by Kristin Franks
River Ranch, FL
The Westgate River Ranch is situated on the Kissimmee River and features a variety of room sizes ranging from standard guestrooms to courtyard suites, and one- and two- bedroom cabins. The resort offers recreational activities including horseback riding, golfing, hiking, biking, boating, swamp buggy rides, hayrides, and a petting farm. For more entertainment go line dancing at the resort’s saloon or see the Saturday night rodeo with bull riding, trick riding and barrel racing. Families can head to the Smokehouse Grill for on-site dining.
Our Editor Loves
- Variety of room sizes
- Line dancing and Saturday night rodeo
- Lots of recreational activities available
- Horse Back Riding
- Children Programs
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
We are Westgate owner's,this place was very difficult to book,on our exchange,due to availability. I got a studio for four people.It was very beautiful and Western on arrival,the on site restaurant was reasonable.The first Friday night,there were people in the Saloon dancing,wearing there western gear, we had a lot of fun. Saturday the grounds had animals,and it was fun. The rodeo was awesome,beautiful,and exciting 6-8pm.We then stayed at block party and participated one hour,dancing Western Music was great. We went to on site restaurant to eat dinner, just made it because it closed at 10pm. When we got back EVERYTHING WAS OVER! The saloon had a few people,and the band inside was playing rock music. Everyone was gone by 10:30pm. Next Day there was nobody around!?
EVERYONE had checked out except "8" owners! All the shops,saloon,gift shops were closed,and the only thing to do was participate in few activities...all expensive! Example horseback riding was $48 for 45 mins,per person,including children. Westgate owners got 15% off,which even with that we declined to spend the money. The general store was the only place to buy anything you forgot. it was very expensive,nearest only store was 25-30 min's away.
There were SO many empty cabins,it felt like a ghost town. So quiet,only occational employee,around. They had one pool,very small,open, not worth using. There were Teepees you could not go close to see because they had a gate,accessible only with a card key for guest using them.
We had a studio,with a non-working stove,and a leaking faucet ,which kept us up first night.
Our cabin had a porch,"without" screening,(most did have screens)we couldn't sit out at night because of the bugs. We had to be careful on grounds, I got bit by red ants.
We have ATT, service,but it does not work at ranch. We had no phone service,or laptop,and our T.V. service was very blurry.
As far as cleanliness,our room had some animal hair,which blew around when we put on the fan, and 3 of us got allergy,so my son and guest left after one night.
We were so isolated that it was super quiet,had no choice but go to bed as soon as it got dark. So we checked out on the fourth day,and only because we went to Tarpon Springs for the 3rd day,and got back late at night.
Fyi on the day we were leaving the activity director came by to offer owners some free activities,but we were not interested. The over all staff was very friendly,the decor beautiful,animals were interesting,but the place was not what we expected.
If you like middle of nowhere places then this is the place for you! Don't be fooled by the name, this is one large corporate resort.
We had one of the glamping tents with full beds, an outside porch, BBQ, fridge, electric fire and our own washing facilities (shower block)
On arrival we drove up the long driveway and through to the guest reception area, we knew then that this was going to be a great experience! The reception staff were great, they checked us in swiftly and then took the kids off on the golf buggy to our "tent" (we were following in the car) The glamping area is gated off and has a key coded gate for security and I'm sure privacy. The tents were large, one king size bed and two single beds. As we were glamping we had our own shower block which was large, clean and well equipped. We also had a large fire pit outside the tent which was lit by the staff around 7pm each night for use by a few tents, usually for marshmallow toasting and having a drink around.
We stayed 2 nights so we could be there to watch the rodeo show on the Saturday night. What a great show it was! People come in from miles around to see the show and we know why! It goes on for a couple of hours and the kids get to join in with a game of "flag catching from a calf", the kids loved it! For $20 each it's well worth the money!
There plenty to do around here from swamp buggy rides, horse riding to fishing. It's an ideal getaway but with enough going on that you don't feel isolated.
The line dancing in the bar was fun for all who joined in and everyone we met was super friendly.
We will definitely be back!
P.S - a word of warning, if you don't like bugs and creepy crawlies don't go glamping!