As Marietta residents, we’re fortunate to have numerous summertime activities in and around the surrounding community. From water parks like White Water, to theatrical venues like Theatre in the Square and the Strand, and onto nature parks like the Chattahoochee Nature Center, the breadth of options is quite unique.

For those who’s summertime activities include a longer vacation, there are some great destinations just a short drive away. Although the beach is usually a popular option, many families have canceled their beach vacation due to the gulf oil spill. A unique alternative for families and groups looking for a vacation with numerous activities offered in one location is a dude ranch. Made even more popular by the film ‘City Slickers’ in 1991, they’ve actually been in existence since the late 19th century, and offer activities ranging from horseback riding, hiking, fishing, golfing, and even mountain bike riding.

The majority of dude ranch resorts are found out west, but we’re fortunate to have one located in our own neck of the woods – in Madison GA to be specific. An easy one-hour drive from Marietta, the Southern Cross Guest Ranch is a year-round dude ranch that’s home to over 150 horses. They offer a hands-on horseback riding program for all guests, as well as unguided trail rides in-and-around the property. Hiking trails canvas the property as well, and several golf courses are located within 20 minutes of the ranch. An on-site pool, hot tub, and new aqua massage machine are also provided to soothe and bumps and bruises from an active vacation.

As summertime seems to slip by every year, consider blocking some time to visit an alternative vacation destination like a dude ranch. With numerous activities in one location and already included in the price, a ranch vacation can save you time and money, as well as providing fun-filled memories for years to come.

The Southern Cross Guest Ranch can be found here:

For more Dude Ranch vacation info, visit, which features over 200 dude ranches within the USA and Canada:


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