Have you ever taken your family on a vacation to a dude ranch? If not, you have been missing out excitement, adventure and a true escape that you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re in search of horseback riding opportunities, beautiful scenery, thrilling activities, or good eats, you’ll find all that and more when staying at a dude ranch. Check out a few of the best family dude ranches in the United States.
Family Friendly Vacations
As a family that owns horses and loves to ride them, we always enjoy finding vacation spots that offer trail riding. My love for dude ranches began when I was a kid, reading as many horse-y novels as I could devour. I loved reading all about the adventures that story protagonists were experiencing on ranches. Then the Nickelodeon show Hey Dude hit the airwaves and I was totally convinced that I not only wanted to visit a dude ranch but I wanted to LIVE on one!
When I graduated from high school, my aunt told me to pick any dude ranch in the US to visit. My (incredibly amazing) graduation gift from her was a week-long vacation at the ranch of my choice. We picked a TRUE ranch… I’m talking working cattle ranch… in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Our stay at the N Bar Ranch was an experience that has stayed with me throughout the decades. The N Bar isn’t really a dude ranch (nor does it tout itself as one), with no frills or spa-like amenities… but definitely an incredible adventure.
I snapped the vintage pic below while riding through a Ponderosa pine forest during my week at the N Bar.
Having never forgotten my week at the N Bar, family friendly dude ranches have always ranked high on my list of potential vacation destinations. I love sharing this unique travel experience with my kids!
Check out this list of some great family friendly dude ranches to consider for your own future trips!
Top Family Dude Ranches in the US
Located in northern California, Greenhorn Ranch is considered to be one of the best dude ranches in the entire state. They provide wonderful sleeping accommodations for their guests, as well as the perfect setting for your next big gathering. Besides horseback riding, the ranch offers other activities including fishing, hiking, skeet shooting, archery, and mountain biking. Whiskey tastings and yoga lessons are something else you may enjoy along with their pool and great-tasting meals.
Rocking Horse Ranch
Nestled in the Catskill mountains in New York, Rocking Horse Ranch is an all-inclusive family-friendly ranch. Guests can choose from a long list of activities to enjoy, from horseback riding and swimming to seasonal activities including: ice skating and snow tubing (winter) and zip lining (spring through fall). There is an on-site spa and a daily schedule full of fun things to do. Enjoy wine and cheese events, live entertainment, and gourmet-style dining. Every guest 8+ can enjoy a daily horseback trail ride (with the option to add more, based on availability). Kids under 8 can enjoy a daily pony ride.
We have stayed at RHR twice and had a wonderful time. You can check out my Rocking Horse Ranch review for lots of pictures and details.
Surrounded by three national forests and plenty of epic scenery that will take your breath away, it’s no wonder why Latigo Ranch has been voted Colorado’s best dude ranch in the past. But it doesn’t stop there. During the summer guests can enjoy hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. Once winter arrives, sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are popular activities to do there. Of course, you’ll want to take part in some type of cattle drive while you’re there, whether you choose their breakfast ride, sunset, family, or pack trips. And don’t forget about the good grub they’ll dish up for you afterward.
Red Horse Mountain Ranch
If you’re looking for a dude ranch that’s considered “all-inclusive,” look no further than the comfortable accommodations along with the charming hospitality that you’ll find at Red Horse Mountain Ranch. Besides the amazing outdoor views, they’ve got a full bar, swimming pool, dining room, and a game room. Horseback riding, ziplining, rock climbing, fly fishing, and biking are just some of the activities you can enjoy while visiting.
Sweet Grass Ranch
Big Timber, MT
Want to get a taste of what the old wild west felt like? Head to Big Sky Country (also known as Montana). You will feel like you have stepped back in time at the family-owned Sweet Grass Ranch. More than 6 generations of this family have run the ranch while providing guests with not only entertainment but also stunning alpine scenery and pristine lake views. Ranch guests will get the chance of a lifetime to go out on a real cattle drive, along with opportunities for hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and other recreational activities. Enjoy a hearty meal at the end of a day and then treat yourself to a massage.
Westgate River Ranch
River Ranch, FL
Believe it or not, even the state of Florida has a family-friendly dude ranch! Situated on a 1,700-acre piece of untouched wilderness, Westgate River Ranch offers vacationing families an amazing glamping experience along with exciting activities such as horseback riding, a petting farm, buggy and airboat rides and their popular Saturday night rodeo. The ranch is located about an hour’s drive south of Orlando.
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch
Editor’s Note: Pine Ridge Dude Ranch has closed permanently as of 5/2022.
If you are looking for an all-inclusive vacation on the East Coast that feels like you are in the Wild West, head to Pine Ridge Dude Ranch! Accommodations include 3 meals a day, an array of on-site activities and entertainment, and gorgeous mountain views. Indoor and outdoor (summer months) swimming pools, daily horseback trail rides, campfires, rock climbing, archery and more await your entire family!
We enjoyed an August weekend stay at Pine Ridge and the whole family thought it was an incredible getaway! Read my Pine Ridge Dude Ranch review for a full recap of our experience with lots of pictures.
These are a handful of the best family dude ranches scattered all throughout the United States. You can bet that each of them will have plenty to keep your family busy, but also the relaxation that you may be seeking. Which of these ranches would you like to check out with your family? Have you stayed at a great family-friendly dude ranch not listed above? Drop us a comment and tell us about it!