Ho's Ponderosa, in Bushnell, Fla., offers packages for two nights/three days ($299 per person, double), four nights/five days ($475) and six nights/seven days ($650). Rates are the same year-round, and packages include all meals, beverages, snacks, lodging, entertainment and horseback riding. The one-night "Taste of a Dude Ranch" package (with room, dinner and breakfast) is an excellent deal at $99.95 a person; the two rides it includes could easily set you back $100 alone elsewhere.The ranch also offers theme packages, including "Full Moon" rides and mystery weekends; call (87) -70-RANCH or check www.hponderosa.com for details.
Fly to either Orlando or Tampa, each about 75 minutes away.
WHAT TO DO
The focus here is on entertainment, not work. Lounge on the swing, jump in a hot tub or take a nap. Help groom the horses, play horseshoes or watch TV in the lodge. There's good fishing in the area, or go manatee-viewing in the Crystal River (about 30 minutes away).If you're jonesing for roller-coasters and adults dressed like Winnie the Pooh, Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens are all within an hour's drive. For cheaper, less in-your-face theme park experiences, consider nearby Weeki Wachee (with its mermaid shows) or Silver Springs (and its glass-bottom boats). Or just head to the gulf beaches.
Visit Florida, (888) 735-2872, www.flausa.com.