A sunset horseback ride with your new spouse: iconic, romantic, memorable… Perhaps this is not the ideal honeymoon activity for every newlywed couple, but there is certainly no denying that it is an attractive idea (even if you have never been in the saddle before).
Ranch weddings and honeymoons are growing in popularity. But some couples might see some serious drawbacks to choosing to have their honeymoon in a rustic setting. Every good guest ranch puts a premium on comfort, so you won’t be staying in bunk beds and eating beef jerky for lunch (hardly the recipe for a great honeymoon).
At the same time, choosing the right ranch vacation for your first week of marriage takes more than calling up to see if they have a honeymoon suite. The best guest ranches go out of their way to make a couple feel comfortable and allow them to enjoy the kind of privacy and pampering that they would get at a five-star beach resort.
How do you find the gems? Here are some of the traits of a good honeymoon ranch...
First, privacy is paramount. Luxury ranches often have separate cabins or cottages that put you in a secluded corner of the property with no other guests around. Sure, you can stay in a lodge if you can get a nice suite, but a private residence will offer another level of peace and quiet.
Don’t expect less than a good hotel. Luxury guest ranches have skilled chefs who choose to work there because they have access to awesome local ingredients and are given the creative freedom to make great dishes. You won't find flapjacks and baked beans at these eateries. Guest ranches can have full-service spas, pools, and lounges. In short, the best ranches understand that you want a certain setting and experiences when you are there, but you don’t want to sacrifice any of the things that you would get if you chose another type of venue for your honeymoon.
Finally, the best guest ranches will not put you on a schedule (especially if you are there for a special occasion such as a honeymoon). They will take you on a moonlight horseback ride when you want to go, not when there is a horseback ride on the schedule. And they will understand that you want to do things as a couple, not as part of a larger group. If you aren’t sure if a ranch will be amenable to this, don’t be afraid to ask before you book.
Montana’s Rock Creek Ranch is a good example of a ranch that is ideal for honeymooners. They have plenty of private cottages and luxury safari-style tents to choose from. The onsite spa has a full menu of services and treatments and the restaurant’s menu is filled with gourmet dishes made with fresh local ingredients. This is the kind of place that can provide you a memorable honeymoon that will take place on your terms.
The massive Brush Creek Ranch, in rural Wyoming, is another rustic honeymoon paradise. 150 miles of horse riding trails will give you lots of options for a romantic sunset ride. You can also spend time in the world class spa before returning to your private cabin for a romantic evening together. Brush Creek also highlights another aspect of the best vacation ranches: options that go beyond the usual “cowboy” experiences. This Wyoming venue has a zip-line course, mountain bike trails, a gourmet restaurant, an archery range and a number of other activity options. This means that you will have the flexibility to go-with-the-flow during your honeymoon. You won’t be stuck with a small list of activity options if you decide to do something else. That is a very important trait that many people don’t think about when planning their honeymoon.
Have you experienced a ranch honeymoon… or a vacation at a luxury ranch? Use the comments section to tell us about it.