by Courtney Elko
This Florida ranch and rodeo resort is located in Central Florida, less than one hour from LEGOLAND. Pack your cowboy hats and boots because this expansive, 1,700-acre property is filled with family-friendly outdoor activities. You can go horseback riding; visit the baby goats at the petting farm; take a swamp buggy ride through the wet fields; go fishing, line dancing or skeet shooting; and on Saturday nights, head to the resort’s rodeo!
Other activities include swimming in the outdoor pool, playing golf or mini-golf, and grilling or dining at the onsite restaurant. Roast marshmallows by the campfire at night and enjoy reconnecting with your family under the stars.
When it’s time for bed, retreat to one of the resort’s unique accommodations. There are typical hotel guestrooms, glamping tents with detached (but personal bathrooms), multi-bedroom cabins with fully equipped kitchens, narrow but comfortable railcar-like cabins, and for the highest level of service, a luxury teepee, which is the only all-inclusive option at the resort.
Westgate River Ranch and Rodeo is an excellent destination for families and multigenerational groups, encouraging guests to unplug and relax.
Our Editor Loves
- Dude ranch experience in Florida
- Luxury glamping and teepees
- Plethora of activities
- Horse Back Riding
- Children Programs
- Dude Ranch
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
There are numerous, cowboy-themed accommodation options at the ranch. Everything from guestrooms and suites, to glamping tents and luxury teepees to multi-bedroom cabins, is available. All family sizes and comfort levels can be accommodated. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the rooms, and cribs are available upon request.
The Lodge Guestrooms are similar to your typical hotel guestroom with two double beds, a flat-screen television, a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, microwave and a shower/tub combination in the bathroom. The centrally located guestrooms can sleep up to four people and are within walking distance to the Rodeo Arena.
The spacious suites can accommodate between two and six people, depending which suite you book. There’s either one or two queen beds and some suites with two queen beds also offer a sleeper sofa. (Note that not all suites feature the sleeper sofa.)
The suites feature a small kitchenette with a microwave, mini-fridge, stove top, sink, coffeemaker and pots, pans and dishes. There’s also a flat-screen television and a screened-in patio with table and chairs.
The largest suite option features a living room area with a sleeper sofa. The bathroom features a shower/tub combination. The centrally located suites are within walking distance to the Rodeo Arena.
The glamping tents feature one king bed and two twin beds and can accommodate four people. The canvas tents are set on a platform off the ground and include a portable air conditioner and heater. The tents have electricity, a mini-fridge, microwave and ceiling fan. There’s a patio with mosquito net attached to the tent and two rocking chairs, along with a private propane gas grill and private picnic table.
Kids will love the provided board games and the communal fire pits found around the tent area. The tents come with a personal glamping concierge, morning coffee service delivered, linens and towels, and your campfire is lit nightly by the staff.
The only thing the tents don’t have is direct bathroom access or a television. The private, locked bathroom and shower facilities are located just a few steps away from the tent area. Each tent has a designated, locked bathroom facility, where families can leave all of their belongings for the duration of the stay.
The glamping tents are situated in a quieter area of the resort, away from the main activity areas. Driving, biking or using a golf cart is recommended when staying here, as it’s a long walk to most of the activities.
The large, luxury teepees are the highest level of luxury and only semi-all-inclusive option available at the resort. When booking the teepees, all resort activities (excluding pontoon boat rentals) are included in your stay, plus VIP rodeo tickets and seating. A golf cart rental is also included.
The teepees have one king bed and a sleeper sofa in a separate living room area, separated by a double-sided electric fireplace. They can accommodate up to four people. The teepees have electricity, a mini-fridge, microwave, air conditioning and heat. There is no television. There is, however, a bathroom, which features a heated toilet seat and bathtub. The teepees are elevated off the ground and feature an attached deck area with two rocking chairs, board games, and a personal propane grill.
The teepees come with a personal glamping concierge, morning coffee and pastry service, and linens and towels. Plus, your campfire is lit nightly by the staff. The teepees are situated in a quieter area of the resort, somewhat away from the main activity areas. Driving, biking or using a golf cart is recommended when staying here.
The teepees require a two-night minimum stay and pricing is based on double occupancy; extra person charges apply. Children under 4 years old are free when staying in the teepees.
Cabins and Cottages
There are studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom cabins and cottages available. They can accommodate between four and six people. The Studio Cabin features a queen bed and a sleeper sofa, and a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, pots, pans and dishes and a shower/tub combination in the bathroom.
The larger cabins and cottages feature separate living and dining areas with flat-screen televisions and a fully equipped kitchen. The bathroom features a shower/tub combo, and there’s a screened-in patio or wrap-around porch with rocking chairs. Driving, biking or using a golf cart is recommended when staying here, as it’s a long walk to most activities.
