6 Extraordinary Family Dude Ranch Vacation Ideas

Are you looking for exciting family vacation ideas? Think outside the box and perhaps consider a dude ranch vacation out west! For more than 100 years dude ranches and guest ranch vacations have provided limitless fun and engaging things to do for the whole family.

Mom and dad will appreciate the all-inclusive rates – and that all the planning is done by the ranch to facilitate outdoor activities for the kids.

You won’t have to worry about a thing once you are at the ranch! And kids of all ages will have a full day of activities and evening entertainment to put that sparkle in their eye.

Take a look at these destination recommendations and you’ll see that dude ranch vacations are more than just horseback riding! Each ranch is unique in their additional offerings for family vacation ideas that are completely unique.

Sprucedale Guest Ranch, Arizona

Western dancing, trail riding, cow milking and a picnic ride
Sprucedale Guest Ranch is a summer vacation idea that the entire family will love.

Here, you can step back in time with cowboys and cowgirls who are living the lifestyle and inviting you to join their family run operation. You’ll arrive as strangers, but leave as friends. Here, families connect to each other and children roam free for a week in the beautiful Arizona countryside.

Western dancing, trail riding, cow milking, rodeo activities and a picnic ride are all iconic western events on the ranch that your family will
get to experience on this week-long vacation. And there are even more activities offered so everyone in the family will have a blast!

Triple R Ranch, South Dakota

Take a horseback ride to see Mount Rushmore. Right in the Middle of the Black Hills National Forest lies a family friendly vacation idea that maybe you hadn’t thought of. If you are planning to go to Mount Rushmore, why not take a more exclusive route to get there?

The ranch itself is full of history and the family run operation invites guests to share in genuine western hospitality. And with such a small setting, only 8 people max, you’re sure to get an insider view of this part of South Dakota.

You’ll have a personal guide to the “Grand View” vantage point to see Mount Rushmore and the Dakota Badlands via horseback. To capture the moment, you can take a picture with your family on horseback with Mount Rushmore in the background.

You’ll also have a fun trip in a ranch vehicle to the Crazy Horse Memorial. What a way to experience such a famous destination!

Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch, Montana

Outdoor enthusiasts dream – horseback riding, fishing, hunting and hiking. Appealing to families with older children – 8 & up – the Upper Canyon Outfitters & Guest Ranch is the place to go for the great outdoors and a great getaway idea for your athletic adventurers.

The ranch is an all-inclusive destination with special packages designed for horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, hunting or a mix of everything if you are so inclined. There’s also a special non-riding rate, so each person in the family can have their own itineraries for the week.

Friends and family will spend quality time together and make some unforgettable memories. Upper Canyon Outfitters is located in the beautiful Ruby Valley and along the banks of the Ruby River.

The setting is exclusive and incredibly beautiful. Everyone is sure to have a great time at Upper Canyon Outfitters!

Blacktail Ranch, Montana

Cave exploration, fishing and rafting together with the family – The Blacktail Ranch is immersed in the beautiful Montana countryside -surrounded by mountains, fields and forest with a clear river running through the ranch.

You’ll really understand a new meaning of “picturesque” when you arrive at the Blacktail Ranch. Located in a unique setting in Wolf Creek, Montana the ranch is home to the Blacktail Cave, a private cave that the ranch has exclusive access to.

Your hosts will take you on a kid friendly trip into the mouth of the cave and through a museum tour of artifacts and histories of the area. You’ll be surprised at how much fun everyone in the family will have exploring this gem of Montana! Not to mention all the horseback riding and other outdoor activities you’ll get to do with the ones you love.

K Diamond K Ranch, Washington

Spring Cattle Drives, Fall Roundups and year-round fun! Start planning now for your next great family adventure at the K Diamond K Ranch in Republic, Washington.

