A Dude Ranch Family Vacation - Fun for All Ages

A dude ranch is one of the best options for your next family vacation. With programs centered around horseback riding and western lifestyle activities, you’ll have more fun with your family than you ever thought possible! Parents and children will get to relax and enjoy their vacation in a way that, even though your day is full of activities and outdoor adventures, the mental exhaustion of traveling is not there. Best of all, parents are free from planning entertaining activities for the kids, the only decision making you’ll have to do will be whether to lounge by the pool, go for a horseback ride or hike up to a scenic vista for the afternoon. All the details are taken care of by your ranch hosts, such as meals, activities and housekeeping. With ranches offering family centered activities or an all-day supervised kids program, you’ll be able to find the ranch that is tailored to fit exactly what you are looking for in your family vacation. 

Dude Ranches for a Family Vacation

 

7D Ranch - Cody,WY

The 7D Ranch has been known as a premier Wyoming family guest ranch since 1958. Their kids program is designed to introduce kids to the world of livestock and horses by patient wranglers who take great care to build the children’s confidence. The program is geared for ages 3 – 12, but children of all ages enjoy participating in the activities. All scheduled activities are optional and kids can pick and choose to be with parents or with the group. 

 

Drowsy Water Ranch - Granby,CO

For 90+ years the Drowsy Water Ranch in Colorado has been known for real down-home hospitality and making fond memories on your family vacation. For kids 6 – 13 the ranch has an instruction-based horseback riding program where they practice skills before setting out on the trail. The activities progress to higher levels as the kids advance. For ages 5 and under kid’s counselors take care of the individual needs of your little ones, while you get to enjoy the adult oriented activities at the ranch. 

 

Vee Bar Ranch - Laramie,WY

The Vee Bar Ranch is a family-friendly ranch, and most definitely, a kid friendly dude ranch. With a variety of activities from horseback riding to river tubing, everyone in the family is sure to have fun. Children 6 years and up are able to ride with their family on the trail. Younger children are invited to be at the barn for a nice lead around ride in the barn area before and after the big trail rides. While baby sitting is offered at the ranch, most families choose to enjoy the activities as a family unit. 

 

CM Ranch a great dude ranch for a family vacation!

Kids enjoying arena activities at the CM Ranch in Wyoming. 

Elkhorn Ranch - Gallatin Gateway,MT

Children thrive at the Elkhorn Ranch in Montana, enjoying their independence while under the watchful eye of a kid’s counselor. With a combination of family and individual activities, your family vacation at this ranch will ultimately be one of shared experiences and wonderful memories. For ages 6 – 12 there is a kid’s program from breakfast until 8:30 at night, where the kids usually choose to ride, eat and play together.  

 

Sweet Grass Ranch - Big Timber,MT

Watching children have the freedom to run and play under Montana’s Big Sky, is one of the best parts of a Sweet Grass Ranch family vacation. This ranch truly understands and facilitates the magic that happens between kids and horses. While the ranch doesn’t offer a formal program for kids, the young ones are welcome to participate in all aspects of ranch life at this family-owned and operated working cattle ranch. 

 

CM Ranch - Dubois,WY

As an ideal location for family reunions, the CM Ranch has been providing western vacations for 100+ years. The ranch loves to host children and family vacations of all ages. For kids 5 and older there is a supervised riding program to learn western horsemanship skills and experience ranch traditions. The staff at the ranch works hard to provide activities for children and teenagers for the most enjoyable ranch experience possible. 

 

Rankin Ranch - Caliente,CA

Children are never bored at the Rankin Ranch in Southern California. With planned activities during the day for ages 4 – 11, parents and grandparents appreciate watching their children explore nature in the traditional ranch setting. After dinner the children head down to Sarah’s Farm to help bottle feed the baby animals, throw hay to the lambs and goats and hold the chickens. Following the excitement at the farm, children meet up with their parents for the family style evening activities.

 

Looking for more great dude ranches and advice for a family vacation? Check out these blogs – 

10 Great Dude Ranches Vacations for Families

The Best Multi-Generational Dude Ranches

How to Choose the Right Dude Ranch for your Family

 

 

Pin this for later to remember your favorite dude ranch family vacation!

A dude ranch is one of the best options for your next family vacation. With programs centered around horseback riding and western lifestyle activities, you’ll have more fun with your family than you ever thought possible! All the details are taken care of by your ranch hosts, such as meals, activities and housekeeping. With ranches offering family centered activities or an all-day supervised kids program, you’ll be able to find the ranch that is tailored to fit exactly what you are looking for.

First Impressions of the Sylvan Dale and Vee Bar Dude Ranches

This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of going to Sylvan Dale Ranch and Vee Bar Ranch.  At the Dude Ranchers' Association there are a number of reasons to visit a ranch, including an inspection that is done every five years and to return a display from the Dude Ranchers' Museum. This was also an opportunity to get to know the ranches on a personal level.

Sylvan Dale Ranch Visit

Sylvan Dale Ranch Welcome Sign Ranch Visit

I arrived at Sylvan Dale in the early afternoon and was pleasantly surprised at how well the ranch is situated off the road in it's own valley. The more of the ranch I observed the more I realized it was a side door to the mountains, to 3,600 owned acres of ranch lands and many times that in public lands.

sylvan-dale-susan-jessup

Susan Jessup, the owner of Sylvan Dale, greeted me personally at the ranch and shared some of her fondest memories growing up at the ranch. I met Susan at the DRA Convention and in the above picture she is presenting at the Dude Ranch 101 presentation, where the "Old Timers" of the industry form a panel for questions about how to operate a successful dude ranch.

Sylvan Dale Ranch Cabin

To get to know the ranch she showed me around the cabins.

