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Dude Ranch Vacations For Families

by Eugenia Lazaris

Oct 18, 2019

Danny Raustadt | Dreamstime.com

Age Specific / Multigenerational

As popular family vacation destinations (think Disneyworld and the like) are getting increasingly expensive and crowded, families are turning to America’s Wild West roots for more meaningful and creative experiences. Dude ranches are gaining increasing popularity as all-inclusive vacation destinations that have something to offer every member of the family.


Dude ranches give families a unique opportunity to experience an American tradition firsthand. They promise adventure and an authentic experience with a wide variety of exciting activities to choose from, ensuring every family member, regardless of age or skill level, will have plenty to do. They give families a way to enjoy the great outdoors together, with beautiful surroundings and incredible wildlife, but without the overwhelming crowds or cookie cutter experiences common with many vacation destinations.


Ranch staff helps plan every detail of your stay so your family can have all of the fun of the cowboy lifestyle without any of the inconvenience of life in the old west. Not only do guests get to participate in traditional ranch activities like horseback riding, cookouts, campfires and overnight camping under the stars, but hiking, fishing and hunting are also available. Most ranches also offer an array of additional activities that take advantage of the unique local surroundings as well. Ranches on California’s Central Coast, for example, set up wine tasting events for guests while ranches in states like Colorado offer white water rafting excursions.


Dude ranches are well-suited for families with young children — family-friendly activities like picnics and barbecues along with riding lessons and petting zoos are geared for younger visitors. Fun arts and crafts activities and plenty of games with western themes are included at most dude ranches to keep children occupied throughout the day. Parents and grandparents can relax with soothing massages or stretch their muscles with a yoga class while anyone who wants to simply enjoy the beautiful scenery with their family can do so among stunning vistas without the sounds and stresses of traffic or crowds.


Dude ranch at the base of Gallatin Mountains in Montana. Photo: Bonita Cheshier | Dreamstime.com


While historically America’s cowboys weren’t blessed with luxurious accommodations or world-class chefs, today’s dude ranches offer guests a higher standard of living. Ranches are decorated in rustic western themes, but rooms are well-appointed with comfort and convenience top priority for discerning guests. Ranches employ well-trained staff that anticipate and cater to your needs along with expertly trained chefs that create a culinary experience to rival any big city destination.


Some popular dude ranches that offer all-inclusive family vacations include Elk Mountain in Colorado with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and Triangle X Ranch in Wyoming, located between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.


Dude ranch vacations usually require several night stays; in fact, the average dude ranch stay is one week. This gives you ample opportunity to truly experience ranch life and take full advantage of all the great activities available to you.


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