California Ranch Vacations

California dude ranches combine incredible western horseback riding with foods, languages and traditions from across the globe. Top50 has selected the best California dude ranch vacations and guest ranch vacations for you to peruse.

Coined the 'Golden State', California is the perfect destination if you're looking for somewhere sunny, year-round and want to explore oceans, deserts and mountains during your western California ranch vacation.

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Alisal Ranch
California, USA

  • Great for

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, People of all ages
  • Capacity

    200
  • Ranch Type

    Dude Ranch, Guest Ranch
  • Open

    All year
  • Nearest Airport

    30 miles
View details...

Rankin Ranch
California, USA

  • Great for

    Romance, Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, People of all ages
  • Capacity

    55
  • Ranch Type

    Dude Ranch, Guest Ranch
  • Open

    Apr-Oct
  • Nearest Airport

    45 miles
View details...

The 1850s California Gold Rush is a symbol of the US west coast state's modern economy and California still today pioneers in generating technology, entertainment, and economic fads (and booms) which are often followed by the rest of the world.

If you're after sunshine for your California dude ranch vacation, you're in luck. That said, however, California has a varying climate that depends largely on the area's latitude, elevation and how close to the coast it lies. Generally, California's coastal and Southern regions have a climate similar to what you'd find in the Mediterranean - so that means rainy winters, however summers tend to be dry. Take your California guest ranch vacation near to the ocean and you'll find temperatures are less extreme, meaning warmer winters and cooler summers.

If a trip like this is intriguing, but you are not quite sure of the full authentic western experience, you should trust us on this. A vacation of this type will still offer the experience of being on a ranch but it will also include other experiences such as the ocean, deserts and mountains. You will find that California ranch vacations have everything that you are looking for from luxury dude ranches and guest ranches to working cattle ranches. It will be close to impossible to find something that will not suit your fancy.

California dude ranches offer incredible western horseback riding tours, such as at ranches like Alisal Ranch - through canyons, up hillsides, past grazing cattle and through slowing streams and brooks. This is a resort type ranch that is large enough for corporate retreats but some an intimate enough for a couple looking for a romantic getaway. There are plenty of activities to be offered which include horseback riding, tennis, fishing, gold and even a petting zoo for those families with children. At the end of a fun packed day you can settle in for some fine dining or a trip to the on site spa.

Another California ranch vacation is a trip to Rankin Ranch. This is a working cattle ranch that is family owned and operated. It operates from April to October every year. This ranch is highly recommended to those families who are traveling with children. There is a supervised program daily for children that offer plenty of activities to keep them busy while mom and dad or the grandparents are off having some adult time. This is definitely the place where many families as well as couples will come back to for generations.

Whether you're a horseback riding novice or and advanced horse rider, you'll find a guest ranch in California to suit your needs. All of Top50's California luxury dude ranches, guest ranches and authentic working cattle ranches have experienced wranglers who will guide you on your western horseback riding experience.

Although the first thing that might spring to mind when you think of the US state of California is sun-kissed beaches, Hollywood entertainment and Napa Valley vineyards, it's actually a very diverse state. California is home to expansive redwood forests, arid deserts (including the famous Death Valley), long stretches of coastal countryside, and mountain ranges including the Cascade Mountains, the Tehachapi Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas. This all make for excellect horseback riding opportunities on a dude ranch vacation in California.

California's varied geography also allows for unbeatale non-riding activities if you're looking for more than horseback riding on your western ranch vacation. Luxury dude ranch vacations in the state of California allow you to try your hand at activities such as fly fishing, river rafting and panning for gold in its plethora of lakes and rivers. Or go mountain biking, bird watching or rock climbing, which many California ranch vacations have on offer for their guests. For a truly authentic ranch experience, hop in the saddle and ride over grasslands, along mountain trails, and ride with real cowboys in cattle round-ups and cattle drives on an authentic working ranch in California. A vacation at a luxury California dude ranch really does mean the USA horse riding holiday of a lifetime. 

- Jody Dahl