Whether your idea of a family getaway is outdoor adventures under a warm sun, or cozy digs in a snowy landscape, guest ranches from Arizona to Colorado are inviting families to pack up and head for the corral this spring break. Gene Kilgore, the legendary expert on guest ranches, has compiled a list of spring break vacations that cater to every taste. From horse-drawn sleigh rides in the Rocky Mountains, to cow penning contests in the desert, families can select their desired adventure and climate.

With over 30 years’ experience, Gene Kilgore knows that ranch vacations go hand in hand with family values: “Ranches are the quintessential family vacation: a safe and welcoming environment, plenty for every family member to do, healthy activities, great food and an enhanced appreciation of nature.”

Ranchweb is an easy to navigate travel guide (also available in print) that helps families to choose the ranch that’s right for them. Choose by location, activity, and type – there are working ranches, cattle ranches or ranch resorts. Scour the guide for handy tips on what to bring, what to wear and other essential lists and, whether your preference is sun or snow, be sure to arrive prepared. HERE’S A SAMPLING:


ELKHORNElkhorn Ranch. Desert and mountain riding at a southern Arizona guest ranch. Ride on Elkhorn Ranch-raised horses in Sonoran desert country rich in unique and abundant birds and wildlife. Enjoy hiking, heated swimming pool, tennis court, rifle range, ping ping, horse shoes, and well stocked library. Nutritious home cooked food. Accommodates 32 – 40 people, 20 cabins. Comfortable for singles, couples and families. Family owned and operated.

White Stallion Ranch, Tuscon, AZ : Kids five years old and over can join a trail ride without an accompanying parent, before hitting the swimming pool, sports courts or petting zoo – the freedom goes on and on. Families return to White Stallion generation after generation as everyone find something they love – even teens can be found socializing at the recreation centre or shooting baskets on the sport court. Spring rates from $211 US per person per night, inclusive of all activities and meals.

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tuscon, AZ: The full-day camp, designed for children aged 4-12, has kids trail riding, mountain biking, and fishing, while Mom and Dad can saddle up for a trail ride, play tennis, or visit the spa. Come dinnertime, families come together for fireside cookouts to recount their adventures. And best of all, with the ranch’s all-inclusive program, from $225 US per person per night, these activities are all included.


The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, Solvang, CA: Round’em up, move ‘em out!   The Round Up Vacation package wraps a horseback ride, golf, fishing and tennis into the daily room rate of  $515 US and up. Valid September to May.


Vista Verde Guest Ranch, Steamboat Springs, CO: As they say on the ranch, the fun doesn’t stop when the aspens lose their leaves. Indeed, trail riding through the snow, riding on a one-horse sleigh, as well as back-country skiing, are why families keep coming back to the ranch. From mid-December to mid-March, parents and children ages six and up stay for $1,005 US per person (for three nights).VistaVerde_3

Coulter Lake Guest Ranch, Rifle, CO: At 8,100’ above sea level, Coulter Lake is a winter playground – a shuttle gets you to this rustic ranch by snowmobile, so arriving is part of the adventure. Other off-piste activities include sledding, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and cross-country skiing. With no cell-phone or email contact, Coulter Ranch enables guests to disconnect for $50 US per person per night.


320 Guest Ranch, Gallatin Gateway, MT: At this year-round guest ranch, a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park,  families will love the sleigh ride under the stars pulled by Percheron draft horses, and authentic western dining at the 320 Steakhouse and Saloon. The Sleigh & Stay Package runs throughout the winter season for $220 US per night for two people, $90 US for each child 12 and under.

To find the perfect ranch for your family visit or lasso a copy of Ranch Vacations Travel Guide.


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