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Dude Ranches Offer Hassle-Free Family Reunions

A family reunion should be a special time for family members to come together, catch up on family news, and get to know each other again in a relaxing environment. If your family reunions haven't quite lived up to this billing, consider the advantages of hosting your next reunion at a dude ranch.

With more than 100 dude ranches on its membership roster across the western United States and Canada, The Dude Ranchers' Association is standing by to help your family choose the best location and range of activities for a no-hassle reunion that will be lively at the same time it's intimately peaceful.

"The beauty of a dude ranch is that you just sign up and they do all the work for you," says Colleen Hodson, executive director of The Dude Ranchers' Association. "They help you plan all your activities, prepare all your meals and really cater to you so you actually have time to connect with your family."

Some reunions run into trouble when two or three family members are running ragged to make all the arrangements, find something for everyone to do, and figure out how to split the latest bill at a neighborhood restaurant. All those hassles are swept away in advance with one simple dude ranch package.

"We recently had our own family reunion for a group of 16 at a dude ranch, and it turned out to be one of the best vacations any of us has ever had," Hodson notes. "A couple of family members were golfers, so they could go golfing while we were sitting by the pool, going shopping, or riding horses. In the end, everyone was riding-even the non-riders.

"In the evening, all the family members can gather in the lodge, talk about their day, and enjoy a scrumptious dinner and entertainment. Each branch of the family can then retire to a personal cabin with its own porch. It's the perfect combination of group time and private time, Hodson points out.

One great way to explore the options is to contact The Dude Ranchers' Association at 307-587-2339. The staff will help you narrow your choices based on geography, time of year, the preferred size for a ranch, its activities, and the ages of participating children. Information is also available online at http://www.duderanch.org/.

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