Winter getaways – Arizona dude ranches

There is nothing like getting away from it all to a dude ranch in the warm Arizona desert. Now days they call them guest ranches and the amenities may include a spa, but you’ll still have the opportunity to go horseback riding and step back in time to the days of the epic Westerns. Here are some great Arizona guest ranches where you can get away from the snow and ice and enjoy a little cowboy hospitality.

Ranch SingalongTanque Verde Guest Ranch – Tucson
Tanque Verde is set in a beautiful  mountain foothill setting. This family-owned ranch has activities for young and old. It’s a beautiful setting, located between Saguaro National Park and the Coronado National Forest just east of Tucson, Arizona. Many managers and staff have worked there for years and will make you feel at home and part of the ranch family during your stay.

The rooms and casitas and dotted throughout the guest ranch property, making each short walk from room to activities and dining, an opportunity to explore the beauty of the desert. The hills surrounding the ranch are dotted with the majestic Saguaro cacti, native only to the Sonoran desert area. You may happen upon deer, javelina, coyotes, rabbits and a wide range of bird species on your visit.

I enjoyed waking up to a dusting of snow on the mountains during a spring visit. It had melted by the time we took off for a ride in the mountains.

The ranch has a pool and day spa for those who want to rest up after a ride. At 5pm, head for the saloon and sit by a roaring fire and swap stories with other guests.

More on Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

White Stallion Guest Ranch – Tucson
The White Stallion Ranch is another family-owned working ranch. With Longhorn cattle coming in for water every day and outdoor bar-b-que’s, the White StallionWhite Stallion Guest Ranch Ranch has plenty of Western atmosphere.

The White Stallion Ranch property has been used for filming Western movies for years. When you ride out into the desert, it is easy to picture yourself in a vintage film.

There are 41 guest rooms and The Hacienda (a private four bedroom/three bath house). Rooms are decorated in a traditional Southwest ranch house style. Comfort is guaranteed. The ranch offers  top of the line pillow-top mattresses rivaling those found at the best 5 star hotel.

The White Stallion Ranch offers a range of activities which include spa offerings. At the end of the day belly up to the bar where you can sit on an authentic saddle bar stool before you head in to the dining room for family-style meals.

The White Stallion attracts repeat customers, many of whom are from countries other than the United States.

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Rancho de los CaballerosRancho de Los Caballeros – Wickenburg
Just north of Phoenix, you’ll find Rancho de Los Caballeros. Founded in the 1940’s, this guest ranch attracts families year after year.

Rancho de los Caballeros has grown over time and offers a full-service spa, and golf. The ranch’s 18-hole golf course has been rated one of the top 75 resort courses in the US. The par 72 championship course plays 7,025 yards and features strategic bunkering and rolling Bermuda fairways. The hilly back nine will put all of your clubs to work. There is also a putting green and driving range. Golf Club Website.

Your room, will feel like a private casita decorated in early ranch-style decor. Most rooms have patios where you can sip your coffee and greet the desert morning.

There are many activities offered. We decided on horseback riding, more horseback riding, skeet and trap shooting and leisurely lunches by the pool with friends to hear about their visits to the spa, jeep rides in the desert and golf.

While you will still be on the American Plan, dinner is offered restaurant-style and guests dress up a bit – men wear western vests and bolo ties.

More on Rancho de los Caballeros

About Arizona Guest Ranches
I have experienced the hospitality of all three of these ranches and highly recommend them. You’ll find that guest ranches will offer an American Plan where yourChildren at an Arizona Guest Ranch meals are included in the room rate. As they are somewhat isolated from city restaurants and pride themselves on serving the type of food you will enjoy before or after a day of activities, this is a good deal.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to ride horses. Each ranch has a beginners program and each ranch has so many activities that, should you choose not to ride, you will have a marvelous time.

These three ranches belong to the Dude Ranchers Association. Any ranches applying for membership have to meet a number of criteria that are designed to provide a great dude ranch experience.

These ranches have a history, are family-owned and pride themselves on repeat business. Be prepared to  fit into the ranch family during your stay. And when it is time for you to say “Adios,” believe me, you won’t want to leave!

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose


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