Want to know what it’s like to stay in a Westgate River Ranch teepee? See how we experienced glamping at its best at this real life dude ranch in Central Florida.
Thanks so much to Westgate for hosting my family at Westgate River Ranch. All opinions are 100% my own.
When my girls found out we were going to the Westgate River Ranch dude ranch, they could not have been more excited. Actually, neither could I! I’d never been to a dude ranch or even been glamping and now we were going to do both. Even my husband was looking forward to the experience.
What Is Glamping
Glamping is like camping, just WAY better. With glamping, you get all the fun of camping but stay in luxury accommodations. Instead of crawling into a tent and sleeping on the ground, you get a nice comfy bed and a real bathroom. It’s for when you want to experience nature and the great outdoors, but don’t want rough it.
Where Is Westgate River Ranch
Westgate River Ranch is located in Central Florida, about 100 miles south of Orlando. Since we live less than two hours away in Sarasota, it was the perfect weekend getaway.
Staying in a Westgate River Ranch Luxe Teepee
Staying at Westgate River Ranch is already a fun, family friendly experience but staying in one of their luxe teepees takes glamping to a whole new level.
Inside The Teepee
Walking in, I was amazed at how spacious our teepee was. There’s a living room with sofa, sitting area and a fireplace. The sofa doubles as a pull-out bed, which gave us plenty of room for our family of four.
The antler chandelier was a pretty cool touch.
Towards the back we found a small dining area, complete with refrigerator, kitchen towels and more.
We were welcomed with a large snack basket, which my girls attacked right away. Even better, they left us a s’mores kit for later.
The bedroom was also open and spacious and came with robes for lounging around the teepee. Another added bonus was that the lamps came equipped with both a usb port and a plug for easy phone charging. It’s a small detail but one that always makes me happy!
The great thing about the fireplace was that it opened up to both the living room and the bedroom. If we didn’t have two kids with us, it might have been kind of romantic. Either way, it gave the room a cozy feel.
The bathroom came with plenty of counter space, with a separate area for the toilet.
There’s also an old timey bathtub with a shower attachment.
Not only is the inside of the teepee super cool but we loved the entire camp.
For starters, it has an inviting front porch where we could enjoy a drink and watch the girls run around. (Take the airboat tour and you too can sport the mad scientist hair that my hubby has in this picture!)
While we planned to eat at the restaurant, each teepee has a grill in case you feel like cooking out.
While there’s a ton of things to do at Westgate River Ranch, the girls had just as much fun playing around the camp. I think we need one of these cool swings in our backyard.
Our house is recently built so we don’t have a lot of big trees around for climbing. The girls probably spent more time climbing trees than anything else! Anytime I didn’t see them right away, I just had to look up!
For two girls that usually want nothing more than to play on the computer all day (a constant battle in our house), it was really nice to see them enjoying the outdoors so much!
The girls even made a new friend. They nicknamed this guy OREO and he couldn’t have been sweeter.
Once dusk hit, the lights came on and our camp looked gorgeous! There are lights strung throughout the trees with wicker lights shining down on the campfire area.
We left for dinner and when we came back, it was time to break out the s’mores kit. The fire was already going strong since our concierge (yes, teepees come with a personal concierge) had already started the campfire. Keira volunteered to kick off the s’mores party.
Roasting marshmallows while surrounded by teepees is not something we experience very often (okay, never!) and we were having a blast. We even had some company but we’re pretty sure he was just there for the s’mores. Since we weren’t sharing, he didn’t stay long.
The camp looked magical at night and if you look closely, you can even see the light display twinkling in the trees.
The next morning we woke up to find breakfast waiting. It’s complimentary and we were able to choose our menu at check in.
There was plenty of food and drink and we even had some left over for later.
As if that weren’t enough, there was a midday snack waiting for us when we came back that afternoon. We had a carafe of lemonade with an assortment of meats, fruits, cheese and crackers.
My family has been trying to get me to go camping for awhile but I’ve totally discovered that glamping is totally the way to go!
Things to do at Westgate River Ranch
There were so many things to do at Westgate River Ranch that we couldn’t have done them all in one weekend (though we had fun trying!). I almost felt like I was back at summer camp again! These were some of our favorite activities…
Petting farm – With ponies, goats, pigs, cows, deer and lots more, kids could spend all day at the petting farm alone. With so many animals, it was one of the best petting farms we’ve been to.
