A few weeks ago Kristin and I left all our worries (kids and husbands included) behind and headed on a girls getaway to the White Stallion Ranch. If you follow us on social media, you might have seen tons of photos of us soaking up the gorgeous Tucson, Arizona scenery.
To be honest, I was a little worried initially about going to a dude ranch as a vacation. Would I like riding horses? Would I feel safe? Would the trip be relaxing? The questions were constantly running through my mind, but it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone. Kristin and I were really wanting some time together as friends to make memories and unwind and we knew that we were going to leave this place with some great stories. Sometimes, the best experiences in life are the ones that stretch us and make us grow.
So off to the White Stallion Ranch we went. Kristin and I met at the Phoenix airport and from there took a shuttle together to the ranch (you can also fly into Tucson, but the times just worked best for us in Phoenix). Of course what better way to start a best friend’s trip then to show up at the airport wearing the same outfit, totally unplanned! Already we were laughing!
We had an adorable room with a sitting area and very relaxing bathroom, complete with a large-scale vanity and tub! It even had an outdoor sitting area, perfect for watching the gorgeous Arizona sunset.
Immediately the White Stallion Ranch captured our hearts. I hadn’t been on a horse in 20 years and Kristin had never ridden. We were a little intimidated, but the staff quickly put as at ease. They match each guest with the perfect horse based on your size and ability and you get that horse for the duration of your stay. So while my height gave me a pretty big fella, he was as sweet as could be.
Our first ride was a morning slow ride. Midway through we stopped at a site where we all had breakfast and our morning coffee together before riding back to the ranch. This was a great way to not only get to know my horse, but also to mingle and meet other guests. It truly didn’t matter if you were single, there as a family or with friends, there were plenty of group settings where you could be as included as you wanted to be. Also, did I mention how delicious the blueberry pancakes were?! Seriously…sooooo good!
Each day there were a few rides you could choose from. This let you ride as much or as little as you liked. And each ride throughout the week is different which meant fresh scenery and activities all week long. There were options for lessons, tests to allow you to go on faster rides, roping and penning activities and more. I think the thing that surprised us both was just how much we each loved riding. Apparently Kristin and I were meant to be doing all our girlfriend chatter and gossip on top of horses on a trail at sunset. It sure suited us!
The scenery was truly breathtaking. You can literally walk among beautiful horses, cactus, flowers, steer and more no matter where you turn. It felt like another world and even though there was a very cute business center, business was the last thing on my mind.
There was so much to do other than riding including a great pool and hot tub area, perfect for relaxing in the afternoon, as well as massages, tennis, movies, a petting zoo, fun games like horse shoes, nearby shopping and more. Although seeing as we were loving having our bestie time, most often we could be found in the main room with a cup of coffee or wine simply catching up.
Speaking of drinks, the adorable bar not only had saddles for bar stools (yes we couldn’t help but take lots of photos here, they were too cute!) but it is an honor bar. It took us city slickers a little bit to catch on. You just grab a beer or pour what you like and then fill out a “chit” and put it in the basket. At the end the total is added to your bill. How nice and easy is that?!
A great deal of the White Stallion Ranch’s charm came from both its staff and size. It is family owned and operated with 40 rooms, over 100 horses, and the staff is just so friendly and helpful. We felt completely carefree and safe while roaming the grounds. What a wonderful feeling that definitely aids to the relaxing vibe, especially as two women who were traveling alone. Sometimes that can feel a bit daunting but, there was not a worry there!
We also loved that we were able to meet people from all over the world in a setting that felt so inclusive. At social hour each night before dinner, everyone gathered over appetizers and drinks to swap stories from the day’s adventures. After dinner we would gather for the evening entertainment which included things like a country singer, an astronomer, and art classes. There was so much to do! We even went on a special evening hike and rock climbing adventure that we will tell you all about in detail in another post.
The White Stallion Ranch has definitely become as special place for us both and I am so glad we spent our latest girls getaway at a dude ranch. Sure we drank wine, went to the pool and got massages like we would on many of our trips, but it was SO much more than that. We encouraged each other to try new things, we wore cowgirl hats and laughed when my horse was a little naughty and kept snacking on bushes on the trail. We took time to be still and look at the stars. And we came back refreshed and energized creatively in a way that feels different and good. Most importantly we can’t wait to go back!
In the meantime, we will just day dream about that morning ride and blueberry pancakes.
Disclosure: We received travel accommodations for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are our own and we really hope you visit and love this special place as much as we do!