Summer’s nearly here and with that brings the question: “Where can we go on vacation?”

Dude ranch vacations are the perfect place to take your family, they offer so many amazing activities and adventures specially designed for children (and the chance for adults to take a break, too!).


 

Here are eight child-friendly ranch vacations we know you'll love...

 

Lazy L&B Ranch, Wyoming USA Kids Program

Lazy L&B Kids

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

Kids can be kids and you can be you! A ranch vacation for kids at Lazy L&B Ranch strikes a balance between the kids being independent, while still sharing a family experience.

There are a couple of family rides, but otherwise kids and adults ride separately – perfect if you're looking for that much-needed down-time immersed in nature.

Of course, once you're feeling refreshed, you can join your children on their rides, but there’s no obligation (and it's fun for the kids to feel independent, too!)

The kids ride in groups of similar ages and abilities, and when there aren’t rides scheduled, there are other activities, such as crafts, roping clinics, fun games, hikes, and more to keep them busy and wear them out.

If you're looking for a quiet dinner with your S.O., on one evening, the children eat together and get the chance to bond with the wranglers – your budding cowboy or girl can ask their burning questions on what it's like to be a real wrangler!

Thursday nights are everyone's favorites, they have a cookout away from the ranch by the rushing river – who doesn't love good food in the great outdoors...

Schedules aside, as it’s a child-friendly ranch, kids can also just roam around creating their own fun and games – there’s a pool, river, treehouse, campfires and the petting zoo. Trust us – they will never be bored!

Need to know:

  • The trail-riding program starts at age six
  • Kids aged under six are well cared for and entertained while everyone else is busy, they can participate in the care of the horses and can be ponied around the ranch

Take me there


The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch Lil Wrangler Program

Brush Creek Lil Wranglers

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

Beautiful Brush Creek awaits those searching for the perfect child-friendly U.S. vacation.

Aside from its stunning location and world-class reviews, there are many activities and adventures available for your kids to turn their hooves to!

A family-friendly dude ranch vacation to Brush Creek Ranch offers kids and adults alike a wealth of new experiences, such as archery, arcade games, arts and crafts, biking, capture the flag, hiking, horseback rides and much more.

Every morning session in the ranch’s kids program starts with a horseback ride so the children can start their days with a smile, observe wildlife in its natural habitat and learn about the history of the West.

Of course parents need a vacation too and you may be pleased to hear that no parental involvement is necessary should you wish to take some time out!

Grab this opportunity with both hands to take in the peace and quiet, read a book or even take a nap – there's no-one else to please but yourself! 

Peace of mind is guaranteed as your little ones will be taken care of by professional counselors and guides lead daily programs so you can enjoy your own adventures, too.

Need to know:

  • Brush Creek Ranch is open all summer
  • Lil Wrangler age limit is four to eight years old

Take me there


C Lazy U Ranch, Colorado Kids Program

C Lazy U Kids

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

Child-friendly ranch C Lazy U Ranch has been running its kids program for over 50 years and it’s one of the major draws for families coming (and returning) to the ranch. Child-friendly vacations in the U.S. don't come much more established than this!

The ranch offers counselor supervision for kids activities and they'll be able to immerse in so many fun ranch adventures: horseback riding, the ropes course, zip-line, paddle boats, pool time, fishing, archery, arts and crafts, and much much more – who needs computer games!

For the kids who want to horse ride, there are two different groups: 'Cowpokes' (ages three to five) and 'Mustangs' (ages 6-12) – this is popular with the older children as they can make (lifelong!) friends with others of a similar age.

Parents, you'll also get to enjoy your vacation, with chances to see the kids throughout the day, but the kids ranch vacation program is separate so you'll have to catch up on all their adventures at the end of the day! 

Need to know:

  • Keep an eye on their up-coming dates

Take me there


Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, Idaho Youth Horsemanship Program

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

The Youth Horsemanship Program at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is the ultimate child-friendly vacation in the U.S., specially designed for kids who love horses, as they gain hands-on experience with horsemanship.

Learning starts before you even reach the ranch – kids receive the ranch’s horsemanship manual before they arrive, to help expand their learning experience – the ideal thing to keep them occupied on the journey over!

Your children will learn how to be responsible for their own horse and equipment, learning horse husbandry and care, and will enjoy bonding with and preparing their horse each day for their activities. 

They'll also become masters of the essentials, such as grooming and saddling, and will fine-tune their saddle skills with arena lessons, arena games, trail rides, cattle sorting and day rides into the wilds.

When the Sunday-to-Thursday children's holiday comes to an end, the competition ramps up with a nail-biting real horse show, compete with ribbons and trophies!

