We get it, mouse ears aren’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean a family friendly Florida vacation is off the shortlist. You could check out a national park, while away the hours on one of Florida’s many sun-kissed beaches or enjoy time on historic Amelia Island. Or you could do something even more off the beaten trail.
Go back to the untamed cowboy life before the West was settled. Go back to nature, to using your hands, to a slower way of life. Situated just an hour outside of Orlando, the Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo is a dude ranch with a twist. The whole family will enjoy eating, sleeping, relaxing and reconnecting on the ranch’s 1,700 acres.
We won’t make you wait any longer, let’s get into what makes this resort so special.
“Roughing it” your way
While you can stay onsite in a tent or RV, we always choose something with a few more creature comforts. There are plenty of ways to spend your vacation in Old West style at the resort’s lodge rooms and cabins, or their unique rail cars. As well-appointed as these accommodations are, they’re not what we were most excited about. The resort is known for their glamping experiences.
Glamp-ing: (verb) a style of camping with amenities and resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping.
Choose from staying in a fully air-conditioned glamping tent or luxe teepee. And if looks and comfort aren’t enough, these “tents” come with a personal concierge, morning coffee delivered to your door, staff-lit campfires every night and luxury linens. Tents have a private bathroom facility and the teepees have full bathrooms inside! These over the top campsites are the perfect combination of cozy and rustic and really add another layer of authenticity to the ranch.
Find your “Yeehaw!” Moment
What’s a dude ranch without the full cowboy experience? The River Ranch Resort offers just that, whether you’re looking to saddle up on a horseback ride or catch the rodeo, you can get as involved as you’d like. If western isn’t really your cup of sarsaparilla, there are also boat rentals, bungee jumping, fishing, golf, a pool and even some basketball courts.
Those interested in plants, animals and a bit of excitement will have a great time aboard one of the guided airboat or swamp buggy tours that take you through some of Florida’s most interesting landscapes. The full-service marina also offers guided fishing trips for those looking for something a bit more low key. You can also relax with a game of horseshoes or watch the kids have fun on a pony ride or petting farm.
There’s no shortage of things to do here, which makes this a great place for energetic youngsters or those looking for a vacation with a twist.
Eats, Drinks and Shindigs
You don’t have to go far to find a great place to eat. Actually, you don’t even need to leave the park! The River Ranch Resort has its very own smokehouse grill that fires up juicy steaks, seafood, burgers, salads and even a full breakfast buffet. For quick eats, there’s even a deli inside the general store that serves sandwiches, pizza and other snacks. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love sitting outside on a wooden chair eating an ice cream cone?
At night, the adults can get together inside the River Ranch Saloon for a drink-served in a collectible glass boot-in an old-fashioned western bar. Be sure to head over on a Friday or Saturday night for live country music and line-dancing to boot.
It’s not hard to see why kids and grownups can have the time of their lives without compromising. Whether you’re looking to hang your cowboy hat in a comfortable cabin or take an exciting ride down the Kissimmee River, you can find it all here. Instead of the same old tourist attractions in town, try your hand at archery or practice your firearm finesse at the trap and skeet range. Let’s be honest, when’s the next time you’ll be able to shoot a bow and arrow?
The Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo is a unique resort, which offers a kind of fun you won’t be able to find at any theme park. It’s a great vacation spot for families or an exciting getaway for fun-loving couples. Regardless of if you’re looking to do some old-fashioned camping or experience the luxury of glamping, you’ll be making lasting memories here.