Looking to plan a personal getaway or family vacation in the coming months? While the average vacation experience might consist of stunning beaches or beautiful mountain views, your ideal getaway might feature some quality time spent with your favorite animals—horses!
Fortunately, there are many different U.S. destinations that horse lovers can enjoy. Whether you’re an equestrian or whether you have children who are fascinated by horses, here are nine of the top vacation spots you should check out!
1. Branson, MO
If you’re looking for a quiet getaway destination in the Midwest, Branson, Missouri should be in your shortlist of options.
To start, this small town of just over 11,000 people offers multiple horseback riding opportunities. Simply book your tour at Bear Creek Trail Rides and Stables, Pot A Gold Western Adventures, or Uncle Ike’s Trail Ride to enjoy a relaxing excursion through Missouri’s beautiful scenery.
For a more upbeat activity, consider booking a ticket to Dolly Parton’s Stampede. During this show, you’ll not only enjoy a delicious meal but also witness an impressive display of majestic horses paired with highly skilled riders.
2. Louisville, KY
Louisville is perhaps the most obvious destination for the person who loves horses.
Of course, the city is home of the Kentucky Derby—one of the biggest and most well known equine events in the world. Forbes has named it one of America’s greatest bucket-list sporting events. Join roughly 150,000 fans in-person to cheer on your favorite thoroughbred horse!
Beyond the derby, Louisville is filled with many other equine activities—from horse shows and parks to horse tours and museums.
3. Ocala, FL
Ocala, Florida is the perfect destination for those who love both horses and warm weather.
The city has been dubbed “The Horse Capital of the World” and for good reason. It’s one of only a few major thoroughbred centers worldwide and is home to over 1,200 thoroughbred farms. Some of the world’s greatest champion horses have come out of Ocala’s ranks—including 45 national champions and 6 Kentucky Derby winners.
What’s more, the newly constructed World Equestrian Center (WEC) is located in Ocala and provides all types of fun equine activities for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you want to witness a live horse show or grab a few horse-related souvenirs, this world-class facility is sure to keep you occupied for hours on end!
4. Sarasota Springs, NY
While New York might seem like an unlikely destination for an equine adventure, the upstate city of Saratoga Springs is known for its rich horse racing history. In fact, the Saratoga Race Course is not only the oldest horse racing track in the U.S. but also the country’s oldest sports venue.
Visit during the summer to avoid the upstate area’s frigid temperatures and enjoy some of the most popular horse racing events in America. While you’re there, be sure to book horseback riding lessons for the whole family at Old Saratoga Farms!
5. Lexington, KY
Much like Ocala, Lexington is known for being a center for thoroughbred horses. Consider booking a tour or lesson at one of the area’s 450-plus horse farms!
While in town, be sure to also visit Kentucky Horse Park. Here, you’ll be able to watch live equestrian events, visit The International Museum of the Horse, and perhaps even stay on the park’s 260-site campground.
You might also consider stopping by the world-famous Keeneland Race Course, whether it’s for a self-guided tour or to witness a live race!
6. Cody, WY
If you’re interested in filling your vacation schedule with plenty of horseback riding, perhaps Cody, Wyoming is the right destination for you.
Don’t be fooled by the quaintness of this small Midwest town. While it has an overall population of fewer than 10,000 residents, Cody possesses some of the most scenic trails and breathtaking views in all of the United States.
There are multiple places where you can book a horseback riding tour, including Rand Creek Ranch, Elk Fork Outfitters, Buffalo Bill Horse Rides, and Cedar Mountain Trail Rides.
7. Outer Banks, NC
Outer Banks is known for much more than its beautiful weather and gorgeous beaches.
This waterfront area is home to Corolla wild horses, which are believed to be descendants of the Spanish Mustangs that were brought to America in the 16th century. Visit Currituck Beach and you might spot them gracefully trotting along the shoreline.
To witness these creatures up close and in-person, either book a trail ride to put your horseback riding skills to the test or schedule a tour to navigate the soft white dunes in a rental vehicle.
8. Gettysburg, PA
The town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the ideal getaway spot for those who double as history buffs and horse lovers.
After you have viewed Civil War reenactments at Gettysburg National Military Park or spent time exploring the Gettysburg Museum of History, consider topping off the experience by booking a horse tour with Hickory Hollow Farm—a family-run horseback riding company that has been in business for over 30 years!
On a Hickory Hollow guided tour, you’ll be able to retread some of the most famous battlefield sites via horseback and learn more about some of the most important moments in our nation’s history.
9. Chincoteague Island, VA
Chincoteague Island is only seven miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, yet it is a popular vacation destination for those who prefer the serenity of an unassuming town to the hustle and bustle of a waterfront city.
What makes this particular town unique is its many horses are often seen roaming the streets or being saddled for carriage rides. To join in on the fun, pay a visit to Chincoteague Pony Centre or Queen Hive Farm for a private horseback riding lesson or your very own waterfront trail ride.
Also, consider timing your vacation so that it lines up with the Chincoteague Pony Swim. Every year, locals are well outnumbered by the tens of thousands of people who visit the island to witness this great American tradition.