Biking – Exploring Westgate River Ranch by bike is a great way to see the whole property.
Archery – Grab a bow and arrow and and test your archery skills.
Fishing – This is a great activity for when you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Mini golf – Everybody loves mini golf and it’s an activity that all ages can enjoy.
Bounce house – What kid doesn’t love a good bounce house? It’s also a good way to get the kids tired out enough to take a nap!
Ziplining – For those who love a little adventure, the zipline is a must-do for both the kids and the adults.
Bungee jumping – See how high your kids can bounce as they have fun swinging from the bungee cords.
Rock climbing – Climb the big rock wall to get a great view of the resort!
Horsebacking Riding – Nothing says dude ranch more than horseback riding and you can hit the trails like a real cowboy (or cowgirl). Just keep in mind that kids have to be 8 year old to participate, regardless of experience.
Pony Rides – For kids too young to ride the trails, the pony rides are the way to go. Just be prepared to want to take a pony home with you…they’re SO cute!
Mechanical bull rides – Ride a bull like a real cowboy, but without the danger! Lines are long when the rodeo lets out but other than that, we were able to walk right up and ride.
Airboat Rides – Taking an airboat ride through the everglades is always a fun Florida experience. Keep your eyes open and you may just spot a few alligators along the way.
Swamp Buggy Rides – With it’s huge tires, the Swamp Buggy takes you through the brush and mud and can go pretty much anywhere. Keep your eyes open for Florida wildlife along the way.
Hayride – You haven’t been on a hayride until you’ve been on one with live music. As far as hayrides go, the actual ride wasn’t much different than usual but having a musician aboard made for a really fun experience. The hayride is not included in the package but does include dinner at the Smokehouse Grill.
Rodeo (every Saturday night) – This actually WAS our first rodeo and we found ourselves cheering for the cowboys as they tried to last 8 seconds on the bull. There were also cowgirls racing around barrels, kids doing stunts and more. If you’re staying over on a Saturday, you have to make it to the rodeo!
Additional Activities – In addition to these activities, you can also play tennis or basketball, toss horseshoes, rent a boat, take aim at the skeet range, play a 9 hole golf course or go for a swim in the pool.
Westgate River Ranch also features a small village area with stores, gift shops and more.
General Store – We paid several visits to the general store, where you can buy drinks (including Starbucks coffee, wine and beer), deli food, ice cream and more.
Western Wear Store – My daughter begged for pink cowboy boots but we talked her into a cute hobby horse instead. They also had a good variety of cowboy hats, clothes and western decor and ornaments.
Post Office – Need to mail a letter? There’s a small post office where you can send and receive mail.
Kid’s Corral – This is a cute little place where kids can get out of the Florida sun for awhile and enjoy some crafting fun.
Luxe Teepees – Are They Worth The Splurge?
When I first saw the price of the teepees, I thought they were a little on the high end. I’ve checked several times and have seen ranges from $455 – $700 a night. However, after experiencing our weekend there, I totally changed my mind. Yes, the prices aren’t cheap but when you see all that you get, you realize that you’re actually getting a really good value.
For starters, when you stay in a luxe teepee at Westgate River Ranch, you get your own golf cart for the duration of your stay. It makes it so easy to get around the property and if you’re staying in the cabins, you’ll spend a lot to rent one for the weekend.
Another great value, and I feel like this alone is totally worth it, is that almost all activities are free. If you stay elsewhere on property, you pay for each individual activity. If you want to get the full experience and do as many activities as possible, it will add up fast. This way, the girls got to do as many activities as they wanted, as many times as they wanted.
We did so much that it would have easily cost us a fortune to pay for each activity individually or $165 daily for day passes for the family. Instead it cost us nothing. The Adventure Park, horseback riding and even the rodeo tickets are included with a stay in the luxe teepees.
It’s not much different than taking an all inclusive vacation elsewhere…you may pay a little more up front but not having to pay for everything as you go saves money in the end. Even my husband saw the value in it and he’s a much harder sell than I am! Plus, it’s just a really fun splurge! With the kids (and yes, me too) always on technology, it was nice to just unplug for the weekend and enjoy each other’s company!
We had a fantastic time staying in the teepees at the Westgate River Ranch Resort and I can’t recommend it enough! It was the perfect opportunity to spend a weekend bonding with my family and I loved that we were able to do it in such a unique way.