Top Horseback Riding Vacations on the East Coast in the USA

February 8, 2014

Traveling from the Northeast to the South, here are six great East Coast horseback riding vacations for both English and Western riders.

by Darley Newman

A popular question that we've received through email recently is "where can I take a riding vacation on the East Coast?" There are a variety of options for East Coast riding vacations for both English and Western riders, ranging from historic B&Bs to resorts to ranches. Below are six great places to saddle up on the East Coast and enjoy a horseback riding vacation.

shangrila virginia changing leaves horseback

Riding amid the changing leaves at Shangrila Guest Ranch in Virginia.

Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm, Vermont

A popular trekking vacation, especially for Icelandic horse lovers, riders can saddle up with the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm for a short trail ride or two to six day riding vacations. This is a well-established Vermont riding holiday, having been in operation since 1988. Riding groups of around four to eight explore peaceful meadows, ride through rushing streams, and quiet woodland. You'll trek the pretty Mad River Valley and the Sugarbush resort area an hour south of Burlington. Guests spend nights at a Victorian inspired country inn, the Mad River Inn, which dates back to the 1860's with individually decorated rooms filled with antiques. During the fall, when the leaves change color, these rides book up quickly.

More at the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm website.

Mad River Valley, Vermont

Mad River Valley in Vermont.

Mountain Top Inn, Vermont

The Mountain Top Inn & Resort is set amidst Central Vermont’s picturesque Green Mountain National Forest, where trails wind up mountainsides for stellar views of the resort's lake and tree-covered mountains. The Mountain Top's Equestrian Center is open June through October, welcoming equestrians of all skill levels for guided trail rides, lessons in English or Western, introduction to cross-country jumping and dressage, and more. Kayaking, swimming, clay bird shooting, hiking, tennis, and sand volleyball are a few of the other resort activities when guests aren't in the saddle. Locally sourced ingredients make up menu items at the Highlands Dining Room, where everything from French Dip and Shepherd's Pie to Pan Seared Elk Loin and Roasted Salmon is served. Special programs include an all-inclusive horseback riding vacation package and the summer Adult Horsemanship Camp.

More at the Mountain Top Inn website.

mountain top inn vermont

Mountain Top Inn, Vermont.

B&B Guest Ranch & Spa, New York

Located outside Cooperstown and 90 minutes from Albany in New York State, B & B Ranch welcomes English or Western riders for equestrian training and trail riding vacations. Guests can bring their own horse or ride one from the farm. Open year-round, this equestrian vacation destination has indoor and outdoor paddocks, a lighted arena and eight miles of seeded trails. Riding trails lead into some of Central New York's most inviting private land, with forests, pastures and plenty of space to explore. Trainer Ray Whelihan teaches Hunter Seat Equitation in the Forward Riding System and is also available for instruction in Stock Seat Equitation and Horsemanship. Guests to B&B Ranch stay in comfortable, fully furnished suites and enjoy Italian country cuisine. This riding vacation destination also features a full spa, indoor swimming pool and an observation deck for the horse training areas.

B&B ranch stables new york

B&B Ranch's stables in New York.

Marriott Ranch, Virginia

This historic and picturesque farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a great pick for riders looking for diverse, short Western riding vacations and city folks who want a rural weekend escape. Just 50 miles from Washington, DC, Marriott Ranch offers riding vacation packages, trail rides, cattle drives with Longhorn cattle, and special themed packages, like Chaps and Chardonnay, which includes a night at the ranch with a hearty country breakfast, a ninety minute guided trail ride, gourmet picnic basket and three wine tastings at neighboring wineries. Guests may stay at the Inn at Fairfield Farm, a historic bed & breakfast located near the center of the Marriott Ranch's 4,200 acres. On a clear day guests can even see Skyline Drive, which is a short drive away and provides access to the Appalachian Trail.

More at Marriott Ranch's website.

Marriott Ranch Virginia

Marriott Ranch, Virginia.

Shangrila Guest Ranch, Virginia

This Virginia retreat, only an hour from Raleigh, North Carolina, offers year-round all-inclusive horseback riding vacation packages and day trail rides. Horses and kicking back in a relaxing, country setting are some of the main attractions to this Virginia ranch. Take all day trail rides and enjoy a picnic lunch on the trails. Special Cowgirl Retreats include horseback riding, wine tasting, fishing, shooting, archery, wagon rides and relaxing massages. You may choose from varied accommodations, including the log cabin, historic packhouse or glamping tents for groups. The farm was started and is run by two horse lovers, Gary and Julie Holmes, who discovered the area from weekend trail riding vacations and decided to launch their dream vacation destination.

More at Shangrila Guest Ranch's website.

Shangrila Guest ranch Virginia

Shangrila Guest Ranch in Virginia.

Southern Cross Guest Ranch, Georgia 

If you are looking for Western horseback riding freedom at a great price, this Georgia Dude Ranch gets rave reviews. At only one hour East of Atlanta, Southern Cross Guest Ranch lets riders, who are accomplished enough trail, ride unguided from their stables through Central Georgia's Historic Heartland. This is unique, as many ranches do not allow you to ride off on your own. Beginning riders are welcome, too, for guided trail riding and experience grooming and handling horses. Guests rave about the quality of the horses and the food at this B&B style retreat.

More at Southern Cross Guest Ranch's website and Top20Ranches.com.

southern cross guest ranch georgia

Riding in the fall at Southern Cross Guest Ranch, Georgia.

Check out more East Coast and global horseback riding vacations in the Equitrekking Vacation Guide.

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