A Central Florida ranch has been voted as the top destination for glamping nationwide, according to USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

Westgate River Ranch Resort, located about 90 minutes south of Orlando, was chosen by voters as number one on a list of the Top 10 glamping spots in the U.S. The Florida dude ranch and luxury glamping resort sits on 1,700 acres overlooking the Kissimmee River with options to sleep in a Conestoga wagon, glamping tents, teepees, rail cars, cabins, cottages, and lodge suites. Overnight stays start around $49 per night for primitive tent sites and go up to $799 per night for a Conestoga wagon (check the Westgate website for up-to-date prices).

“Glamping” is an emerging trend for people who want to dip their toes into the world of camping without the hassle of roughing it and setting up their own tent. The term was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2016, defined as “a type of camping, using tents and other kinds of accommodation, facilities, etc. that are more comfortable and expensive than those usually used for camping.”

The Florida destination placed ahead of glamping getaways in Ohio, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, Wisconsin, New York, Maine and Tennessee.

Patrick Connolly/Orlando Sentinel

A bull rider hangs on tight to his bucking bull during the rodeo at Westgate River Ranch Resort on March 2, 2019. (Patrick Connolly/Orlando Sentinel)

Westgate River Ranch Resort, the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi, offers families the chance to embark on an airboat or swamp buggy ride, experience a petting farm, take a river cruise or a horseback ride and make s’mores on the fire. Ambitious adventurers can try trap shooting, skeet shooting or riding the mechanical bull, but there are more laid-back activities such as mini golf and fishing.

One of the ranch’s biggest draws is the Saturday night rodeo, where visitors can see bull riding, barrel racing and trick riding.

“Our team members at River Ranch work diligently to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our guests,” said Ray Duncan, the resort’s general manager, in a news release. “To see their efforts being rewarded by USA Today and its readers is phenomenal, and we are thrilled to be representing Central Florida with such a high distinction.”

To learn more, visit 10best.com or westgateresorts.com.


Find me on Instagram @PConnPie or send me an email: pconnolly@orlandosentinel.com.


published 2023-05-15 16:35:21