FrontRunners: Friendly Takeover

Rodeos, bingo nights, and horseback rides are among the activities that prompt many families—often three generations at a time—to return every year to the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort (800.425.4725, www.alisal.com). Now, through the resort’s new Rent the Ranch program, extended families and other large groups can take over this 10,000-acre retreat in the hills north of Santa Barbara, Calif.


Giant sycamores shade the 73 guest units on the sprawling Alisal property, which also contains seven tennis courts, two 18-hole golf courses, a 100-horse stable, and a 100-acre lake. The resort’s 6,000 square feet of meeting space includes a small library where, shortly after Alisal opened in 1946, Clark Gable married Sylvia Hawkes.

Whether reserving the resort for a wedding, family reunion, or corporate retreat, Rent the Ranch patrons can hold private golf tournaments, fishing derbies, group horseback rides, or tasting trips to the region’s many wineries. Prices for the program, which includes all meals and most activities, begin at $42,000 per night.

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