If you have ever thought about a family dude ranch vacation, this episode will give you everything you need to know. Colleen Hodson from the National Dude Ranchers Association gives us the scoop on different types of ranches, how to pick a dude ranch that is best for your family, and some of her favorite ranches for families. We also cover how much a dude ranch trip costs and what to pack.
ON THE PODCAST
ABOUT COLLEEN HODSON, NATIONAL DUDE RANCHERS ASSOCIATION
Colleen is the Executive Director of the National Dude Ranchers Association and a true horse lover at heart. You can learn more about the association’s dude ranch members on its website, or follow the association on Facebook and Twitter.
TIPS FOR PLANNING A DUDE RANCH VACATION
- There are three types of dude ranches: resort ranches, traditional ranches, and working ranches
- Traditional ranches focus primarily on riding, working ranches are small and you are more involved in the operations of the ranch, and resort ranches offer other amenities like spas and gourmet dining
- Working ranches are best for kids 12 and up
- Traditional ranches and resort ranches typically have children’s programs
- You don’t need experience horseback riding to enjoy a dude ranch, lessons are provided
- Most ranches offer nighttime activities like line dancing, cookouts, etc.
- Use the Dude Ranch Association website to research ranch options, starting with location and type of ranch
- You can call the ranch you are considering to see if they know the ages of other kids coming that week to try to find a good match for your family
- Think about the closest airport and research the flight availability and costs
- Dude ranch vacations are all-inclusive of food and activities and range from $1400-1800 per person per week during peak season and child rates are available
- The typical dude ranch vacation is a week, but all have a minimum of a three-night stay
- What to pack: boots with a heel, a brimmed hat, jeans, sweatshirts, sunscreen, bug spray, casual clothes and shoes (hiking boots, sneakers)
- The ranch will provide water bottles
- Wrangler jeans are best because the seams are on the outside of the leg
- Repeat business is 60 percent and many families book when they leave so plan a family dude ranch vacation at least six months in advance if you are going during peak season
- Some ranches offer different lodging options from a lodge hotel-like stay to cabins or larger houses for big groups
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TIP OF THE WEEK
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