Bandera, Texas markets itself as the "Cowboy Capital Of The World" - although there are surely plenty of other locations that would dispute that claim. But be that as it may, it is certainly one of the best places to experience a dude ranch. The tiny town was once on the Great Western Cattle Trail and has a long and storied history with ranching, longhorns, and cowboys.
Bandera has plenty of dude ranches to select from, and they are authentic working ranches. There also are plenty of other ranches around the nation to choose from - one of the more scenic is a ranch in Idaho that enjoys stunning views of the Rockies. In Montana, one ranch offers the best of both worlds of a dude ranch with deluxe accommodation.
Bandera's Dixie Dude Ranch
The Dixie Dude Ranch is a 725-acre working stock ranch just an hour's drive from San Antonio. It celebrates its 75-year-long history as a ranch visitor destination. It is the ideal Texan guest ranch for a perfect Western getaway.
The ranch continues in its original purpose and raises longhorn cattle, Spanish goats, and pigs. It is worked by real cowboys who also compete in rodeos. Visitors should be aware that this is not a resort ranch but rather an old-time working stock ranch.
- Founded: 1901
- Size: 725 Acres
- Livestock: Longhorn Cattle, Spanish Goats, Pigs
Activities include horseback riding, bonfires, fishing, cowboy breakfasts, hayrides, overnight trail rides, and other western entertainment.
They have a variety of accommodations to suit guests' needs and preferences. Choose from the 20 separate units that include duplex cabins, cottages, a two-story "Bunkhouse," and lodge rooms. All accommodation comes with private baths and air conditioning (some have fireplaces). Expect rustic charm (some were built in the '40s and 50s).
- Adult $175.00: Double Per Person
- Minimum Stay: 2 Nights Minimum
- Check-In: 3.00 pm (No Check-ins On Sunday)
- Check Out: 11.00 am
On the ranch, guests enjoy delicious meals and comfortable accommodations with the best of dude ranch hospitality. The ranch also has a three-night minimum stay for certain holiday weekends.
It is a great destination for family reunions, school trips, and even Texas Hill Country honeymoon vacations.
Bandera's Mayan Dude Ranch
Another option is the Mayan Ranch, with its 68 rooms in various cottages and lodges. The Mayan Ranch has 350 acres of land and is located 47 miles northwest of San Antonio in the Hill Country of Texas.
It offers activities and attractions like fishing, horseback riding, nature trails, hayrides, steak dinners at Old West Town, cowboy breakfasts cooked on the trail, music & dancing, and more.
- Size: 350 Acres
A typical day on the ranch may include going to the corral for a trail ride or hayride to the Cowboy Breakfast cookout and enjoying a full breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausages, and oven-fresh biscuits. After that, take the morning trail ride into the hills or by the Medina riverside (there are two trail rides daily).
- Adult $185.00: Per Person
- Minimum Stay: 2 Nights Minimum
- Check-In: After 1.00 pm
- Check Out: 11.30 am
Lunch is by the poolside or in the dining room. After lunch, enjoy more horseback riding, swimming, or joining in on the various contests. In the evening, enjoy BBQs with tenderloin and a Texan-sized steak. Finish the evening off with a country dance or other activity.
Bandera's 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch
The 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch spreads out over 230 acres on the Medina River and is located just 3 miles out of Bandera. It offers much the same activities and attractions as the other dude ranches (plus river tubing and fossil hunting).
- Check-In: After 3.00 pm
- Check Out: Noon
The 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch is a family guest ranch and is located on one of the highest peaks in Bandera. From there, it overlooks the Medina River and the Indian Creek. Spend one's time horseback riding, hiking, primitive camping, fishing, swimming in the pool, and hearty meals.
- Double Occupancy: Room $130.00 / Cabin $155.00
- Double Occupancy Weekend (Fri & Sat): Room $140.00 / Cabin $160.00
The dude range has 21 rooms in cabins and bunkhouses as well as primitive camping and RV Sites.
- Hayride & Campfire: $15.00
- Horseback Rides: $50.00
- Pony Rides: $20.00
- Breakfast: $12.00
- Lunch: $12.00
- Dinner: $15.00
Currently, the meals are not offered unless they are scheduled in advance (a minimum of 10 adults or more are required).