Saddle Up On The Dude Ranches Around Dallas

22 September 2014

Dallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and a major contributor to the thriving Texas economy. Yet, beyond the glittering glass facades of Downtown Dallas lies a surrounding greenbelt of farmland and dude ranches, ideal for experiencing rural American life.

 Get down and dirty on a Dallas dude ranch

The dude ranch is the epitome of the all-American rural experience. The term ‘dude’ was popularised in the 1870s and was essentially what ranchers on the American frontier called ‘city folk’. The term conjures images of rodeos and wranglers, canyons and cacti - although these days you can even find luxurious dude ranches that cater specifically to glam travellers. Essentially though, dude ranches are large farms where you can learn the ropes (quite literally) and experience ranch life.

Wild West

Get your cowboy (or girl) on at Beaumont Ranch in Grandview – about an hour's drive southwest of Dallas. Learn to herd cattle, take part in rope demonstrations and practise target shooting. This ranch is also home to one of the longest ziplines in Texas. If that doesn't get your adrenaline flowing, then book a guided All Terrain Vehicle tour of the property. You can even try your luck on a mechanical bull!

Ranch Romance

If horseback rides into the sunset are more your style, MD Resort could be just the ticket. Located in Aurora, northwest of Dallas, this sprawling ranch is home to countless tree-lined fields and pecan orchards. You can roast marshmallows around a campfire and while the night hours away gazing at the stars, or ride a bike through the open countryside before cooling off with a swim. The resort offers first-class accommodation and keeps a variety of animals, including miniature donkeys, buffalo and plenty of horses.

The Real McCoy

Austin Ranch is one of the oldest dude ranches in Texas and offers an authentic Frontier experience. It’s located in Grapevine – northwest of Dallas and within easy reach of the city. The ranch was established in the 19th Century and houses a grand ballroom and saloon. Hop on a horse and ride through the shady trails in the woods or learn to use a lasso and herd cattle. Mosey on down to the beautiful lake nearby and relax – it’s a great way to wind down! For a taste of Frontier life, check out Rocking L Guest Ranch in Wills Point. It’s located on 75 acres of private land and boasts an old-world Western atmosphere thanks to its unique period-era storefronts.

Relax And Enjoy The View

As the only dude ranch within Dallas County, Cedar Canyon Dude Ranch is the place to go for an easy, peaceful retreat from the city. Located in Lancaster, south of Dallas, this scenic ranch features a swimming pool and a spring-fed stream. You can enjoy the stream while hanging out on the nearby bridge. The menu offers authentic heartland food, with traditional brisket and baby back ribs or fajitas and fruit cobbler on offer. Don’t forget the hearty helping of coleslaw.

Annisa Dharma

Annisa Dharma was born in Surabaya, grew up in Montreal, found home in Bali, and is now living in Melbourne. She's currently plotting her next move. When she’s not busy chatting up random locals while travelling, or submerged underwater surrounded by colourful fish, you’ll probably find her upside down in downward facing dog.