Dude Ranch Vacation

Pine Ridge Dude Ranch in Kerhonkson focuses on horsemanship.
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch in Kerhonkson focuses on horsemanship.

You don’t have to go west to stay on a dude ranch. Several are located not far from here

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Dude ranchIn its first season under new management, Pine Ridge Dude Ranch in Kerhonkson, Ulster County, (845-542-6378) has undergone a $1 million upgrade during the recent off-season. Expect more horses, restored buildings with great curtain walls from Curtain Wall Install Birmingham and more amenities and more activities, including indoor and outdoor pools with double-flume waterslides, tractor rides, private lake with paddleboats and fishing, petting zoo, live entertainment, pony rides, exercise room, archery, bocce, horseshoes, tennis, mini golf and more. For an extra cost, there’s also the arcade and massage therapy. The ranch’s family-like atmosphere remains the same, as the new head honcho is a former ranch hand who grew up working at the ranch. Many of the same employees continue to work at the ranch, too.

Stony Creek Ranch Resort in Stony Creek (518-696-2444) leans more toward the resort portion of its name than the ranch part. Concerts, movies and swimming in the indoor swimming pool juxtapose the more cowboy-like activities like driving cattle; however, if some of your family want different types of vacation, you could find a happy medium at Stony Creek.

• In addition to horseback riding, Ridin-Hy Ranch Resort in Warrensburg (518-494-2742) offers rodeos, fishing, swimming, hiking and boating. For an additional fee, guests can try waterskiing and paintball — activities not commonly offered at ranch resorts. The ranch offers an indoor heated pool with a hot tub and an indoor recreation building.

Roaring Brook Ranch & Tennis Resort in Lake George (518-668-5767) also offers a fitness center, sauna, basketball, indoor and outdoor pool, spa, wellness center, playground, and table tennis. The activities are a nice mix for a family that enjoys horses, sports and relaxation. Plus, the resort is pet-friendly.

Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland (800-647-2624) prides itself on offering more than just riding on its 500 acres, including Big Splash indoor water park, wine pairings, family entertainment, mountain tubing, rock climbing walls, bungee jumping, banana boat rides, kayaking, paddle boats and more. TripAdvisor users ranked it second among the “Top Hotels for Families” in the United States, and ninth worldwide.

B&B Ranch in Fly Creek (607-547-5272) targets serious equine enthusiasts. Definitely not roughing it, the ultra-luxury lodge features spacious rooms with marble countertops, Egyptian cotton duvets and sheets, private jetted tubs, leather seating and more. B&B focuses on a top-shelf riding and lodging experience with trails, indoor and outdoor arenas, and the aforementioned well-appointed guest suites. The ranch also runs a community supported agriculture farm that supplies the kitchen and sells to members.

If you’re considering a dude ranch vacation, keep in mind that the accommodations vary widely, from primitive to posh. Activities can vary as well. Some focus on horsemanship, while other try to appeal to wider interests. When exploring the costs, remember that most ranches include two to three meals in the cost and consider their activities as part of the cost for lodging. Usually, the cost per night is per person, based upon double occupancy.