Giddy up, guys and gals! These aren’t the ranches of yesteryear.
By Kate Silver
Dude ranches aren’t just for dudes anymore. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous family trip, a cowgirl getaway or even a luxury vacation, there’s a ranch for you. So head out to one of these new-fangled cowpoke escapes in your Silverado, which is always up to the task, and explore some wild and rugged terrain, while learning firsthand what ranch life is like—in the modern world. Ready to get your hands dirty?
No cars, no traffic, just you, the crisp Rocky Mountain air, the stars and a 100-mile view of the Continental Divide. Beginners and experts alike will enjoy horseback riding, river rafting, fly-fishing and more on this 85-year-old ranch. Latigo Ranch can accommodate up to 35, so families can mix and mingle over campfires and during cattle drives.
On this 10,000-acre luxury ranch, you can choose to ride horses, learn the rodeo ropes and fish for bass on the spring-fed Alisal Lake. Or you can spend the day enjoying a Swedish massage at the spa, playing golf or tennis or simply wander the picturesque grounds of the working cattle ranch. Don’t expect chuck-wagon beans and cornbread here. The California cuisine revolves around freshly caught fish, local fruits and vegetables and tempting steaks—all with ranch-style flare. Guests can book rooms nightly.
The Old West lives at Eatons’ Ranch, a working ranch that’s been passed down through the family since 1879. Here, horseback riders can independently roam the 7,000 acres and then join an overnight pack trip to Bighorn National Forest. Accommodations include comfortable cabins during the summer and the Eatons’ Bead and Breakfast in the winter. With a pool, hot tub, games and activities for kids, Eatons’ caters to all ages and abilities, in every season.
White Stallion Ranch
There’s a hardscrabble beauty to the desert. Sometimes it takes sitting on the back of a horse, gazing at a fiery sunset to fully realize it. At White Stallion Ranch, guests of all experience levels can ride past saguaro cacti and petroglyphs into canyons to experience the profound peacefulness of the great outdoors. With weekly rodeos, a tennis court, movie theaters, kids’ games and activities, hot tubs and massages, even city folk will keep busy here.
Ranch living and Texas go hand-in-hand, and there’s no better place to get a lasso lesson than Beaumont Ranch. Located near Dallas-Fort Worth, this 800-acre working cattle ranch invites guests to take part in daily chores, including cattle herding and roping. Want more? Visitors can also learn about animal husbandry, horse grooming and horse care. Fun and games abound, too—archery, zip lining, mechanical bull rides, fishing, paddleboats, weekend concerts…and the list goes on. Last but not least, the Beau Monde Spa is on hand to massage away any saddle soreness.
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Kate Silver is an award-winning journalist and editor based in Chicago. Her work appears regularly in Spirit Magazine, Men’s Health, the Chicago Tribune and Midwest Living, as well as on Parents.com.