Travel Thursday | How to Feel Like a Ranch Owner for a Weekend

Three native Texans launch Explore Ranches, which rents out incredible private properties and experiences.

Chalk Draw Ranch
The stunning pool at the Chalk Draw Ranch, one of the Explore Ranches properties that is available for rent through their website.
Photography by Lawton Cook

Ever picture yourself swimming in your own private resort-style swimming pool in the middle of the West Texas desert? How about spending a day paddling down the Devils River followed by an alfresco dinner outside of your charming cabin that overlooks it?

A new start-up company called Explore Ranches can make your Texas ranch owner dreams come true—at least for a long weekend. Founded by three Texas natives who are veterans of the ranching and land conservation world, Jay Kleberg, Allison Ryan, and Jesse Womack, the Explore Ranches website launched this month with eight majestic properties—private ranches that showcase a diverse array of stunning landscapes and homes that are available for rent (some for the first time ever) through their site.

Rentals range from accommodation-only getaways to fully staffed trips that include guides, cooks, and led activities like hiking, biking, paddling, and fishing. Rates vary, depending on the property and experiences offered. Kleberg, a sixth-generation Texan who grew up on the King Ranch, is the associate director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation; he started thinking about the idea for Explore Ranches on a hike in the Davis Mountains. “I was with a group of friends who have all spent a lot of time in the outdoors at exotic locales around the world, and they were blown away by the topography we saw that day in West Texas. It got me thinking about how we can open the gates to all the beautiful private land in Texas,” he says. “With Explore Ranches, we want to connect people to the outdoors and make them fall in love with it. When we do that, it builds conservation efforts, and then we have a chance to save these wild places.” Take a tour some of these stunning properties, and learn more about Explore Ranches here.

Continue to explore this Texas Monthly article…

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