To begin, we have to understand what a “Dude” means. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the word “Dude” had a very different meaning. Back then a “Dude” was a city dweller — someone the ranchers or cowboys viewed as a city slicker.
When those city dweller “Dudes” began to discover that ranches were a great escape from the city, ranches started hosting them as guests. These trips from the city grew into fun family-friendly Dude Ranch vacations. Overtime, these ranches became known as Dude Ranches.
Dude ranches have always maintained a unique, authentic experience for their guests from the very start. All ranches have deep histories and traditions, with hospitality being a focus. Ranches become the country home for their guests, where they feel like family among the staff. In keeping with the tradition of entertaining their guests, each ranch offers its own type of fun and exciting activities during a stay. At our dude ranch horseback riding is one of our most popular camp activities — kids love getting time out on the trail, ring work, as well as taking care of the horses.
Here at Circle F Dude Ranch Camp, we are similar to most guest or dude ranches, but our focus has been youth development from our founding. Circle F is a place where young people can experience horseback riding and the great outdoors in an authentic ranch setting. We are a combination of an overnight sleepaway camp and a Dude Ranch, or in other words a dude ranch for kids! Over the years, the Ranch has grown to include many different and exciting activities to support our mission. Regardless of what brings you to our Florida Dude Ranch, you will always feel part of the Circle F Family.
The Ranch was started in 1952 by the Fischbach family. The site was originally being prepared for a sand mine operation and the Family stepped in to establish the Dude Ranch and sleepaway Camp. Over our next 48 years, the Fischbach family continued to grow the Ranch adding cabins and programming. In 2000, Circle F Dude Ranch Camp was purchased by Paul Wells from the founding family, allowing the dream and mission of the camp to continue. Over these last 22 years, the Ranch has continued to expand into a year-round operation with a mix of outdoor education and private groups along with our summer camp program.
Today, Circle F Dude Ranch is known as one of the best sleepaway camps in Florida, a private group rental venue, and an outdoor education center, hosting kids, staff, and guests from all over the world. Campers and guests come from across the U.S. with the majority attending from Southern Florida and major cities such as Miami, Orlando, West Palm, Tampa, and Naples. We also host international campers and guests from the UK, France, Spain, Russia, Guadalupe, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Just like our guest population has grown over the years, so have the Circle F Ranch hands. We are a diverse team of individuals from all over the U.S. and the world, including the countries of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Jamaica, France, and Israel.