These narrow cabins resemble a rail car but are fully equipped inside. They feature one queen bed and a set of bunk beds and can accommodate up to four people. There’s a separate living room area and a kitchenette with a microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, sink, stove, pots, pans and dishes. There’s also a flat-screen television, covered porch with chairs, gas grill and picnic table outside. The bathroom features a stand-up shower only. Driving, biking or using a golf cart is recommended when staying here.
RV and Tent Camping
There are huge open space areas for RV parking and tent camping. Electricity hook ups are provided for the RVs and bathroom and shower facilities are accessible to all campers. Driving, biking or using a golf cart is recommended when staying here.
Coming soon to the ranch are accommodations that resemble covered wagons! The free-standing guestrooms will be constructed in the shape of a covered wagon. Full amenities will be found inside. The expected completion date is Spring 2020.
River Ranch stay September 20 thru 27, 2019
My husband and I have been Owners since 2005 at Westgate Resorts, since our last visit at River Ranch in 2008 there have been lots of wonderful changes like NEW Glamping in Tee Pees, or in the Glamping tent set up, additions of NEW smaller cabins built, but we found that MAINTENANCE IS NOT A PRIORITY at ANY WESTGATE RESORTS properties.
We always have a grand time, so much to do, places to go off site, Weekend activities on the ranch (we arrived before the busy season, so most of the activities were not available to us)
This time we came with family a total of five (5) adults, we were assigned one of the older cabins with a master suite and a one bedroom lock-off with a common entrance. Always a list of problems (maintenance issues) that are never attended to during our stay. Lets list just a few items from a two (2) page hand-written list my husband turned in at the end of our week.
The bedroom, bathroom and closet in smaller suite (one-BR unit) had mold issues on the ceilings, stains were quite visible, a strong musty moldy odor and recent paint job in the area, so with the stains coming through, this means a leak or condensation problem is evident.
Our youngest at 21 yrs and about 125 lbs had to sleep on the pull-out sofa, not a problem we assumed, but oh no, wait....the mattress was so old, we had to take the mattress from our p/o couch and add this to the top of the other mattress. What a shame. MS refrigerator, light was hanging with wires showing, washing machine was full of calcium buildup, saw this after washing a load of dark clothes.
Yes, we cook while on vacation.....Be careful when filling the dishwasher, built-in right under kitchen sink, hand washed many items (glasses, large plates) that would not fit. W/I shower in MS, out of the three heads, only one spit out water, calcium build-up, so we washed one.
Just a bunch of little things, but when little things are left unchanged, things break down. Makes you wonder where all our maintenance fees go to.......must be the new construction everywhere on WGR properties. We handed in a list of Maintenance issues upon our leaving the property.
ALL STAFF MEMBERS WERE TOP NOTCH, always willing to lend a helping hand. Make you feel right at home, want to please you and keep you happy. But when we called for maintenance, we were told little could be done while we were in the cabin.
WESTGATE SMOKE HOUSE....STILL THE SAME SINCE 2008 NO RENOVATIONS. Most of the building from 2008 remain the same.
But the staff, waiters, waitresses, chef are OUTSTANDING and so very ACCOMMODATING. We just love to visit the Smoke House on our stays.
This May 2020 we will be 15 years in OWNERSHIP as well as our 25th Anniversary together. We were hoping to have a big celebration at one of the WGR Properties, after the years of issues at our stays, Orlando, Smokey Mountains, River Ranch, Las Vegas, Flamingo bay, and our most recent trip to Orlando trip just weeks ago in October 18 through 25th, we are rethinking our 2020 plans.
Joseph and Kathleen O'Reilly
Owners since 2005
Great getaway with lots to do! Staff is very accommodating and makes sure your stay is as you expect. Never thought I would enjoy a rodeo but it was great! Highly recommend! Great for family or adult get away. The Tee Pees are great, but there are plenty to choose from. The following people were great: concierge: Eden, Mariah, and Diane. Security, Sergio. Smokehouse: Javier. Swamp buggy and airboat: Scott and Ben. I did have an issue that has nothing to do with the staff and emailed the General Manager and hav not heard back for two days now.
Unless you’re a resort timeshare owner or staying in one of the Luxe Teepees, many of the resort’s activities come at an additional cost (ranging between $5 to $70, depending on the activity). Many activities also require reservations, so be sure to book ahead or immediately upon arrival.
Horseback Riding and Petting Farm
Put on your cowboy hat and boots and head out onto the horseback riding trail. The hour-long, slow-paced trail rides are done in groups with at least two guides. The knowledgeable horse trainers easily pair guests with the “right” horse for them and families can explore the fields and tree-lined groves on a ride through the ranch.
Children must be 51-inches tall and at least 8 years old to ride. An adult must also ride alongside children between 8 and 11 years old. Pony rides around the corral are available for younger children. Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes are required and long jeans or pants are recommended.
