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Parents don’t have to compromise on their idea of vacation when visiting Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in Solvang, Calif. The beautiful property in Santa Ynez wine country, near the tasting rooms of Los Olivos, features California wine, organic cuisine, trendy accommodations, a lovely spa, two golf courses and tennis courts.
There are also numerous options to create family memories in nature. Kids will forget that the property is television- and phone-free during archery and air rifle lessons, on horseback rides, while at the pool, when kayaking or fishing at the lake, during hikes and bike rides around the property and over unforgettable buttermilk flapjacks. In the evening, a rotating schedule of activities promises movies under the stars, country dancing, karaoke and more.
But, of course, distance makes the heart grow fonder — and sometimes parents might want to sneak away for a lunchtime wine tasting or a night out. Alisal offers three kids’ camps per week, including a lunchtime cooking class on Fridays and two camps on Saturday, one for kids ages 3 to 6 and one for ages 6 to 12.
Each week, Alisal crafts a schedule of complimentary kids’ activities, which includes some mishmash of creativity, activity and exploration, such as flag football, scavenger hunts and arts and crafts. There are also numerous dude-ranch-style options, including boot branding, jingling the horses (watching the horses warm up in the morning by galloping together) and Alisal’s Natural Horsemanship program, which focuses on developing a healthy and safe relationship with the animals.
While kids must be 7 and up to ride horses, parents can lead younger kids on horseback around the property’s corral before a photo shoot at the Critter Cart, Alisal’s area for its reptiles and birds.
But it’s not just horses that families can see. During the property’s newest activity, the Owl Prowl, a birder and a nature guide lead families in pursuit of the property’s very own owls.
Alisal is not all-inclusive, so advisors should familiarize themselves with what activities and meals are included and what’s worth the splurge. With so many things to do solo (for kids and parents alike) or as a unit, it’s no wonder that most families visit Alisal more than just once.