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Giddy Up! Time to Plan Your Dude Ranch Vacation

USA Travel Destinations

Western Dude Ranches

Hear the crackling fire and feel the cool breeze while gazing at a sky so dark and clear that you see a million stars. It's the true art of relaxation at a dude ranch.

Dude ranches are the original Western vacation! Back in the late 19th century, ranches allowed visitors from the East Coast and Midwest to escape the crowds of their suburban lives to experience the unique rejuvenation of spirit that ranches had become known for. The word “dude” simply meant someone who was from the east. Ranches quickly became a “home away from home” as returning guests became lifelong friends with the staff and guests. It’s a quality that still exists today, as dude ranch vacations continue to provide that special brand of western hospitality that nourishes body and soul. It is an all-inclusive, immersive vacation that includes lodging, meals, horseback riding, fishing, hiking and more.

If your idea of a dude ranch is just some place with dirt and bugs, otherwise known as ‘roughing it’, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you want to live out your childhood dream of being a cowboy or cowgirl in an indulgent way, then try a dude ranch vacation.  It's a great idea for a friends getaway or a multi generational family vacation.

Below I have listed 3 of my favorite ranches to consider for your next vacation.  

The Resort at Paws Up, Montana

No doubt the Resort at Paws Up is one of the best dude ranches out there because of its rustic elegance and comfort as well the undiluted beauty of nature. There are plenty of choices for accommodations on the ranch. My favorite is to stay in a safari style tent for the ultimate Glamping experience.

The 37,000-acre Montana ranch has an amazing equestrian program for all ages. Activities include trail rides, cattle drives, carriage rides and wilderness adventures. You can also go fly-fishing on the iconic Blackfoot River. Of course, there is boating, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, paintball, rafting, rappelling, swimming, ATV riding and more.

The culinary scene is elevated with foods made by internationally renowned chefs at this haven. The range of options include fine dining, outdoor dining with music and a chuck wagon experience.

Tanque Verde Ranch, Arizona

Tanque Verde Ranch resort, near Tucson, is one of the oldest guest ranches in America. The ranch is best known for its beautiful desert landscapes, luxurious accommodations and unparalleled amenities.

It offers the perfect vacation for relaxation as you enjoy a variety of activities such as jeep adventures, horsemanship classes, mountain biking, fishing, swimming, hiking, yoga, and more. I personally love the sunrise and sunset horse rides in the Sonoran Desert. You may also enjoy the spa services and an indoor pool. There are fun supervised children’s programs each day to keep the little ones occupied.

The specialty is southwestern cuisine which can be enjoyed in a variety of settings including camp style with their popular cowboy cookout.

Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Brush Creek Ranch is an award-winning, all-inclusive guest ranch which is the perfect place for a pampered getaway for those who want to immerse themselves in the true spirit of the West with a touch of indulgence. Located in Saratoga, Wyoming, Brush Creek Ranch is a highly refined 30,000-acre destination that blends outdoor recreation and experiences while preserving the authentic spirit of the west. The Ranch is positioned at the headwaters of the North Platte River, which is fed entirely by snowmelt from the neighboring Snowy Mountain Range and Sierra Madre Range.

The Ranch Lodge and Spa offers a vast array of activities for guests to enjoy such as archery, fly fishing, rock climbing, golf, and horseback riding. In the winter there is cross country skiing, ice fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling, sledding, snowshoeing and much more.

The Ranch at French Creek is the ultimate sporting hideaway known for some of the most sought after fly fishing, upland hunting and game hunting found across the globe.Stay in historic luxury cabins with all the comforts after an active day on the ranch.

Meals are prepared farm-to-table and the chef utilizes the Ranch's own Wagyu cattle. The restaurant sits on the French Creek for indoor views or al fresco dining.

Life is better on the Ranch...so saddle up and let's plan your adventure!

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