Enjoy The Dude Ranch Experience

The history of the Dude Ranch (or Guest Ranch as they are sometimes known) dates back over 120 years ago in the western United States. Cashing in on the allure and the romantic lore of the cowboy, real working ranches opened their homes to city slickers from all over the country. Tourists travelled to real working ranches looking to experience a vacation of natural beauty, healthy physical activities and to escape the bustle of the city.

The popularity of the guest ranch has continued to grow and is the reason why there are hundreds of dude ranches and guest ranches all over the United States and the world, including Canada and Australia.

Dude or guest ranches offer many diverse activities. If you want to learn to ride horses, these ranches offer horseback riding instruction. And you can always enjoy the natural beauty and scenic trails from the back of your horse.

In addition to horseback riding lessons, most guest ranches offer daily activities such as hiking, swimming, mountain biking and hay rides. Some of the more upscale guest ranches have more upscale amenities such as golf, tennis and spa services.

It's your vacation so you want to make sure you pick the guest ranch that is right for you. If you want to really experience the cowboy life and break in those cowboy boots, visit a working ranch. At these types of ranches guests are hands on in the daily activities of the work; you might be unloading hay, moving cattle and maybe even helping to doctor a calf or muck out a stall!

Another thing to consider is the time of year you visit the guest ranch. The season may determine what kind of experience and location you choose. Working dude ranches move and sort cattle at specific times of the year while at a guest ranch you might want to visit a mountainous area in the spring to enjoy the wild flowers blooming. Although most guest ranch vacations are of a longer length, some facilities offer shorter stays. If you want an authentic ranch experience but don't want the travel or time commitment, check out your local area for ranches that offer a Western experience in one or two day programs. These "mini ranch" experiences can give you a taste or get you ready for the longer thing! Who knows, you might get hooked and find yourself continuing to take horseback riding lessons when you get home!

The best thing about a dude ranch vacation is that you are surrounded by nature and the horses and that you can just relax and unwind with your friends or family. The fresh air and physical activity is good for the body and even better for the soul! Even if you take just a small mini break at a local ranch or 2 weeks at a guest ranch, like Winston Churchill said - No hour of life is wasted that's spent in the saddle.

Time to leave the Dude Ranch and head back Home

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