What does a word "ranch" associate with? Cowboys, Wild Wild West, horses... Anyone can add some more. You've seen it all only in westerns probably. Well you can influence on this situation, you can visit a real ranch and stay there as a friendly welcomed guest.
Basically ranching means breeding cattle, sheep and horses. No romantics. Once upon a time ranch keepers were only doing that and never thought of starting a lodging and entertainment business. But we all can imagine those huge ranch territories where plenty of host's friends can spend weekend and vacations. So they kept coming and staying. And bringing their own friends with them. Those started offering money for the accommodation. That how it all began. Nowadays there are already many ranches about which no one can tell whether they are ranches or recreation complexes at first.
Ranches are mostly located in America - both Southern and of course Northern. In the other parts of the world the places where the cattle is bred are called differently and have another style and atmosphere.
Vacations at a ranch are mostly family vacations. The program is usually all-inclusive which means that you pay once for everything including lodging, activities, meals and etc. Everyone who comes at ranches usually comes to have fun experiencing all sorts of unknown outdoor activities.
Among all activities a ranch can offer you, horseback riding is the most attractive for everyone. For those who's never even approached a horse before on ranches they have training programs. At first day a "campaign against illiteracy" is waiting for you. Kids are paid special attention and sometimes get some extra training.
But you can deal with the cattle either. Some ranches offer for the guests participation in different activities like cattle driving or inoculating. Probably you won't be let do it yourself but at least you can watch it what will be rather educative. Plus most ranches offer some extra-activities like water sports and tennis in summer and mountain skiing in winter.
The evenings will get you a little deeper into a country style life. Ranches tend to invite bands to play live music, and of course you'll be dancing and singing along.
The accommodation that modern guest ranches are offering quite corresponds with all to the modern lodging standards. Each room is air-conditioned, heated and has a private bathroom. As long as a ranch is mostly a family vacation variant there you'll find enough rooms that sleep four persons. If you are more than four in your family you'll easily find a ranch that has cabin accommodation.
For obvious reasons ranch lodging is often wooden and decorated in western or traditional style. Just don't forget that people come to ranches not to lock themselves inside the rooms however comfortable it may be there but to explore the cowboy style of life - active and free.