Ranches are islands brought by players that are subscribed.
Ranches can be accessed via the dock house, just type in the player's name and it'll get you there. If you are going to your own ranch, right under the search engine for other people's usernames is a button that will give you the option to go to your ranch.
If you are a subscriber, you are able to buy a ranch island of your own. Ranch islands do not show up on the maps.
To buy a ranch, go to any City Hall. On the walls there, you will find a Community Board. Clicking on this will bring up the Ranch window.
Here you are given a choice of sizes and terrains, varying from Tiny to Huge. "Grassy" isles grow Fruit and Nut trees. "Plains" isles grow flowers and plants. Which trees/shrubs/plants appear on a particular ranch island is randomly set when you buy your ranch. Nota bene: these trees, etc. are not pickable. Instead, their produce goes into the ranch owner's inventory once a day, beginning 24 hours after the ranch has been purchased.
Clicking on any of these options will buy you your island. To get to the island, go to the nearest dock. At the bottom of the Routes list, you will see, "Transport to your own ranch for $100." You can use this option to get to your own island from any port on the Isles. It is also possible to buy a Lifetime Pass which, once you own it, allows travel to and from your ranch for free. This pass costs $20,000 and is available from some of the harbormasters.
Note: You can only buy a ranch from City Hall, and you can only sell it to City Hall. Players cannot sell ranches to one another. Also, only one player may own any ranch; players cannot "share" an island.
The first thing you'll see on your island is a Welcome sign. Clicking on this sign tells you what your ranch has produced since your last visit (if anything) and also gives you the option of sailing back to the port from which you came. From the welcome sign, you also have the option to type in a description and edit it. You also can access some things you have "planted", "bought", or "constructed" on your ranch, such as, (if you have bought these things) your breeding barn (you can set your prices and decide who is allowed to breed to your horses and what breed can breed with your horses), horse store, adventure kayak (this is where you access what foreign isles you'd like to visit), just to name a few. It also shows what is produced on your ranch. You can also toggle who you want and don't want on your ranch. You can set it to everyone, just buddies, just clubbies, just buddies and clubbies, or no one. If you do not want certain individuals on your ranch, then mute that/those individual(s) and they will not be able to access your ranch (or speak to you).
There are 8 levels of several different architectural styles: