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Dude Ranch Vacations
There’s a little cowboy in all of us, just waiting for the opportunity to shine. Dude ranches (or guest ranches) are typically cattle ranches that have been converted to a vacation resort and deliver a distinctive western experience. Some define a Dude Ranch as an actual working ranch where the guests help out with the work, doing activities like sorting and herding animals. Guest ranches or resorts may be larger properties that offer horseback riding along with an array of other activities and some even have a spa. In practice, the term is fairly interchangeable; the activities offered vary by resort and may depend on the location of the property.
Why are they called “Dude Ranches”? A little history
Out west, in the 1880s, the name “Dude” referred to east coast socialites, who had a romantic notion of what the west was like. Only very wealthy men could afford the long overland trip and high fees associated with experiencing the “real west” on a ranch. They often bought elaborate outfits to fit the role of “cowboy” and became known as “Dudes” (as in “he was all duded up”) Guest ranches acquired the nickname of “Dude Ranches” referring to their patrons.
Today, Dude ranches have evolved to offer a true western resort experience, and welcome solo travelers, multi-generational families, groups of friends, and corporate events. As ranches are often located in pristine wilderness locations, they are mostly all-inclusive. There may be some special tours that are available for an extra fee, but generally, accommodations, meals, and most activities are included in the per person price. Ranch atmospheres range from rustic to luxurious and can serve anywhere from 8 to over 100 guests. The experience will be dramatically different from large to small and is most noticeable in the dining and social experiences.
A very small sampling of activities you may find:
Ranches provide a special environment for family vacations. There are many activities to keep kids of all ages busy, either with family or other kids. Everyone can “unplug” and enjoy the natural world together.
Some ranches have designated weeks for adults only. They may have singles weeks or girlfriend getaways. Special event weeks geared towards adults are also available including cattle drives, pack trips, hunting trips, photography workshops, fly fishing retreats, and horse clinics.
Contact Arrow Discovery Travel to help you find the guest ranch experience best suited for your party.
Janet Beazley Scraper, ECC, CTP
Member of Ensemble Travel Group
Seller of Travel Numbers