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10 Great Reasons To Go Glamping At Westgate River Ranch


glamping in westgate river ranch

Sunset at the campsite at Westgate River Ranch. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Growing up I used to go camping with my parents, I love nature and camping is such an wonderful adventure.  I had never gone glamping, or luxurious camping, until we recently visited Westgate River Ranch in Central Florida. Just an hour south of Orlando Westgate River Ranch is close enough to all the Orlando attractions yet could not be further away form the hustle and bustle giving you a real taste of Old Time Florida and letting you experience a working dude ranch where you can unleash your inner cowboy or cowgirl.

Here are 10 reasons why Glamping at Westgate River Ranch needs to be on your family’s travel bucket list!

glamping in westgate river ranch

Spacious and comfortable accommodations with all the creature comforts and right and close to mother nature. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

1. Camping without giving up on comfort

Glamping combines the best of both worlds: being close to nature while having a comfortable night sleep in a real bed. The tents at Westgate River Ranch are spacious with two beds, portable air conditioning/heating, mini fridge and microwave and a screened exterior deck that let’s you eat al fresco or just relax taking in the outdoors but still protected from mosquitos or rain.  You also get a key to your own private bathroom equipped with a shower and with all the toiletries.

glamping in westgate river ranch

Having fun at the campsite, nature is the best playground! Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

2. Less work means more time to relax and play

I love the outdoors and as a kid I loved camping but when the weekend comes around I want to relax and camping can be a lot of work. Glamping takes the stress and work out of camping: no need to lug around with the tent and all the cooking equipment and no more arguing over who forgot the tent pegs or why everyone is not helping to set up the tent.  At Westgate we arrived and where shown to our tent by our own Glamping Concierge who took us to a beautiful wooded area where the tents where set up in groups and who was available to cater to all of our needs: which meant I could relax and enjoy our little weekend vacation without roughing it!

Petting farm at Westgate River Ranch

Petting farm at Westgate River Ranch. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

3. Being close to nature

Glamping at Westgate River Ranch lets you get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and of everyday life and you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery at the ranch and really get close and personal with nature.  In the morning we woke up to see the sunrise and spotted a beautiful owl. Later that day we visited the petting farm where the kids spent some time with horses, goats and other farm animals and at night we looked for frogs with our flashlights, which brought back so many happy memories from my camping adventures as a kid.

Rodeo at Westgate River Ranch

Front row seats to witness the excitement of bull riding at a real rodeo. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

4. Experiencing a real dude ranch

Glamping at Westgate River Ranch puts you right in the middle of the action at a dude ranch! On Saturday nights there is a real rodeo with bull rides, trick riding, barrel racing and a fun “cow scramble” for the cowpokes. No one in our family had ever been to a rodeo and it was so exciting to see the rodeo athletes that had come from far and wide trying to hang on to the bull as it buckled and kicked.  The rodeo was so much fun and the kids have not stopped asking when we are going back!

Mechanical Bull Riding at Westgate River Ranch

After the rodeo everyone in the family will want to hone their bull riding skills! Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

5. Activities for everyone in the family

From rodeos, mechanical bull riding and mini golf to a petting zoo, airboat rides and horseback riding there are so many things to do that no one in the family will get bored.  My daughter just loved the petting zoo while my son enjoyed the challenge of riding the mechanical bull.  One of my favorite memories was getting caught in the rain while taking the hay ride around the ranch. We spent a weekend at Westgate River Ranch and did not have time to do everything, we recommend that if your are going you stay at least two nights so you can really take advantage of everything they have to offer.

Cow scramble during the rodeo at Westgate River Ranch

Cow scramble during the rodeo at Westgate River Ranch. This was one of the kid’s favorite things: they had so much fun trying to get the red ribbon from the calf’s tail with all the other kids. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

6. Creating family memories

Spending the weekend away from our everyday activities doing things we had never done before gave us the opportunity to really bond as a family and create some truly unforgettable memories.  We loved that we did not have to go far to really get immersed in an experience that is so different from our everyday lives and also very real and authentic! Spending the nights around the campfire or playing board games and falling asleep to the sound of frogs and crickets was a truly wonderful experience for everyone.  It was a real adventure for the kids and it sparked so many great conversations. Being away from technology and from our daily routine also gave us so much time to learn about each other and share wonderful moments.

Learning about life on a ranch at Westgate River Ranch

Learning about life on a ranch at Westgate River Ranch. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

7. A great opportunity for learning

Spending the weekend at a ranch gave everyone in the family the opportunity to learn more about nature, about the real Florida and about history. The kids collected leaves and we talked about life on a ranch and about where our food comes from. We all got to see how in a ranch things are very similar to what they where 50  or 100 years ago, we where far from the internet and from technology and got to see and hear firsthand how a ranch works.  It was a wonderful experience that gave the kids a new perspective on how other people live and how in a ranch there is so much to do that there is no need for TV, internet or even cars!

Tree climbing at Westgate River Ranch.

Tree climbing at Westgate River Ranch. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

8. Exercising

One of the great things about being outdoors is that you get so many opportunities to exercise! Get the kids excited about moving by embarking on a hiking adventure, going horseback riding, going for for a swim in the pool or climbing a tree.  When you are outdoors exercising is just part of the experience and becomes fun and thrilling for everyone in the family.

glamping in westgate river ranch

Our own private screened deck and coffee and breakfast service, who could ask for more! Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

9. Eating outdoors

I love eating al fresco and grilling but when we went camping we usually had to bring our own cooking gear and in most places there where no grills available.  At Westgate each tent has it’s own propane gas grill and picnic table so it’s easy to cook and we loved enjoying our meals under the shade of the trees and while we listened to the sound of the frogs at night.  Additionally there is no need to worry about the food getting spoiled because you have your own small refrigerator in the tent and there is also a screened and covered porch in your tent where you can eat even if it’s raining and make sure you don’t get eaten by the mosquitoes at night!

