Florida isn’t all about Disney World and Universal Studios. It’s also home to some of the best dude ranches in the Eastern United States. Offering fun outdoor activities like horseback tours, guided kayaking trips, wilderness survival lessons, and so much more, these ranches are the best places to go if you’re looking to reconnect with your ancestors and enjoy some old-fashioned American culture. Read on to learn more about the top dude ranches in the Sunshine State.
1. Westgate River Ranch
Located in Central Florida on the banks of the Kissimmee River, this Old West-style ranch is just a few miles from the Kicco Wildlife Management Area and offers a truly authentic ranch experience, complete with a country-style saloon, general store, restaurant, and more. On-site amenities and activities include a mini golf course, outdoor pool, gym, marina, and petting farm, with horseback tours and many other activities also organized by the staff every single day. The accommodation at Westgate River Ranch is also of a very high standard, with fully equipped yurts, teepees, and cottages. Browse our best places to visit in Florida guide for more ideas.
3200 River Ranch Blvd, River Ranch, FL 33867, Phone: 863-692-1321
2. Circle F Dude Ranch Camp
This family friendly dude ranch camp is a great fit for people of all ages, offering summer camp opportunities for youngsters and year-round accommodation and activities for families and friends. For an authentic Florida vacation with a difference, this is a great location to consider and the list of on-site activities is almost endless. Guests will stay in cozy cabins with comfortable bunk beds, air condition, private bathrooms, and heaters. Family weekend and summer camp activities at this dude ranch location include kayaking, swimming, campfires, spa treatments, zip line courses, horseback tours, sports, and more. There are many great things to do in Lake Wales.
5301 Dude Ranch Rd, Lake Wales, FL 33898, Phone: 863-215-8351
3. McCulley Farms
If you're looking for a top-quality dude ranch location in Northern Florida on the Panhandle, McCulley Farms is the place to be. Not too far from the Georgia border, this dude ranch has received very high ratings in the past and left many satisfied visitors eager for more. Horseback riding and traditional ranch activities are a big part of the experience at McCulley Farms, with the famous Withlacoochee Trail Ride also being held twice a year at this location. Campfires, hiking, and kayaking can all be enjoyed on site and at the local Withlacoochee River, and the ranch features both full service campsites with amenities as well as basic sites for people who prefer to rough it out under the stars. Florida beaches offer a cheap way to enjoy the state's natural beauty.
3019 McCulley Farm Road, Jasper, FL 32052, Phone: 386-938-1147
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4. The Smoakhouse Ranch
Make memories to last a lifetime in the beautiful Ichetucknee Cottages at Central Florida's Smoakhouse Ranch. Rated 5-stars on Trip Advisor, this dude ranch resort has been operating since the mid-1990s and is a fully working farm nestled among some truly beautiful scenery. The local pond and towering pecan trees provide the perfect backdrop for all sorts of outdoor activities, with the local villages being filled with antique and art shops for visitors who want to take some special souvenirs home with them. Browse our things to do in Florida guide for more ideas.
4321 Co Rd 500, Branford, FL 32008, Phone: 386-935-2662
5. Happy Acres Ranch
© Happy Acres Ranch
Located just 92 miles from Orlando or Tampa, the Happy Acres Ranch is a great place to spend a family weekend enjoying ranch life. Equestrians will relish the opportunity to explore up to 50 miles or trail rides which start right outside the lodge. If you children would like to learn horse-back riding they can do lessons on site. There are plenty of local attractions to keep you busy in between trails rides – these including boating, golf and tennis. If you would like to spend a few days soaking up the ranch atmosphere you can book one of their rental cottages or bring your RV to the RV Park. Family weekend getaways10051 SW 125th Terrace, Dunnellon, FL 34432, 352 489 8550
6. Grand Oaks Resort
© Grand Oaks Resort
First and foremost, Grand Oaks Resort is an equestrian ranch where you can attend world-class horse shows and train for various equestrian events under the guidance of experts. However, the Grand Oaks Resort also offers many other activities for non-equestrians, so the whole family can enjoy a vacation here. You can hone your golfing skills at the on-site driving range, have a go at fly-fishing or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There are more than 30 rental cottages at the resort and you can hire a golf-cart to get around. If you prefer, you can bring your RV to the well-equipped RV Park which offers a swimming pool and complimentary Wi-Fi. Florida day trips offer a great way to explore nearby.
3000 Marion County Rd, Weirsdale, FL 32195, 352 750 5500
7. More Info About Dude Ranches in Florida
Ranches are a historic and everlasting part of American culture. Once essential to survival, ranches are now more popularly seen as touristic attractions and relaxing getaways. Dude ranches can be found all around the country, offering a unique way to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and get back to basics. Whether you’re looking to do some horseback riding and other ranch-based activities or simply kick back and enjoy the natural surroundings and peaceful environment, a dude ranch is a great place to spend some time.
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Florida is best-known for its highly touristic locations like Orlando and Miami, with beautiful beaches and flashy theme parks attracting tens of millions of visitors from all around the world each and every year. However, the Sunshine State is also filled with lush landscapes and unique wilderness and has a lot of ranching history behind it. Even in modern times, many great dude ranches can be found all around Florida, offering a wide range of fun and exciting activities for guests of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. Even if the Old West and cowboy lifestyle isn’t your scene, these ranches offer stunning accommodation and tranquil environments for guests who simply want to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate some peace and quiet.
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