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Ranch holidays give you the opportunity to commune with nature in a way that many other vacations can not. Defined as a 'large farm' in many dictionaries, a key aspect of a ranch is great, big and beautiful, open space. On this land, mostly free from human influence, animals, birds and reptiles thrive. They are free to live as animals were born to, roaming in natural habitats.

Photo: Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, Montana, USA.

From the ordinary to the extraordinary

From working ranches to luxury getaways, every one of the Top50 ranches has something to offer the nature-loving holiday maker.

Photo: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Choose a nature walk in a national park to seek out your furry neighbours or take to the water for a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching trip. You are only limited by your imagination, because sightings at ranches have ranged from elk to mountain lions, golden eagles to black bears.

Photo: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Combine traditional ranching and nature…

…after all, that's what the cowboys do every time they go out on the ranch. As well as being able to opt for a wildlife day trip or five if it's your thing, taking part in traditional round-ups will help you to feel closer to nature than ever before. There's nothing quite like riding alongside a wild herd – don't take my word for it, try it for yourself!

Photo: Zapata Ranch, Colorado, USA

Experiencing open plains and beautiful mountains on horseback will allow you to get closer to local wildlife than you would be able to on foot, and you'll be able to cover greater distances to track them down. Add a variety of expert guides from the ranches and you'll be well on your way to a wildlife adventure you'll never forget.

Photo: Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana, USA

Wildlife for all the family

Wildlife vacations don't have to be all about dramatic day trips. On a ranch, nature is not something you have to actively seek out – instead it's part of day-to-day life. Whether it's working dogs joining you for an evening drink on the porch or local toads popping by to say, 'Hello'. Ranch holidays are all about involving nature in your everyday activities, which is why it makes a great introduction to the great outdoors for children, too.

Photo: Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado, USA

So whether you enjoy adrenaline-fueled wildlife safaris or prefer to recline outside your tent with birdsong filling your ears, a ranch could be the holiday destination you've been looking for. To choose your ideal wildlife vacation from a range of excellent ranches to suit your taste and budget, visit Top50 Ranches.

- Soraya Abdel-Hadi

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