We are huge advocates of eco-tourism and environmental awareness. With this in mind, we have scouted out some Western US resorts that do just this.
Providing environmental insight, the following resorts and ranches allow guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding areas and learn about their native plants and animals. These destinations minimize carbon footprints and environmental intrusion, creating a deeper sense of understanding and appreciation for Mother Nature.
Let it be known these sites are stripped down of the artificial lights, ritzy ditzy accommodations, elegant spas and LCD televisions, wireless Internet, and red carpet treatments. (High-tech children beware!) These ranches have been built in tune with the encompassing area, providing environmentally friendly lodging and activities.
The harmonious conditions also promote family togetherness, separating the cyber world from the real world, reality show families from your own family, and dialogue between characters from conversation and interaction among guests.
While the ranches vary, each provides comfortable accommodations, environmental promotion, outdoors activities, a focus on family camaraderie, and the finest of Western Hospitality. In a world where environmental causes and old-fashioned, quality family time are progressively withering away, these vacations hope to reconcile both, advocating a greater understanding between the planet we live on, and the ones we live with.
A Bargain Arizona Hiking Getaway
6502 N Muleshoe Ranch Road
Willcox, Arizona 85643
Nestled in the remote Galiuro Mountains of southeastern Arizona, individuals or families staying at Muleshoe Ranch can enjoy the natural environment that surrounds this area. For starters, the plant diversity ranges from giant Saguaro cactus to Ponderosa pine forest, and the grounds contain miles of intact native fish and riparian habitats. Guests can enjoy a multitude of activities, including 22 miles of hiking trails, soaking in the hot springs, stargazing, an informative visitors’ center, and watching over 180 bird species that have been recorded here. Guests will stay at one of the five charmingly renovated historical buildings on site. A two-night minimum stay is required from September through May, and three-night minimum stay on holidays. The commons may be rented for groups for $90 per night and includes lodging, use of group cooking, dining area and hot springs. For more ideas, see Top Hotels in Willcox.
Cowboy Country in Colorado
5305 State Highway 150
Mosca, Colorado 8114
Whether you’d like to work side by side with real life cowboys, or simply explore the spectacular surroundings on horseback, the Zapata Ranch provides a distinctly unique experience. Tons of activities are available for families that include learning about everyday ranch life, branding calves in the summer, learning and interacting with Bison on horseback, exploring the sand dunes, or hiking into the Sangre de Cristo mountain lakes above timberline. The ranch is all-inclusive and requires a three-night minimum stay. Prices per adult staying seven nights are $1995. Children (7 years and younger) staying seven nights will pay $1595.
Montana Grizzly Bear Wilderness
Pine Butte Guest Ranch
351 South Fork Road
Choteau, Montana 59422
This Nature Conservancy lies within Montana’s rugged Rocky Mountain Front. The beauty of the surrounding area includes the majestic peaks of the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the West, and the lush wetlands, rolling prairies, wildflowers, and diverse wildlife of the conservancy to the East. Guests are welcome to take advantage of a multitude of activities available on site: from riding horses, swimming, cookouts and campfires, along with several naturalists on staff who offer a number of natural history workshops. Although grizzly bear sightings can’t be guaranteed, this is one of the few places outside of Alaska that houses these unique animals. The ranch can accommodate 25 guests in comfortable cabins that contain a fireplace, private bath, and handmade hardwood furniture. The summer season runs from June 14 to September 13. Guest visits run from Sunday to Sunday and include all available activities, transportation, meals, and lodging for seven nights, priced from $1,800 for adults, and $1,500 for teens, $1,300 for 5-12’s, free for the under five set.
Nature’s Finest Viewing in New Mexico
Bear Mountain Lodge
PO Box 1163
Silver City, New Mexico 88062
Sprawled on 178-acres adjacent to the Gila National Forest, in the heart of the southwestern New Mexico, this lodge offers the Full Monty – 11 richly furnished rooms with private baths, balcony views, handcrafted furniture; as well as delicious meals. Nature is at your fingertips, depending on whether you prefer hiking, biking, colorful shops, galleries, and an abundance of history. Join naturalists for a day’s exploration of the Gila Riparian Preserve, which provides a stunning example of the resilience inherent in a desert river. The Gila River is the last undammed river in New Mexico and supports an amazing array of migratory birds. Another traditional activity that promotes family togetherness is the Fireside Chat, an after dinner conversation that invites all guest to discuss whatever is on their palette. Peak times throughout the year include best viewings of hummingbirds in mid-July to early August, a plethora of butterflies during April and May, and wildflowers throughout the summer and fall. Rates are based on double occupancy and vary depending on accommodations, starting from $125 to $185 per night.
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