Winter dude ranch vacations – minus the chill!

BY Jody Dahl | Mon 19 Dec, 2011

Dude ranch vacations in winter don’t have to mean sleigh rides, snowy trail riding and curling up by a huge log fire to escape freezing temperatures. If your idea of a winter ranch vacation is to find some sun, Top50 has plenty to offer...

Temperatures of up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees centigrade) are not uncommon temperatures in Arizona during winter. To make the most of the warmer climes this US state offers, head to Rancho de los Caballeros for a winter dude ranch vacation. Enjoy horseback riding over 20,000 acres of rolling hillsides and wide open spaces in the Sonoran Desert, and try team penning in the arena. With golfing, tennis, a full-service spa and outdoor swimming pool, you won’t believe that it’s winter on your dude ranch vacation! Open between October and May, and offering a great children’s program, Rancho de los Caballeros is also perfect for family Arizona dude ranch vacations out of season.

Mexico has a similar winter climate to Arizona, so head to a Mexico dude ranch for your winter horseback riding holidays. Los Banos Ranch is the place to go if you want adventure from your Mexico ranch holiday. This genuine Mexico working ranch offers world-class horseback riding, cattle work and trail rides, along with hiking, trekking and box canyon adventures. If you love horseback riding and the outdoors, this sunny ranch is the place to come for your winter horse riding holiday.

Another Mexico dude ranch is Rancho Las Cascadas, a small luxury ranch where guests’ needs are always placed first. Leave all snowy thoughts of winter behind as you relax in the infinity pool with a cocktail, or saddle up and go horseback riding across open countryside and through rock mountain paths.

Rancho Las Cascadas:

Galloping horse

Winter is the perfect time to travel for an Australia horse riding holiday if you want some winter sun. Snowy River Horseback Adventure, in New South Wales, enjoys summer temperatures during the northern hemisphere’s winter months, so you can get a tan whilst enjoying horse treks through ‘Man from Snowy River’ country. This is one horseback riding holiday that’s worth travelling the extra miles for.

Neighboring New Zealand also offers horse riding holidays in a great climate when winter sets in for the northern hemisphere. Beaumont High Country Experience operates its guest season between November and April, so escape the throes of winter and enjoy sheep mustering at this authentic working cattle station. Aside from offering great horseback riding holidays through the backcountry, Beaumont also takes guest on a jet-boat excursions, where you’ll ride through white-water rapids!

Known as the Sunshine State, California guest ranches are surely the place to go for a warmer dude ranch vacation during the winter months. The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is a 10,000 acre working cattle ranch, blending incredible horseback riding opportunities with luxury accommodations and facilities, as well as first-class spa services and fine dining.

Another California dude ranch is Rankin Ranch, as working ranch with a great reputation for family dude ranch vacations. Although the excellent children’s program doesn’t run during winter months, kids and adults alike with enjoy the supervised horseback riding opportunities, complete with trail riding and lessons in the arena – and don’t forget the outdoor pool for added fun and relaxation.

For some real sunshine, head south of the equator to Argentina working estancias for horseback riding holidays with a difference. Estancia Huechahue allows guests to sample life on a Patagonian working estanica, whether it’s horseback riding, horseback pack trips across the Andes, hiking to see Indian burial caves or rafting on the River Alumine. Enjoy the summer temperatures with a soak in the hot tub, a swim in the river and a BBQ dinner on the river bank.

Estancia Ranquilco is another Argentina working estancia, remotely nestled in the foothills of the Andes and boasting 100,000 acres on which to enjoy winter horseback riding holidays. Take a horseback riding pack trip into the mountains, and swim your horse through remote mountain lakes on your horse riding holiday at this Argentina working estancia.

Like the idea of a winter horseback riding holiday in Argentina and want to incorporate a spot of polo into your winter dude ranch vacation? Then head to Estancia Los Potreros, an Argentina working estancia offering just that. As well as trail riding, this working estancia offers horseback riding opportunities like lassoing, moving horses and taking part in traditional ‘gaucho games’ – and, of course, polo! Hop aboard one of the estancia’s polo ponies and learn a new sport on your Argentina horse riding holiday.

Estancia Los Potreros:

Estancia Los Potreros

What are you waiting for? Escape the snow, wind and rain of winter and head for some winter sun on a Top50 dude ranch vacation, guest ranch vacation or working ranch vacation.

TAGS: winter sun holidays, winter sun vacations, dude ranch vacations, argentina working estancias, mexico horse riding holidays, australia horse treks, new zealand horse riding holidays, usa dude ranches, working ranch vacations

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