The ranch offers a distinctive visit no matter what time of year you are traveling. In the spring and fall you can participate in traditional western cattle drives that many people can only dream of doing. And throughout the year there are various other projects to be involved with – hay harvesting, fencing and calving if you like ranch work and horseback riding, fishing and even a massage for a well rounded time at the ranch.

You’re welcome to sign up each day for whatever activities you would like to participate in. Your ranch experience is sure to be a one of a kind visit that you’ll always remember.

Parade Rest Ranch, Montana

Visit “Old Faithful” on an interpretive van tour of Yellowstone National Park. Parade Rest Ranch is famous for making your travels easier. They provide a vacation for the entire family that will bring everyone together in a very relaxing environment.

Sit together in the dining room and enjoy great food and great conversation with the ones you love and perhaps make some new friends too. With comfortable cabins you’ll get a great night sleep and be ready for the adventures of the next day.

Horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hiking right from your cabin will take you to incredible mountain lakes and unbelievable views. And the best part? Parade Rest Ranch is very close to Yellowstone National Park and offers an interpretive van tour of all the great places in the park, including “Old Faithful” that your family will love!




Take the Kids to Wine Country – Family Friendly Wineries in California

So – you’re ready for vacation. You’ve decided to fulfill your dream of visiting the wineries of California. But wait – Grandma can’t watch the kids! No problem – there are kid friendly wineries!

Many of the tasting rooms in the wineries of California offer juice tastings, farm animal visits and more.

Photo via discovercaliforniawines.com

While most of us visit California wineries for much-needed “grown-up” time in one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions, many parents either prefer to travel and taste with their little ones in tow or have no other option. For some it’s either take the kids along or don’t go!

Photo via discovercaliforniawines.com

This has increasingly become the trend, according to the Wine Institute, inspiring many of the state’s wineries to offer special accommodations for kids, including grape juice tastings, play areas, visits with farm animals and outdoor games. These activities keep children happy and engaged while their parents sample the latest vintages.

Photo via discovercaliforniawines.com

The key to a successful and fun family outing in California’s wine country is to call ahead or check the producer’s website to see if kids are welcome.

For reasons of liability or preference, some wineries do not allow guests under age 21.  If the winery does allow minors, kids are permitted to join their parents in the winery and can often take part in winery tours.

Following is a list of family-friendly wineries throughout California: 

ACORN Winery/Alegria Vineyards, Healdsburg, Sonoma County 

Legos, crayons and cornhole keep kids entertained while parents taste. Children may also explore the vineyards adjacent to the tasting room, join parents on a guided vineyard walk and taste grapes during harvest.

Photo via https://thepress.sfchronicle.com

 Alexander Valley Vineyards, Healdsburg, Sonoma County

Kids can join in winery and cave tours with their parents, visit the vineyards and enjoy the winery’s picnic area.

Alpha Omega, St. Helena, Napa Valley

The winery offers the coloring book, “Exploring the Napa Valley with Traveler Teddies,” a kid-friendly guide to the Napa Valley, presented with a box of crayons. 

Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County

While parents enjoy a glass or a bottle outside overlooking the vineyards, children are invited to play cornhole or giant Jenga.     

Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen, Sonoma County

A 45-minute educational tram tour showcases the winery’s Biodynamic vineyards, caves and insect-friendly gardens.

Photo via Buena Vista Winery

 Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma, Sonoma County

Tours led by period actors include wine caves and the Historic Wine Museum, which features an entertaining multi-media show. There’s also a picnic area and hedge maze.

Buttonwood Winery, Solvang, Santa Barbara County

Explore the large fruit tree orchard and picnic areas or visit the estate farm animals.

Captain Vineyards, Moraga, Contra Costa County

Tour the first green, sustainable, dry farmed vineyard and winery in the Lamorinda AVA, which offers a 4-H program for middle and high schools through the University of California at Davis.

Photo via Wine Institute

Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga, Napa Valley

Tour a massive replica of an Italian castle, complete with a dungeon, then meet the estate peacocks and farm animals. Kids can sample grape juice and enjoy their own play area.

