Luxury Teepees: Escape the Ordinary in a Luxe Teepee at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
After years of traveling the world, I’ve visited over 15 countries, slept poolside at many luxurious resorts, eaten a variety of foreign delicacies and stayed in my fair share of unique accommodations. Until recently, I was certain that the best way to shake up my vacations was to hop on a plane and head across the seas for another new destination. But I was proven incredibly wrong with the introduction of one new word into my vocabulary: glamping. As fun as it is to say, glamping (or glamourous camping) is even more fun to participate in, and I was shocked to experience it within driving distance of my home in Central Florida. For my sister and I, our crash course in glamping came in the form of a long weekend at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo in a truly one-of-a-kind accommodation.
Originally built in the 1960s, River Ranch was purchased by Westgate Resorts in 2001 and reopened its doors as Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo the following year. The stunning 700 acre property has since evolved into the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi. The resort is surrounded on all sides by 400,000 acres of state and federally protected wetlands, which proved to be the perfect setting for our glamping adventure in brand new luxe teepees. Westgate’s modern twist on the traditional teepee provided the unique opportunity to escape to nature and experience the great outdoors with all the amenities of home. Each teepee is themed in Native American style with distinctive names such as “Dancing Warrior,” “Roaming Buffalo” and “Soaring Eagle.” Our own teepee was named “Black Hawk” and it was a beautiful, magnificent structure. The fully furnished, 651 square feet of space sleeps up to four guests and boast a variety of unique amenities such as a double-sided stone rock hearth fireplace, a porcelain cast iron claw shower, electrical outlets, a breakfast delivery service, a private patio deck, and even a propane grill. Numerous steps were taken to provide every luxury imaginable and ensure the unparalleled vacation that my sister and I experienced. As guests of a luxe teepee, we also enjoyed a world of extraordinary benefits including a personal luxe concierge, a community campfire lit nightly by Westgate staff, a courtesy golf cart rental and more.
After unpacking and settling into our teepee, we decided it was time to further explore the ranch, our ‘home away from home’ for the long weekend. Our growling stomachs and tantalizing smells led us to the front door of the award-winning Westgate Smokehouse Grill, which overlooks the picturesque Kissimmee River. In addition to a hearty assortment of breakfast favorites, the restaurant also offers finger-licking ribs, steaks, chicken and more for dinner. My sister enjoyed a Cocoa Beach Pier Fish Sandwich while I filled up on the enticing Smoked Pulled Pork. The following morning was a Saturday, and we had no idea we were in for such an epic day of high intensity thrills and fun, all of which were included with our teepee accommodation. The morning kicked off with a horseback riding adventure that proved to be an unforgettable experience. For my sister and I, it was our first time riding a horse and I can safely say that it will certainly not be our last. Patrick, Tough and a host of other beautiful horses led our group on a scenic ride that wound along the many bridle trails located throughout Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo.
After parting ways with Patrick and Tough, we opted for a different mode of transportation and made use of complimentary bike rentals to tour various areas of the vast ranch. We rode past glamping campgrounds, luxurious RV sites and more before it was time for what would become one of our favorite activities of the weekend: trap shooting. Our group of five took turns shooting clay targets that were launched into the sky and I am more than a little proud to say I hit a couple of my own! In addition to horseback riding and trap shooting, there was a wide range of other recreational activities available on property, including nature hikes, a petting farm and even an adventure park with ziplines, bungee jumpers, rock climbing and more. For the nature enthusiast, a full service marina also offers guests everything from boat rentals and guided fishing tours to airboat and swamp buggy rides. A highlight of our weekend—and a must for any guest at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo—was the Saturday Night Rodeo. Complimentary VIP tickets were included in our luxe teepee package, and we were sure to take advantage of the opportunity to witness the longest running rodeo in the state of Florida. Held every Saturday night, the rodeo featured real cowboys participating in all types of western-style events, such as team roping, bull riding, trick riding, and more. The rodeo even included an adorable ‘Calf Scramble’ where children gathered in the rodeo arena and raced to be the first to retrieve a ribbon from the tail of a calf.
After the rodeo, attendees made their way down to the River Ranch Saloon for line dancing, live music, mechanical bull riding and more authentic country entertainment. The party lasted for hours and ended with my sister and I heading back to the luxe teepee campground for one final gathering around the nightly campfire. As we roasted marshmallows and laughed with neighboring teepee guests, I couldn’t help but to look around me in awe and admiration. The brilliantly orange glow of the lit teepees was a sight that I will not soon forget. If you’re also looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure without sacrificing an ounce of luxury and comfort, consider booking your own luxe teepee glamping adventure at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. If you don’t take my word for it, consider those of the #1 website for dude ranch vacations worldwide. RanchWeb.com awarded Westgate with the Gene Kilgore “World’s Best Ranches Award” in recognition of excellence, an unwavering dedication to guest ranching and superb hospitality—our weekend on the property was all it took to see why. Glamping in a luxe teepee provided us with all the comforts of a spacious and luxurious villa full of upscale amenities, while still allowing us to lose ourselves in the great outdoors. Book your stay today at www.WestgateRiverRanch.com and get ready for your own unforgettable weekend of glamping fun!
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
3200 River Ranch Blvd, River Ranch, FL 33867
Westgate’s modern twist on the traditional teepee provided the unique opportunity to escape to nature and experience the great outdoors with all the amenities of home.