Around the world, people take the time to go on vacations, either by themselves, with a few friends, or with family. The destinations vary from a relaxing tropical vacation in Hawaii or Mexico, to being one with nature on a camping trip in the mountains. Many spots across the globe are become great for getting away from the everyday life, but recently, a new vacation destination has become incredibly popular.
Growing up, at some point or another, we have been exposed to Western movies. As a kid we ran around the house, pretending that we were riding our favorite horse and catching all the bad guys, while John Wayne and Clint Eastwood did the same on T.V. Now, there are ranches, stables, and trail riding businesses all over the world that cater to people who want to experience that freedom of riding a horse into the sunset. You can plan a trip and go riding across a beach in the Dominican Republic, go trail riding up in the Rocky Mountains in Jasper National Park, Canada, or hang out and rope some cattle on one of the many well established ranches in the United States. Many of these spots have evolved from just being working ranches to becoming places that the whole family can go and relax.
10. Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, Montana
Situated in gorgeous Yellowstone National Park, this ranch is great for the family. Very kid friendly and is open all year round for those who want to go on a relaxing sleigh ride. Known and awarded for its Fly Fishing, this luxurious guest ranch is meant for the outdoor friendly family. The nightly rate is $330-$535 USD, and the ranch keeps the number of guests small and quiet, maintaining a number of about 70 people.
9. Bull Hill Ranch, Washington
This working ranch has a small capacity, but it is known for its diverse riding experiences and relaxed atmosphere. Situated high in the mountains, the land is an untouched beauty of mountains, meadows, rivers, and forests. Bull Hill has an authentic and rustic, hands-on atmosphere, and focuses on the idea of family togetherness. The same family has been in charge of the ranch for the past 110 years and kept it as a working cattle ranch with a few extras. Fly-fishing, mountain biking, yoga, and bird watching are only a few of the great activities that this ranch offers. At $195-$240/night, this ranch is a great choice for an authentic cowboy getaway.
8. Lazy L&B Ranch, Wyoming
This ranch is situated in a lush cottonwood river bottom, surrounded by 80,000 acres of wildlife habitat, high alpine country, desert plateaus, sand wash canyons, and river gorges of the Wind River Indian Reservation. L&B like to keep numbers small and intimate, having the ranch capacity only reaching a grand total of 30 people. It is greatly known for its extensive horseback riding and being the ideal place for families. This ranch is a historic Dude Ranch that was started in the 1920’s and has a beautiful and historic setting. With prices starting at $335 USD, Lazy L&B Ranch is a great place to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with the family.
7. High Lonesome Ranch, Colorado
With its unique terrain, this ranch is surrounded by breathtaking beauty. A place where you can enjoy Rocky Mountain views, fly-fishing, wing shooting, big game hunting, wild horse tours, and contemporary western culinary adventures. Along with experiencing the “good ol’ west” type lifestyle, the area also offers archeology and wildlife management. It has a high quality feeling, is a detail-oriented ranch that is very laid back and down-to-earth. Prices go from $395-$441 USD.
6. Los Banos Ranch, Arizona
Los Banos has the ideal backcountry for horseback riding, with its pristine and forests and unique desert landscapes. While embracing Mexican culture, this ranch continues to bring cattle driving to its guests. Though not recommended for luxury, Los Banos is still just as relaxing as any luxury ranch as it has phenomenal riding and hospitality. Averaging about $139-$215/night, this ranch offers great experiences within its 30,000 acres, with its campouts, mountain biking, and canyoneering.
5. Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Known for its beautiful landscape, Ghost Ranch stretches over an area of 21,000 acres. It is situated near the village of Abiquiu in Rio Arriba County in North Central, New Mexico. Ghost Ranch is part of Piedra Lumbre (Spanish, “Shining Rock”), which was a 1766 land grant to Pedro Martin Serrano from Charles III of Spain. Run by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the ranch has been a dedicated national educational retreat meant for relaxing for 55 years. Over 200 classes are offered each year in topics that range from Memoir Writing and Paleontology to Painting and Yoga. Groups can reserve rooms for meetings, and families can stay for a day or a week to hike, kayak, or trail ride. Not only can you spend the night and learn about dinosaurs, you can also adopt your very own horse. Ghost Ranch has been the filming site of many famous movies including: City Slickers, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Cowboys and Aliens, and Red Dawn (1984).
4. Burnt Well Guest Ranch, New Mexico
Burnt Well is full of hospitality and warmth provided by the owners. It is fun and low-key, and completely isolates you from the outside world by taking away cellphone service. As a working cattle ranch, it hosts authentic cattle drives that can take up a whole week, giving you the opportunity to experience the Great West. Along with sticking to the working family ranch atmosphere, the ranch does not do trail riding, only “ranch riding”. Burnt Well was established in 1950 and continues to be run by the same family, with the nightly price being $90-$285/night. Also great for corporate retreats, where employees can get away from their daily office work, but still have the chance to build relationships and work together.
3. Alisal Ranch, California
Since first welcoming guests in 1946, Alisal Ranch has been a #1 choice for many families. With 10,000 acres of privately owned land in sunny California, this luxurious dude ranch offers it all, from trail riding, and archery, to wine tasting and swimming. As a working cattle ranch, guests have the opportunity to experience the “old west”, and then having the chance to come back and relax in the hot tub. It has fine-dining, tennis, yoga, and spa services to go to after a great and breathtaking horseback ride. Along with having great accommodations for company retreats, Alisal Ranch is also very family-oriented, and even has a petting zoo for the children to enjoy. This ranch ranges from $515-$695/night.
2. Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, Idaho
This dude ranch, with its nightly costs starting at $187-$314, is known for its beauty and scenic areas. Keeping the number of guests to around 50 people, the ranch likes to expose the guests to local culture—local authors, musicians, etc.— and history of the area. Rides can last anywhere from 1.5hr to 3hrs, while offering a look into the beauty of the land with the Sawtooth Mountains and Salmon River as the backdrop. With its fine food and amenities, this ranch has a great relaxing atmosphere.
1. Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming
Known for its rustic-chic, high-end luxury setting, Brush Creek works hard to provide the best for its guests. With trail riding, zip lining, hunting and shooting, and fly-fishing, this luxury ranch has it all. With General rides for ages 6 and up, to Advanced rides for those who have experience, as well as an arena dedicated to training, cowboy games, roundups, brandings, rodeos and competitions. This ranch has rock-climbing, paintball, saloon games and karaoke, and a spa and wellness center. Brush Creek provides activities for all types of interests and takes great pride is their variety. Starting at $1200 and going up to $6000, this ranch strives to accommodate its guests, and introduce them to the beauty of Wyoming.
Getting a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and the freedom of the “Old West” is something that quite a few people have dreamt about since they were young. These 10 ranches provide the best experiences for its guests, while showing the beauty of the land around them.