Sun, Snow and Wide-Open Spaces at a Family Dude Ranch | My Family Travels

Picture yourselves on horseback galloping across wide open spaces at a family dude ranch. Have you ever ridden through deserts dotted with giant cactus?  

Cowboy holds up a girl so she can groom her horse at Elkhorn Ranch in Arizona.
You’ll leave with a new family member when you bond with a horse at an authentic dude ranch. Photo of Elkhorn Ranch c. Dude Ranchers Association

This year, at one of the authentic Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) member dude ranches, you are guaranteed to find a great destination for your family whether you want to be in  sunny Arizona or the snow-capped mountains in Colorado or Wyoming.

So Much to Do at a Family Dude Ranch

Three snow angels at Vista Verde Ranch in Clark, Colorado
Making snow angels while vacationiong at Vista Verde Ranch in Clark, Colorado. Photo c. Dude Ranchers Association

Check out the variety of dude ranch activities available for all ages. Of course, there is plenty of fun with horses plus activities like feeding them — even unbundling and tossing them hay. Many ranches offer lessons in learning to throw a rope, special rides and other ranch activities for kids.

Discover all there is to do after your horseback ride. These days, ranches offer the amenities and facilities for a range of adventures such as hiking, rock climbing, fishing, archery and mountain biking. Take a yoga class, spend an afternoon sitting by the fire with a novel or book a massage while the kids are otherwise occupied.

On a winter dude ranch vacation, try cross country and back country skiing, snowmobiling, snow biking, sledding and snowshoeing, sleigh rides and more. Some ranch cabins have private hot tubs on their porches so you can admire the view while relaxing in style.

Some ranches even offer falconry and jeep tours. Step out of your comfort zone for new and exciting activities that you may have never imagined yourself or your family doing — instruction and gear provided.

Make a Family Dude Ranch your Best Family Vacation

A family reunion on horseback at Elkhorn Ranch in Tucson, Arizona
All ages in your family or travel pod will find plenty of fun in the sun at ranches like Elkhorn Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Photo c. Dude Ranchers Association

Choosing a vacation destination for the winter or spring of 2021 is a lot more complicated during the pandemic era than just deciding where to go.

This year, travel experts say, there is tremendous interest in outdoors-oriented vacations and those that don’t require flights. Choose a dude ranch based on the best fit for your family vacation and customize it to your needs. Some ranches are near national parks, for example, if you’re planning an extended road trip.

Of course, you want a place that is safe, adhering to the latest COVID-19 protocols. You want somewhere your family can spend most of their time outdoors in wide-open spaces and, as public health officials urge, socially distant from others.

Dude Ranches Are Like All-Inclusive Resorts

Girl roping a steer's head at Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch in McLeod, Montana.
Learn something new, like roping a steer, when you vacation at Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch in McLeod, Montana. Photo c. Dude Ranchers Association

Most important, you want to relax without worrying about planning, cooking or cleaning.

At a DRA member dude ranch, three meals a day and beautiful, Western accommodations are provided in one price, along with most activities. Expect special snacks and treats like homemade cookies, usually provided throughout the day.

No matter the ranch, you will find top-notch chefs preparing delicious meals for all appetites. DRA dude ranches also accommodate all dietary requirements whether someone in your family is gluten free, vegan or vegetarian.

Did you know that dude ranches applying for membership in the DRA go through a two-year inspection and approval process?

That’s why you know accommodations at any DRA member ranch will be comfortable. Many have individual cabins that often feel like a home away from home. The best part is, dude ranches provide a safe and clean environment for all travelers, not just now but always. These ranches take great pride in their efforts to keep their guests healthy and safe during their stays. 

The Dude Ranchers’ Association offers a variety of the best dude ranches to choose from for your next adventure this winter and spring.

Contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association today at 307/587-2339 or [email protected] to start the search for the perfect ranch for your next family vacation at any time of year.

This post was sponsored by the Dude Ranchers Association, which represents over 90 members in 10 Western States and one Canadian Province.

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