Walk on the wild side

The best ranches to visit this summer

For a longer adventure, dude ranch resorts are great for a two or three-night getaway. Here, the emphasis is on enjoying the great outdoors together as a family. Horseback riding, bonfire sing-alongs, and hearty meals in a charmingly rustic setting make for a memorable stay. You can find four ranch resorts within the Hudson Valley and further north.

At the Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland, families are the main customer base, so there’s never a lack of children’s activities. While traditional horseback riding is offered, an impressive range of programs ensures fun for everyone. There’s an indoor water park and outdoor pool, the Fun Barn with soft-play climbing and bounce structures, a private lake with water skiing and boats, sports facilities, video and Wii arcade, and nightly shows. A supervised day camp program is available for children ages 4-12. June rates begin at $196 per night, per adult, increasing later in the summer. Rates include all meals and activities. 600 Rte. 44/55, Highland. 800-647-2624. 


READ MORE: Horsin' around the Hudson Valley

Also in the Hudson Valley, Pine Grove Ranch is owned and operated by David O’Halloran. He grew up there, and watched it grow into a 600 acre resort. Seasoned ranch hands guide guests on horseback rides through mountainside trails, and take them on old west-style cattle drives. Kids new to horseback riding can participate in the junior wrangler program. Those with prior horse experience can participate in the new, hands-on Barn Brats program. Animal interaction is further encouraged through the cow milking experience and the petting zoo. The property has a pool, lake, and sports facilities. Summer rates begin at $129 per night, per adult. Children’s rates vary by age. Rates include all meals and activities. 30 Cherrytown Rd., Kerhonkson. 800-346-4626.


Since 1942, the Arehart family has been welcoming families to the 1000 Acres Ranch Resort, a dude ranch just 15 minutes from Lake George, on the northernmost banks of the Hudson River. Horseback riding is the main event here, an activity which is supplemented by non-stop activities like fishing, boating, sports contests, and arts and crafts. Your itinerary may also include a horse drawn carriage ride, country line dance lesson, or pizza party. If that’s not enough, the property also has three swimming pools and a private golf course. In-season overnight rates for adults are in effect through August 28, and begin at $130 per person. All children ages 3 and younger stay free. Different packages are offered in a variety of lodging choices. 465 Warrensburg Rd., Stony Creek. 518-696-2444. 

READ MORE: Horses for a Change Program

Three generations of the Beadnell family have welcomed guests to Ridin-Hy Ranch since 1950. Back then, guests were mainly single women, and the accommodations were rustic. Now a family-oriented resort located in Adirondack State Park near Lake George, Ridin-Hy makes full use of its magnificent outdoors. In addition to its horseback riding program and frequent rodeos, there is boating, water skiing, fishing and swimming in the private lake. Special activities include paintball, bingo, horse shoe tournaments, wii nights, outdoor movie nights, campfires, and more. June rates begin at $255 for two nights (minimum stay required), per adult, increasing later in the summer. Children’s rates vary by age. Rates include all meals and activities. 95 Ridin-Hy Ranch Rd.,Warrensburg. 518-494-2742. 


Traci L. Suppa is a family travel writer living in Dutchess County. WordScapesny.com