10 Dude Ranch Honeymoons for Nature-Loving Couples
You don't have to be an outdoorsy couple to appreciate the purpose of an escape to the great outdoors. In fact, when you take a moment to consider how bogged down you are in the digital world, you'll probably see just how necessary it is to get outside and unplug. There's no better time to do just that than your honeymoon. That's why we think all couples should consider jetting off to Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, or some other remote locale for a post-nuptial retreat at a dude ranch.
Why do we love this adventure-packed honeymoon idea so much? Dude ranches promise the chance to have new experiences together as a couple while also give you an opportunity to reconnect as the pace of life naturally slows down. Don't mistake a slower pace for boredom, though. Expect to be spoiled for choice, as dude ranches offer a mix of old-school adventures (horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking) and modern-day, heart-pumping activities (canyoneering, mountain biking, go-karting). Trust us, you won't miss that European city or white sand beach you were considering.
Your choices aren't just limited to activities; you can also decide exactly what type of dude ranch experience you're looking for. Whether you're excited by the idea of a traditional log-cabin room or a luxe, safari-style glamping tent, know that there's a dude ranch honeymoon for every type of couple. To help you start planning, we found ten resorts that offer the ultimate outdoor experience in heart of the American West. Each one offers the perfect mix of fun and relaxation that newlyweds are after.
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado
Located just 30 minutes outside of Steamboat Springs, Clark, Colorado's, Vista Verde Ranch is a must-visit spot for honeymooners, all year long. With over 100 horses on the property, you'll have plenty of opportunities to saddle up, but other activities abound, too. From snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter to rafting and fly fishing in the summer, you can connect with nature from sun up to sun down. And once the sun set, retreat to your cozy cabin, complete with a stocked mini bar and a private outdoor jacuzzi, for some serious R&R.
The Resort at Paws Up, Montana
Both city-dwellers and outdoorsy couples will be awed by the 60 square miles of untamed wilderness that The Resort at Paws Up has on offer. The luxurious seasonal glamping tents, set along the river or on a clifftop, and the log cabins and private homes, complete with stone fireplaces and private kitchens, aren't bad either. You can pass the days engrossed in action-packed pursuits (like ATV tours, go-karting, and an aerial ropes course) or with more leisurely activities (like fly fishing, canoeing, hot-air ballooning), but what you've likely come for is a healthy dose of the American West. Don't be shy in signing up for a cattle drive or upping your horseback riding game with the experts at the equestrian center. Though every meal at the two on-site restaurants will be memorable (after all, the produce, meats, and dairy are organic and locally sourced), it's the dinner prepared by open-flame and served by the Blackfoot River that will stick with you for years to come.
The Magee Homestead at Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming
Chances are you've probably swooned over Allison Williams and Ricky Van Veen's 2015 wedding at Brush Creek Ranch, in Wyoming. But what you probably haven't seen is the Magee Homestead, their even more luxurious, adults-only hideout. Set on 7,000 acres of historic land in the high mountain desert, the Homestead has just nine cabins (individually decorated with a decidedly contemporary feel), offering couples the ultimate in exclusivity. Start the morning with yoga, pilates, or guided meditation; explore 50 miles of hiking trails; learn a new skill, like archery or fly fishing; or just hang out in a cabana by the outdoor pool. For dinner, expect "pasture to plate" dishes, such as Ranch-raised Akaushi beef and fruits and vegetables produced from the on-site greenhouse.
Triple Creek Ranch, Montana
Located along the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains, this adults-centric ranch has been the destination of choice for celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow. That's largely because it's both a Relais & Châteaux property (translation: the food is insane) and an Orvis-endorsed fishing lodge (you'll become a pro fly fisher by check-out time). Spend your days trying all the prerequisite cowboy activities; come evening, you'll be lulled into a food coma, courtesy of Executive Chef Jacob Leatherman, who melds classical French preparations with flavors of the American West—think grapefruit brûlée salad and Washington Sole with truffle mashed potatoes.
Casa Grande at Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico and Colorado
This conservation-centric ranch straddles northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, offering honeymooners wholly unique landscapes. Newlyweds should tuck into the crown jewel of the 590,000-acre property, Casa Grande. The seven-room Spanish-inspired stone estate was built in the early 1900s as a private home for the ranch's previous owner. It recently opened to guests following a nearly four-year renovation, offering an upscale take on ranch-style accommodations. Bring your long lens: Expect to spot bison, southern Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, bald eagles, and other creatures on safari-style wildlife photography expeditions.
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, Moab, Utah
Dude ranches don't just exist in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This 160-acre retreat offers a similar experience in Southern Utah's remote red rock country. Take your pick among 55 cabins (each with its own balcony or patio) as you seek out heart-pumping adventures like horseback riding, skydiving, and canyoneering. Or, just take a leisurely stroll by the Colorado River or hang out at the spa, which incorporates local flora (lavender, calendula) into treatments.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
It's hard to imagine a more picturesque setting than the blossom-covered pastures and towering peaks of Colorado's San Juan Mountains, a little over an hour from Telluride. That's the location for this mining-town-turned-44-person-retreat. (One of the original 19th-century buildings now serves as the bathhouse.) All around are natural hot springs; guests can soak in the warm waters of their own pool or in the large lap-sized one at the spa. Whether you choose to stay in the 12 log cabins or at the eight-tent River Camp, located four miles downriver, an old-timey Western sprit prevails—especially when you're dining on organic dishes at the Saloon.
Collective Hill Country, a Retreat at Montesino Ranch, Texas
City-dwellers need not travel far to find a bit of country relaxation: This year-round escape, located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, is just 45 minutes outside of Austin. The retreat is located on the grounds of Montesino Ranch, a 225-acre working ranch near the small town of Wimberley. Home to a working organic farm, the ranch is set along the winding Blanco River and Cypress Creek, making it a prime place to spot both native and migratory wildlife. Each of the 12 glamping tents overlook a sprawling valley, canyon, and mountains, and are equipped with luxury amenities.
The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana
Not only did Kate Bosworth and Michael Polish choose this 6,600-acre Philipsburg ranch for their 2013 wedding, but it also routinely sees famous faces (models Lily Aldridge and Martha Hunt checked in last New Year's Eve). It's easy to see why it's so popular, what with the historic barn rooms and luxury canvas cabins, full-service spa and traditional Big Sky pursuits like fly fishing and horseback riding. Couples can come any time of year, but winter is ideal for exploring the grounds by snowshoe, horse-drawn sleigh, or dogsled, as well as for trips to Discovery Ski Area, a quaint alpine ski destination just 25 minutes away.
The Home Ranch, Colorado
Touching national forest lands to both the east and west, The Home Ranch is perfectly positioned for outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, kayaking, sporting clays, hot-air ballooning, and fly fishing (it's an Orvis-endorsed destination). But couples who prefer their privacy will perhaps appreciate most the boutique size—there are just six guest rooms in the main lodge and eight cabins spread across the property. Each one is individually decorated, mixing Western touches (Pendleton blankets, braided rugs, and wooden furnishings) with Navajo floor coverings, vintage accessories, and art by regional artists.