If you think vacationing on a ranch means roughing it, think again. All over the world, there are spots that combine the best of the great outdoors with five-star amenities, so get ready to saddle up for an active day on the trail before settling down for pampering at the spa and a gourmet meal. From Montana to Texas, and Argentina to New Zealand, these ten ranches are great places to enjoy wide-open spaces while luxuriating in first-class extras.
A serial traveler who often lets a country’s cuisine dictate her itineraries, New York City-based writer Kathleen Squires has visited all 7 continents and over 60 countries, with stints living in London, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. Her work also appears in The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Cooking Light and National Geographic Traveler.
The Resort at Paws Up
Where: Greenough, Montana This 37,000-acre working cattle ranch provides every amenity for outdoorsy people who also enjoy a bit of pampering. That means a personal “camping butler” and private ranch “homes,” complete with hot tubs. The on-site gourmet restaurant serves “rustic ranch cuisine,” and hosts some of the country’s most recognized culinary artists during the annual Montana Master Chefs weekends. Despite all the luxury, there’s no question that you’re in Big Sky country, with hundreds of elk and cattle also in residence.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Montana Guide
Where: Cordoba, Argentina This Spanish Colonial-style estancia offers a day-in-the-life of the well-bred gaucho experience. Begin with a morning horseback ride along the lush mountain trails, followed by an afternoon polo match on fields below the main house. End your day with an authentic Argentine asado (barbecue), made with meat from animals raised right on property. Before retiring with a glass or two of the spectacular wines, take a moment to admire the house’s valuable antiques, including a mirror that belonged to President Marcelo T. Alvear and ancient Bolivian weaves.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Argentina Guide
Hacienda De San Antonio
Smith Fork Ranch
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Smith Fork Ranch
Protea Hotel Ranch Resort
Spicer’s Peak Lodge
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Spicers Retreats
Echo Valley Ranch
Le Mas de Peint