Girls getaways come in all shapes and sizes, but have you ever considered a trip to cowboy country with the crew?
Ranch vacations enthusiast and occasional cowgirl from the UK, Mel Rutherford explains why a ranch vacation is the getaway ALL the girls will love.
(No more fighting over the itinerary, hurrah!)
Girls just wanna have fun
Photo: Views at The Ranch at Rock Creek
I sat at my desk the other day, daydreaming and clicking the heels of my cowboy boots together, whispering 'There's no place like Montana... there's no place like Montana...' – when a work colleague suddenly snapped my attention back to reality.
"Mel," she announced, "I think we’re long overdue for a girls getaway!"
I think they call it a ‘lightbulb’ moment. “I know just the thing!” I replied, a little too enthusiastically.
Having been on a ranch vacation to the US before, upon return, I’d been keen to convince both my horsey and non-horsey girlfriends to join me on another Western adventure – this would make the best girls getaway!
So, what better opportunity than this to introduce these English ladies to the American cowboy culture on an authentic ranch vacation?
I was sure they’d LOVE the idea of ranch vacations! (Ahem, cowboys anyone?!)
Ranch vacations: Something for everyone?
Turns out, a unique girls getaway, like a vacation on a ranch, was not exactly what they had in mind.
Apparently, not everyone’s idea of relaxation is long days in the saddle and camping out under the stars at night – that´ll just be me, then!
Photo: The spa at The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
Massage and meditation appeared further up their list of priorities for a much-needed girls getaway, it seemed… hmm, this could prove tricky…
Can you combine cowgirlin’ and calm?
Not one to be defeated, however, I made it my mission to prove to them that actually, ranch vacations can be the most unexpected places to escape to with the girls, there truly is something for everyone.
What to do on a ranch vacation
If you’re looking for head-to-toe pampering on a ranch vacation with the girls, there are many ranches with spas to choose from.
For example, Diamond J Ranch, offering ranch vacations in Montana, boasts a welcoming outdoor saltwater pool and jacuzzi so the lounge lizards of the group will certainly be catered for.
Their spa invites guests to ‘unwind and revitalize’ with rock treatments and traditional massage.
That would tempt even me out of the saddle!
Photo: The pool at Diamond J Ranch
Riverview Ranch, alongside offering pampering spa treatments and yoga, has a ton of ranch vacation activities to keep the adreno-junkies of the group adrenalized to the max! They can go wild on adventures such as climbing, mountain biking, shooting, white-water rafting.
...And over in Wyoming, boutique ranch, 3 Spear Ranch even has a delightful natural hot spring, where you can soak away the day's excesses!
Klondike Ranch, also Wyoming, is perfect if most of your group wants to horse ride, or try horse riding for the first time, as they cater for all levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Not only this, but everyone gets to ride together, regardless of ability which is perfect for bonding on your girls getaway.
You can even camp out under the brilliant Wyoming skies if you’re all feelin’ adventurous!
Photo: Horse riding at Klondike Ranch
If some retail therapy is high on the list, The Red Rock Ranch has a ‘boutique Western store’ on site, where you can splurge on hats, vests, scarves and so much more. Then take your snazzy new attire on the trail or style it out while bird-watching, playing pickle ball, volleyball, fishing or scenic floating… at least you know you’ll look the part for all those Insta Stories!
Many other guest ranches, working ranches and dude ranches offer wonderfully-curated women-only weeks – it’s the perfect opportunity to leave those men and kids behind, whether you choose to take to the trail, or retreat to the heated indoor pool.
Ranch vacations have it all!
On my mission to find a ranch vacation to please several demanding ladies and provide me with my authentic ranch vacations fix, I half expected my choice to be limited to dude ranch vacations.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find several authentic working ranches and a multitude of guest ranches offering great relaxation facilities, as well as a real Western experience. Being able to combine real ranch work and riding, with adventure, yoga, massage and soaks in the hot tub is my idea of horse heaven.
Photo: Keeping it real and authentic at Medicine Bow Lodge
OK, so maybe I'm not being entirely selfless here, I'll grab any opportunity to put my cowboy boots to good use!
But I think I’ve proven my point that ranch vacations don’t have to be all about riding and horses, there truly is something for everyone.
What better place to spend quality time with friends and recharge those batteries than in the vast, open spaces of cowboy country?
Put it that way and I don’t think the girls will take much convincing; I think I can safely call this ‘mission accomplished’!
Original article written by London-based Personal Trainer and occasional cowgirl Mel Rutherford, who was a former writer and News Editor for Top50 Ranches, and Horse&Rider magazine (UK) respectively
Co-written, edited and created by Kate Hammaren; luxury and adventure travel writer, editor and world traveler.