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All reviews dude ranch air hockey white water rafting other guests family vacation square dancing activities offered games room weight limit fall break evening activities served family style cattle drive rafting trip riding horses an experienced rider beautiful horses
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8 - 13 of 141 reviews
Reviewed October 16, 2017

One day my wife asked me, "What if we all went to a dude ranch as a family?". Well, this concept had never even crossed my mind. With fall break approaching for our kids and nothing really planned, we talked it over, and decided to saddle up...and I am sooooo glad we did!
This ranch is the real deal! Surrounded by scenic vistas, beautiful horses every where, and a ranch that looks like something out of the movies. When you arrive you are interviewed and a horse is selected just for you dependent on your age, height/weight, and experience level for the duration of your stay. They did an excellent job selecting too. We all grew to LOVE our horse. When we were not riding them, we frequently visited with them and brought them treats provided by the ranch. During orientation you will really learn some skills/techniques on how to prep your horse, saddle, and ride your horse the "right" way. *As a side note, my son, who is 7 had never rode a horse and he took this knowledge and rode like a real cowboy! My daughters (age 14 and 10) who have attended numerous horse camps, said they learned a lot of new info. during orientation that they felt really helped them be better riders.
My family and I experienced 2 long beautiful trail rides through the hills of TN each day with a combination of flat, incline, and decline ridding. One of the rides on our last day, which was one of our favorite as a family, was a cattle drive. Yes, even my 7 year old son participated in the cattle drive and did a great job! Apparently a cattle drive was on my bucket list and I didn't even know it. What a GREAT memory!
You will NOT go hungry here either! The food was fantastic! Real down home cooking. Admittedly, while I do not generally eat much comfort food, I let myself indulge and enjoy it. Even my kiddos commented how much they liked the food. Those with younger kids know what a task this can be sometimes getting your kids to eat.
Overall, the ranch is very clean. Rooms are large and very well maintained. When you are not riding or visiting with the horses there is air hockey, pool, foosball and a selection of old-school westerns to choose from. My kids and I loved playing these games during our down time. At night, you can go out and warm yourself by the bon-fire, make s'mores...if your actually still hungry... and look at the stars.
We left French Broad Outpost Ranch with a whole new set of unforgettable family memories. An experience my kids will remember throughout the years. We loved it so much, we have already booked our reservations and are taking my parents back in the summer of 2018. I read somewhere, while we (French Broad Ranch) have NO Wi-Fi, we promise you will find a better connection. What a true statement. Having kids who are 7, 10, and 14, my wife and I are constantly battling "screens" and technology. Heck, even my wife and I are guilty of it. This solves that problem and creates the opportunity to really bond with your family...laughing, playing games, riding, etc. My 14 year old even admitted she really didn't miss not having internet/cell service.
Thanks for ALL the memories French Broad Outpost Ranch! We will be back to ride again.

Room tip: We stayed Room #4 of the Lone Star Hotel. GREAT view of the ranch!
Date of stay: October 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank jwiz2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 7, 2017

Probably not what you were expecting to read for a review about a dude ranch, but that's just what it was ... and just what we needed! We really didn't need 8 hours of challenging horseback riding ... a couple of hours each day was perfect. We didn't want to have to think about our meals. Great job, Z, for taking care of that for us, and for providing plenty of hearty, home-cooked fare. The wranglers were caring, attentive and patient. Shawn, the owner and task master, is a one-man show. A beautiful, wooded and isolated area ... a massive log-cabin-style structure with a long, rocking-chair laden front porch. So sit, back, relax and enjoy!!

Date of stay: September 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank nottinghall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 24, 2017 via mobile

We had a fantastic stay at the ranch and cannot thank Shawn and the team enough for such a brilliant week.

The location of the ranch is stunning and we woke up to some of the most amazing sunrises.

Before arriving we read all the details on the website which we found very informative and answered any questions we had about our stay. Shawn and the team are strict on weight limit and we were very aware of this prior to our arrival.

The accommodation was lovely. We stayed in one of the lodge rooms which are down past the main building. The room was very clean and had air conditioning and a fan. The decor was lovely and suited the ranch.

We enjoyed meal time very much as it gave us a chance to chat to staff and other guests over amazingly tasty food. Z never disappointed and we ate a variety of homemade meals everyday. A favourite being the chicken tenders and macaroni cheese!

We enjoyed a range of activities throughout the week including riding, treks, cattle herding, cattle watching, white water rafting on two different rivers, tubing and the cattle drive. As a previous rider and a novice we felt the ranch suited both our needs.

It was a fantastic trip one that we hope to repeat in future years. Thanks again to everyone.