If you want to grab a quick and effortless bite there are also restaurants on site. We loved the cookout where we enjoyed BBQ and a fun hayride.

Hay ride with live music at Westgate River Ranch

Hay ride with live music at Westgate River Ranch. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

10. Meeting new people

At night everyone in the compound got together around the fire pit and we roasted s’mores over the open fire and chatted, all the kids played together with flashlights. There is just something about sitting around a campfire that brings out a sense of comaraderie. It was a great way to meet people from different places and backgrounds and the kids loved hearing some of the fascinating stories from the other campers while we enjoyed roasting s’mores.  I also loved meeting some real cowboys like the singing cowboy who sang for us on the hay ride: he was so interesting and entertaining and had so many great cowboy stories to tell!

We realized that we do not have to go far to really get immersed in an experience that is so different from our everyday lives and we loved weekend getaway to Westgate River Ranch which was filled with many firsts: from galloping to attending our first rodeo. We can’t wait to go back and are looking forward to their new glamping experience in teepees coming in 2016!

Glamping starts at $169 per night , lodge rooms start at $169 and cabins rates are around $259. You can find the best rates on weekdays during offseason and be sure to check the their website for special offers and promotions.

To learn more you can check out the Westgate River Ranch website, like Westgate River Ranch on Facebook and follow @WestGateRanch on twitter to stay up to date with their latest activities and offers!

Westgate River Ranch

We loved Westgate River Ranch! Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.


About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula moved from her native Guatemala to SW Florida with her husband and two children and together they are discovering what it means to live life between two languages.

Paula studied architecture who now makes a living as a freelance writer, traveler and amateur photographer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on travel, food and bicultural and bilingual parenting .

When she is not on a plane or road trip she likes to create recipes inspired in the flavors of her native Guatemala.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2015/latino-parenting/10-reasons-go-glamping-westgate-river-ranch/


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  1. Amy Boyington

    Having a 3 year old who doesn’t do so well sleeping at strange places, this would make my life a lot easier! I think he would feel more comfortable camping if we were in a more cozy and comfortable environment like this. Looks like you had an awesome time!
    Amy Boyington recently posted…Your #HolidayMadeSimple with Holiday Recipes Using EDY’S® & NESTLÉ®! #CollectiveBias #AdMy Profile

  2. Olivia

    What a great place! I really like how much room there is in the tent. So tired of climbing over everyone in our tiny tent LOL!
    Olivia recently posted…Minions Movie Now Out on Blu-ray {Plus Giveaway}My Profile

  3. Eliana Tardio

    I love this. I’ve been looking for a place like this for a long time. Thanks for sharing. Would love to try with the kids.

  4. Elba Valverde

    What a great adventure! Me encantaria poder hacer eso con mi familia un dia de estos, se ve genial

  5. Dailycurlz

    love places like this, it is like getting back in time.. Pienso que el que mas se divertio fue tu hijo, no?
    Dailycurlz recently posted…Top 10 Fitness Apps to get back in shape | 10 Aplicaciones para mantenerte en FormaMy Profile

  6. Gilda Campos

    Que belleza de lugares nos presentas cotidianamente. Espero algún día poder recorrerlo con mi familia. Hermosas postales!

  7. Liz

    That looks like a must visit place as far as I’m concerned. There’s so much to do!
    Liz recently posted…Reindeer Eggnog – 2 Ways!My Profile

  8. Romina Tibytt

    Que maravilla! Es la primera vez que leo sobre un lugar así, sin lugar a duda lo tengo en cuenta para mi aventura por el oeste. No veo la hora de hacer ese viaje! Gracias por la reseña tan completa. Me encantaron las fotos.
    Romina Tibytt recently posted…5 claves para disfrutar las comidas festivas sin descuidar la saludMy Profile

  9. Diana Rodriguez - Compras y Hogar

    Me encantó, esta super lindo para estar un fin de semana en familia.
    Diana Rodriguez – Compras y Hogar recently posted…La alegria de celebrar en familiaMy Profile

  10. Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá

    Me he quedado en las villas y en las torres de Westgate, pero no sabía de los ranch! This looks so much fun!
    Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá recently posted…Miércoles Mudo – Huele a NavidadMy Profile

  11. Wanda Lopez

    Wow, no sabia de este lugar y tan cerca de casita. Gracias por el post, le voy a decir a mi esposo para hacer planes.
    Wanda Lopez recently posted…gift guide for the hostessMy Profile

  12. Monica

    Lo tengo cerca y no sabía que existía. Estoy segura que a mi familia le encantaría un fin de semana así, gracias por compartirlo, lo tendré en cuenta.
    Monica recently posted…Lasagna y Ensalada de Pepinos para Días OcupadosMy Profile

  13. s. Yissele

    Que lindo lugar para pasarla bien en familia y estar en contacto con la naturaleza y estilo de vida vaquero, me encanto, muchas gracias por la información, un abrazo!
    s. Yissele recently posted…Ganadora del Sorteo de un Certificado Regalo de $50 gracias a The Eczema Company.My Profile

  14. Mayra - Estilo Familiar

    Ese niño se tiene que haber disfrutado todo eso porque los míos se lo hubieran disfrutado a cabalidad. Me encantó la caseta tan clamorosa. Ese es uno de mis sueños.
    Mayra – Estilo Familiar recently posted…The Wizarding World of Harry Potter en 2016 en Universal Studios HollywoodMy Profile

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