A Dude Ranch Is
A Family Bonding Location

A Dude Ranch for a family reunion site comes to my mind, being from the West and having been around horses most of my life. This would be an ideal choice to please three generations.

These locations are also, known as "Guest Ranches", they are extremely different from parks, resorts, theme parks and cruise ships for family reunion gatherings.

Most ranches are remote and self-contained. You may even find there are no social and technological distractions at some locations - yep, no internet. Your cellphone may not even work - if it does you will probably have some "hefty" roaming chages. Don't worry you're not completely cut off from civilization, there are phone lines into the ranches for necessary use.

It's rustic, it's a ranch - however, you will find a friendly "down home" atmosphere with many activities to keep everyone happy.

Time of year may determine your site choice

Depending on the time of year you are planning your reunion, depends upon the sites you should be selecting. For instance, a ranch in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming would be the busiest during the summer months and most may not be operating during the winter - while in Arizona and other Southern areas, they may operate most of the year and especially during the mild winter months.

Choosing the type of ranch that interests your group

There are three to choose from: The Working Dude Ranch, (like in "City Slicker") may be a working cattle or sheep operation; these ranches will focus on horseback riding and a variety of outdoor adventures; and the Resort/Dude Ranch may be more "high-end" and will feature horseback riding as an activity, as well as a wider range of on-site facilities, such as swimming and golf.

The size of your group may determine which ranch you select

A smaller ranch, like Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, owned and operated by Dan and Ellen Morin, is ideal for a group of up to 24 guests. If you have a group this size, you can schedule exclusive use of the entire facility! Kids, and adults alike, can learn to ride horses and the kids can safely play on the acres of this beautiful Colorado, Rocky Mountain ranch. No one has to worry about cooking, cleaning and doing the dishes here - it's all included. If you have someone who needs a special diet, it will be taken care of. And, here is something that is VERY IMPORTANT to my family - they are wheelchair friendly.

This small, warm and friendly dude ranch was listed in USA Today as one of their "10 Great Places For A Family Reunion". When you call Dan or Ellen, tell them "Howdy" for me!!

For a mid-size ranch that can accommodate a guest list of up to 40, you may want to check out Marble Mountain Ranch: California Dude Ranch, with all inclusive guest ranch trail rides, rafting and fly fishing packages. This ranch is located in the Klamath River area of California.

Need something larger? Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona can accommodate 150 guests. Rancho de los Caballeros is a western resort, offering full resort amenities and privacy, yet with the charm and intimacy of yesteryear. It's the kind of place where everyone knows your name and your favorite horse. This ranch will have something for most everyone, including swimming and golf!

To find a list of dude ranches throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, check out GuestRanches.com

Note: You may also want to select a ranch that belongs to their State Dude and Guest Ranch Association. These ranches are inspected and meet standards for safety, cleanliness and authenticity.

Get out those boots and stetsons and have a great time!

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