Does your family loves the idea of camping, but maybe the idea of “roughing” it in the great outdoors doesn’t sound so appealing? The Ranch at Bandy Canyon offers the perfect solution. Located in the heart of San Pasqual Valley, this rustic retreat allows you to enjoy all the comforts of home, yet be completely surrounding by nature. The Ranch offers everything from horseback trail rides to swimming, hiking, biking and more. And with cozy cabins and local wineries right outside your door, what are you waiting for? We’ve got your insider’s guide to this hidden gem that will let your family reconnect with nature and create lifelong memories.

Rest and Relaxation
Forget about pitching a tent and sleeping on the ground, The Ranch at Bandy Canyon has everything you need to experience the wilderness with the ease of modern-day amenities. From the moment you drive through the big iron gates, you’re transported into another world that is surrounded by picturesque landscape and rocky mountains.

After checking in with the staff at the white trailer across from the stables, you’ll be taken by golf cart to your own private cottage. Each of the 13 uniquely-appointed cottages are equipped with super soft beds, pull out sofas, a full bathroom and an adorable kitchenette. Your family will be able to completely unwind and unplug. Yes, there is electricity, but there are no televisions. Trust us, with 144 acres to explore, the kiddos will survive a few days without their favorite show. Be sure to enjoy your morning coffee or a glass of wine on your private porch.

As for meals, since there is no on-site restaurant, you’ll want to bring plenty of snacks, drinks and easy-to-make meals that don’t require a stove. There’s a mini-fridge, microwave, toaster and coffee maker in your cabin, as well as BBQ grills available near the pool for anyone to use. The office can also coordinate dinner delivery from a local restaurant or guide you in the right direction if you’d like to dine out.

Insider’s Tips for Your Stay
Cabins sleep between 2 and 8 people. Be sure to check online for availability and to read about the charming details and location of each one.

You won’t be able to drive your car up to the cabin; you’ll be transported by golf cart so pack smart, rather than having a lot of loose items. Don’t worry, it’s a short walk back to your car if you need to make an extra trip.

Want to bring Fido along? Dogs are allowed in some cabins for an additional fee of $20 per night.

There is a small shop on-site that is open during peak times offering a coffee bar, snacks, toiletries and small gifts.

Outdoor Activities
The Ranch features a full-service equestrian facility where horsing around is totally acceptable. Group or private lessons are available for ages 6 and up through adults and include grooming, tacking and of course, riding. For parents and kiddos ages 7 and up, the one hour trail ride is a truly memorable experience. Riders will be taught basic commands and offered a riding helmet before they saddle up. Then giddy up and enjoy the ride as you are led through the wilderness by your expert guide on horseback. Take in all the sights and make sure to snap a few pictures on the scenic trail, as you ride up hills and under branches.

Photo: The Ranch at Bandy Canyon

Little ones can do a pony ride and meet new animal friends in the petting zoo. Sheep, goats, chickens and ducks make for a fun hands-on farm experience. Bring along some carrots if you’d like to feed the horses and ponies — they love carrots!

Photo credit: The Ranch at Bandy Canyon

Around the Grounds
Exploring the exquisite grounds will never get old. Go for a hike or explore your surroundings on one of the bikes that are available to rent by the day. Watch the koi fish swim around in the stream, or swing the day away in the hammock or two-person swing. Then lounge around and soak up the sunshine while the kiddos make a splash in the newly remodeled pool and spa. Bring your own food to grill at the barbecues and enjoy your poolside feast, perhaps with a refreshing drink.

After the sun goes down, the lodge heats up! Cozy up next to the fireplace, and bring along a drink to sip on or some s’mores to enjoy with your crew. Listen to the peaceful sounds of the waterfall and all the wildlife including frogs, owls and coyotes howling in the distance.

Insider’s Tips for Outdoor Fun
For the horseback trail ride, be sure to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Sunglasses and a hat are also nice to have on hand, and keep in mind purses and backpacks are not allowed during the ride.

Bring your own mountain bikes to save on the bike rental fee.

Pack a deck of cards or your favorite board game to play during down-time or have a family game night before bed.

Nearby Family Fun
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is just down the road where you can get up close and personal with tons of wild animals. Westfield North County mall is also nearby, with tons of shopping and restaurants such as Macaroni Grill and Cheesecake Factory. There are also several family-friendly wineries close by including Cordiano Winery, Domaine Artefact Vineyard, Orfila Vineyards and Winery, and Espinosa Vineyards. Bring along a picnic and take in the incredible views while you sample some fine wines as the kiddos play outside.

Insider’s Tip: Cordiano Winery has wood-fired pizza and breadsticks that are to die for!

The Ranch at Bandy Canyon
16251 Bandy Canyon Rd.
Escondido, CA 92025

Have you been to The Ranch at Bandy Canyon? What was the highlight of your visit?

— Kelly Powell (photos too, unless otherwise noted)

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