The complimentary Petting Farm, located next to the horse stables, is a must visit during your stay. Families can pet and hold baby goats, and check out the mini horses, emus and cows at no additional cost.
The resort’s marina, located on Kissimmee River, features several activities. Families can go fishing off the dock or take a guided fishing trip, rent a pontoon boat (the most expensive activity at the resort), or go for a guided airboat or swamp buggy ride. There’s an onsite bait and tackle shop at the marina.
The outdoor, seasonal pool can be found near the lodge guestrooms and is surrounded by lounge chairs and umbrellas. However, it’s not a large pool and kids may be more interested in the resort’s other activities.
Skeet Shooting and Archery
Test your skills with skeet shooting and archery. Children must be 13 years old to participate in skeet shooting, which is supervised, with thorough instructions and safety equipment are provided. There is no age limit for archery.
Located near the Rodeo Arena, families will find the Adventure Park. Here, families will find a rocking climbing wall, bungee jumper, single zipline, mini-golf course, bounce house and mechanical bull. Pay for total access to everything or per attraction. Mini-golf is complimentary for children under 4 years old.
Located next to the Saloon and Rodeo Arena is an arcade and video game room.
At this indoor kids’ club area, the kids can play games or do a craft if they want to escape the heat. It’s located across from the General Store, and prices vary per craft.
The weekly, onsite rodeo takes place in the center of the resort at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Families can expect to see trick rides, barrel races, bull riding and more. The rodeo arena is surrounded by metal, covered stands and there are concession stands available. The Saloon is also situated nearby. There’s a per-person admission cost for the rodeo, but children under 4 are free.
There’s a variety of golf options at Westgate: a 9-hole golf course for those who may be slightly more experienced, a mini-golf course for kids and families at the Adventure Park, and a driving range. Rentals are available and hours are seasonal.
Bikes and Sports Court
Adult and children’s bicycles are available for rent. Closed-toe shoes are required to ride and the bikes must be returned before dark each day. For a small rental fee, families can rent tennis equipment, basketballs, soccer or volleyballs to play on the Sports Court. Or, bring your own!
Many of the onsite accommodations feature personal grills or fully equipped kitchens, making it convenient for families to cook their own meals while visiting. However, there’s an onsite restaurant and General Store available as well.
Westgate Smokehouse Grill
The only onsite sit-down restaurant serves lunch and dinner. The casual spot overlooks the Kissimmee River and serves items like steaks, ribs, burgers, seafood, sandwiches and salads. There’s also a breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday mornings. A children’s menu is always available.
The onsite deli/coffee shop/general store offers coffee drinks, pizza, sandwiches and other grab-and-go items. It’s also a small marketplace that sells toiletries, alcohol, souvenirs, and light grocery and convenience store-type items. It’s located in the center of the resort, near the main lobby.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
- Golf Carts
Golf carts are the main mode of transportation at the ranch. Families can rent them at an additional cost and motor all around the expansive property. If you book the Luxe Teepees, a golf cart is included with your stay.
- Pet Friendly
Pets are welcome to stay here for an additional fee.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort, but service can sometimes be spotty, depending on your carrier.
Complimentary parking can be found throughout the resort.
- Fitness Center
A fitness center with cardio and weight machines is located in the center of the property near the main lobby.
- Western Store
Don’t worry if you forget your cowboy hat or decide once you arrive that you need to dress the part. There’s a Western Store onsite that sells all the cowboy apparel. Boots, hats, shirts, belts, souvenirs and more can be found here.
The Best Time to Visit
Located in Central Florida, the resort and local area can get downright hot and humid in the summer months, making the outdoor activities at the ranch a little less pleasant. That said, fall and winter are the most popular times to visit the ranch. Peak season runs from about October through April, with school holidays and Saturdays (when the rodeo is in town) being the busiest.
Have your own plane? The resort offers its own airplane landing strip for personal jets and helicopters. But if you’re like the rest of us, fly into Orlando International Airport (about 90 minutes away) or Palm Beach International Airport (a little under two hours away).
The resort spans across 1,700 acres and is quite expansive. Depending which accommodations you choose, you may have a very long walk to some of the resort activities. There’s free parking available everywhere, so driving a car is an option.
But golf carts are the main mode of transportation at the ranch. Families can rent them at an additional cost and motor all around the expansive property. You must have a valid driver’s license to drive a golf cart. If you book the Luxe Teepees, a golf cart is included in your accommodation.
Bicycles, which can also be rented for a fee, are another great way to get around the resort.
- Saloon and Line Dancing
Located next to the Rodeo Arena is a full-service bar at the Saloon. Live country music and line dancing take place here on Friday and Saturday nights. Children are permitted in the Saloon with adult supervision until 10 p.m.