Castoro Cellars, Templeton, San Luis Obispo County

Games for kids include cornhole, giant Jenga and disc golf.

Cline Cellars, Sonoma, Sonoma County

The park-like grounds feature expansive lawns, ponds stocked with fish and turtles, caged exotic birds, vintage train cars and the California Missions Museum.

DeLoach Vineyards, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County

The winery offers educational, family-friendly tours detailing DeLoach’s history, winemaking techniques and farming practices. Families can end their tour with a picnic in the winery grove. 

Photo via Sonoma.com

Domaine Artefact, Escondido, San Diego County

Pack a picnic and play cornhole and giant Jenga, or visit the ranch’s resident horses, chickens, dogs and pigs.

Eberle Winery, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County

Cave tours and bocce courts keep the kids entertained.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville, Sonoma County

Coppola welcomes families with a large swimming pool, bocce ball court, children’s library, board games and more.

Photo via Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Heritage Oak Winery, Acampo, Lodi/San Joaquin County

Outdoor family fun includes picnicking, hiking down to the river, kayaking and camping.

Honig Vineyard & Winery, Rutherford, Napa Valley

The winery offers eco-tours of the vineyard, plus kids’ toys and books. 

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate, Fulton, Sonoma County

Kids can taste grape juice and tour the extensive vegetable garden, which includes a chicken coop, bat boxes and a demonstration bee hive. 

Landmark Vineyards, Kenwood, Sonoma County

The free Horse Drawn Carriage Tour delves into farming practices and Sonoma wine history. There’s also a picnic area and expansive lawn.

Photo via Landmark Vineyard

Mauritson Wines, Healdsburg, Sonoma County

Grape juice tastings are offered during the harvest season.

Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville, Mendocino County

The winery includes an outdoor children’s play area. 

Navarro Vineyards, Philo, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County

Kids can enjoy a grape juice tasting of Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer.

Pennyroyal Farm, Boonville, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County

The winery’s Farm Tour lets kids meet resident farm animals and sample grape juice.

Photo via https://thepress.sfchronicle.com

Raymond Vineyards, St. Helena, Napa Valley

The outdoor Theater of Nature showcases how all of nature’s “actors”—including chickens and goats—play a crucial part in crafting quality wine, from the soil to the vineyards.  

Retzlaff Vineyards, Livermore, Livermore Valley

The winery has a picnic area and a lawn with big toy tractors for kids to play on.

Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, Lower Lake, Lake County

Meet “Topper”, the winery’s pot belly pig who loves to have his ears rubbed. Select Saturdays, jump on the flat bed and help feed the livestock. Picnic or play a game of cornhole. 

Truett-Hurst Winery, Healdsburg, Sonoma County

Families are free to roam the working farm, which features goats, chickens and sheep. 

Zaca Mesa Winery, Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County

Families are invited to picnic or play a game on the giant chess board.

Now that you know you can take a wine tour with the kids – what are you waiting for? Start planning!

For more information visit www.wineinstitute.org or the consumer website at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.




Have You Been to the Festival Capital of Louisiana?

Festivals abound in Southwest Louisiana (SWLA) – they’re up to their ears in festivals! 

More than 75 festivals and fairs are held in SWLA each year and Spring time is when many festivals kick off!

Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana is a destination that caters to everybody! The fun ranges from gaming resorts to golf courses to hunting and fishing, adventures and FESTIVALS! You can indulge in world-famous Cajun and Creole cuisine and soak in live Cajun French, Zydeco and alternative music.

Experience the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes year-round and celebrate Mardi Gras family-style in season.

Here’s just a smidgen of the fun you can have when you visit the Lake Charles area during the Spring and Summer:

Starks Mayhaw Festival – May 16 to May 18:

Celebrating 27 years, the festival features carnival rides, arts & crafts, live music, delicious Southern food and enough berries and jelly for the whole family. Get your fill of biscuits, jelly and home-churned butter and don’t miss the highlight of the festival, the Mayhaw Jelly Contest at 10 a.m. Admission is free.

