ABOVE PHOTO: Courtesy of The Dude Ranchers’ Association.
The big skies and open spaces of the American West have captured the imagination for hundreds of years. Whether it’s the beauty of a desert sunset or the cold majesty of snow-capped mountains, there’s something about the landscape and the clean air that reinvigorates the spirit.
Seeking relief from the hustle and bustle of modern life, people from all over stay at one of many dude ranches across the country. Here, an intimate blend of adventure and comfort allows visitors to experience the majesty of the west in style and unmatched luxury.
Since 1926, members of The Dude Ranchers Association have served as stewards of both the land and the traditions of the American West. Always eager to share their way of life with guests from the big city or just down the road, they have transformed the rancher’s way of life into one of the most incredible vacation opportunities around.
For a taste of the variety offered, here are five reasons all kinds of people return to dude ranches across the country.
1. Roughing it has never been so luxurious. Simply put, it’s hard to find a more relaxing experience. With many ranches offering morning yoga to limber you up before you get in the saddle along with spa services to induce a state of complete relaxation, you’ll think those cowboys had it easy on their cattle drives!
2. An educational adventure for the whole family. Many dude ranches have an array of kid-friendly activities. Children of all ages can ride horses, play, learn about animals and the wonders of the great outdoors. Parents treasure this direct, hands-on learning, and kids, well, they hardly know that what they’re doing is educational.
3. A perfect getaway for animal lovers. There is no shortage of people who visit a dude ranch in order to live their childhood dream of having a horse or a pony. Horses are an integral part of the dude ranch experience, and whether you ride them through the mountainside meadows or learn some grooming techniques, working with these animals is a magical experience.
4. Indulge in a meal like none other. After a day luxuriating in the crisp western air, nothing is better than sitting down with your family for a gourmet meal paired with the perfect wine. Yes, the food is a world-class combination of classic favorites and new flavors, but it’s also a chance to share stories with your loved ones, hear about the things your kids discovered and create lasting memories.
5. Discover something about yourself. Each year, there is no shortage of people who come to relax and let the stress of daily life melt away. While doing this, they also manage to participate in things they never imagined. Whether it is zooming down a zip line, going whitewater rafting or mountain biking, many people discover new experiences that give them a new perspective on life.
Founded in 1926, The Dude Ranchers’ Association was founded to preserve, protect and promote this unique vacation experience. Since then, the core principles of dude ranching remain the same: horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart.
With more than 100 accredited members, all of which are required to uphold the highest quality and standards within the dude ranching industry, The Dude Ranchers’ Association can help you find your next dream vacation.