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Family dude ranch vacations could provide the solution to the problem faced by almost every parent: getting your kids away from the X-Box! Whether your child is glued to their games console, computer, television screen or cell phone, family dude ranch vacations can tear even the most gadget-savvy child out of the digital age and enlighten them to the simpler ways to enjoy life.

Top50 Ranches has come up with 10 wonderful ways to de-gadget your kids on a family dude ranch vacation – try these simple strategies for size…

1. Get ‘em in the saddle at Red Horse Mountain Ranch and you’ll have a hard time trying to get them back off the horse! The Idaho family dude ranch’s children’s program includes horseback riding for children as young as three years, allowing kids to go horseback riding on the trail with the rest of the family.

2. Let them jump in at the deep end – literally! – at Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, whose all-inclusive Montana family vacations include lake water sports among a whole host of other ranch activities. In fact, at Flathead Lake Lodge the kids can enjoy the most diverse range of all-inclusive activities offered by any USA ranch – think horseback riding, sailing, personalized fly-fishing, water sports, horseback riding, rodeo, tepee campouts, family barn dances and so much more.

3. Send them mountain biking at Majestic Dude Ranch, which boasts an impressive fleet of brand new, state-of-the-art bikes for every age and size. With pro-cyclist Nick as their guide, the kids will be awestruck at the exciting cycle trails to tackle in Colorado’s beautiful Mesa Verde National Forest, some of which have been named in the top 10 mountain biking trails in the USA.

4. Make ‘em cowboys! At Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge, kids get to try out real rodeo games in the arena during the week, then put their new cowboy skills to the test in the weekly take-part family rodeo. The only thing they’ll want to watch on TV after this is ‘Eight Seconds’!

5. Set your teens loose in Yellowstone on Lone Mountain Guest Ranch’s “Teens Only” tour of the national park, on a backpacking trip into the Spanish Peaks. Not only will they not be able to get cell phone service in the mountains, they’ll probably forget why they ever bothered with texting in the first place.

6. Get bonding with your daughter at the Sugar and Spice Ranch in Texas, USA. The moms-and-daughters dude ranch encourages bonding through fun horseback games, rodeo and horse care activities. If your little girl loves horses, she’ll love this Texas family vacation – and so will you!

7. Forget heading to town for 10-pin bowling – Montana's The Ranch at Rock Creek’s Silver Dollar Saloon entertainment area comes fully equipped with a four-lane bowling alley, complete with computerized scoring, a selection of balls and bowling shoes in assorted sizes. Strike!

8. Swimming with dolphins? So last year. This year’s family ranch vacation is all about swimming with horses. That’s right, head to Sweet Grass Ranch for a Montana family vacation where the kids – and you! – can enjoy swimming your horse bareback in the creek.

9. Roll them down a hill. Yes, really! It’s all about “zorbing” these days, so take a Montana family vacation at The Resort at Paws Up, which offers exactly that. What could be a better way to get your thrill-seeker kids outdoors than to ask them to strap themselves inside a giant bouncy ball and launch themselves down a hill? Don’t worry, it’s all fully supervised and totally safe!

10. Get ‘em chasing cows on cattle drives at Burnt Well Guest Ranch. Your New Mexico family vacation will see them doing the job of wranglers, with guests of all ages, if able to control their horse independently, encouraged to play an active role in the working ranch’s old-west style cattle drives. Prepare to unleash their inner Billy the Kid!

For more information on family dude ranch vacations, visit

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