Family Getaway at Tanque Verde Ranch near Tucson
Tanque Verde Ranch is a dude ranch in east Tucson, full of history and lots of activities! According to their website, it encompasses 640 acres and also leases approximately 60,000 acres for its cattle operation. The property backs up on Saguaro National Park East and you can find great views of the saguaro forest. It is a desert oasis for those wanting to relax and escape city life, and can also be an awesome place for kids to learn and explore!
We recently spent a few days at TVR and it was a great experience! We have two little ones, ages 3 and 4, so we did not partake in the guided activities, but it would be really fun for kids ages 7-13. There are 150 plus horses on the property, and in the morning they are all rounded up in the mesquite corral abutting the front lawn by the dining hall. Our kids loved saying hi to the horses early in the morning as we made our way to breakfast.
Most of the rooms are spread out across the property and they have their own rustic feel and character. It is a great staycation property during the pandemic as you don’t have to pass through a crowded lobby or shared hallways but rather drive up to each room/casita and make your way from there. They do mandate masks while inside the public buildings and everyone seemed compliant. Most rooms have a private patio that you can sit on and enjoy the views. We spent two nights in a one-bedroom Casita at the top of the hill (Javelina Heights) and at nights we would sit on the patio and watch the sunset or the lights of Tucson.
Be aware that this is a rustic ranch! While the amenities were great, there were also no TV’s in our room (a fact that our oldest pointed out right away). Also, at night the property and the rooms inside get quite dark and we didn’t have much lighting besides lamps inside the room. There is free Wifi on property and there are TV’s near the dining as well as in the saloon. For little ones, be aware that there is only a shower available in the bathrooms, no bath tub.
You can book a room alone or there are two dining packages – Rise and Dine (breakfast only) or All Inclusive (all three meals). They have a dining room which is a fully operational kitchen on site. Breakfast is a hearty affair, and you can order off the menu items like huevos rancheros, eggs benedict, breakfast burrito, eggs and bacon, pancakes, and French toast. Drinks like apple juice and pineapple juice as well as coffee are included, alcoholic beverages (sadly) are not. We chose to do the Rise and Dine so we did lunch and dinner off-campus, but be aware that this requires some forethought as most restaurants are at least 30 minutes away.
They have five main pool areas to take advantage of – outdoors there is a large swimming pool with a waterfall, a hot tub, and then a smaller wading pool (2 ft deep) for little kids. Inside the spa (go farther down the hill from the main pool) is an indoor swimming pool that is heated, as well as an indoor hot tub. The pools are open 24 hours, which is a plus! There is an onsite spa where you can book a massage or other treatments (currently not doing facials due to COVID-19).
As far as activities, there is a full schedule for Kids Club available! Ages 4 and up can spend the day at Kids Club. You pay for activities a la carte or there is an all inclusive option that you book with your room. There are also arts and crafts classes, pickleball, tennis, and yoga, as well as a fitness center open 24 hours (currently only allow 2 people at a time due to COVID-19 restrictions). And of course, there are horseback rides and lessons available, as well as Nature Walks and fishing at a nearby lake. You can also go on a self-guided nature walk. In the kids’ area there is a playground with a play structure and sand toys that is free for kids to use (adult supervision required).
More information about Tanque Verde Ranch can be found here.
If you are also wanting to explore Tucson here are some attractions we recommend:
Pima Air and Space Museum
Hiking – Douglas Trail or Tanque Verde Falls trailhead are very close to the property
Reid Park Zoo
Saguaro National Park East and West
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Some great restaurants that are local to Tucson:
Wings and Rice
El Guero Canelo
Mama’s Famous Pizza and Heroes