California dude ranch vacations offer accommodations and itineraries that are exciting for the whole family or solo traveler. Horseback riding through mountains and meadows makes guests forget about the stereotypical beaches and crowds of California’s big cities. Guests see this undiscovered side at a dude ranch. Life at the ranch creates a sense of calm any traveler can appreciate with well-appointed cabins, rocking chairs and hot coffee.
Sitting across from a cowboy in wrangler jeans and a white straw hat, adventure travelers can hear stories of what some would call the bygone days of the cowboy. Here it’s still alive and well. Guests are amazed at the exceptional experience dude ranching offers. As a week-long immersion into Western culture begins, guests get to release tension and enjoy the outdoors.
Just because this is a ranch vacation doesn’t mean all there is to do is horseback riding. There is an abundance of outdoor activities for the perfect balance for a week spent in the serene areas of California. Here are the top 6 places to hang your hat and saddle up for a week.
With all the luxuries of a fine resort, The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort boasts an experience envied by Californians and travelers from all over the world. The ranch offers a variety of activities and packages to suit a romantic getaway or a large family reunion in a beautiful location near the Danish town of Solvang and right in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country. If guests are looking to try horseback riding and enjoy traditional outdoor activities like golf, cycling or fishing this is a great place to be.
In central California between Los Angeles and San Francisco lies the 20,000 acres of the V6 Ranch, inviting guests to experience a true, authentic western cattle ranch. Rugged riding, working cattle all day long, sleeping in tents on the range are a few of the options the ranch offers. If guests choose not to go on the cattle drives, the main lodge rooms and cabins are luxurious, the restaurant is very nice and other activities include hiking, photography, bird watching and 50 miles of trails to explore.
V6 Ranch – Parkfield, CA
Guests feel right at home on this California dude ranch. The staff is known for being friendly and accommodating, getting to know everyone on a personal level. Hunewill Ranch creates lasting friendships through creek-side barbecues, trout fishing, hiking, mountain biking and of course, horseback riding. The Bridgeport Valley where the ranch is located is an unspoiled recreational paradise and even borders Yosemite National Park.
Hunewill Cirlce “H” Guest Ranch – Bridgeport, CA
Famous for their signature “Saddle and Paddle Program” the folks at Marble Mountain Ranch are experts at exciting white-water rafting trips down the Klamath River and horseback rides through the inherently rugged and forested area. And this is just the beginning of the family adventures the ranch offers. ATV rides, steelhead fly fishing, barrel racing, a paint ball course and campfire events are just a few more adventures guests get to experience at this ranch in Northern California.
Marble Mountain Ranch – Somes Bar, CA
Greenhorn has an incredible set up to share with guests in the Lost Sierra, an alpine paradise of 8,500-foot peaks and turquoise lakes. Guests are invited to dine with wranglers and soak up the Western lifestyle experience in this spectacular home away from home. They head out on the trail to grow in confidence with horses and their horseback riding skills. Once back at the barn guests have plenty of options for outdoor activities and relaxation.
Greenhorn Ranch – Quincy, CA
As a historical working cattle operation, the Rankin Ranch was homesteaded 150 years ago and now is the home for the 4th and 5th generation of ranchers from the Rankin family. Businesses, families and travelers from around the world stop by to see what California dude ranch life is really all about. That is – riding through mountains and meadows, swimming, hiking and fishing in the Tehachapi Mountains or at the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest.
Rankin Ranch – Caliente, CA