Trend Watch Cowboycation: Luxury Vacation Meets Western Getaway
Riding to the pasture with the cowboys? What sounds like the Wild West is one of the most popular travel trends in 2023: cowboycation.
May 9, 2023
Cowboy and Vacation: put these words together and you're looking at one of the big travel trends of 2023 - cowboycation. Travelers go to ranches or camps to experience the life of a real cowboy. The trend originated - it's hardly surprising - in the USA, but now there are numerous offers of this kind worldwide.
On the origins of cowboycation
The Cowboy Vacation: a top travel trend in 2023 © Joseph Hersh
In the mid-19th century, the cattle industry, and with it the everyday life of cowboys, experienced an enormous boom in the USA. The job was considered one of the hardest and most expendable of all: cowboys were responsible for gathering, transporting and selling herds of cattle. Along the routes, they had to deal with indigenous people, rustlers, and corrupt landowners. Cowboys often spent ten hours a day in the saddle and all of their time on the range.
That this adventurous everyday life provided material for films shouldn't come as a surprise: in the 1930s, the image of cowboys and cowgirls was heavily romanticized. Nostalgic Western films like Red River also created a wave of nostalgia. In addition, there were fashion trends and country music, which are still popular today. And: the first cowboy vacations - ranch stays by city dwellers who wanted to experience the wild, free life in the fresh air and the everyday life of the cattle drovers themselves.
Cowboycation as a travel trend
The authentic daily life of a cattle drive. © Bailey Alexander
Today - more than ever - this trend enjoys great popularity. Movies like Brokeback Mountain and numerous series like Yellowstone or 1883 have definitely contributed to this upswing. Especially in the USA and Canada, whose maps still show a multitude of ranches, travelers discover a rich offer. The ranches have discovered tourism as a lucrative additional income for themselves - a win-win situation. Guests can expect rodeos, cattle drives, horseback riding lessons and informative, immersive lectures on ranching.
Incidentally, there are also countless cowboycation offers in Europe now. For example, Spain and Portugal, with their vast plains such as La Mancha in central Spain, invite visitors to take long riding lessons. Even in Great Britain, the trend is already being used for itself and is being taken up in relation to British horse and country culture.
Vacation with the cowboys
In search of an authentic cowboycation, the path leads to the USA first: ranches like the Latigo Guest Ranch invite to long rides on the ranch's horses in the national park, courses in whip handling and fishing lessons. Square dancing is also on the daily schedule. At Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming, five-star luxury joins cowboy activities. Accommodations pay homage to the old Westerns, and live bands. Games and views of the Sierra Madre wait for you in The Saloon. Guests spend their days fly-fishing, horseback riding, shooting ranges and rodeos, or they learn how to make their own cheese.
Long, sunny days at the cowboy ranch. © Matthew Pablico
Back to nature and back to the past: the nostalgic cowboy stations will continue to enjoy great popularity in the future. You can be sure of that!