It is no secret that my family has fallen in love with dude ranch vacations. Specifically at a little ranch called Rawah Guest Ranch. Specifics aside, dude ranch vacations tend to be very similar as far as what is to be expected.
I felt the need to write what can be expected on a dude ranch vacation after I got the side eye from friends and family upon gushing about loving our experience.
My husband says it best when talking about the end result of our times at the 2 dude ranches we have visited. He likes to say that no matter how many people are in your group they all are able to leave having their own experience.
Here’s what you can expect from a dude ranch vacation:
They don’t put you to work.
A common misconception that I would like to clear up before we go too much further, is that you don’t get put to work when you go on a dude ranch vacation. There were so many different people that I told we had visited a dude ranch or that we were getting ready to visit a dude ranch and they all gave me a funny look. When I probed to find out what was with the look, each and every time it was the same answer. Why would you pay to go and work?
You guys. That scenario couldn’t be further from the truth. I mean, if you offered to help it wouldn’t be turned down. However, that is certainly not the way that the typical dude ranch vacation is set up.
Relaxation, so much relaxation
On our last trip to Rawah, I read 2 books cover to cover, and this was a trip that my 2 children accompanied my husband and me on. You guys know just as well as I do, that reading 2 small books with kids around is no small feat!
Rawah Guest Ranch allows their guests to totally remove themselves from the teether that is technology. It was glorious, I didn’t worry about email notifications going off, I didn’t care (very much) that I wasn’t able to keep up with friends and family via Facebook.
At the dude ranches that we’ve visited allow their guests to make their own plans for their day. There isn’t a set schedule of events beyond meal times.
In other words, if you aren’t feeling the activities that are offered daily at the ranch then, don’t do them, grab a book and kick up your boots instead.
You get to try new things
So, if you don’t really want to sit around and read all day (like my husband) sign up for the various activities offered. At Rawah Guest Ranch, there was a morning activity choice and an afternoon choice. There are so many different things to do at a dude ranch, and you don’t have to be a horse lover. Obviously, horses play a big part of a dude ranch vacation, however, activities aren’t limited to just the equine variety.
While we were enjoying our time as ‘dude ranchers’ we tried our hand at fly fishing, which to be honest with you, I didn’t think that I would enjoy because I am not a fan of traditional fishing.
Y’all I LOVED fly fishing. I don’t know if it was because I had fantastic instruction, or if it was because there isn’t a lot of just sitting still. Either way, I loved the experience.
Additionally, I was able to try my hand at skeet shooting and learned that I don’t quite have the hand I coordination needed to actually shoot the skeet. My husband, on the other hand, was a natural and I spent the time in awe of him doing so well.
While my skill totally didn’t lie in skeet shooting, I found that I adored archery. I wasn’t too bad at it if I do say so myself. In fact, everyone in my family now has a bow and we’ve gone a few times together.
Oh my goodness, the food! The food at Rawah Guest Ranch was what dreams were made of. There wasn’t anything too stuffy about the food but just rather fantastic cooking that reminds one of part grandma’s cooking and part gourmet cuisine. In fact, the food that we had while we visited Rawah Guest Ranch was so memorable that there have been several different dishes that we have attempted to duplicate at home.
There has always been something missing. I think it is most likely the atmosphere and the amazing people surrounding the food.
Our most recent dude ranch trip was in July, our time together made an impression on my children. I didn’t really realize the extent of the impact until it was time to make Christmas lists. My youngest was listing the usual toys and trinkets on his list and then he stopped and said “take all of that back, I want to go back to Rawah”
While our previous trips to Rawah were for the purpose of writing a review, my boys have requested a jar to start saving money in, so that we can go back. They don’t say that about every place we visit.