Westgate River Ranch Blends Florida Cowboy History with Unique Vacation Experience

Property re-launches following completion of multi-million dollar renovation that introduces glamping (glamorous camping) as a new accommodation experience in Central Florida

Oct 07, 2013, 15:59 ET from Westgate Resorts

RIVER RANCH, Fla., Oct. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Guests looking for a new dimension to their Central Florida vacation experience can look no further than Westgate River Ranch Resort.  Located just one hour south of Orlando and one hour west of Tampa, the resort offers a guest ranch vacation full of activities for adults and children. An exciting yet unexpected vacation destination, Westgate River Ranch is re-launching, following a multi-million dollar renovation, featuring completely revamped accommodations, trendy new accommodation options and a variety of new features and amenities.

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Not your typical guest ranch experience, this hidden Central Florida gem has appeal to virtually any traveler.  The resort marries Florida cowboy history with unique vacation amenities, offering an ideal option for those looking for a bit of adventure or an escape for those wanting to get away from it all.

Situated on 1,700 lush acres in the heart of Florida's cattle lands and surrounded by approximately 400,000 acres of state and federally protected wetlands, the resort is distinguished as the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi. Centrally located between the Atlantic and Gulf beaches, and part of the Westgate Resorts vacation ownership family, the ranch offers the same experience and quality that distinguishes the Westgate Resorts brand. 

The renovation includes completely revamped accommodations, including deluxe two-bedroom cabins, ranch-themed guestrooms, RV sites, traditional camping sites and glamping sites (a new trend which blends glamour and camping using outdoor tents with luxury interiors, air conditioning and private bathrooms.)  The renovation also includes new features and amenities such as: a state-of-the-art ropes course, an outdoor dance hall, cowboy-themed mini-golf, a rock climbing wall, zip line, mechanical bull and bungee jumping.

All of this adds to an existing array of amenities, including: the award-winning Westgate Smokehouse Grill, saloon, general store and deli, golf course, a petting farm, horseback riding, nature hikes, trap and skeet shooting, hayrides, swimming, 5,000-foot paved and lighted runway, and a full-service marina complete with boating, fishing, airboat and swamp buggy rides.

For those wanting a true cowboy experience, the resort features a 1,200-seat rodeo arena, home to the longest-running Saturday night championship rodeo in the United States, featuring trick riding, bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing.  And, to add to this authenticity, guests can even watch herds of buffalo and long-horn Watusi cattle grazing just outside their doorstep. Families will enjoy a Friday and Saturday night street party with dancing under the stars at the outdoor dance hall and roasting marshmallows on an open fire.  Kids will enjoy petting and feeding barnyard animals and livestock at the petting farm, while the whole family can enjoy horseback riding or a dinnertime hayride along the Kissimmee River, spotting abundant wildlife while being serenaded by a singing cowboy, culminating with a family-style country buffet.

Brides and grooms can say "I Do" on horseback or in a charming white chapel underneath a statuesque oak tree, presided by a licensed on site official. Groups – from corporate retreats to family reunions – can enjoy private meetings and event space and hosted activities.  Everyone, including pets less than 60 pounds, is welcome to experience the resort.

The ranch was recently awarded the industry's Gene Kilgore 2013 "World's Best Ranches" award for its services and amenities.  According to Westgate Resorts COO Mark Waltrip, this award-winning resort is poised to be the vacation choice for even more Central Florida visitors. "We are looking forward to unveiling the new Westgate River Ranch," he said.  "We've made a considerable investment to improve the amenities and lodging at the ranch.  The new Westgate River Ranch provides an unparalleled Florida cowboy experience for our guests and will be a catalyst to attract even more guests and major events to this hidden gem in Central Florida."

"We are the only guest ranch of its kind in Florida," added General Manager Paul Robertson. "From luxury accommodations to camping, we provide a unique Florida outdoor experience with endless things to do!"

From rustic to refined; families to fiances, Westgate River Ranch Resort promises an unforgettable vacation experience for any traveler.  Now, with an array of new facilities and amenities, guests have even more reasons to let Westgate River Ranch get them in touch with their inner cowboy right here in Central Florida!

About Westgate River Ranch
Rooted in the history of the nation's first cowboys, Westgate River Ranch lies on 1,700 lush acres in the heart of Florida's cattle lands and is surrounded by approximately 400,000 acres of state and federally protected wetlands. The ranch offers Florida cowboy-themed accommodations, ranging from campgrounds to glamping (glamour+camping); tents to two-bedroom cabins.  Westgate River Ranch boasts a multitude of recreational activities, including horseback riding, swimming, golf, a petting farm, nature hikes, trap and skeet shooting, hayrides, cookouts and a full-service marina complete with boating, and fishing, and airboat and swamp buggy rides. Westgate River Ranch also features a 5,000-foot paved and lighted runway, award-winning Smokehouse Grill, River Ranch Saloon and the longest-running Saturday night championship rodeo in the United States, featuring trick riding, bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing at a 1,200-seat rodeo arena. A herd of grazing buffalo and Watusi cattle (known for their long, distinctive horns) makes its home at Westgate River Ranch. For more information, please visit www.wgriverranch.com or call (863) 692-1321.

About Westgate Resorts
Founded in 1982 by David A. Siegel, Westgate Resorts is one of the largest resort developers in the United States. Westgate features 27 themed destination resorts with over 10,500 luxury villas in premier locations throughout the United States such as Orlando, Florida; Park City, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Williamsburg, Virginia; Miami, Florida; Branson, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; and Tunica, Mississippi. Most Westgate Resorts locations feature a variety of unique restaurant, retail and spa concepts, including Drafts Sports Bar & Grill, Westgate Smokehouse Grill, Edge Steakhouse, Westgate Marketplace & Deli, and Serenity Spa by Westgate. For more information about Westgate Resorts, visit www.westgateresorts.com.

SOURCE Westgate Resorts