One way to experience Texas is to visit its ranches. Visitors are welcome at many different types of ranches across the state – from guest ranches to historic ranch day tours.
The Mayan Dude Ranch has been bringing international tourism to Bandera for decades. It’s run now by Don and Judy Hicks, part of a large, multi-generational family. They call what they do the “horspitality” business.
The Mayan has kept the dirt roads, the saloon with swinging doors and the ghost town, but they also provide modern conveniences like free wi-fi.
The ranch is open year-round and offers different schedules and activities, depending on the season. The big summer draws are swimming in the Medina River, the resort-style pool and evening dances.
In times when Texas land has been parceled up and sold to the highest bidder, divided by families, or ravaged by oil and gas exploration, it is rare to find ranches that have remained unscathed. King Ranch, one of the scarce exceptions, has managed to keep its land holdings intact and lives on as an oasis of pristine south Texas ranch land. The ranch, located in Kingsville, is larger than the state of Rhode Island with a staggering 825,000 acres that has remained in the family since the time of the Mexican Land Grants in the mid-1800s.
Today, the working ranch is outfitted with all the modern conveniences, but you still can’t help feeling as though you are stepping into a part of history. Scanning the horizon, you will see only land that belongs to the family.
You can get a closer look at what the ranch has to offer on one of its many tours. Bird watchers will be especially enamored with the ranch. It’s considered critical habitat for more than 363 different species of birds.
There are plenty of other ranches to experience and enjoy all over the state.