Eagle Hurst Ranch is a great vacation destination

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As the price of gas continues to rise, just in time for summer vacation, many families are rethinking their travel plans. And many others are grateful that they already have a destination picked out close to home that offers everything needed for a great family vacation.

It’s Eagle Hurst Ranch. Less than a two- hour drive from St. Louis, Eagle Hurst is a family-friendly resort nestled in a wooded campus in the Ozarks.

The resort features 30 air-conditioned, rustic cabins of varying sizes that sleep four to eight people. Each cabin has a screened-in porch and full bathroom facilities. For more than seven decades, the Steelville-area resort has been providing stress-free vacations on the banks of the beautiful Huzzah River.

An Eagle Hurst vacation adds up to fun, relaxation, togetherness and — as an added bonus — no cooking. Guests are provided with three meals a day, served family style in the dining room.

Just have fun

“Come on down to Eagle Hurse Ranch and just have fun. We’ll take care of everything else,” said Steve Butz, a member of the extended family who bought Eagle Hurst in 2003.

At Eagle Hurst Ranch guests can play tennis, badminton, softball, shuffleboard, volleyball and even bocce ball. There are hayrides, campfires and square dancing in the evenings.

“One of our main goals is for our guests have quality time together as a family,” Butz said. “We encourage guests to participate in the tournaments we run and we try to create a good environment to meet the needs of all our guests.”

The Huzzah, one of the most popular Ozark float streams, is perfect for swimming, canoeing, tubing and other cool-water activities on a hot summer day. Eagle Hurst provides inner tubes for tubing. Canoes and rafts are available at a number of nearby canoe rental companies.

It’s also a good fishing stream, home to bluegill, small-mouth bass and catfish. Jump in the river for a swim or, if you prefer, try the spring-fed pool.

And don’t forget the “ranch” in Eagle Hurst Ranch. One of the most popular activities is horseback riding. Eagle Hurst has its own stable.

“We offer a really fun one-hour trail ride for a $25 charge,” said Butz. “Horseback riding is one of our most popular activities.”

Plenty to do

There is plenty to do both on and off the resort, Butz said.

“Part of the Ozark Trail is very close, if you’re into hiking. So is the Mark Twain National Forest and Onondaga Cave State Park. There are a couple of nice wineries nearby and there is a country/bluegrass music venue in Steelville. It’s a small town, but there are plenty of fun things to do here.”

Eagle Hurst Ranch is perfect for a family vacation — including your extended family.

“Family reunions are one of our core groups,” Butz said. “Extended families can make arrangements to visit together. We customize our program to fit your reunion needs.”

Eagle Hurst Ranch welcomes other large groups as well. “We have a nice growing trend of a whole parish reserving the whole resort.”

Butz emphasized, “Any parish or parish organization, like a LifeTeen group or Scouts or a men’s or ladies’ group, can rent the whole camp and run their own program if they like. There is special pricing available for this. We just want folks to use the resort.”

He added, “We welcome groups of all sizes. We have everything you need in one place, so you can just relax and enjoy your stay.”

Steve Butz and his wife, Angie, are members of St. Stephen Protomartyr Parish in South St. Louis. They are co-owners of Eagle Hurst with Steve’s parents, Norbert and Elaine Butz of Seven Holy Founders Parish in Affton and his brother and sister-in-law, John and Patricia Butz of St. Patrick Parish in Rolla.

There is a Catholic chapel on the resort grounds where a number of St. Louis area priests have celebrated Mass for vacationing families. Mass is celebrated at 8 a.m. every Sunday at St. Michael Church on Highway 8 East in Steelville. Call the parish at (573) 775-2029 for more information.

Memorial Day weekend, May 27-30, and Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-5, feature live music, dancing and other special events. Fourth of July weekend features fireworks along with the music.

Catholic roots

Because of their Catholic roots, the Butz family is happy to host Catholic events at Eagle Hurst Ranch, including Family Fest 2011, to be held Friday-Sunday, May 20-22, and the Family Retreat on Friday-Sunday, June 10-12.

The family fest is held in conjunction with the Apostolate for Family Consecration of Bloomingdale, Ohio. It includes religious activities and inspirational talks led by Father Kevin Barrett, chaplain of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. For more information, Call (636) 931-3503.

Eagle Hurst Ranch is around 100 miles from St. Louis. Go west on I-44 to exit 208 (Cuba/Owensville). Take Highway 19 south through Steelville. Turn east on Highway 8 and to about 14 miles. Turn right at Eagle Hurst Road and follow it to the main gate of Eagle Hurst Ranch.

For more information or reservations, call (800) 25-RANCH (257-2624) or (314) 638-3382. Visit the website at eaglehurstranch.com.

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