Just a half-hour drive from Santa Barbara in the middle of wine country, Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is not as remote as many other ranches on our list. But it offers plenty of wide-open range on which to roam: 10,000 acres of grazing fields, hills and canyons, and 50 miles of riding trails. This working cattle ranch dates back to the early 1800s and has been welcoming guests since 1946.

Alisal was once the home of Kentucky Derby winner Flying Ebony, and it keeps 100 horses for resort use. Private lessons are offered, as well as team sorting competitions at the weekly summer rodeos. When not in the saddle, guests can enjoy championship golf on two 18-hole courses, spa treatments, guided cycling excursions, tennis, fly fishing and wine tasting. 

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