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Dads 'n' Dude Ranches

Jun 01, 2018 08:58AM ● By Maleesa Johnson

Father's Day is galloping toward us and offers the perfect chance to give great men some good getaway time. If your dad is the “back in my day” type, gift him the weekend of his dreams by sending him to a haven of horses. We Texans know there are variety of resorts, bed and breakfasts and spas parading as ranches, but we’ve done the research for you and found true, working dude ranches that will make your dad feel like John Wayne. Because for some, true satisfaction can only be found from good ol’ manual labor. However, if he is looking to unwind, we may have snuck in a few that also offer massage packages. Who doesn’t need a shoulder rub after a long day in the saddle? 

Bandera Beckons

Why leave Texas when looking for a good dude ranch? The Lone Star State is known for its cattle and, even more so, its cowboys. Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera, Texas, is certainly full of both, and you can join them!

If sending your dad off alone on a trip wasn’t what you had in mind, never fear – Dixie Dude Ranch offers plenty of family fun as well. The whole crew can enjoy planned activities such as swimming, catch-and-release fishing, hiking, hayrides, campfire sing-alongs and dancing.  Have some fun in the sun playing basketball, volleyball, ping-pong, tetherball, washers and, of course, horseshoes. Dixie Dude Ranch truly has it all, and we haven’t even touched on the main attraction yet – the horseback riding. Enjoy sweeping vistas and scenic rides in some of Texas’ most awe-inspiring landscapes. Bandera, situated about an hour northwest of San Antonio, is perfectly tucked away in the Hill Country. The ranch encompasses 725 acres of rugged, natural Texas beauty, and guest ranch packages include two rides daily for you to take it all in. Rides last about an hour and are guided by cowboys and cowgirls who know the land best. At the end of the day, wind down in a cottage, cabin or room in the Ranch Headquarters. The accommodations are rustic, but have plenty of modern comforts. However, individual rooms do not have TVs, but take the chance to unwind unplugged. It’s refreshing, we promise!

Let’s Go to Latigo

If you can handle the thin air, head up to Colorado for breathtaking  ­­– literally, thanks to the altitude – views. If you really feel like going all out for Father’s Day, Latigo Ranch can be entirely rented out for family reunions. But even if you are looking for a solo or smaller retreat, this ranch can still be your go-to. Latigo Ranch has ten comfortable log accommodations in three different styles: three-bedroom cabins, single bedroom units and single bedroom cabins with a fold-out couch in a separate sitting room. Three-bedroom units have wood-burning stoves in the sitting rooms while all single bedroom units have fireplaces. You’ll definitely get a Western-nostalgic vibe in any of the cozy rooms.  Enjoy a mug of coffee on your private porch before hitting the trails. And when it is time to saddle up, Latigo offers guided rides and activities such as cattle driving, gathering and cutting, cattle team penning and overnight pack trips.

The options are endless as the activities extend far beyond riding. Families can enjoy hay rides, hiking, fly fishing, shooting sports and more. You won’t get bored, and you certainly won’t go hungry, as Latigo provides delicious, upscale meals tailored to any diet.

Authentic Acreage

For a true taste of hard work and adventure, strap on your spurs at Bitterroot Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Bitterroot is a working ranch and the schedule doesn’t stop for visitors. The Fox family has run it for over forty years, and it’s not uncommon to see them join guests for dinner. Speaking of dinner, it’s the epitome of fresh. Enjoy ranch-raised beef and lamb alongside vegetables plucked straight from Bitterroot’s extensive garden. Relax after a day of driving cattle by retreating to a comfortable log cabin located along the river. You’ll get maximum privacy and stunning views of the Wyoming Rocky Mountains. When you’re ready to get back at it, hone your riding skills during the weekly team sorting competition.