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 2 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 why a dude ranch is a perfect place to catch up on some meaningful moments together.
1. Horses, Horses, Horses
Horses are the biggest attraction at any dude ranch and most activities center around them. Whether you're an experienced equestrian or just curious to discover the joys of horseback riding for yourself, you'll find plenty of horse-related activities to keep you occupied.
Most dude ranches offer at least one ride a day, customized according to the experience and interest of the riders. You'll find lessons and natural horsemanship
There's no better way to explore the wide-open spaces of a dude ranch than onboard a trusted and experienced mount. If you decide that horseback riding isn't for you, there are plenty of dude ranches out there offering alternative activities.
2. Scenic Hiking
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.
3. Watery Fun
The best dude ranches occupy some of the country's most beautiful places, where lovely watercourses traverse vast open spaces.
There's no shortage of raging rapids and meandering brooks to add thrills to your outdoor adventures.
Among these watery depths, you can experience relaxing float trips overlooked by towering mountains, en route to a riverside picnic or buffet. 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 or a barbecue after your boat trip or fishing excursion, or just for fun any time of the day.
Fishing is another one of the water-related outings available at vacation ranches. Here you'll find rainbow and brown trout up for grabs. Apart from the rich pickings, fishing is also an excellent way to relax and highly rated as a family activity.
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. 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.
5. Camping and Cooking
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 with the sounds of the night all around you and the smell of a campfire lingering in the air.
For those who love their creature comforts, glamping offers a best-of-both-worlds experience.
Cooking over the open fires is another one of life's great pleasures, especially when you've caught your dinner fresh from the river.
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. You find bunkhouses to share as well as luxury suites among the many options available.
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.
6. Customized Dude Ranch Activities
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 significant other:
- Spa services
- Outdoor candlelit dinners
- Saloon shindigs
- 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 rustling are just some of the high energy activities up for grabs.
7. Good Clean Family Fun
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 Internet, television, or social media to distract you from quality time spent together as a family unit and lots of chances to get to know each other on a new level.
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. Discovering new things together builds bonds that last a lifetime.
Saddle Up Soon
Are you ready to commit to those you love by spending some quality time together?
Take a look at our excellent selection of dude ranch vacations or get in touch and we'll help you find the right package for you and your family.
Edited and created by Kate Hammaren; luxury and adventure travel writer, editor and world traveler.