer, Manager of Vee Bar Guest Ranch. Perhaps. Whatever the case, when on a dude ranch, “The feelings that awaken inside of you are something that most people never imagine. It’s the magic!” agrees Tammy Yurich, Activities Director of Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch.

Latigo Ranch Family Travel Destination

Living in a dream. Photo courtesy of Latigo Ranch

Exploring the Magic “Dude ranches are a perfect fit for family travel simply because the dynamic shifts,” suggests Ashley Ducharme, Marketing Coordinator of Bar W Guest Ranch. “Everyone within the family is on an authentic adventure because everyone is trying new things (archery, horseback riding, square dancing, skeet shooting and more). This equalizes the parents and the children and fosters open communication. The kids say ‘Do you know what we did today?’ and the parents respond ‘Well do you know what we did today?’” That level playing field wasn’t created by accident. It has taken a lot of work and requires diligent vigilance to maintain. All the more so as it’s increasingly difficult to find other family-focused vacation experiences that so consistently “bring families together naturally,” as Kerstin Auer, Marketing & Sales of Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, sees it, all by placing careful and balanced emphasis on providing “unique adventures and educational experiences that the whole family will enjoy,” says Janice Schoonover, Owner of Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. Over the years, plenty of visitors have predictably compared their dude ranch adventures with the famous magic of other standard-bearing activity providers like Disney. How do dude ranches stand up? Incredibly well! “When you come to a dude ranch, the only lines you’ll find are the strings of horses and riders on the mountain trails. Every moment with your family will be spent finding real adventures, not being herded through fabricated ones. Without crowds of people to fight against, the buzz of this modern world will fade into serenity and wildness,” says Spencer George, son of the owners of Latigo Ranch.

Geronimo Trail Ranch Family Travel Destination

A Chance to slow down and get in touch with natures. Photo courtesy of Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

Take Things a Little Slower There really is a lot to be said for excitement without overstimulation, and activation without commercialization. “Dude ranches give families… a place to slow down from the fast pace of daily life and reconnect with each other,” observes Meris Stout, Owner of Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. There are two important elements to this. First, “Free of television, phone calls, texts and push notifications, family members can discover the magic that has captivated ranch guests for a hundred years,” enthuses RC Townsend, Assistant General Manager of Mountain Sky Guest Ranch. Second, “Learning together through nature and animals is a powerful thing for families to share,” says Tyler Beckley, Owner of Three Bars Guest Ranch. Of course, a readiness to make family time together just that much more engaging is stoked by freedom from one another during part of each day. This is aided by the safe environment dude ranches work to create, allowing parents to relax while their kids do their own things. “Kids have freedoms on a dude ranch that most cannot experience in today’s world,” says Jeanne Ross, General Manager of Colorado Trails Guest Ranch. Doug Cole, Owner of Marble Mountain Guest Ranch concurs: “Once you arrive at a dude ranch, you are by default in a more secure environment that has a known and fixed population during the time of your stay. Kids are more enabled to ‘free range.’”

R Lazy S Ranch Family Travel

Photo courtesy of R Lazy S Ranch

Step into the Dude Ranch Mindset Predictably, “A dude ranch offers so much… by providing very unique opportunities,” says Kelly Stirn, Owner of R Lazy S Ranch. So let’s explore some them. Keep in mind, however, that “The hardest vacation to describe is one based on an experience. For those of us that live this wonderful, rewarding, down-to-earth lifestyle, it is hard to tell a family on the phone what a wonderful time they will have,” advises Kilmer of Vee Bar Guest Ranch. “They simply have to take our word for it, then try it for themselves.” Let’s do that. Let’s put ourselves briefly in dude ranchers’ shoes by reading their words and imagining how amazing a dude ranch holiday can be. Then let’s all go try it out ourselves, remembering that, as Doug Van Berkum, Owner of Rainbow Trout Ranch likes to point out, “There truly is something for EVERYONE!” To read the extended quotes from the ranchers visit the blog post here. This blog was originally written by the Family Travel Association. Visit them on the web here. Save Save Save Save Save Save

Romance & Horses, Your Dude Ranch Vacation


'A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.' - definition of romance Riding horses with your partner is, surely, full of excitement and mystery. Consider a ranch stay to put some extra special romance into your relationship. It is as easy as picking out your geographic setting(mountain range of choice) and paring your personalities with a ranch. Then, hop on a plane and arrive at your secluded cabin for an 'all-inclusive' destination experience. Don't worry, there are plenty of activities to inspire other than saddling up and riding into the sunset at a dude ranch; morning fishing trips, spa afternoons, hot tub evenings and nights full of fine dining pared with excellent wine. Valentine's day is a great motivator to book you and your partner a vacation full of romance and connection - away from the monotonous crowd of chocolates and teddy bears. Experiences turn into memories, and those memories turn into a lifetime of togetherness.

Ranches for Romance

The ranches below are just a few options for your choosing. If you don't find one that you connect with, give the Dude Ranchers' Association a call. We can help. 307.587.2339.  


The Heart of the Rockies, Colorado

Elk Mountain Couple Hill Side Romance

Elk Mountain Ranch Fall is for adults only - Enjoy the mountains during the peak of the fall colors in the Colorado Rockies. The already spectacular scenery at the Ranch unveils more glory in the Autumn. Aspens crown the mountainside in golden grandeur. Fall is exclusively for adults at this Colorado dude ranch. The tranquility and stillness are uninterrupted, whether you’re riding through the aspen forests…or curling up with a favorite book by an crackling fireplace.


The Ruby River, Montana

Upper Canyon Fishing Couple Romance

Upper Canyon Outfitters One of the best uncrowned waters in Montana - "My wife and I ventured to Upper Canyon this summer to enjoy the ranch, fishing, horseback riding and hiking and preview where I had booked an elk and mule deer hunt this fall. After returning from the fall hunt all that I can do is reinforce the previous comments complimenting the complete operation of Upper Canyon Outfitters, from the facilities to the staff. It seems like they are all extended family." - Roland


7,000 Acres in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Eatons Gather Sunset Romance

Eaton's Ranch Freedom to ride into the sunset - Eatons’ 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 this Wyoming Dude Ranch twice a day Monday through Friday, choosing among morning, afternoon and evening rides. Also, there all-day rides into the Bighorn National Forest as well as breakfast and dinner rides.


Yellowstone Country, Montana

Mountain Sky Romance

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch A rare treat - After a day filled with ranch activities, dinner is always a highly anticipated event. Kick things off with hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the saloon, where friends share stories of the day's adventure next to a crackling fire. What follows is an unforgettable three- to five-course dinner featuring carefully crafted and regionally-inspired dishes prepared by Chef Brian Bielen and his talented team. Complement your dinner with a bottle of wine from a fine selection, and do try to leave room for that slice of chocolate decadence or Basque cake.


     

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our privacy policy for more information.