Giddy-up, Buckaroos!  Every Texas family ought to experience the Western fun offered at a Dude Ranch.  Bandera, Texas is called the "Cowboy Capital of the World" for a reason; there are more dude ranches there than anywhere else in the state.  We have chosen to feature the Flying L Guest Ranch because it offers the best dude ranch experience for families with young children.  While not the most authentic western experience (see below), the Flying L offers many fun and diverse activities making it a hit with the entire family.

 

 

What We Love

  • By far the most unique (and in our opinion most fun) aspect of the Flying L is its water park.  Open May-September, the water park features a lazy river, several slides, and even a wave pool.  We spent our entire afternoon in the refreshing water.
  • Horses, horses!  Our six-year-old son had a wonderful experience riding his first horse at the ranch.  The horses were well-trained and gentle, and this ride was the highlight of his trip.  Like most dude ranches, the Flying L has a rule that riders must be at least 6-years-old, but our younger children were thrilled with their pony rides.
  • Supervised children's activities are provided each morning, allowing mom and dad to enjoy a horseback ride or a round of golf together.  The childcare is for ages 3-12 and includes activities such as pony rides, western crafts, archery, and putt-putt.
  • The range of family-friendly activities rivals any summer camp experience.  From golf to putt-putt, tennis to ping-pong, horseback riding to water park swimming, your day is sure to be filled with fun.
  • Cowboy Buck, the entertainment director at the Flying L, is the heart of the ranch.  Buck takes guests on sightseeing hayrides, sings songs around the campfire, and provides the S'mores each night.  Buck is the most authentic Texas cowboy we've met on our travels and our entire family loved hearing his stories and listening to his music.

Know Before You Go

  • Earlier in the article, I alluded to the fact that the Flying L does not offer the most authentic western experience.  Let me explain what I mean.  Although the Flying L is a guest ranch resort, it is located in a subdivision and lacks the isolation that we anticipated.  There are wide open spaces with hundreds of deer and antelope, but there are also areas with a lot of houses.  This fact did not hinder our fun in any way, but if you are looking to truly get away from it all and be in the middle of nowhere, you could be disappointed.
  • While our accommodations (2-bedroom villa) were spacious and comfortable (and there are newer rooms by the water park),  do not expect a five star hotel in terms of accommodations and meals.  Realize, you don't come to the Flying L expecting to be pampered in luxury, but you do come for the awesome activities and opportunities to create lasting memories.

 

 

Our family had a blast at the Flying L.  It was a stress-free vacation filled with laughter, new experiences, and time together.  Our children are already asking when we can go back.  So, go ahead and bring your young cowboys and cowgirls to the Flying L Guest Ranch for fun that's as big as Texas itself.