Sylvan Dale Ranch Clint the Donkey

I met my new favorite donkey named Clint. He is a big hit among the kids and would be one of my go-to friends at the ranch, for sure.  Speaking of kids, Susan told me all about the kids program at Sylvan Dale. There is always plenty of things to do with a planed kids program in the morning and family time in the afternoon. At age 7 the kids can go on the trail rides with the whole family.

Sylvan Dale Ranch Valley View

As we went past the fields Susan talked about the horse program at the ranch. The horses are bred and raised at the ranch, with a couple born each year.  There is only one trainer used, and as Susan put it, "He trains the horses and the wranglers and the wranglers teach the guests." A big emphasis on horse handling and education is in place at the ranch with educational clinics during the week. The riding style reflects this as the control of the horse is placed in the responsible hands of the guest. Everyone gets to ride in a group as opposed to riding in a straight line where the trail permits, and if the terrain permits the guest might have the opportunity to lead the trail ride for a bit. My visit at Sylvan Dale was filled with great conversation and exploration. I am thankful for the hospitality shown to me there.

Vee Bar Ranch

Vee Bar Ranch Driveway

The drive up to the Vee Bar Ranch was one of unique beauty seen in Wyoming. This is where country songs about 'wide open spaces' are made. The view was expansive and filled with open fields and tall grass, in other words, distinct from the 'sage grass expanse' seen in most of the state.  I was greeted by the wonderful Kilmer family. Kari and Brent are a very active part of the ranch, participating in the events and actives. Their children are not far behind.  They are all active participants in promoting the dude ranch industry. Brent is the previous president of the Wyoming Dude Ranchers' Association and Kari is the current president. They also make the DRA convention a yearly family trip.

Vee Bar Ranch Cabins

The cabins are very clean and well maintained. They were built by Kari's grandfather Lefty 20 or so years ago.

Vee Bar Ranch Creek View from the Cabin

He picked a great place to put the cabins - right along the creek pictured above.

Vee Bar Ranch Arena

At Vee Bar the riding is pretty incredible. There are plenty of open meadows to lope. At this ranch fast riders and slow riders all ride together - and are happy about it. How? There are two wranglers on each ride and they separate at the edge of a loping spot, with a group going loping and a slower group walking up to meet them around the next bend. Oh, and there's no straight line riding here, unless, A: you want to or B: the terrain demands it.

Vee Bar Ranch

The ranch has its very own John Wayne Saloon and Jukebox (pictured above), but the bartender position is vacant. Guests are welcome to fix their own drinks when they please, and are charged on the honor system by way of a tally sheet on the bar. You may arrive as a stranger but you will leave as a friend.   If you would like more information on the Vee Bar Ranch or the Sylvan Dale Ranch give us a call at 307.587.2339


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The One and Only Wyoming

When you think about traveling in mountains, on rivers or wide open spaces think about Wyoming. Out here the air is fresh, the scenery spectacular and the people have a western hospitality about them you won’t find anywhere else. There are ranches, dude ranches, cattle operations and cowboys of all sorts... professional rodeo cowboys, ranch hands on hundreds of thousands of acres and cowboys that pack horses into places like the Thorofare, the most remote location in the lower 48, located in the greater area Yellowstone National Park. This wonderful state is home to recreation of all kinds, not just ones on horseback.  Yellowstone National Park anyone? Yes, that is here in Wyoming and the state is very proud of it. Let your compass take you in all the cardinal directions and you will find vast amounts of beautiful lonely highways leading to historical places and clear, crisp streams packed with trout waiting to take your fly. You could be on your way to the Big Horn Mountains, Devil’s Tower, Cheyenne Frontier Days, the high and mighty Tetons or the next small western town with a population of 200 or less. Winter is a great time to be here as well. Trust me. It truly is. The quiet snow is ready to be disturbed by snowshoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, and snowmobiling. There are ice climbing festivals, ice fishing derbies or your winter recreation of choice. If you’re not yet convinced that Wyoming is the place to be, consider this; whether you are an avid participant in one type of recreation or a general adventurer a dude ranch just might be the right fit. Each ranch listed below has a general list of activities that will accommodate your wants for a week long break. With a closer look each individual ranch has its own flair of personality and specialty. Find the one that matches you and your travel companions. If it is not on the list below, don't fret. There are more Wyoming Ranches than these. Pick up the phone and call the Dude Ranchers' Association to inquire about the extent of ranches in the state.  

R Lazy S Wyoming Vacation Trail Ride Family

R Lazy S Ranch, Teton Village, Wyoming

R Lazy S Ranch specializes in the real meaning of vacation: You can be as active or inactive as you please.

 


Red Rock Ranch Vacation Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch, Kelly, Wyoming

The Red Rock Ranch takes great pride in serving excellent food, whether on a cook-out BBQ, lunch ride or in our main dining room. The food is a fabulous mix of ranch cuisine with a gourmet flare.


Triangle C Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Triangle C Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

The Triangle C Ranch takes pride in being a true Wyoming Ranch- where their handshake is our bond and the coffee pot is always on!

 


Vee Bar Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Vee Bar Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

The Vee Bar Guest and Dude Ranch specializes in small Wyoming conferences and retreats, with space for up to 40 guests for day conferences and 25-30 guests for overnight retreats.

 


Lazy L&B Ranch Wyoming Vacation

Lazy L & B Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming

The Lazy L & B Ranch offers a great kids program. Aside from the riding program kids love the petting zoo, the tree house and the freedom to go wherever they want, whenever they want.

 


Rimrock Ranch Wyoming

Rimrock Ranch, Cody Wyoming

Rimrock Ranch is nestled on the banks of Canyon Creek, 24 miles west of Cody and 27 miles east of the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.


More Ranches Here Save Save

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