Additional Ranch Info

The Bottle House

The Bottle House

photograph by John Anderson

Flying L Guest Ranch, Bandera

Whether you're visiting the family-oriented Western ranch or coming to the conference center for a corporate function, there are plenty of activities to enjoy: guided horseback riding, fishing, tubing, even calf scrambles and steer roping. For the athletically inclined, there's golf on an
18-hole champion course, tennis, volleyball, and basketball. When the young'uns start to cause cabin fever, the Flying L also offers supervised kids activities and a petting zoo. There are hayrides by day and marshmallow campfires and Western music by night. Every year, the Fourth of July explodes with a carnival, a golf cart parade, and fireworks. Rooms start at $85 per night for adults, kids' costs are pro-rated. PO Box 1959, Bandera, TX 78003; Hwy173 S & Wharton Dock, 800/292-5134.

Guadalupe River Ranch, Boerne

They've got horseback riding, a petting zoo, tubing, canoeing, a "zip line" (think 007), body treatments, saunas, gourmet five-six course meals, and a rent-out dining room. For kids, there's corral rides, fishing, mountain biking, and scavenger hunts. They have ample facilities for large groups, but can accommodate small intimate gatherings of two in their cozy cottage rooms. This August 27-29 the ranch hosts Vintner, a huge wine festival. PO Box 877 Boerne, 78006, located on Hwy474, 830/537-4837.

King Ranch, Kingsville

Private nature tours, walk-in historical tours, a nature museum, and birdwatching are just some of the highlights of this tranquil Hill Country retreat. Every Saturday before Thanksgiving, there's the Ranch Hand Breakfast -- a $5 fundraiser for the city of Kingsville. $7 historic tour; $4 for museum; $40 for a minimum of two adults for a half day of private tours, $100 for a whole day. Nature tours are $50 per person 1/2 day, $100 all day. Birdwatching is $99 for all day. PO Box 1090, Kingsville, TX; Hwy 141, west of Kingsville, 361/592-8055.

L H 7 Ranch, Bandera

Founded by Henry Marks, one of the first Gulf Coast longhorn cattlemen, LH7 is 1,200 acres of "pure Texas cattle ranch." They cater largely to family reunions and corporate outings. The ranch offers a standard visitor package, complete with horseback ranch tours, riding, tubing, boating, fishing, and swimming in the Olympic-sized pool. Meals for fewer than 20 folks are DIY; each of the ranch's 10 native stone cottages is fitted with a kitchenette, and there's also a BBQ House for those who can't imagine chillin' without a little grillin'. PO Box 1474 Hwy 3240, Bandera TX, 78003, 210/796-4314.

Lazy Hills Guest Ranch, Ingram

This 750-acre family resort offers tennis, pool and hot tub, basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, a fully-equipped game room, fishing, hiking, cook-outs, and bonfires. Horseback tours are available for an additional fee. With the basic package, two adults get all this and three meals for $58 per day. Kids' prices are pro-rated based on age. Guided horseback riding is $12 per hour. PO Box G, Ingram, TX 78025, 800/880-0632.

Loma De Blanca, Bandera

If the trappings of the urban sprawl phenomenon have you bothered, bewitched, and bewildered, know that you can always retreat to a place in the Hill Country that specializes in "slowing things down." Loma de Blanca takes a particularly zen approach to the ranch experience. There are no hand-held tourist tours, no thrill-a-minute sports gauntlets, and no cowboy-themed hootenannies. Instead, guests are invited to become one with their natural surroundings through swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife photography. An even stronger focus is put on "communicating better with horses." The ranch trains and sells several breeds of horses and provides extensive instruction on how to ride and properly care for your horse. Guests (over the age of six) are at liberty to ride at their own level, with or without a guide. Rates for the standard package of breakfast, lunch, and dinner with riding start at $85 per day, per person. Large groups are discouraged. Very Euro friendly. Rt 1, Box 603, Bandera, TX 78003, http://www.duderanches.com/ LomadeBlanca/LomadeBlanca.html or

Mayan Dude Ranch, Bandera

Owned and operated by the same family for almost half a century, Mayan is a paradise for all you button-down types yearning to let loose the dude within. There are hayrides, swimming, fishing, and tubing on the Medina River, basketball, and tennis. Guests can choose to sack out in either natural rock cottages or log cabins. While feasting on more meat than one can shake an antacid tablet at, guests are entertained by musicals, comedies, and cowboy combos. Texas two-step, Cotton-Eye Joe, and contemporary line dancing lessons are offered for those who want to do more than observe. As far as equine action goes, there are two trail rides daily. Adult rates start at $115 daily. Kids under 12 stay for $50; 13-17 start at $75. PO Box 577 Bandera, TX 78003,

Running R Ranch, Bandera

Firmly planted in the middle of "The Cowboy Capital Of The World, " the Running R has 5,000 acres to ride on, country-style cabins, a swimming pool, and plenty of cuisine à la Texas. Rt 1, Box 590, Bandera, TX 78003, http://www.rrranch.com/artline@p-net.de or 830/796-3984. --Leigh-Ann Jackson

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