Choose a ranch vacation to learn horsemanship in an authentic setting, explore pristine wilderness areas, fish wild and scenic rivers and relax in Western style. Here are five destinations to consider:
Choose your season and relish the peace and tranquility you’ll find at this historic ranch. With never-ending views along the Continental Divide, the ranch offers snowshoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing and fat biking in pristine winter conditions. The summer months offer top-notch horseback riding on over 200 miles of trail, cattle drives, hiking and mountain biking for the active members of your family. For those eager to relax, settle in on the porch for a card game, in a meadow or near a crackling fire with a book or puzzle at the ready.
Lone Mountain Ranch
Big Sky, Mont.
Just a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park’s northwest border, in the shadow of Lone Peak, you’ll find a cluster of hand-built cabins. Authentic and luxurious, the historic accommodations, tucked creek-side, in the pine trees or in meadows, help visitors conjure the days when the property was a working cattle ranch, operating in untamed country. Then, like now, the region is home to stunning vistas and abundant wildlife including grizzlies, black bears, bison and wolves. With or without guides, adventurers can fish Blue Ribbon trout streams, hike the many trails in the area or explore via horseback, Nordic and downhill skis or snowshoes.
White Stallion Ranch
Family-owned and operated, this working cattle ranch is known for award-winning service, exceptional riding opportunities and a family-friendly atmosphere. Ride amid towering saguaros and enjoy their moonlit bonfires, hay rides, fat biking, cowboy entertainment, astronomy shows, Western dance lessons and a weekly rodeo where family members can admire the roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling skills of local wranglers.
Westgate River Ranch
River Ranch, Fla.
You’ll be just an hour from Orlando but feel a world away when you arrive at the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi. Situated on 1,700 acres of wilderness in Florida’s cattle country, the ranch offers a menu of lodging options that include glamping-style tents, lodge rooms and two-bedroom cabins. Opt for horse and pony rides, airboat excursions, miniature golf, nature hikes and zip lining. You’ll want to take in the Saturday-night rodeo, campfires, cookouts, hayrides and a weekly street party.
The Home Ranch
A visit to this mountain retreat near Steamboat Springs involves decision making. Will you choose rocking on the porch, listening to the rustle of Aspen leaves, multiple massage sessions or curling up by the stone fireplace with your favorite book while the kids sharpen skills in the corral under the watchful eyes of resident wranglers? (The children and teen programs will keep the youngsters in your group plenty busy.) Or, you can join the family for fly fishing on a private stretch of the Elk River, morning hikes, afternoon trail rides, daylong outings into nearby wilderness areas, yoga classes and post-dinner music, barn dances and star gazing. During the winter months, snowshoeing, Nordic and downhill skiing and horseback and sleigh rides are all possible. You’ll enjoy exceptional cuisine, fine wines and well-deserved slumber in the comfort of cozy lodge rooms or rustic yet well-appointed cabins, tucked within a tree-studded landscape. Pack your schedule with active pursuits or relax your week away. Either way, it’s all included.