Need to know:

  • Kids aged eight to 18 may participate

Take me there


Bar W Guest Ranch, Montana Junior Wrangler Cowpoke Program

Bar W Ranch Kids

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

Family-friendly ranch, Bar W Guest Ranch has designed their kids program to allow parents the freedom to experience the ranch’s offerings, while being confident that their child is receiving the best care and making lifelong memories.

A child-friendly U.S. ranch vacation to Bar W offers many chances for the kids to interact with different ranch animals, such as baby goats, a rabbit, chickens, a cat and two ponies.

And what kid doesn't love to get their hands dirty? They also get the chance to muck right in and help with the ranch ‘chores’, including collecting eggs, grooming, feeding and cleaning the animals’ pens.

Your kids won't just be mini ranch hands though, there'll be educational components incorporated into the fun and they can up their game by turning their hooves to grooming, saddling and caring for a horse, too.

A ranch vacation for kids wouldn’t be complete without a chance to learn real cowboy stuff – see their excited faces when they hear they're going to learn rodeo patterns (barrel racing, keyhole, and pole bending) and working cows! 

It's not just about ranching though, this family-friendly ranch also offers exciting adventures on the water or crafts, such as painting a horseshoe, or the always popular ‘paint your horse’ – and much, much more.

Need to know:

  • Kids three and under go free
  • Junior Cowpokes, age seven to 11, will enjoy rides with adults as well as special Junior Cowpoke-only rides

Take me there


Rancho Las Cascadas, Mexico Summer Vacation ‘Kids Stay & Play Free’ Special

Rancho Las Cascadas Kids

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

Arriba! Take a trip to Mexico and enjoy the delights of the desert! Child-friendly destinations don't have to just be confined to the U.S., Mexico has so much to offer and amaze, too.

There are plenty of exciting summer adventures for kids at child-friendly ranch, Rancho Las Cascadas. There's of course the chance to go horseback riding in fun groups, and learn the ins and outs of horse care.

Kids can also get messy with painting real horses!

Non-horsey kids can enjoy their ranch vacation, too with bonfires under the stars, pool activities, art classes, hiking and biking, and other fun outdoor games and activities. 

Need to know:

  • Check the website and contact the ranch for kids summer vacation programs

Take me there


The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana The Little Grizzlies Kids Club

The Ranch at Rock Creek Kids

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

Open year-round, this all-inclusive kids program at family-friendly Montana dude ranch, The Ranch at Rock Creek is just the ticket to (literally!) help broaden your kids horizons.

Your children will be super excited to discover outdoor activities like fly-fishing, mastering naturalist hikes, horseback riding and more – each day provides a different activity, so you'll never hear the dreaded "Mum, I'm borrred!".

You as a parent will also be able to have some headspace with peace of mind that your little ones are in safe hands whilst scaling the wilds

Specialist guides trained in safe and natural play lead each session, and during these sessions you can head off to enjoy your own activities, at your own pace, before families reconvene for lunch, dinner and evening fun.

Twice a week there’s a Little Grizzlies Dinner in the Silver Dollar Saloon, and while you'll enjoy tasting and pairing menus, your kids will enjoy an interactive dinner with food that's suited to their burgeoning palates.

Need to know:

  • Little Grizzlies is included in every stay and available for kids aged four to 12

Take me there


Elk Mountain Ranch, Colorado Kids Program

Elk Mountain Ranch Kids

Why it’s great for you and your kids:

At the beautiful Elk Mountain Ranch, you'll enjoy a child-friendly U.S. vacation with a difference!

Heading into nature is a sure-fire way to recharge everyone's batteries and the ranch offers little ones an awesome trip where they can learn Indian crafts, hike to a tepee and hunt for arrowheads. They'll remember this forever!

Also part of the program are fun-filled days of activities, such as panning for gold, the petting zoo, animal care, hiking, crafts, fishing, hot springs and more; all supervised by two children's counselors who are on hand to offer youngsters help and advice.

Horse-mad kids will boost their skills with arena-riding lessons and there’s an exciting real-live rodeo at the end of the vacation, too! Yeehaawww!

Need to know:

  • The age limit is up to seven years, however children eight and older are usually able to participate in regular ranch activities, but are always welcome to join in with this program

Take me there


Thirsty for more? Check out our Best Ranches for Families guide where you’re sure to find something for everyone, young or old!

Don’t forget to explore our ranch vacation Specials for the latest dude ranch discounts, offers and events, and connect with us on Facebook (@duderanchvacations), Instagram @top50ranches and Twitter @top50ranches

Share this article