Ranch Fall Weekend Getaway

Whether you're seeking a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or an affordable weekend escape, we've sniffed out two unforgettable ranch trips for any budget.
Story by Valerie Rains

Cibolo Creek Ranch

Where it is: Marfa, Texas

What it Costs: $250*

What You Get: Utter isolation. So it's no surprise, then, that solitude-seeking celebs such as Mick Jagger and Julia Roberts have moseyed out to this haven of high Chihuahuan Desert to get their fix. Even if you're not eluding an entourage, the cinematic landscape, framed by the Chinati and Cienega Mountains, bona fide frontier wildlife (elk, buffalo, javelinas, and longhorns), and total lack of modern distractions will foster the feeling that you're living in your own wild Western. The cozy guest rooms are spread across three carefully reconstructed 19th-century forts, but before you hit the hay, be sure to squeeze in a swoon-worthy star sighting, thanks to the ranch's 12-inch Meade telescope and Texas' famously wide-open skies. *Plus $75 per person per day for the recommended three-meal-a-day plan; cibolocreekranch.com

Room to Book: Ask for one of the two spacious suites in the 21-room main fort, with oversize tubs and fireplaces (from $500) or, if you're feeling adventurous, La Morita, a private cottage without electricity—or neighbors for miles (from $250). Note: It's a 45-minute drive from the main lodge.

Priceless Perk: There are no TVs or phones in the rooms, and cell service is basically nonexistent. Instead, you get free, unlimited roaming across 30,000 acres.

This Just in: The owners recently added a 16-station sporting-clays course to round out their other shooting offerings. Coming soon: a second lake for fishing, and a slew of summer-camp-style facilities.

Luxe for Less: Dixie Dude Ranch

Where it is: Bandera, TX

What it Costs: $135

What You Get: This 725-acre working ranch in the Texas Hill Country is similarly unplugged, but boasts plenty of lo-fi pleasures. Along with the two daily trail rides included with each stay, you'll enjoy an outdoor pool, hikes in the hills, catch-and-release fishing, communal cookouts, bonfires, and nightly entertainment of the singin' and storytellin' variety. $135 per person per night includes three meals, plus access to all activities; dixieduderanch.com

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