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Are you getting enough family time nowadays? Probably not. A recent survey revealed that most families spend only 37 minutes a day on shared leisure activities during the week and just over two hours together on the weekend!

While there's not much you can do about hectic work and school schedules, or necessary chores, it's up to you to amp up your family time while on vacation. 

Check out these top seven reasons you should make your next family vacation a dude ranch vacation!

1. Horseback riding on a dude ranch vacation

Horses are the biggest attraction at any dude ranch and most activities center around trail rides, cattle drives, nautral horsemanship and more.

Whether you're an experienced equestrian or just curious to discover the joys of horseback riding for yourself, on a ranch vacation, you'll find plenty of horse-related activities to keep you occupied.

Horseback riding at The Darwin Ranch, Wyoming

Horseback Riding at The Darwin Ranch, Wyoming

Most dude ranches offer at least one ride a day, customized according to the experience and interest of the riders, and on a ranch vacation, you'll find lessons, natural horsemanship, trail rides and more. 

Why not check our our working ranches for a truly authentic cowboy/cowgirl experience?

There's no better way to explore the wide-open spaces of a dude ranch than onboard a trusted and experienced mount, but if you decide that horseback riding isn't for you, there are plenty of dude ranches out there offering alternative activities. Read on!

2. Hiking on a ranch vacation

After horseback riding, hiking is the best way to enjoy your beautiful surroundings. These can take the form of short walks around the property or day-long excursions into the mountains with plenty of pitstops to relish in nature. 

Some ranches give you free rein to explore at will, while others arrange informative guided trips where you'll get to find out more about the natural environment. 

Children find these guided trails especially fascinating and will learn plenty about the natural world in the process. Here are the top 4 ultimate kids ranch vacations in the U.S.

3. Dude ranch water sports

The best dude ranches occupy some of the country's most beautiful places, where lovely watercourses traverse vast open spaces, and there's no shortage of raging rapids and meandering brooks to add thrills to your outdoor adventures!

Ranch vacation water sports

Paddleboarding on a ranch vacation

Among these watery depths, you can experience relaxing float trips overlooked by towering mountains, en route to a riverside picnic or buffet and action-seekers love the chance to take adrenalin-packed trips down a fast-flowing stream. 

The riverside is a beautiful place to settle down for a picnic, barbecue or cowboy cookout after your boat trip or fishing excursion, or just for fun and relaxation at any time of the day!

4. Fishing ranches and lodges

Fishing is another one of the water-related outings available on vacation ranches.

At these lodges and ranches with fishing, the abundant waters offer rainbow and brown trout up for grabs, and much much more. 

Apart from the rich pickings, fly fishing vacations are also an excellent way to relax and are highly rated as family getaways. 

If fish isn't on the menu for dinner, you can also enjoy a spot of catch-and-release fishing in these waters. 

First-timers can take part in fly-fishing classes before setting out to conquer the waters and once you've learned the basics, you're all set for a lifetime of angling enjoyment. 

Some fishing vacation ranches offer the chance to combine fishing with horseback riding and hiking activities, too. 

5. Camping and glamping ranches

Camping out may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it's something you should try at least once – there's nothing as restful as falling asleep under the stars, with the sounds of the night all around you and the smell of a campfire lingering in the air.

And cooking over the open fires is another one of life's great pleasures, especially when you've caught your dinner fresh from the river. 

For those who love their creature comforts, glamping ranches offer a best-of-both-worlds experience!

Glamping at Brush Creek Ranch

Glamping at Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

If you're not quite ready to brave the wild outdoors under cover of the canvas, most dude ranches offer a range of alternative accommodation, like bunkhouses to share, as well as luxury suites.  

Food options run the gamut from breakfast rides and family cookouts in the evenings, to five-star dining in swish restaurants.

Experienced chefs will cook your meals just the way you like and are happy to accommodate your eating preferences, too. 

6. Dude ranch vacation packages

The best dude ranches offer a wealth of activities to suit all ages. Specialized children's packages will teach your little ones valuable life skills in a safe environment.

Children love the chance to learn horseback riding, enjoy pool time, find out more about nature, try their skills on a slackline and get creative with arts and crafts. 

When you stay at a luxury dude ranch, you'll also have the option for some luxurious adults-only treats for couples' bonding time too. 

These are some of the things you can look forward to with your loved one:

  • Spa services
  • Outdoor candlelit dinners
  • Saloon shindigs
  • Yoga
  • Stargazing
  • Romantic riverside walks

Teens and adults can also look forward to fast-paced new adventures at every turn and there's plenty of opportunity for relaxation and reflection, too. 

Zip-lining, white-water rafting, skeet shooting, archery and cattle drives are just some of the high-energy activities up for grabs!

7. Ranch vacations for families

Family dude ranch vacations ensure you'll get lots of time together far from the distractions of daily life. Some specialized ranches even allow your family pet to join in the fun! 

There's no (or limited) internet, television and social media to distract you from quality time spent together as a family unit, and there are lots of chances to get to know each other on a new level.

Family vacations at Lazy L&B Ranch

Family vacations at Lazy L&B Ranch

Some of the best family activities include wagon rides, mountain biking, cowboy-themed evening entertainment, rock climbing and much more. 

Shared experiences during your family ranch vacation are sure to remain talking points for a long time to come and discovering new things together builds bonds that last a lifetime.

Booking your dream dude ranch

Are you ready to commit to those you love by spending some quality time together?

Take a look at our excellent selection of guest ranches, resort ranches, working ranches and luxury ranches, and see our 4 quick ways to help you choose your dream dude ranch vacation, or you can call us on 1-707-217-5205 to talk to a real person about what you want. 

And if you're still wondering 'What is a dude ranch vacation?', here's our beginners guide to visiting cowboy country

Edited and created by Kate Hammaren; luxury and adventure travel writer, editor and world traveler.

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