Westgate River Ranch

Wild West

Miles from Naples: 162

Nestled amid 400,000 acres of protected wetlands, Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo (westgateriverranch.com) is the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi, encompassing 1,700 acres along the west bank of the Kissimmee River. If you’re looking for a wide-open-spaces experience, this authentic dude ranch—with modern amenities sprinkled in—might be your perfect match. Best part: you don’t even have to leave the state.

Stay: After a multimillion-dollar overhaul in 2013, Westgate most recently launched Luxe Teepees, which take glamping to a new level of luxury. Designed with a rustic Western feel, the teepees feature a king bed and a sleeper sofa, plus creature comforts like air conditioning, a claw tub and shower, and electrical outlets—a saving grace for beauty tools. You’ll also get your own golf cart, as well as a teepee concierge.

Eat: Besides a general store for basic items, there are no markets (or anything else) nearby, so bring your favorite goodies to load up the teepee’s mini fridge. And pack barbecue tools and utensils because a gas grill is part of the teepee package, too. Prefer to leave the cooking to someone else? Enjoy barbecue and the fixings at the Westgate Smokehouse Grill, but wait until sundown for dessert when a nightly campfire is lit and everyone makes s’mores. The ranch offers a s’mores kit upon arrival, but many guests bring their own.

See + Do: The petting farm is worth a visit with everything from llamas to emus, peacocks to ponies to pot-bellied pigs. There are also pony rides for kids, and horseback riding for adults. If you want to start your getaway with a bang, let instructors guide you through a round of trap or skeet shooting. Book in advance, slots fill fast.

Hot Tip: Prefer to fly private? The ranch has an aviation center with a 5,000-foot paved runway, including lights and fuel service accommodations.

Don’t Miss: The Saturday night rodeo in the 1,200-seat arena delivers a dynamic spectacle, featuring trick riding, barrel racing, and bull riding. There’s even a real calf scramble for the little ones. Yee-haw!

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