Kirsty and Stewart
Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Date of stay: July 2017
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank KirstyS629
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 21, 2017 via mobile

My family of 6 and my sister's family of 4 visited the ranch in July. We had a great time. The ages of the six children ranged from 12 to 5. By the end of the trip, they were all comfortable getting their horses from the field and saddling them. The rides were perfect for our family. Our 5 year old wasn't able to perfect his left and right so he wasn't deemed safe to ride on the trails. I completely understand and appreciate that Shawn was watching out for his safety because these of not trail horses and my son was not able to adequately control his horse as needed. He was able to ride in the arena with one of the wranglers and one of the adults in our group. So, he was happy to get comfortable riding the horse and when we return, he will be ready to ride!

My one daughter has severe gluten and dairy allergies and it was the first time since we figured out her allergies that I was able to take a break because Miss Z, the cook, was fantastic. The food was perfect for the setting.

Our family took advantage of the down time to play games as a family, swim In the pool, and visit with the horses. I found peppermint wrappers in my kids' pants for a couple of washings following the treats for the horses. The wranglers worked very hard and were alway very pleasant. We enjoyed getting to know them more when they turned bartender in the evenings.

My kids ask all the time when we can go back to the ranch!

Date of stay: July 2017
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank Michelle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 19, 2017

This is the first time we have been to a dude ranch in general and to this one in particular. We did a short visit. There we 7 of us. Grandma, Grandpa, our 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. The other couple and their 2 children were second-time visitors and were spending a week. The entire experience was something all of us will remember forever. Shawn Gannon, the head dude, is a man of very specific beliefs especially about children and learning responsibility. I have never been on a horse that I had to control and neither had my children or grandchildren My wife had taken lessons as a young woman. I was amazed how all of the grandchildren (ages 7 soon to be 8, 10, and 13) were able to do everything from saddling, riding, grooming, and doing a long cool down walk, without any complaints. How unusual is that?
Within an hour of instruction, we were on the trail. The second ride of the day was a cattle drive, bring the herd from pasture to the coral.
I was impressed by the attention to detail Shawn goes through in matching horse and rider. Weight, size, age, and experience are all considered. Also, the horses are positioned to decrease issues as well. Horses, like people, have different temperaments and sometimes these animals have to be separated to control behavior which is why we were lined up in a specific order.

In the after noon, we went rafting over the Rapids of the Broad French River. The guides were friendly, skilled, and fun to work with. We were all given paddles including the youngest. It was hysterical watching this 70-pound child trying to paddle, but she gave it her best effort and laughing all the way.

WE thought the accommodations were very good. The furnishings were upgraded western. Beds were very comfortable. Showers were great.
The main lodge was the dining room and the game room (pool table, air hockey, chess, checkers, and a TV with DVDs. ). The food was served family style. No assigned seats allowing us to mingle with other guests as well as with Shawn and Peter and Margaret (the wranglers). This gave us all the opportunity to get to know them. The food is good and ample amounts, Probably the biscuits every.

AFter the evening activities, all gathered in the Saloon which is the first floor of the hotel. At the time, we were responsible for our own entertainment. For longer stays, activities are planned. The women worked on a big puzzle, the men and kids played card games. etc. Beer, wine, and the best Root Beer were available. Wifi was not available. Kids and adults had to interact with each other. Play games, and even read a real book. Occasionally, one could briefly pick up roaming.

The kids had the run of the place. They played outside all the time. They were able to go to the horses, give the horses treats of peppermints and carrots, touch them without any fear. No bad people on the grounds. The spread is about 400 acres. 49 horses live there. These are all beautiful Arabians, 2 crazy donkeys that my grandson bonded with, plus the cows.

Everyone we worked with, Shaw, Miss Z the cook, Peter, and Margaret, were friendly, personable, and very helpful. The Wranglers worked very long hours but were always pleasant.

I recently read several of the negative reviews that were posted as well as Shawn's responses. This is a Dude Ranch, not the Ritz Carlton. There are pictures of accommodations posted. This is not a Michelin 4 star restaurant, but there is plenty to eat. It was unusual to leave the door of your room open but you leave your valuables at home.

As a physician, I was concerned about safety, prevention of injuries, and accessibility of medical care. Safety is paramount and I felt comfortable that is any problems occurred, there was a solution available.

Shawn preaches responsibility, especially for the kids. The day after we left the ranch, the little one asked her aunt to help her dress a doll. Her aunt reminded her of what she did for the past 2 days and if she could handle a 1000 pound horse, she could dress a doll. She looked at her aunt, turned around and dressed the doll. No one in the family will forget this experience for a long time.

We will be planning a return trip.

Dr. Neil S.Gladstone
Atlanta, GA

Date of stay: August 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Neil G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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