Stop daydreaming and start planning your California luxury dude ranch experience for your family at Alisal Ranch. Think of 10,500 acres of vast rolling hills filled with pure inspiration. You can choose to fill your days with activities and crafts for the kids, or lay back at the lake and enjoy nature’s beauty. My parents used to take me to Alisal Ranch when I was a kid, so I couldn’t wait to finally take my kids to such a special place.
Where is Alisal Ranch
Alisal Ranch is located 5 minutes outside of the little Danish town of Solvang and 45 minutes North from Santa Barbara. You can see the exact map location here 1054 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463.
Family Friendly Rooms at Alisal Ranch
All of their guest rooms, suites, and cottages are outfitted with authentic Western décor. We are a family of five, so family suites are always a must for our crew. They also have small homes available that sleep 10-12 people if you need more space for your family. We stayed in the Mountain View Cottage, which is 700 sqft with a king bed, sofa couch and bunk beds. Now when I say bunk beds, I mean murphy bunk beds. They were so perfect for the space and enabled us to sleep comfortably and maintain plenty of room in our cottage. Aside from our murphy bunk beds, I loved our patio that overlooked the horse corral. We would sit on our patio in the evenings with a glass of wine, watching the beautiful horses roaming the large corral. It was so serene and beautiful.
Alisal Ranch Activities
Let’s talk about all of the resort activities. My kids were busy from sun up to sun down. You can certainly have a more relaxing vacation, but we were only there for three days and wanted to take it all in. We wanted to try and experience it all Below are the available activities, some of them are an additional fee, click here for the most up to date activities.
- Barn, Horseback Rides, & Horseback Programs
- Alisal Lake Activities
- Guided Mountain E-Bike Tours
- Fishing / Boat Rental
- Alisal Pool
- Ropes Course
- Arts & Crafts
- Air Rifle
- Kids Club
- Spa Services
- Family Bingo
- Frisbee golf(seasonal)
We choose to do an intermediate horse back trail ride, fishing and boat rental at the lake, the ropes course, golf, archery, air rifle and of course the pool. The kids have fun on the ropes course but it was pretty hot out and more advanced than most we had been on. Our youngest is 9 and was able to do most of the course, but not all of it. Everyone really enjoyed the archery and air rifle experience. Again I suggest this activity for your older children. Everyone’s favorite activity was actually fishing at the lake. This is a no additional cost experience at the lake. They have fantastic guys at the lake helping the kids put the worms on the hooks, telling them where to fish, wear to cast and helping them take the fish off the hooks. My kids went fishing two different days and we had to pull them away each day to head to another activity. So I highly suggest you partake in some fishing at the lake, it was our favorite thing to do during our stay at Alisal Ranch. For those of your with little kids they do have a kids club option, where you can drop your kids off for daily activities of crafts, assisted play, movies and more. I highly suggest that you sign up for these activities prior to your arrival, you can always cancel within 24 hours.
Alisal Ranch Food Experiences
Every meal was seriously out of this world good!!! The food was just as much as a highlight as any other activity at Alisal. Note, that every breakfast and dinner is included in your overnight stay room rate. You do have to pay for lunch, which you can get onsite or to-go if you have an activity on the property. There are free sodas, alcoholic drinks and tasty smoothies available all day at the bar next to the pool. This was my kids favorite place to hang out after swimming in the pool. We also tried three different dinning experiences during our stay, that I am still thinking about. All of these special dinning experiences require you to make a reservation in advance.
- Hay wagon Breakfast – The hay wagon breakfast takes off from the front desk at 8:45am in the morning. You can choose to take the wagon or you can choose to get up earlier and enjoy a trail ride on horseback to the adobe for breakfast. When you arrive it is all hands on deck. They are cooking up some serious breakfast fixings. They have pancakes hot off the griddle, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, potatoes, biscuits, quesadillas, juices and pastries. You get to enjoy your meal while listening to a country western guitarist and some tall tails from one of the cattle hands. He tells you a story about a HUGE pancake, which they also make on the griddle for everyone to enjoy.
- Lake BBQ – The sunset lake BBQ is not to be missed. When you drive up on the wagon it looks like a thousand dancing diamonds across the lake at dusk. It was just breathtaking. They have picnic tables lined up with gorgeous flowers ready for you and your family to enjoy the buffet style BBQ. Now to say the food was good would be an understatement. The food was soo outstanding I didn’t want to stop eating, because I never wanted the meal to end. My daughter asked the waiter if she could take a to-go box home filled with chicken because she loved it so much. And well, my daughter never likes food that much! I am still dreaming about the corn salad, the fresh tomatoes and homemade salsa. It was a memorable dinner to say the least. After dinner you can stroll out on the dock or take a paddle boat around the lake.
- California Ranch Cook Out – We were lucky enough to be staying at Alisal during one of their California Ranch Cook out experiences. We had the pleasure of enjoying insanely delicious food from Chef Wes Avila, Founder of Guerrilla Tacos in LA. Think potato taquitos, sliced brisket, salads galore, sea urchin and more. And that was only the buffet items. There were desserts galore and the most unreal smores station I have ever seen before. We stuffed ourselves with an epic meal, followed by dancing under the stars with a perfect country western band. Kids, grandparents, everyone was up on their feed working off all that delectable food we all enjoyed.
*note, For dinners in the Dining room, we continue the Alisal tradition of dressing up for dinner. This is country formal – gentlemen over 16yrs are required to wear a sport coat. Blue or black jeans are fine
Our time at Alisal Guest Ranch was really top notch from beginning to end. I feel like I have almost come to expect sub-par service since COVID and Alisal was all about providing exceptional customer service. All of their staff was so kind and helpful, especially all of the team members helping with each on-site activity. I also wanted to point out how absolutely courteous all the other guests were that we interacted with at Alisal. Everyone was so friendly and they all wanted to know where you were from and invited you to join them in bingo or karaoke. It was such a pleasant surprise to be around so many other generational families that wanted to have a good time and sincerely wanted you to have a good time too. So next time your are trying to figure out where to take your family, Alisal Ranch will most certainly not disappoint!