Planning the perfect getaway? Don’t forget the cowboy boots!
If you’ve never thought of visiting a dude ranch before, now’s the time to learn. These days, plenty of dude ranches provide amazing vacation experiences for families looking for a little adventure. You might not know where to begin—but that’s why we’ve written this article.
We’ve thought through all the things your family will need in order to have an excellent time out on the ranch. Here’s how to make sure your suitcases have all the essentials for your dude ranch family vacation.
What to Expect From a Dude Ranch Family Vacation
Besides your main essentials (toothbrush, pajamas, et cetera), your dude ranch packing list should account for the time you’ll enjoy outdoors. You might want to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and rain gear.
If you’re going someplace dry, you might want to bring lotion and lip balm—trust us, your skin will thank you. And for sun protection, a cowboy hat and a pair of sunglasses can keep your face stylish and safe.
Lots of dude ranches offer horseback riding. If you want to take part, you should pack long socks and riding boots.
And just because you’ll be staying on a ranch doesn’t mean you have to “rough it.” The facilities your destination has can help determine what you pack. For example, if the ranch has laundry machines available, you can pack fewer clothes.
The Great Outdoors
Your packing checklist should reflect the activities you want to do on the ranch.
Want to go swimming in a nearby lake? Bring some swimsuits. And if you want to go on a challenging hike, you might want to bring some clothes that can get dirty.
Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll need these extras, you might want to bring them anyway. The freedom and open air of a dude ranch just might give you the final push toward an unforgettable adventure.
Sleeping Under the Stars
For those who really want to immerse themselves in the outdoors, camping is a great dude ranch option. You can take a few days to hike to a nice camping spot and enjoy a piece of nature before heading back.
Check out the local campsites first to see what the regulations are. For example, if you can build a campfire, this can be a great opportunity to bring marshmallows, hot dogs, and other camping foods. Otherwise, you might want to bring plenty of trail mix, granola bars, and other snacks you don’t have to cook to enjoy.
You might encounter gorgeous views here that inspire you to take a closer look. A pair of binoculars or a camera can come in handy when you want to appreciate the sights of the dude ranch and its surroundings.
Visiting a Dude Ranch in the Colder Months
If you’re visiting in the fall or winter, you’ll want to pack some layers. The wide-open spaces of a dude ranch can sometimes mean the surrounding won’t trap heat well, so the night might be much colder than the daytime hours.
This is also true in the mountains at any time of year. So don’t just rely on the daylight temperatures—bring something extra for the cool nights.
When you’re planning out your clothing layers, think of the types of layers rather than just the number. A good base layer that traps heat without trapping moisture is a great option for chilly nights. And if it’ll get quite cold, make sure to bring gloves, hats, and warm socks to keep everything covered.
You might want to bring a cozy blanket as well so you can spend lots of time outdoors with your family. This will come in handy whether you’re camping, having a picnic, or just sitting outside to look at the sky.
Gear for the Heat
Temperatures out on the ranch can range quite a bit. Even if you plan on bringing some warm layers for cold nights, you might experience waves of heat in the daytime, especially in summer.
If you anticipate some extra heat, try to prepare by choosing strategic colors in your clothing. Rather than picking dark colors that soak up the sun’s rays, go for white and light colors.
Connecting with Nature
One thing you should expect from your dude ranch vacation is a beautiful experience with nature. Because of this, you might want to stay disconnected from technology while you’re there.
Still, you can only gaze at the sunset for so long. You might want to bring cards, board games, or art supplies to keep the whole gang busy in the quiet moments.
At the same time, you will likely want to be reachable in case of an emergency. So don’t forget to bring a phone charger and whatever else you might need in order to connect with each other when needed. And it might be worth a call beforehand to see whether the ranch location has cell phone service or not.
If there’s no cell service at your ranch spot, ask if there’s a ranch landline number you can write down and give to people back home. This way, someone can reach you if they really need to. And if they see a call coming from that number, they’ll know it’s you.
You might forget some crucial items in your packing excitement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time. There are lots of things you can rent when you get there, like horseback riding equipment. You might also be able to rent some camping equipment, like tents and sleeping bags.
Just remember to bring small essential items that might be harder to rent or buy once you’re out there, like water bottles and flashlights.
Prepare for the Vacation of a Lifetime
They say you should invest in experiences, not things. A dude ranch family vacation will show you exactly why that’s true. The fresh air and adventure provide the perfect recipe for an incredible family bonding experience.
So pack all the things you need in order to watch the stars, ride horses, and connect with the outdoors in comfort and style. This way, you’ll be ready for whatever lies ahead!
For more tips on enjoying your trips, check out the rest of this site. Now go plan the vacation of your dreams!