If you’re on the hunt for a unique vacation experience, one that allows you to “unplug” and partake in a wealth of fun outdoor activities while still remaining in a resort setting, look no further than Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo near Lake Wales, Florida.
Central Florida Dude Ranch
Sure you could go the ordinary vacation route of playing in a bustling theme park all day and staying at their resort hotel, but why not get away from it all? We’re talking about a vacation that allows you get closer to friends, family and the great outdoors while still having access to all of the amenities of a resort. Spread out over 1,700-acres and surrounded by more than 400,000-acres of state and federally protected wetlands, Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo provides a sense of seclusion, which is one of the key reasons families love vacationing here.
Horseback Riding at River Ranch
If you're not ready to push cattle across open plains by horseback, you can’t still experience the relaxation and accomplishment that comes with horseback riding. An experienced horseman will show you the ropes and then hand you the reins for a 60–minute ride on a winding nature trail. For more experienced riders, a two-hour trail ride is offered.
Fun Fact: Some of the horses you’ll be riding are the same ones used during the Saturday night Westgate River Ranch Rodeo.
Camping, RV Fun and The General Store
Camping under the stars is the ultimate outdoor experience. In addition to a cowboy themed lodge, cabins, cottages and “rail car” cabins, Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo offers camping options that allow you to stay true to the outdoor vacation that you’ve envisioned. On-site camping options include tent camping and RV sites with full water and electrical hookups. The General Store carries charcoal, firewood, ice and other camping supplies.
Glamping Sites - Glamorous Camping at River Ranch
If you're interested in the outdoor living experience without giving up the comforts of a cottage room or cabin, be sure to look into glamping sites at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. Located around a campfire circle, the “glamorous camping” sites offer fully furnished (beds, dressers, mirrors, table and chairs), air-conditioned accommodations that include a screened porch. Glamping sites include access to private washroom with showers and linens. Nightly campfires provide the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the resort-provided S’mores kit to cap the night off with a sweet treat.
Swamp Buggy Rides at River Ranch
The saddle isn’t the only place you can ride tall, as swamp buggies can provide an elevated view of Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo's 1,700-acres. A 60-minute swamp buggy ride takes you through wooded trails where you’ll spot a variety of wildlife and some of the bad-to-the-bone bucking bulls used in the weekly rodeo.
Saturday Night Rodeo at River Ranch
Saturday nights at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo allow you to be immersed in the ultimate dude ranch experience. You can participate in a series of events that begin with an afternoon hay ride, complete with a singing cowboy, which leads you to a family-style cookout buffet (depending on the season). Then it’s off to the championship rodeo where you’ll watch professional cowboys and cowgirls compete in trick riding, barrel racing and bull riding. The kids in the audience can even take part in the rodeo’s calf scramble and win a prize.
Following the rodeo is the Saturday night street party held out in front of the River Ranch Saloon. Enjoy live music, a DJ, fun games and dancing. For the more adventurous, you can try staying on the mechanical bull for eight seconds. If you can’t “Yeehaw” now, it’ll surely come natural by the end of the night.
Airboat Rides at River Ranch
With their ability to navigate very shallow water and glide over vegetation, airboats provide the perfect opportunity to get some up close glimpses of native bald eagles, alligators, osprey, herons and more.
Fishing at River Ranch
Can you really have an outdoor adventure without a little fishing action? You can cast a line off the docks adjacent to the full-service marina or kids can try their luck in the catch and release pond, which is stocked with an assortment of fish that will keep them hooked for hours. Poles are complimentary and bait is sold at their shop, so there’s no need to pack your gear and tackle. For those looking to venture out on one of the top lakes in the “Largemouth Bass Capitol of the World,” bass fishing excursions with local guides can be reserved through staff at the Marina.
Archery, plus Trap and Skeet at River Ranch
Firearms can be intimidating, but target shooting can also be an engaging and rewarding experience. Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo's trap and skeet range is your opportunity to learn how to properly handle and shoot a firearm in a controlled environment. The knowledgeable range officers will have you hitting your mark in no time.
Hunger Games fans can get in touch with their inner Katniss and let their arrows fly at the archery range. Instructors are on hand to teach you the proper form and bow safety. It’s best $8.00 you’ll spend.
Kid Friendly Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, and Mini Golf
Kids love Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo's pony rides, petting zoo, archery range, rock climbing, zip lines, mini golf and the Saturday night calf scramble.
Save a little dough: Westgate’s Adventure Park Package gets you access to the zip line, rock wall, mini golf and bungee trampoline.