Family Dude Ranches in Upstate NY
Please note: In March of 2022, Pine Ridge Dude Ranch announced that they are closing the facility. I’m sorry that they couldn’t survive the pandemic, then high gas prices (likely leading to fewer road trips from families). Per their Instagram post, they will be open thru Memorial Day weekend.
I never thought of myself as a “dude ranch” person. But here we are. I have now visited 3. Maybe we are a dude ranch family, which is odd because we’re not that crazy about horses. And, all 3 ranches that we’ve been to were in upstate New York.
Since I have done a review of the other two, I figured I should Pine Ridge Dude Ranch so that you can compare.
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch in Kerhonkson
We went in mid-October which was perfect for watching the leaves. Thankfully, we were blessed with great weather. It was chilly each morning, but dry, clear and sunny during the day. I was told that the ranch was “booked solid” which I assume means every room taken. However, I did not find it to be overwhelmingly crowded.
All Inclusive Family Ranch Vacations
The main reason that families choose a ranch is usually either because they live in an urban area and love horses. Or, they like the all-inclusive nature of a vacation and not having to think and make decisions while you’re there. Or both.
For me, it’s all about the dining and the activities. Brian is now at an age (10) where he can roam the property on his own and make friends, which he did. And, since meals are at a designated time for everyone and included, he and his new friend took turns sitting at each other’s table so they could dine together.
Pine Ridge has a ton of activities–way beyond horses. There were bingo and board games, indoor and outdoor pool, outdoor bounce pad, rock climbing wall, shuffleboard, organized dodge ball and more.
Every evening they would open up the desk to sign up for horseback riding for the next day. I have seen it done this way at all 3 dude ranches we’ve been to.
I picked up a bow and arrow for like the first time since high school!
I loved the tractor ride because it was low key for Kevin and the leaves were beautiful. And I liked that there was no hay! (didn’t care to deal with sensory issues)
Brian was the busiest out of the three of us. I was happy for some down time to just read and play board games in the living-room-style lobby. It had a fireplace and it was cool enough to have it going. We did several activities as a family, but Brian likes to go go go all the time. They have organized games and activities led by a staff person, such as dodge ball.
Dining at Pine Ridge Dude Ranch
Three meals are included. I enjoyed breakfast the most and lunch the least. The food quality was fine. Not the best I’ve ever had but not the worst either. But for me, as a mom…there is extreme value in being able to round up my family at 8, noon and 6 and taking them some place where someone else will feed them.
When we rent a beach house, I still do all the cooking and clean up and grocery shopping. Which basically means that my vacation doesn’t always feel like a vacation. So for convenience alone, it’s worth it. Plus, except for dinner, it’s buffet style so the kids can always find something.
There is a snack bar, two other bars (alcohol) and a mini-Starbucks at the facility where you can pay additional money to get something else.
Lodging at Pine Ridge Dude Ranch
We had a nice large room. It had a king, a queen and two bunk beds. Housekeeping came in every day and did a good job. She even went above and beyond in making Kevin feel at home.
Kevin had no complaints and thought the beds were comfortable.
The decor is rustic and you can tell that it’s not brand new, but everything was clean and well kept.
All over the ranch they had this string game. Warning, if you ever find one, it is addicting!
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch-back story
Pine Ridge has undergone over a million dollars’ worth of renovations and is still being renovated. The previous owner died recently and the ranch and the horses almost went to auction. Thankfully, staff got together, found a few investors to help out and reopened the ranch.
Pine Ridge Dude Ranch is in Kerhonkson, NY, considered part of the Catskill Mountains region. I definitely want to go back. We did one side trip to walk a trail at the Ashokan reservoir. There is plenty of real hiking and sightseeing if that is something you want to do.
So how much does a Family Dude Ranch cost?
Well, this is tricky. Because often when people see the rates, they’re a little miffed. However, you have to remember that it is all-inclusive. So on a day by day basis, this is usually less than what we pay to rent a beach house. The beach house may cost less (or just a hotel room, etc), however I have to bring my own food, cook it, clean up after myself, bring my own bed linens and towels, and wash them, and then clean the beach house to get our security deposit back.
And…that’s not even mentioning activities, restaurants, etc. So while the per night rate may seem high, make sure you are comparing apples to apples when planning your vacation. I liked Pine Ridge Dude Ranch because the horse stuff was an extra fee. We have been to other family dude ranches where it was included, but the overall daily rate was higher.
My family doesn’t do enough horseback riding to make it worth the extra expense, so we actually would pay less here.
I find the family dude ranches to be a much better deal, and much more relaxing for me!
Sensory Friendly and Disability Considerations
I saw in the dining room that you are encouraged to make special requests if you need them. They also had vegan and GF options on the menu.
Our room was on the second floor and there was no elevator. Request a first floor room if you need it.
There are plenty of quiet spots to retreat and regroup if you need some down time. And, since it’s all inclusive, you can always just go back to your room which will be close by.
That being said, I did not find any of the areas to be particularly noisy. During the hour leading up to dinner, they offer free appetizers and snacks in the lobby. And, then the horse back riding scheduling desk opens, so overall it is the most crowded that the lobby is going to get during any given day. Even, then it wasn’t intolerable for Kevin.
Definitely check it out. Even if you think that your family is not a “family dude ranch” family, you might be surprised.
Our trip was sponsored in part by Pine Ridge Dude Ranch. All opinions are my own.