Travel to North America for that authentic cowboy experience. Live out some of the more sedate parts of the famous wild west films - or the modern-day Red Dead Redemption games – you may have always dreamed of doing. Join in a cattle drive, cook some barbeque in the great outdoors, ride a horse, hike the hills, fish the rivers or risk getting a bit wet on a white water rafting trip; the choices seem endless and the days will fly by. From basic camping to near five star luxury, whatever you expectations, they can be covered.
Situated out in the west of the USA (and over the boarder into Canada), ranching holidays are a great addition to a multi-centre or longer self-drive tour. They are also a reason for a holiday on their own; you can easily spend a long summer week in the countryside learning the ways of the land.
You will find three levels of ranching holiday; working ranches are more basic when it comes to accommodation and amenities, but it is the most authentic; an actual working ranch where the activities are based around the ‘chores’ that need to be done.
A guest ranch will be similar, but the activities and action are all dedicated to guests who are out to experience life as a cowboy.
Above these are Resort Ranches, where the guest ranch is supplemented with extra activities such as tennis courts, fly-fishing etc.
You can find ranches in most states west of the Rockies. Texas and Arizona have some amazing examples, there are a couple in California. For some amazing mountain scenery as well as the ranch experience, try out the options in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.
For most, ranching is very much a summer holiday with long warm days allowing you to make the most of all the fabulous activities on site, not to mention the fact that those located in the northern states and within the Rocky Mountains are likely to be covered in snow for most of the winter.
The exception are those located in the south west with very high temperatures over summer, a winter ranch escape to Arizona or Texas will be very pleasant.
British Citizens need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme to visit the USA. Visit GOV.UK for more information.
Barbeque! The staple food of the ranch will be the cook off; lots of beef, cooked outdoors over open flames and real authentic staple American food. Most of the ranches operate on a full board basis, with all meals included and many will include soft drinks, tea and coffee too.
Some of the high-end options, such as Emerald Valley at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, are fully inclusive!