Red, White, Blue & You – July 4

This Independence Day festival celebrates our forefathers and veterans who fought for our freedom and the current troops who now protect it. The Red, White, Blue & You festival features a parade through downtown Lake Charles, an apple pie baking contest, outdoor concert featuring the Lake Charles Community Band, and a fireworks extravaganza over Lake Charles.

Southwest Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Festival – July 19 to July 20:

The SWLA Hot Air Balloon Festival is a new festival coming to the Lake Charles area. Who doesn’t love live music, food, dancing, family-friendly entertainment, fireworks and hot air balloons!

Canjun French Music & Food Festival – July 19 to July 20:

Each year the festival aims to preserve the Cajun traditions and heritage through music, dancing and food. Along with delicious food and dancing, visitors can enjoy craft booths, games, rides and a Sunday morning Cajun French Catholic Mass with a Cajun choir. This festival is a true celebration of the Cajun heritage and culture.

Photo via visitlakecharles.org

Marshland Festival – July 26 to July 27

The Marshland Festival helps raise funds for 15 various schools, churches, and community organizations in the area and has been rated amongst the Top 20 events by the Southeastern Tourism Society. You can enjoy music from zydeco, oldies, Cajun, and country. Local and National artist play during the festival. 

Photo via visitlakecharles.org

Arts and Crabs Fest – August 17:

Arts & Crabs Fest is a homegrown event celebrating the ties between seafood and culture. Event-goers sample from an extensive crab and seafood dish tasting featuring local chefs preparing a unique dish representative of their cuisine’s styles. Louisiana craft beer samples from Crying Eagle Brewing are offered as complementary pairings.Participating chefs battle for guests’ votes in the annual “Best Crab Dish” award, determined by popular vote.

Photo via visitlakecharles.org

Lakes Charles’ downtown is becoming a growing hotspot for foodies, art and music lovers, as well as boutique shoppers. An all new local spot – Panorama Music House – will offer a full calendar of live entertainment.

The beauty, tradition and culture of Southwest Louisiana/Lake Charles is undeniable. If you are looking for a great family friendly vacation spot this Spring and Summer – consider visiting the friendly folks in SWLA!




Isle of Palms, SC ~ A Secluded Retreat for the Elusive Traveler

Nature in all its splendor surrounds the small local community that is the Isle of Palms. Surrounded on one side by the Atlantic Ocean, where the sun drops to the horizon to create an awe-inspiring sunset, and on the other by the salt marshes and inland waterway, alive with the sounds and sight of natural wildlife and fauna, once here you could easily believe that you have been transported to another world.

isle palms scLocated just over fifteen minutes north of Charleston, South Carolina, the Isle of Palms, merely seven miles long by one mile wide, is accessed by the aptly named Connector Bridge. If you are seeking an exclusive, relaxed location to spend your vacation, you have arrived at the ideal place. Isle of Palms has something for every taste.

The ocean side of the island offers long stretches of golden beaches for the sun worshiper and families, with a varied source of restaurants and shops, together with its own municipal marina where you can moor the motor cruiser or yacht. For the more adventurous, there is are a number of water-based activities, which include a kayak club, parasailing, a wave runner area and fishing trips.

Furthermore, if you want to explore the natural beauty and wildlife of this idyllic haven and the surrounding islands, including the fame island Loggerheads Turtles, there are organised boat and land trips designed for inshore and offshore eco-trips. These include journeys to uninhabited islands.

If your preference is for activity or sports orientated leisure, the Isle of Palms will also be at your service. From soccer to skateboarding, baseball to basketball and all sports in between, you will find them here on this island of dreams. One also must not forget the two beautifully landscaped eighteen-hole golf courses.

