For over 75 years, a Texas Hill Country vacation at Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera, Texas has been a tradition for visitors from all over the world. Our Texas guest ranch is the perfect Western getaway to unwind, relax, and simply put the stresses of every day life on hold. You’ll enjoy horseback riding, delicious meals, comfortable accommodations and our long tradition of dude ranch hospitality.
Just an hour from San Antonio, Texas, Dixie Dude Ranch is popular for family reunions, summer family vacations, Texas Hill Country honeymoon vacations, school trips and more.
Our guest ranch, nestled in the spectacular Texas Hill Country, continues to adhere to its original purpose – a real working ranch where longhorn cattle, Spanish goats, and pigs are raised, where real cowboys work the horses and compete in rodeos, and where the meals are always home-cooked. At Dixie Dude Ranch when we tell a guest, “This is your home on the range,” we mean it.
Located near Bandera, Texas, proclaimed as the Cowboy Capital of the World, the Dixie Dude is not a resort ranch. We are an old-time working stock ranch founded by William Wallace Whitley in 1901, in our fifth generation of showing you true Texas hospitality.
Situated on 725 acres, the Dixie Dude Ranch offers fine vistas of spectacular Texas Hill Country, with plenty of room to relax, catch a glorious sunset or kick up your heels.
If you are looking for a family vacation spot where there’s room to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air and gaze at the stars far from city lights, this is the place to be. If these hills could talk, you’d hear the sounds of laughter, song and the romance of the Old West.
In 1901, William Wallace Whitley and his wife, Zoe Dixon Whitley, bought 1440 acres of raw ranch land in the Middle Verde Valley in Bandera County, just nine miles west of the small town of Bandera, Texas. The Whitleys, who had eight children, raised horses and Angora goats.
During the wake of the Depression, Whitley’s daughter and son-in-law, Billie and Dee Crowell, approached Whitley with the idea of starting a dude ranch business. He agreed to give it a try, so the Crowells left their careers in California, where Billie was an actress and Dee was a stunt man and traveled with their daughter, Darlene, back to Texas. The name Dixie Dude Ranch refers to their trek from California to “Dixieland.” Once the Crowells arrived, they worked with Whitley to make the ranch suitable for guests. They converted an old bunkhouse to living quarters, fired up a wood-burning stove for cooking and opened for business on July 3, 1937.
Student pilots stationed in San Antonio during World War II for training were among the first guests and contributed greatly to the success of the business during the early years. The young servicemen were in search of a home away from home, and they found it in the serenity of the Texas Hill Country ranch. For a dollar or two they could get a comfortable place to sleep, enjoy plenty of home-cooked food, ride horses during the day and dance to country music at night. Word spread of the ranch owners’ warmth and hospitality, and the business was passed on from one generation to the next.
Today, seventh generation Texan, Clay Conoly—Billie and Dee Crowell’s grandson—manages the ranch with his wife Diane and their two sons. Guests congregate in the community dining room for family-style meals, or gather in the spacious living room—called the Roundup Room—to read, watch television, dance to songs on the jukebox, chat or stretch out on one of the sofas. An antique piano parked against a side wall is available to any visitors inclined to tickle the ivories, and antique saddles from the Conoly family’s collection are proudly displayed for those interested in touching a piece of Texas history.
Dixie Dude Ranch is still a working ranch, raising horses, longhorn cattle, Spanish/Boer goats, and cultivating its own hay for the stock. Experienced ranch hands work and maintain the horses. The ranch’s staff includes cooks, front desk clerks, wranglers and housekeepers – all here to extend you and yours our famous Texas hospitality.