Dude Ranch For Families- Nice Price, Simple Life
Saddle up this summer for a unique and relatively inexpensive adventure at 1000 Acres Ranch Resort, a historic dude ranch in the Adirondacks. Located on the banks of the Hudson River just over 200 miles from NYC, this 70 year old resort is bringing back the traditional dude ranch and staying faithful to who they are. There is much to fall in love with at this very simple (read: not a 5 star resort), but totally fun, action-packed resort. The ranch employs real cowboys and offers a multitude of activities from morning to night.
Weekends on the resort are all-inclusives. You pay a set amount per person and it includes basically everything the resort has to offer, and all for a very low price compared to other family vacations. The set price includes lodging, 3 daily meals, wine tasting, horseback riding, hay wagon rides, 2 outdoor pools, an indoor pool with jacuzzi, nightly riverside bonfires, pizza parties and nightly entertainment at their saloon.
Just like on a cruise ship, 1000 Acres seats you at a table with people you don’t know. It’s a good way to meet other families- and if you’re a bit shy- kids are usually good ice breakers. The meals are served family style and cooked on the premises. Rates vary as they have lots of specials including Father’s Day Weekend (when dads get 50% off their rate). A sample weekend costs are: Adults are $236 per person for the weekend and children ages 13-17 are $189.00, ages 7-12 are $163 and ages 4-6 are $126. All children 3 years and under are free. The younger children are only permitted on ponies, not horses.
There are a lot of families on the ranch, most come from New Jersey, other parts of New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire. It’s nice to have the east coast in common and we found that our kids made friends very easily with the other kids on the premises.
The rooms are basic, but comfortable. You can choose from a variety of accommodations: motel style, duplex cabins and single cabins. There is no TV, quite intentionally, so that you will unplug. After a little withdrawal, we liked giving up our digital world for a weekend. They do offer Wifi but reception is not always accessible.
One of the strongest features at 1000 Acres is their horseback riding facilities. They offer rides for beginners to experienced riders in the winding foothills of the Adirondack mountains. With the help of experienced cowboys, you can learn to ride or just sit back and enjoy the scenery. There are three different levels and they are very careful that you stay in the level you should be in.
If riding isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities: canoeing, swimming, a human rodeo, pig barbecues, golfing, cook-outs, shuffle boarding, table tennis, hiking and races for kids of all ages. Or if you want to just relax, you can sit by the pool or laze in the jacuzzi.
Every night at 8:30, they light a bonfire and give out marshmallows to roast s’mores by the river. The only thing missing is a sing-along. I did wish that they had a second campfire to accommodate earlier bedtimes as the younger kids miss out on that fun. It reminded me of my camping days, and I wanted to share that with my younger kids too.
For families who want to travel with their pet, you can bring them here. Certain rooms allow for animals, so you don’t have to leave them home.
If you are looking for a fun summer getaway, you might consider 1000 Acres. The reviews on TripAdvisor are consistently good (4 of 5 stars)- with some of the lower ratings about the need for some facility updating (carpeting and tennis court repairs). It’s not luxurious but it’s good family fun and your kids won’t want to leave.
To get to 1000 Acres Ranch Resort: by car take the I-87. You can also take Amtrak to Saratoga Springs, NY and then connect to the Saratoga North Creek Railway that brings you right to the doorstep of the ranch. Visit their website to check times and book a reservation at www.sncrr.com. You can also take the Greyhound bus to Warrensburg, then take the ranch bus to 1000 Acres.
To make reservations: Call (518) 696-2444 or reserve your vacation on their website.
Disclosure: My accommodations were comp’ed but all opinions are my own!
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Holly Rosen Fink has spent the last 15 years in NYC working in all facets of media, from MTV to the world of traditional and online publishing. Now working as a consultant in Westchester, she blogs about travel, theater, film, art, books, advocacy and more at The Culture Mom. She has two children, ages 5 and 7, who share her culture addiction.