When you hear the word ranch, you might think of a rugged outpost in the Wild West meant for horses and cattle. It’s true that ranches do herald from a long tradition on the frontier, but today, there is a new breed of ranch – the luxury ranch – that draws visitors and travelers from all over the world. Luxury ranches across the South don’t just offer horses to ride and cattle to herd; instead, many offer high-end accommodations in a beautiful setting where guests can sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Want to know more about some of the best luxury ranches in the southern United States? Then check out these five places that offer unrivaled elegance and amenities in a truly beautiful natural setting.
1. Blackberry Farm
One of the nicest working farms and ranches in the country is located in the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Blackberry Farm, located in the small town of Walland, is a working farm where heirloom produce, wild flower honey, farm-fresh eggs, and artisanal cheese are produced. Visit the farm and stay in one of the upscale accommodations. You can rent a Hill Cottage, Cottage Suite, Estate Room, or private house. The star of Blackberry Farm is its dining options; the restaurants serve Foothills Cuisine, with influences both from international haute cuisine and foods that are indigenous to the Smoky Mountain region. While at Blackberry farm, you can take advantage of luxurious spa amenities, go fishing, kayaking or hiking, or you can spend time working on the actual farm.
2. Clear Creek Guest Ranch
For a taste of the old West in the good ole South, check out Clear Creek Ranch, situated near Asheville, North Carolina in Burnsville. If you want to spend the night at the guest ranch, you can book a cabin or stay at the cantina. If horseback riding is your thing, you can take a trail ride, or teach your children to ride. You can also visit with and pet the 45 horses on the property. There’s more to do at the resort besides horses, too. Enjoy white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, skiing in the winter, and more.
3. Southern Cross Guest Ranch
For a unique ranch experience in Georgia, visit the Southern Cross Ranch, a luxury dude ranch situated in Madison, Georgia. The ranch, which is just an hour’s drive from Atlanta, features more than 150 horses to ride. The ranch is also well-known for its excellent horseback riding program, where people of all ages can learn to ride. Travel and Leisure has called Southern Cross Guest Ranch one of the best Dude Ranches in the country, so come stay in one of the luxury suites with a whirlpool bath, shower, flat screen television with satellite cable, fireplace, and more. While you’re there, you can also enjoy hiking, a fire pit, a communal pool and hot tub, and lots of friendly southern hospitality.
4. The Inn at Dos Brisas
There may be no state more associated with ranches than Texas, and The Inn at Dos Brisas in Texas Hill Country is one of the nicest ranch getaways in the world. The Inn at Dos Brisas is just a short drive away from both Houston and Austin, and it offers the perfect opportunity for a relaxing escape on a 313-acre resort. The ranch began as family property, but today it is owned by Relais & Chateaux, a brand associated with the utmost luxury. The Inn has a wealth of amenities for guests, including private patios, renowned dining, a huge indoor riding arena and an award-winning wine cellar. A stay at The Inn at Dos Brisas is great for any horse lover – and also those who just want a peaceful escape.
5. Loretta Lynn’s Ranch
Some may think of it as cheesy, but if you want to visit one of the most quintessential destination ranches in the South, you’ve got to go to Loretta Lynn’s ranch in central Tennessee. While Loretta Lynn’s isn’t a luxury resort in itself, it does have private log cabins to rent when you come to visit. Come to the ranch to learn more about Loretta Lynn – you can see 6 museums on the property about Lynn or the history of the area. The ranch has a beautiful event space, which is a great spot for weddings, birth parties and more. Loretta Lynn’s ranch guarantees a day jam packed with fun and adventure in central Tennessee; you’ll get to see beautiful rolling hills and country, and you’ll get to learn and have some fun while you’re at it.