Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Alligator City: Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Gliding across the swampy water, the airboat suddenly slows and comes to a stop beside a ten foot toothy reptile. We peer in awe as the alligator rests nonchalantly without any movement. Our guide explains that there are several alligators who make this vicinity of the Florida Everglades their home. It’s best to take an airboat tour though the Everglades after a run of cloudy days, as the alligators will more than likely be soaking up the sun on the water’s surface, aka the only place you can catch a glimpse of them on a tour.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Tours can be hit or miss, but not because of the guides–sometimes the alligators just don’t want to come out to play. Largely due to the weather, we have been on rides where we’ve encountered only one alligator, but on other tours we have seen 7 or more. Alligators or not, it’s always nice to break away from city life to spend some time in nature. Even though alligators always seem to be the Everglades main draw, there are ample opportunities to view other wildlife as well such as Whooping Cranes, Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets, various types of snakes and more.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

There are many options when choosing a company for your airboat tour; depending on your location and how far you would like to drive, you will have an array of choices. I have been on rides with at least four different companies in the past and my favorite continues to be the Sawgrass Recreation Park which is about 25 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. I first visited this park when I was in elementary school, and after visiting twice within the past year, I can say the tour still entertained me 20 years later.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

With the purchase of your airboat tour, you will also get admission to the Exotic Wildlife exhibit. Reservations for the ride are not needed and thankfully wait times aren’t typically very lengthy. During both tours, our wait time for the next boat ranged between 10-15 minutes, so not too bad.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Also, make sure to keep your ear plugs handy because you will need them! The airboats are extremely loud and they can produce wind comparable to that of a hurricane.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Once you are situated in your seat, the airboat ride begins–you will start skimming around the swamp and gliding along the calm waters in search of wildlife. It’s really fascinating to see wild alligators so close up. If you are lucky, your boat will come across several alligators. Some of the gators will stay and relax, while others will get slightly annoyed and head back underwater for some privacy. And, before you know it, your half hour tour is almost over. We learned many interesting facts about the Everglades on our tour, and another plus is that the fun isn’t over when your ride is done.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

If you are hungry after your exhilarating ride, the Gator Grill Food Shop has you covered. They serve gator, sandwiches, and tacos.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

After checking out the menu and possibly ordering a bite to eat, head over to the Exotic Wildlife exhibit. The mammals in the exhibit were all adopted and rescued from facilities that lost their licenses or individuals who owned the animals illegally. You can find panthers, leopards and bobcats, among other species.

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades

If you are really adventurous, camping and fishing are available in the park as well. Or, you can try one of the evening airboat rides for a different perspective of the Everglades. Whichever adventure you choose, it is sure to be an exciting one!

19 Comments
  • Lance
    Twitter:
    Posted at 13:40h, 15 April Reply

    Camping? Yeah right. I’ve wanted to do this ever since visiting the Miami area when I was 7. But I haven’t returned, and it’s now been 30 years. Maybe it’s time to go back with my now 7-year-old son and explore the Everglades.
    Lance recently posted…Memphis Grizzlies Feed Fans’ PassionMy Profile

  • elaine schoch
    Twitter:
    Posted at 10:41h, 16 April Reply

    Camping there sounds a little more adventurous than I’m up for…
    elaine schoch recently posted…The Steinbeck Center Celebrates 75 YearsMy Profile

  • Ben Leigh
    Posted at 08:24h, 17 April Reply

    Charming similes from you Jenna… noteworthy to keep going to spend with nature adventurous like this tour.. Mostly such like Everglades tours would be better from taking as a camping tours, we do it…

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 13:06h, 20 April Reply

      Thank you! Yeah, the Everglades are always fun to explore for something different!

  • Katie
    Posted at 10:06h, 18 April Reply

    I’ve been to Florida what seems like a bazillion times and I still have yet to check this off my list. I really like the idea of the evening ride, I think the flat grassy landscape would be breathtaking at dusk. Although, I suppose it may not be as good for alligator sightings.
    Katie recently posted…Learning to dive in Paradise (Koh Tao, Thailand)My Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 12:11h, 05 May Reply

      You will have to check it out next time! I wanted to try the evening ride as well–it sounds like the alligators might actually be more active at night which would be fun to see! Not sure how dark it is though. If you ever end up going, would love to hear what you think!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…The Southernmost Winery in the US: Schnebly Redland’s WineryMy Profile

  • Marysia
    Twitter:
    Posted at 17:41h, 19 April Reply

    I really ask my self each time I see another post about Florida why I never went there on my numerous trips to US!?

  • Megan Claire
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:06h, 21 April Reply

    We loved touring the Everglades by airboat! One of our favorite Florida adventures!! Though haven’t tried camping – I would totally do that!

  • Charli
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:47h, 29 April Reply

    I’ve often seen these Everglades tours on TV and they look immense! I hope I get over to Florida one day to experience the thrill myself!

  • Liz
    Posted at 13:46h, 19 May Reply

    Always wondered if the airboat frightens away the wildlife what with it being so loud?

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:45h, 30 May Reply

      I have never thought about that actually–it’s not something that I noticed on past rides. The alligators always seem to just mind their own business, so I hope it doesn’t bother them!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…U-Pick Oranges in the Sunshine StateMy Profile

  • Jasper Whiteside
    Posted at 14:32h, 03 November Reply

    I think it’s important to remember to wear your earplugs. The dangers of hearing damage, which are very real, may not be realized right away. I would want to wear earplugs to maintain a level of comfort. If it’s too noisy, you’re not going to be able to focus on the sights as well as you could without that distraction.

  • Jack
    Posted at 10:11h, 04 November Reply

    Renting these Air-Boats are super fun not to mention the food around the everglades is amazing and a must to try!

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