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Day 3 Arizona Family Vacation Tucson Dude Ranch

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Thank you to White Stallion Ranch for hosting our stay at your beautiful luxury family-friendly dude ranch in Tucson Arizona. All opinions and photographs of the property are ours.

family dude ranch

Day three at White Stallion Dude Ranch started with riding horses of course! 

On Sundays, the horses rest, so we were all excited to get back on the saddle, literally! Pete, Ashley, and Emmy went for a 7 am ride and then took a lesson mid morning to make sure they were ready for the afternoon fast ride up the mountain.

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Emmy is too young for the fast ride, so she just enjoyed the lesson while Pete and Ash fine tuned their riding and passed the skill test for the fast ride. The lessons are one of the only things not included in the all-inclusive price, along with some drinks (like alcohol and soda) and spa treatments. However, they are a bargain at only $20 a person, paid directly to the Wrangler.

dude ranch food

They had worked up an appetite, and were happy to see a vegetable stir fry waiting for us at lunch!

kids fun

In the early afternoon, Pete and Ashley went to CrossFit, so I took Emmy to the pool, and then I let her do something I used to love doing on family vacations to Yosemite. I let her play in the dirt for over an hour. I’m one of those people that (tries) to keep their kids clean and dust free. But at a dude ranch, there is dirt everywhere, and I finally let it go. She wanted to get all dirty and play with the pebbles and just be a kid. I honestly forgot how much of my childhood I enjoyed doing the same thing. She never once asked for an electronic device, except for me to take a picture of her so she could remember this forever. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the afternoon. 

summer at dude ranch

The evening crept up on us quickly, and it was time for our 5 pm ride. This was a ride we all had been waiting for. We rode out through the desert and up the mountain a bit. It was pretty steep at times and definitely an adventure. Emmy, Maddie, and I took the slow ride, while Pete and Ash took the fast ride. The only difference is that they went faster going to and from the mountain while our horses walked the whole time. They LOVED the fast ride and thought it was really fun. 

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mountain horse back ride


mountain rides at dude ranch

riding horse

desert horseback riding

sunset ride

what age should kids ride horses

We got back just in time for dinner.

We went back to our suite and freshened up (Emmy tried to get some more dirt play time in) and enjoyed dinner!

dude ranch for teen


relaxation at dude ranch arizona

I can’t get over how gorgeous the views are. While Emmy was playing earlier, I just stared off into the distance. Arizona really is beautiful!

pink mountains

desert flowers

arizona sunset

After another great sunset, we followed flashing red lights over to the star party.

The star party is lead by a local astronomer, who brings a large telescope and his knowledge to the ranch of the planets and stars. We gazed through the telescope and saw craters on the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. The ranch has enrichment and entertainment activities each night, and they rotate so that there are no repeats during the week. This was a great way to spend the evening.

star party

dude ranch

Emmy was asleep within minutes of getting into bed. I’d say that is a good indication of the great day we had!

Here is our day three video:

See our full White Stallion Dude Ranch adventure here.

Are you taking a vacation this summer?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • Oh my gosh Heather, the look on Emmy’s face! It’s priceless. This is totally on my bucket list to do as a family. Horseback riding is one of my favorite past times.

  • I used to live in Phoenix, but never thought about heading to Tucson to go to a dude ranch! I bet my family will love it! I’ll have to plan a trip when we move back to Arizona next year!

  • Arizona is such a gorgeous state. I’ve only been to Phoenix to attend a conference. This really makes me want to go back and explore it more.
    Our six-year-old son would flip out over riding horses!

  • This looks like such a fun trip. I have always wanted to take my kids to visit a dude ranch.

  • Dude ranches are so much fun! Horseback riding can be so calming and takes stress off as you are just wild and free as one with a horse.

  • Such a fun time, start to finish. I’d love to be your baggage handler (of course I’d have to bring my kids along, they wouldn’t want to miss out). You guys have some serious fun. 🙂

  • I am just loving your fun trip & your little girl is so cute. The pictures are quiet amazing & I can see you are having a wonderful time out there as a family. I would love one such horse ride with my husband & that vegetable stir fry looks yum!

  • This looks like it was such a fun trip. I would love to have the chance to visit a dude ranch one day.

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