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Figuring out a family vacation that will meet all wants of various family members can be hard, especially with so many different tastes and ideas of what a vacation should be.
However, Rancho de los Caballeros has the answer to everyone’s wants and needs for the perfect family vacation. Set in the magnificent Sonoran Desert in historic Wickenburg, Arizona, Rancho de los Caballeros has been a family vacation destination since 1948. To top it off, it is one of the few ranches that can still boast it is family owned and operated, perhaps lending to the exact reason it meets so many needs for vacationing families.
For those who want a relaxing vacation full of pampering, I highly recommend the Spa at Los Caballeros. With everything from mani/pedis, facials, wraps, massages, and even hair, you will probably want a whole day at the Spa. I personally recommend the deep pressure massage, and my masseuse Lynell made the hour and a half so tranquil and relaxing yet friendly as we talked about common experiences. For those who enjoy facials, or those who, like me, have been hesitant to try one, Ashley definitely will make this the most memorable experience. Including a neck and shoulder massage, this is an indulgence that is well worth it, and they are happy to recommend the facial that would work best for your skin type.
On the other end, if you are looking for a vacation that works your muscles that don’t get much attention sitting behind a desk, the ranch offers a number of activities that will leave you feeling motivated to stick to that exercise resolution from January 1. A sprawling brilliant green golf course greets you as you enter Rancho de los Caballeros, and even amateurs will have to try the course that is consistently rated one of the top 100 courses in the U.S. The course is as challenging as it is beautiful, and watch out for coyotes that sometimes mistake your ball for dinner! More along my speed is the pristine tennis courts the ranch boasts. Resident tennis pro Dave Messer Smith talked with me as he ran me around the court about how the owner put an expensive surface on the courts that is less harsh on the joints, which is wonderfully thoughtful for those of us with bad knees. With a view from the courts that is already breathtaking, tennis at the Ranch will leave you wondering if you can go back to playing on your home courts ever again.
For the more wild side of a vacation, there are classic ranch activities such as horseback riding, team penning, nature walks/rides, and even trap shooting. Horseback riding is twice a day except for Sundays, when the horses have the afternoon off. My husband and I joined Peter as he led a morning ride into the desert. It had rained the night before, so the morning was cool and overcast, but the company and our guide Peter kept us laughing and in a jovial mood the whole ride. I don’t know who enjoyed their horse’s name more, my husband or me. I rode Payday while he rode Playboy. We joined Matt for a lesson in trap shooting that afternoon, and even my Veteran husband had a bit of a challenge adjusting to the different style of shooting, but it was a challenge we both had fun accepting. And don’t worry about the younger kids while you are off experiencing what Los Caballeros has to offer. They will be more than preoccupied with the vast array of activities that the Kid’s Program offers at no extra cost. The kids will be as tired as you are from a day full of horseback riding, swimming, tennis, hiking, crafts, and even a marshmallow roast before bedtime!
Those of us who look forward to a vacation where we don’t have to cook every night will be in heaven with the gourmet meals at Rancho De Los Caballeros. Starting at a very hearty breakfast, you will enjoy a very large variety of options from grits to fresh made omelets to the largest fresh fruit bar I have ever enjoyed. Lunch can be eaten indoors or by poolside, and the variety of cold and hot options will leave no one hungry. I had to go back for seconds (and thirds) on not only the perfectly cooked pork roast, but the extensive dessert bar which was almost good enough to make us skip lunch and go straight to dessert! For dinner, if you happen to be there on a night they are having a cook out (or in bad weather a cook in), tuck in your napkin and dig in! The ribs and chicken barbequed to perfection were juicy enough to eat by themselves, but once you taste their BBQ sauce, you’ll appreciate a finger-licking good meal. On other nights, bring some dressy clothes (jacket or Western vest for gentlemen) and enjoy an elegant meal in the dining room. My husband and I highly suggest starting with the Hearts of Romaine salad and the Calamari. For dinner, we can assure you that your plates will be cleaned if you have their lamb or their Tiger Prawn dishes. And make sure to save room for dessert. They are so good, you won’t be able to say no.
Take some time to browse the incredible collection of photos in the main office from the beginning of the ranch to now and read up on the first 50 years of the ranch. Or borrow a game or a book to read out on your patio. The list of relaxing activities to do after dark includes live entertainment in the bar area where you can listen and be serenaded by real cowboy singers. After walking back to your room under the expansive Western sky and stars, you will want to curl up in the comfortable bedding and not move. Each of the unique casitas offer luxurious amenities such as a full kitchenette, flat screen TV’s, fireplaces, and jetted tubs to enjoy. After a day of horseback riding, relaxing in one of the jetted tubs and then diving under the plush comforter is much appreciated. The rooms have gorgeous decorations, a fine balance between Western rustic and modern comforts.
The ranch also offers assistance in setting up activities that are outside of Los Caballeros including hot air balloon rides, tours through Vulture Mine, Jeep Tours, and desert ATV tours. The ATV tour we took through Adventures of a Lifetime with Steve was the perfect adventurous end to an unforgettable weekend. Steve took us through the Sonoran Desert and showed the four of us that day how to really experience the West. Stopping and taking pictures on top of cliffs and mountains and checking out some old and abandoned gold and turquoise mines before racing across the wash at 45 miles an hour was something I never knew I wanted on my bucket list. Five hours later, I could not believe the ride we had just taken and the terrain we had covered.
All in all, our experience was one we would like to repeat and we can understand why “dude ranches” have been a vacation tradition for so many. Los Caballeros lives up to the traditional dude ranch hype, but adds a touch of class and elegance to the rustic desert. An accredited member of the Dude Rancher’s Association, Los Caballeros is among the ranks of the finest dude ranches in the American West as well as even parts of Canada. I can definitely see how Los Caballeros lives up to the standards of Horse, Hospitality, Heart, Heritage, Hat, and Honesty that the DRA holds near and dear. Check out Rancho de los Caballeros to get started on making memories that your family will be talking about for a lifetime and maybe even start a tradition of getting your cowboy on every year.