The Worry-Free Western Dude Ranch Vacation - My Family Travels

Try rock-climbing, fly fishing, hiking, falconry, yoga and a massage — all available on a worry-free, Western dude ranch vacation. There’s plenty of opportunities to ride, of course. Plus, time for your family to enjoy spectacular scenery whether in the desert or mountains.

Since there is something for anyone at any age at one of the authentic Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) member dude ranches, you are guaranteed to find a great destination for your family.

Wranglers and kids pose for photo with their horses at C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado.
Ranch guests and wranglers pose with their horses at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado.. Photo by Alexander Wolf c. Dude Rancher’s Association.


Check out the variety of activities available for all ages on a Western dude ranch vacation. There is plenty of fun with horses including organized kids’ programs, but kiddos and parents alike can experience other outdoor sports from grooming a horse to learning the history of falconry. 

Hike historic trails and learn the history of your host ranch, some homesteaded more than a hundred years ago. Visit a national park nearby.

Who knew dude ranches could be so educational?  


Three kids in rock climbing gear rest on a rock ledge at Horseshoe Canyon.
Kids can learn new sports such as rock climbing when they take a dude ranch vacation. Photo c. Dude Rancher’s Association.

Discover all there is to do after your horseback ride. These days, ranches offer the amenities and facilities for a range of relaxing and rejuvenating experiences.  Relax in the hot tub or beside the pool. Take a yoga class or a watch a cooking demonstration. Spend an afternoon reading on the porch. Book a no-guilt massage while the kids are busy with their activities.  

Dude ranches aren’t just open in the summertime. You can also take a winter vacation to a dude ranch. On a winter Western dude ranch vacation, away from busy ski resorts, 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. Often in fall, there are special weeks for couples or women.  


Young girl rides a brown horse at Vista Verde Ranch, Clark, Colorado.
Learning how to ride on a Western dude ranch vacation at Vista Verde in Clark, Colorado. Photo c. Dude Rancher’s Association

You can relax without worrying about planning, cooking, cleaning the cabin or entertaining the kids. All you need to do is get there and others will do all the heavy lifting.

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.


Kids and adults splashing in a water sprinkler at the Mountain Sky dude ranch in Montana.
Cooling off after a day in the saddle at the Mountain Sky Dude Ranch in Emigrant, Montana. c. Dude Rancher’s Association.

Choosing a vacation destination for the summer or fall of 2022 is a lot more complicated during the pandemic era than just deciding where to go. Families still have tremendous interest in outdoors-oriented vacations and those that don’t require flights. Last year, dude ranches saw some of the best seasons in ranch history.

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 for your Western dude ranch vacation will be comfortable. Many ranches 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 DRA offers a variety of the best dude ranches to choose from for your next adventure this spring, summer, fall or winter. Contact the Dude Ranchers’ Association today at 307/587-2339 or [email protected] to start the search. Plan the perfect Western dude ranch vacation for your next family adventure at any time of year.

Don’t wait, spaces are filling fast, and you don’t want to miss out.

Author Eileen Ogintz, the syndicated columnist behind Taking the Kids, an avid ranch-goer, provided this sponsored post on behalf of the Dude Ranchers’ Association.

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