Skip to main content

Alisal Ranch review and round up of California ranches

We just came back from our latest visit of a California ranch. As I mentioned earlier, we have been visiting several dude ranches in California over the last few months and we have enjoyed them all. With the weather getting colder, many ranches have closed for the winter, but The Alisal in South California remains open all year. This is where we decided to spend Thanksgiving and we were not disappointed. It was the perfect time to visit the Alisal and we had a wonderful time.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical first. The ranch is very expensive and I was not impressed by the initial contact I had had with them. I was told we had to book rides in advance because space was limited; and the back and forth was quite painful. I thought it was disappointing for such a high-end resort. But I learned later on that they were short-staffed because of Covid, and that horseback riding was not necessarily the primary activity for the resort so they were juggling a lot of priorities.

But once we arrived, everything sent very smoothly. The weather really played in our favor and the rides were amazing. The surroundings are amazing and seeing the Santa Ynez mountains with their fall colors was such a great experience. One morning, we participated in the morning ride to the "adobe" to have breakfast in a grove in the forest. It was a cold and early morning, but it was still worth it. My daughter, advanced rider, was allowed to participate in the loping rides, and she loved it! Outside of riding, we enjoyed the pool, the fun petting zoo, and the evening activities. We also were impressed with the food. The buffets were spectacular and varied. Accommodation was OK, but overall the resort is nice and welcoming.

If you have been following the blog, you know that we have now visited 4 different ranches. If you are trying to decide what's right for you, this recap might be helpful. Let us know in the comments if you ever decide to visit any of these ranches.


Popular posts from this blog

Turkey travel with toddler - a good idea after all

After 10 days traveling in Turkey with our 16-month old son, we found that going to far-away countries with a toddler is not as difficult as many people believe. Yes, we also had our own concerns, and we had set our expectations that we might have a rough time. Yet, we had decided that it would be worth the effort since we were very eager to visit Turkey. As it turns out, most of our concerns weren’t justified, and we found that Daniel had a great time in Turkey. Below are a few things we have learned in our trip. • Jetlag : Interestingly enough, it was easier for Daniel to adjust after this complex trip than after a “simple” journey to Germany. After a 26-hour journey (2 flights and one 2.5 hour car drive) and a jump of 10 time zones, internal rhythm is typically quite upset for everyone, big and small. We flew with the night flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt, so Daniel had a good night of sleep behind him when we landed in Germany. From then, we paced his naps until the follo

Jamaica vacation

This year, we started what we hope will become a tradition. Because we didn't have a lot of vacation time, we didn't want to go all the way to Europe over the holidays, since the kids' jetlag negates a lot of the benefits of a vacation. We suggested to our families to meet "in the middle" in the Caribbean. Pros: less travel, less jetlag and warm weather! Cons: nothing really, except some health concerns and the question whether everyone across our families would enjoy the vacation. We met with my parents, my in-laws and my brother in law and family. It was a first in many ways: first time with all family members, first time in the Caribbean. It turned out to be a great idea! We picked a wonderful hotel in Jamaica, the Franklyn D Resor t, which I describe in detail here . It was so family-friendly that it took away any issue that could come from traveling with young kids. I have to say that I had some health concerns going to Jamaica with 2 young kids. But they

Lassen Volcanic camping trip

After our fun trip to Yosemite , our second camping trip of the season was at Lassen Volcanic National park, and it was a great end of a fun summer. On our longest camping trip yet (3 days), we had the chance to visit most of the park highlights. First, we visited Sulphur Works, with boiling mud pots and geysers. It was a fun and relaxing hike, and a great way to get to know the park. On the second day, we climbed Cedar Cone , an old volcano that offers amazing views from the top. The hike is quite challenging due to the sandy aspect of the climb. But Daniel did great, climbing faster that some of the grown up around us (and despite wearing a shoe that was way too tight, as we discovered later!) The reward as the top is astounding views of the surrounding mountains and lava flows. The spent the afternoon after this long hike splashing in the river by the campground, which the kids loved! On our last day, we drove all the way to the other end of the park, to Drakesbad Ranch,