Who’s looking to have an epic family vacation!? One where the kids forget they even have iPhones and tablets? (Is that even possible!?)
One where everyone gets to do what they want to do. One where every minute of FUN and time in nature is a prerequisite? Well, look no further than Paws Up Dude Ranch in Montana! It’s the perfect family get-away.
In July Gavin, Benji, Hunter, and I jumped on a flight to Montana, which was a surprisingly quick flight from LA, and drove east to the big timber gates that welcome you to the Paws Up Resort. These kids were so excited for the week of cowboy festivities, they could barely sit still. We were welcomed with our very own Lexus to use for the duration of our stay, which would help us get to all the activities we had planned that were scattered across the 37,000 acres of pristine Big Sky countryside. Yes, you heard me right- THIRTY-SEVEN-THOUSAND acres. That’s a lotta land. And it’s breathtakingly gorgeous!
Having arrived later in the day we settled into our adorable Meadowview home and got ready for the cookout. As we opened the door to our ranch home, we were greeted by the soothing sounds of country music (George Strait for all you country fans out there). The boys dropped their bags and ran around the house like the Tasmanian devil, staking claims on bedrooms, free snacks and sodas, and anything else they could lay their claim on… “HOT TUB! HOT TUB!” Hunter exclaimed, “Mommy, can we go in right now?”
“No, boo. Later. It’s dinner time, and guess what!? They heard they have s’mores for dessert!” I responded.
That did the trick. Hunter and Benji got washed up and out the door we went.
The cookout was just as you would expect, and so much more. Live music, beef roasting over open flame fires (veggie options too), ax throwing, lasso-ing, and chuckwagon rides. Hunter and Gavin were pretty much obsessed with the ax-throwing. What’s with boys and weapons anyway? After watching them take turns again and again I stepped in and showed them how it was done 😉 By the end of the evening, the kids were knacked and passed out the minute we got home.
The next day was chock full of activities, starting with go-karts. Paws Up have its own go-kart course and it is no joke. I thought only the kiddos were going to race around, but of course, the biggest kid of them all, Gavin, had to jump in and blast everyone laughing the entire time. Big kids get to play too here!
Next on the list: horseback riding. Hunter got to ride the absolutely most adorable pony named Cookie. Look at that face. I just want to give her a big cuddle and sneak her home to my backyard. I mean she’s tiny- the perfect size pony for LA. Paws Up are known for its extensive equestrian program. You can go on trail rides, learn how to be a true wrangler, take a horse whispering course with mustangs, and even learn how to drive a chuck wagon! If you love horses and adventure then this is THE place. Check out all the equestrian activities.
The next day we rose early to grab some breakfast and hit the river. We signed out some fly rods, purchased a fishing permit, and tried our very best to cast a fly rod without hooking each other with the fly. It was a little dodgy, but we got the hang of it and looked pretty cool while doing it if I do say so myself. Benji and Hunter collected river rocks and tried to skim them across the water, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the current wasn’t in their favor. lol
Later on, after lunch, we went to class 2 whitewater rafting, tiny tot-friendly style. The river was gorgeous and relaxing. We saw a bald eagle too, and there were just enough rapids to keep the kids excited, but not too many that would make me do the anxious mommy thing where I play the safety police telling everyone to “SIT DOWN on your BOTTOM! The entire time. This palace has really got their activity game down. Kudos.
More ideas on a family vacation: Yosemite & Sequoias RV Family Vacation.