Places to Stay

3 Bandera Dude Ranches That Will Inspire Your Inner Cowboy or Cowgirl

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What more quintessential way to explore the Texas Hill Country than on the back of a horse? You can not only enjoy your time with the animal, but also learn something about them, about nature, and about yourself while riding along streams and through towering oak and cedar trees. Bandera offers visitors to the region various ways to enjoy the “cowboy life.” This area’s dude ranches are synonymous with hospitality and full of fun group or family activities. They have quite the itinerary for visitors to choose from, including wrangling demonstrations, guided horseback tours, and actual classes. Here, it’s all about atmosphere. Bandera is recognized as the “Cowboy Capital of the World” and boasts more dude ranches than you can shake a stick at. Here are just a few to inspire your inner cowboy or cowgirl.

1. Mayan Ranch

Bandera Dude Ranches of the Texas Hill Country That Will Inspire Your Inner Cowboy/Girl

Photo: Facebook/Mayan Ranch

This 350-acre ranch has been owned and operated by the same family for over five decades. The Hicks family prides itself on making visitors feel comfortable and offering such a great variety of activities that they often find it hard to choose just when and what to do! Their property offers horseback riding, nature trails, hayrides, barbecues, and a cowboy breakfast on the trail. They also have a swimming pool, volleyball, basketball, and horseshoes if you like to try your luck. The Mayan Ranch also features a dinner at Old West Town with some fantastic Tex-Mex cuisine, live music, and dancing, and in case you need something, they also have a general store. And as luck would have it, the ranch is also located on the banks of the Medina River, which allows guests to fish or go tubing!

2. Dixie Dude Ranch

Bandera Dude Ranches of the Texas Hill Country That Will Inspire Your Inner Cowboy/Girl

Photo: Wikimedia

Founded more than 75 years ago, the Dixie Dude Ranch is a working ranch, raising longhorn cattle, Spanish goats, and pigs. It consists of 725 acres, including duplex cabins, lodge rooms, cottages, and a two-story bunkhouse. The men and women that work the horses on the ranch are also competitive rodeo guys and gals. The ranch’s facilities include a pool and hot tub, playground, basketball and volleyball courts, hiking, and a riding arena for lessons. Visitors enjoy trail rides, hayrides, fishing, and bonfires with entertainment, and because of their location, there’s also fossil and arrowhead hunting.

3. Rancho Cortez

Bandera Dude Ranches of the Texas Hill Country That Will Inspire Your Inner Cowboy/Girl

Photo: Facebook/Rancho Cortez

Rancho Cortez is a family-owned and operated ranch which is adjacent to the Hill Country State Natural Area. It markets itself as not only a dude ranch, but also a cowboy fitness ranch. It features 15 deluxe suites as well as bunkhouses with porches and two spaces for RV’s. Their facilities include a pool and hot tub, outdoor spa, and a gym. With the help of his daughter and son, owner Larry Cortez leads riding and handling lessons, lasso lessons, and cattle roundups. His wife, Mary Cortez, runs the fitness ranch, where guests can work out with certified trainers while trying to meet their fitness or weight loss goals. They also allow large group rentals of the lodge for meetings, reunions, and retreats.