But you may ask, what about those of us who require the occasional retail “fix?” Do not fear, for within the Isle of Palms city you can savoir the experience of its shopping malls and other retail pleasure. Alternatively, you can venture further afield to the sister island of Mount Pleasant or travel into Charleston itself.

When the day is done, and it is time to wine, dine and relax for the night, the weary traveler will return to the splendor of one of the many luxury hotels that can be found on the island, where you will be waited upon with the quality of hospitality the island is famous for. If that is not your preference, then rent out one of the luxury house, condos and apartments, where you can cater for yourself during your vacation.

Isle of Palms prides itself on its cleanliness, history, eco-friendly approach to nature and the warm welcome that it extends to all who visit. For the discerning traveler it offers the complete vacation experience.

On the Isle of Palms, old mixes with new; tranquility rests alongside the bustle of city and holiday life; residents and wildlife embrace the tourist and all dwell in harmony in a peaceful oasis set in the midst of beautiful scenery. It is little wonder that the Isle of Palms has been made the setting and theme for novels and poetry, for if you visit once and you will return.




Broadway at the Beach Welcoming Charles Bach Wonders!

Magic! Dancing! Illusions! Escapes! What a fun time it will be at Broadway at the Beach!

Photo via CharlesBach.com

Charles Bach began doing magic when he was 8 years old after his uncle showed him a card trick. At 12 he started to take dancing and acting classes. He now has the unique ability too blend magic, dance and theater like no other magician in the world.

Charles Bach Wonders, an imaginative, interactive theatrical experience, will open summer 2019 at Broadway at the Beach, the epicenter of fun and excitement in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Illusionist Charles Bach has amazed and entertained audiences all over the world, including years of performances at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and The Magic Castle in Hollywood. He has also stumped Penn & Teller on their hit TV show “Fool Us.”
 
Charles brings his latest and most ambitious production to the stage with “Charles Bach Wonders,” blending mind-blowing magic with breath-taking visuals and Willy Wonka whimsy to take audiences into a world where the rules of reality no longer exist.
 
During this magical journey, audiences are treated to a wide array of artistic elements, including original magic and grand illusions, beautiful dance choreography, playful comedy, colorful props, special effects, plus two giant puppets called “The Tourists” that add laughs and fun to the audience experience.
 

Photo via CharlesBach.com

Charles will also perform some pure sleight of hand and close-up magic during the show. Adding to the excitement at Broadway at the Beach, visitors are treated to a sneak peek of this exciting show each afternoon that will include a live Houdini-style escape in front of Wonders Theatre, which sits opposite the Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf.

 
 
“I am thrilled to be part of Myrtle Beach’s outstanding entertainment offerings,” said illusionist Charles Bach. “After years of touring and performing, I’m excited for my family and my show to become part of this wonderful community.”
 
Shows begin Saturday June 1 and can be seen at 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Labor Day. In addition, matinees will be at 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. This world-class show will be a highlight of the summer at Broadway at the Beach.

About Charles Bach Wonders

The Wonders Theatre is located at 1195 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC at Broadway at the Beach. Ticket prices are $32 plus tax for adults and $18 plus tax for children ages 3-12. Children under 3 are free in seat of paid adult. Don’t miss the most unique and original show to come to the Grand Strand. For more information and reservations, call the theater’s info line at 843-286-5003 or visit www.wonderstickets.com.

About Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach is South Carolina’s number one tourist, shopping, dining, and entertainment destination attracting millions of visitors annually. Broadway is set on 350 acres in the heart of Myrtle Beach and features world-class shopping, dining and entertainment in a series of magical, interconnected villages, surrounding the 23-acre Lake Broadway.

Broadway’s distinguished tenant mix has something for the whole family: popular attractions; outstanding restaurants and eateries; extraordinary specialty shops with national and local brands; and first-rate hotels. A past recipient of the South Carolina Governor’s Cup, it was deemed the state’s best travel destination by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.