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What is an adventure vacation?

With access to remote, epic locations becoming ever more possible, adventure travel is exploding in popularity. Outdoor equipment supply companies like REI have seen this growing trend and are now growing their adventure travel offerings exponentially. Researcher's projections for the number of people who choose to take an adventure vacation have these numbers exploding year over year. But why are these adventure vacations becoming so popular?

According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, an adventure vacation may be any tourist activity that includes physical activity, a cultural exchange, and a connection with nature. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, adventure vacations are "a type of niche tourism, involving exploration or travel with a certain degree of risk (real or perceived), and which may require special skills and physical exertion."

Within this "adventure travel" category, the degree of risk, special skills required, and physical effort can vary dramatically. It takes much less technical skills and physical exertion to hike in Arizona than it does to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Adventure Defined


Noun - An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

Verb - engage in a hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.

Saguaro National Forest at sunset with red mountains in the background, cactus in the middle ground and deer walking along a stream in the foreground

Adventure Travel and Tourism

But why are these adventure vacations becoming so popular? According to an Adventure Travel Research 2017 study, traveler's "chief motivations for engaging in adventure tourism are to have a “life-changing experience” and enjoy “personal growth and challenge.” Travelers also said they wanted a sense of “accomplishment and achievement” and a feeling “gratitude and mindfulness.” " In short, travelers are looking for an authentic, real, and sometimes raw, transformational experience. Getting away from the hustle of "normal" life, disconnecting from technology and surrounding one's self with nature are all part of the attraction to adventure vacations.

Adventure travel of four men climbing a wind-blown snow-covered mountain summit.

Is a Dude Ranch Vacation an Adventure Vacation?

A dude ranch vacation naturally falls into the category of adventure travel. Let's break down a dude ranch vacation at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch inside the definition of "adventure travel":

  • A type of travel involving exploration: During your stay, you will explore the mountains, ridges, and valleys of our ranch by horseback, mountain bikes, or hiking. There is something new around every corner of these foothills of the Cabinet Mountains.
  • A cultural exchange: While at the ranch, you will be immersed in the culture of the American West. From cowboy songs played on the fiddle around a campfire to learning how a cowboy puts the needs of his horse first and the code of the West, you will experience cowboy culture here.
  • A certain degree of risk: Horses are are a prey animal with a mind of their own. Even the most seasoned, well-trained horse is still a horse, an animal weighing easily over 1000 lbs who can react on their instinct to survive. Great lengths are taken in the horseback riding and driving industry to mitigate risk. However, working with a live animal means risk is never completely eliminated.
  • Requiring a special skill or physical exertion: Riding a horse does require special skills and some physical exertion. But take heart, at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch we have guests visit with a wide variety of riding abilities. We have guests who have "never ridden before" to "professionals." The great thing about a dude ranch vacation is that you can learn the skills required as you go!
  • A connection with nature: You don't get a dude ranch adventure without a connection to nature. From the horse you ride and the country you ride through, to the forests, rivers, streams, creeks, meadows, valleys, and wildlife that make up a ranch, nature is all around you on a dude ranch.
Two people on an adventure horseback riding across a river in the forest.

How do I book an Adventure Vacation?

Are you ready to jump on the adventure travel bandwagon? Are you wondering if a guest ranch vacation is for you because its too much adventure or not enough adventure? That is the beauty of a dude ranch vacation. The level of adventure can be taylored to fit what each person in the group wants to experience. Relaxing or riveting, its all up to you!

If you have more questions about a dude ranch adventure vacation at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch give us a call at (888)863-9066. If you are ready to take the plunge, you can view availability and book online right now.

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