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Why Dude Ranches Make for the Best Family Vacations

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Are you ready for a journey into the heart of family adventure? If so, consider a dude ranch vacation. Dude ranches afford exhilarating experiences while fostering incredible memories. They cultivate a sense of togetherness for families looking for a different kind of travel. And your whole family will thrive as you head into the great outdoors to give fishing, hiking, white water rafting, and more a try.

Today’s dude ranches also offer much more than the chance to cowboy up and try your hand at cattle work. Many include a variety of other activities, from petting zoos to zip-lining and even glamping getaways. Let’s take a closer look at why dude ranches make for incredible family vacations and which ones we can’t get enough of.

More Than Chuckwagon Fare

What’s one of the number one things we love about dude ranches? You’ll never have to lift a finger when it comes to rustling up some grub. Dude ranches provide three square meals a day with a wide range of American eats that’ll please even the pickiest of eaters. Best of all, these meals come with your travel package, so you never have to tussle with your crew over which restaurant to eat at.

All the guesswork is taken out of the equation because top-rated dude ranches come with professionally trained chefs who specialize in whipping up delectable meals for the whole family. And you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or post-cooking cleanup. It’s a win-win for the entire family.

What’s more, the best destinations provide guests with the highest quality cuisine crafted from local sources. In other words, you’ll get more than chuckwagon fare circa 1863 at today’s top resorts.

all-inclusive family vacations
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A “Summer” Camp for Kids and Grown-Ups Alike

Think of dude ranch vacations like “summer camps” for the whole family (although spring, fall, and winter visits come with many perks, too!). These vacations come with one fantastic activity after another and a focus on relaxation and fun. You’ll spend time outside bonding with your children while still savoring the luxuries of a high-end resort. Whether you’re a fan of horseback riding or you’d like a day at the spa, there’s a dude ranch experience perfect for your family.

Ranches feature activity schedules each day, and families get to pick and choose what they’d like to do. In some cases, kids and adults can choose independent activities while still coming back together for meals. As you know from planning past family vacations, finding the right admixture of independent time versus family time can prove challenging.

Fortunately, the best dude ranches have honed this into a fine art. They provide families with the best of both worlds, offering a robust collection of activities. Ranches gear vacations toward going “unplugged,” providing kids with real-world experiences that build confidence and an appreciation for nature. Best of all, kids are never an afterthought at dude ranches. Instead, they’re a celebrated part of the family-focused ranch experience.

family vacations
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Glorying in the Great Outdoors

When you book a stay at a dude ranch, one of the chief pleasures is experiencing the great outdoors in all of its glory. Rain or shine. Many of these incredible accommodations are located in iconic locations in the Western or Southern United States. They come complete with campfires, cookouts, and many opportunities to get back to nature.

You’ll also draw on the benefits of working with seasoned guides who can help you with everything from the perfect fly-fishing cast to how to ride a trail like a champ. What’s more, you’ll find something for every age, from younger kids to teens. Because active ranches pursue their ideal guests, you can rest assured there’s a dude ranch out there made just for your family.

You’ll also enjoy plentiful all-inclusive perks. Yes, going the all-inclusive route may feel expensive at first glance, but you must bear in mind the added value you’re receiving. Packages include exclusive accommodations, an array of guided activities, and other specialty features.

best family vacations
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The Best Dude Ranches for Families

The best dude ranches for families combine delectable cuisine with bountiful kid-friendly activities and soaring scenic views. At the 37,000-acre Resort at Paws Up, located in picturesque Montana, revel in the intersection of unspoiled wilderness and incomparable luxury. Paws Up specializes in mouth-watering culinary events, from Montana Master Grillers to visits from The French Laundry. You’ll also enjoy family-friendly activities like the Skyline Aerial Adventure Park, exhilarating lake excursions, horseback riding, and much more.

Or head to Blackberry Farm, a 4,200-acre estate located in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, where you’ll enjoy the best farm-to-table cuisine and an award-winning wine selection of more than 160,000 bottles. Besides incredible cuisine, your family will adore hiking, trail running, and mountain biking trails as well as rock climbing, off-road adventures, and an Arbor Adventure featuring 26 exciting elements.

At the 3,500-acre Lodge at Blue Sky, spend a day working at an organic farm. Then, sample herbal-infused lemonade as you learn about field-to-fork practices in the Three Sisters Gardens. You’ll also enjoy endless opportunities for adventure with access to 200,000 acres of terrain in the Uinta Mountains. Here, opportunities abound for heli-mountain biking, heli-hiking, heli-fly-fishing, and heli-snowboarding/skiing during the colder months.

dude ranch vacations
© Bob Faulkner | Dreamstime.com

The Best Family Vacation Spots in the US

Dude ranches are among the best family vacation spots in the United States. Not only will you enjoy delicious food and adventures galore, but you’ll rest assured there’s something for every member of your family. These all-inclusive family vacations may look pricey up front, but you’ll be amazed by the incredible value that comes with staying at the best dude ranches in the nation. Are you ready to book your next family adventure? Let’s chat!

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