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Overview of Westgate River Ranch, a Florida Dude Ranch

Updated on April 25, 2011
Horses Let Out to Pasture
Horses Let Out to Pasture

A visit to a dude ranch is not what one usually thinks of when considering a typical Florida attraction. In fact, many people would be surprised to learn that central Florida is home to many ranches and farms, and that one of the country’s largest dude ranches is right at home in the middle of the swamps and orange groves. Westgate River Resort opened its gates to visitors in 1986 and has been providing would-be cowpokes with hayrides, fishing, airboat and swamp buggy excursions, and of course, horseback rides every since.
Westgate River Resort offers a detour from the typical roller-coaster featured tourist attraction. There are tons of outdoor activities in addition to those mentioned above: trap and skeet shooting, archery, hiking, golfing, one of the best a petting zoos I have ever experienced, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, a “saloon” for line dancing and tossing back a few drinks (kids are welcome to hit the dance floor until around 10:00 p.m.), and a Saturday night rodeo. And all of this is offered at reasonable prices. The ranch is pet-friendly, for those who want to bring Fido along, and the wide range of activities had something for everyone in my family, from the two-year old to the fourteen-year old to the adults.

For a detailed review of the ranch, read here.

Helping Out on the Ranch

So, Is Westgate River Ranch for you?

This resort may be for you if:

  • You are looking for a mix of fun and relaxation.
  • You enjoy a variety of outdoorsy activities.
  • You are looking for a fun family experience that shows the kids something new.
  • You would like to be out of the hustle and bustle of the world for a while.

This resort may not be for you if:

  • You want to be near other Florida attractions. It is over an hour’s drive to Orlando, and the nearest grocery store is about a half hour away.
  • You want every minute to be jam packed with nothing but thrills and excitement (a la roller coasters and the like).
  • You hate the outdoors.
  • You are looking for a spa-type resort with massages and pampering.


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    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub. I live about a mile from the entrance and used to work there. I love the ranch and have a video from there in one of my hubs.