Ever heard of a dude ranch? It’s an awesome concept, where a cattle ranch is converted into an outdoor geared vacation destination. Sometimes, the ranch or farm is still operating, so guests can see first hand what goes into it all. A handful of these cowboy retreats reside in Georgia, yet they often have a slight southern twist keeping them true to the region. So if you are looking to escape into nature, while still having access to cozy lodging and great food, these dude ranch escapes are calling your name.
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An 1800s farmhouse serves as the heart of this working ranch and offers two bedrooms inside for guests. But cabins are also dotted through the property emanating true mountain style via wood burning stoves and woodsy accents. Located just under Ellijay, this cute ranch resides in Jasper, a perfectly quiet destination for any ranch. The property offers all the expected, from horseback riding, fishing to a country breakfast served on the farmhouse’s antique dining table. Pastures are in view from the cabins, and you’ll see glimpses of galloping or wandering horses who may even come close enough to say hello.
Horse Creek Stable Bed and Breakfast is a skip away from Blue Ridge, in cozy Mineral Bluff Georgia. This is, however, no ordinary bed and breakfast, it’s a nonprofit organization that rescues and houses a variety of sweet animals. Your money goes directly toward feeding and caring for the animals. There’s something really cool about staying at a snuggly, relaxing inn, while also knowing your visit is fueling a great cause. You’ll enjoy lots of privacy and an outstanding home-cooked breakfast off eggs, fruit, quiche, French toast or warm croissants.
The Rock Ranch is all fun and games, with endless exciting activities perfect for visiting families. Every season brings new outdoor opportunities, from festivals to water activities. But authentic wagon camping is probably one of the coolest ways to experience the ranch. Seriously, you and the family will be put up in Conestoga wagons for the night, which features simplistic bunks and a cool, rustic vibe. Hotdogs and s’mores are provided to enjoy by the fire pit, and restrooms are located onsite. You’ll feel like you are really out on the frontier, making your way to a new adventure.
Southwest Georgia, in Bluffton, is White Oak Pastures, a farm that’s been operating using sustainable practices for generations. You can dine on ethically produced cuisine from the organic vegetable garden and other certified organic ingredients, while lodging in rustic farm cabins that are truly disconnected from the stresses of our modern world. This means no WiFi, so work past the withdrawals and soak in the long-leaf pine forest surrounding you. Cattle, pigs, chickens and whatever else may be roaming on this working farm could be shuffling around outside your door at any time, adding to the authentic environment. You can immerse in and learn how to execute some of the holistic practices used at White Oak Pastures, from beekeeping, canning or preserving, soap making and so on.
Morganton, Georgia sits at the tip-top of the state, near Blue Ridge, and that’s also where 5 Star Lodge & Stables resides. Log cabin vibes for days and spanning glimpses of rolling hills that will blow your socks off are key features of this 45-acre horseback riding haven. The luxury lodge can accommodate large groups with up to 33 guests within the glorious compilation of custom woodwork detail with a gourmet kitchen and decked out game space. Surrounding areas are unbelievably awesome for horseback riding, and there’s plenty of other opportunities to get outside by the fire pit, in the hot tub or on the basketball court.
Definitely not your ordinary dude ranch, Southern Cross Guest Ranch melds plenty of western elegance into its refined bed and breakfast style lodging. Prominent for horseback riding, this is the place to go to really experience and learn about horse ranching. The Madison Georgia haven also offers lovely grounds and a beautiful outdoor pool for winding down after a day out on the pastures. And of course being as lovely and luxurious as it is, you can also indulge in a massage and gourmet meal.
Sautee Hereford Ranch & Lodge
Tucked right next to the Chattahoochee National Forest, the North Georgia Mountain location of this working cattle ranch is an ideal getaway surrounding by rivers, hiking trails and adorable farm features. The rentable lodge on the property is gigantic with 11 guest rooms, six and a half baths, and plenty of balcony space for gazing at sunsets and surrounding scenery. Built in the 1970s as a family home, the now converted structure is super cozy with lots of aesthetic true to its original time period. Kids love seeing the donkeys, cattle and other onsite animals, and since you are far away from big city lights, the night sky stars are vibrantly present.
Humberland Guest Ranch
Humberland Guest Ranch is only an hour from Atlanta, while still being tucked within the iconic Appalachian Mountains, and the attention to detail makes it apparent that this is a lovingly run family business. Guests enjoy a real, gritty experience, while still having access to fine dining and lodging. Adventurous? Indulge in an overnight pack trip. Too much? Simply have fun riding horses, shooting bows and arrows or just hiking the beautiful 150 acres. The guest cabin is quite stunning, as it sets on a ledge overlooking the mountains. Its modern cabin structure sleeps up to eight, and even houses a game room.