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What is a ranch?

A Wild West icon, a ranch is a place where travellers can find refuge from the stress of city living. This quintessential American lodging is typically a farm that has been revamped into a hotel or a guest ranch to appeal to adventurous vacationers who are looking to experience life in the country. Ranches are usually in remote spots – next to a scenic lake, in the mountains, among rolling hills, or right next to the Great Plains. Guests can enjoy hiking or river walks, horseback riding, and plenty of space to just relax and rest.

Why should I stay at a ranch?

If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life or simply enjoy being in the great outdoors, a guest ranch might just be the right vacation for you. You get to stay close to nature and engage in a wide range of activities, from hiking to horseback riding to cattle herding to fly-fishing. Some ranches even offer wellness activities such as yoga. The relaxation and fun options are endless when it comes to ranches.

Where do you find ranches?

There's a smattering of guest ranches in Canada, like the Sundance Guest Ranch. If you're after an authentic ranch experience, there's no place like the US. The most popular ranches are up in the rugged mountains of California and the deserts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, right where the cowboys and pioneers used to roam. You'll also find some ranches at the foot of the Rockies, where you can combine standard ranch activities with skiing.

How much does it cost to stay at a ranch?

The cost of staying at a ranch varies according to the type of lodging and its amenities. Simple, rustic ranches with minimal facilities are quite easy on the budget. If you opt to stay in one of the newer upmarket ranches, you can expect to spend your vacation in style. You'll find beautifully furnished interiors with log fires, and relaxation facilities such as hot tubs and spas. This type of ranch is the priciest option.

How to book a ranch

Looking for a ranch to spend your vacation in is as easy as booking a standard hotel, thanks to Expedia's accommodation type filters. By searching on the wizard above, you can select the ranch that's perfect for your needs and budget, in the location that most appeals to you. You can even save money by booking your flights and car rentals with your accommodation.

What do ranches offer?

A ranch is your ticket to a terrific outdoor adventure. Most ranches are working farms covering hectares of land near mountains, rivers, or lakes. You can hike or ride a horse first thing in the morning to explore your surroundings. Most ranches also offer games and other fun activities for families. The sleeping quarters are in vintage timber or adobe buildings, and meals are offered in large communal areas. Of course, if you're staying in a high-end ranch, you can also expect luxe amenities like outdoor pools, spas, and hot tubs.

Ranches vs hotel resorts

Both are usually set on sprawling grounds, so what's the difference between ranches and hotel resorts? While both properties offer plenty of spaces and activities, it's the down-to-earth nature of ranches that sets them apart from resorts. Most ranches don't offer the range of amenities that resorts have – luxury ranches are, of course, the exception. Activities on ranches are also grounded in the great outdoors and the farming tradition, something that typical resorts don't offer