Westgate River Ranch

Glamping, otherwise known as glamorous camping is an alternative for those who like the idea of camping but don’t want to commit to the full roughing-it experience. My mother happens to be one of those people and who am I to turn away an opportunity to “camp” in a tent with electricity and A/C?

A few years ago, we were able to get a Living Social deal for a two-night stay at Westgate River Ranch and I couldn’t recommend it more.

As soon as we pulled into the ranch the first thing you see are buffalos grazing in a field. Then we went to the main lodge to check-in where we met our glamping coordinator Camille and picked up our golf cart. This was a huge highlight of the trip – an entire weekend on 1,700 acres and I don’t have to walk?! Sign me up.

glamping tent


Then we were shown our tent. As you can see from the pictures it was on a whole other level of camping. First off, we had A/C in the tent, a ceiling fan, three blow-up beds, wood floors and a screened in patio. Not to mention a breakfast basket was delivered to us every morning with fresh coffee, warm cinnamon buns, and fruit. Someone needs to tell all of the dads of the world that this is how you camp.

After we unpacked we decided to head over to the marina for a swamp buggy ride. If you’ve never been on one it’s an awesome experience. It’s basically a monster truck that drives through the water and can handle any pothole the ground throws at you. We saw tons of bulls, buffalos, and horses.

Westgate River Ranch also has a complimentary petting farm with horses, goats, mules, llamas’ donkeys and more. One of the workers even let us go into the cage with a deer so we could pet him. Say hello to Stanley.

Since the property is so large there is so much to explore. I recommend just taking a golf cart and driving around to see all the animals. Just a friendly remember, these are wild animals. We saw a herd of bulls and decided to pull over and take some pictures of them. Well, literally just a few seconds after snapping the below photo, one of the bulls starting charging at me. I very much appreciated the fence.

After a great nights rest, on our second day, we had a full agenda. We spent the day horseback riding, airboat riding, a hayride with live music before dinner and finally a good old-fashioned rodeo. The horseback riding was so much fun because they take you into an open pasture with the other animals. The only scary moment of the trip was when our guide got a little to close to a bull and he charged at his horse (read note above about wild animals).

The rodeo was another unique experience. You can just get yourself a beer boot and watch the bull riding. And here I always thought mechanical bulls looked hard but once you see grown men being flung off actual bulls you get some perspective. Once the show was over there was a huge block party with lots of drinking, dancing and country music right outside the River Ranch Saloon.

In between all the day’s activities, we played lots of backgammon and drank lots of wine. It wouldn’t have been a successful mother-daughter trip without wine. So in case you couldn’t tell I 100% recommend everyone going glamping – just watch out for those bulls, they have a temper 😉