Set in spectacular natural settings, these action-packed, all-inclusive camps are a fun alternative to resort vacations and guaranteed to keep everybody busy.
By Pamela Wright
La Veta, Colorado
Ride horses in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
You can't beat the setting of this historic ranch-camp, right in the middle of 1,500 private acres, surrounded by another 60,000 acres of federally permitted land in southern Colorado. Saddle up for daily trail rides through the Sangre de Cristo mountain range (including stream crossings) and climb up the Spanish Peaks. Families can also enjoy a two-hour ride on Devil's Stairsteps and its dramatic rocky formations, which dot the landscape. Trips are appropriate for all abilities; friendly wranglers are happy to show you the ropes. Out of the saddle, take a fly-fishing trip to a high mountain lake, try your luck at gold panning, or practice shooting at the rifle and pistol range. Western cookouts, campfires, and cowboy entertainment are held in the evenings. You can even go on a daylong cattle drive and help ranch hands move herds of cattle or on an overnight pack trip.
Lights out: The spacious lodge, with a fieldstone fireplace, wraparound porch, and mountain views, has eight rooms, which can accommodate up to four people; private cabins are also available.
Cost: The ranch is open late May through early September. Rates, including all meals, activities, and unlimited horseback riding, are $1,000 (three nights) to $1,650 (seven nights) for adults; $800-$1,320, ages 8 to 15. Minimum age is 8 years old.
More info: 800-341-6603; guestecho.com