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Tips for a Florida Everglades Airboat Ride


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An airboat tour through the Everglades is a must for alligator spotting, raccoon watching, and getting up close and personal with the area's mangroves and swamp lands.

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Tips for a Florida Everglades Airboat Ride

  1. 1. Everglades City, Florida, 2018
  2. 2. • Drive for hours in general direction of Everglades. • Stumble upon row of airboat companies; pick one. We went with Captain Jack’s, which lets you “hug” a baby alligator and offers free admission to its animal sanctuary. • Buy boat tickets for the next available ride. • Expect to wait at least an hour. • Wish you packed more food than cheese, crackers and mini Altoids. • Kill time signing waiver, handling baby alligator, walking around junky area, using port-a-potty, sanitizing hands at least twice, planning for sanctuary after boat ride.
  3. 3. Fighting the crowds at the ticket office
  4. 4. Junky area surrounding airboat row
  5. 5. Fun with photo editing tools on crab traps
  6. 6. Mom and Les with alligator statue in junky area (in what mom called a junky photo)
  7. 7. • Rear turbine engine that looks like a giant fan provides noise and power. • Totally flat bottom lets boats glide easily in shallow water atop branches, sticks, alligators and lost hats. • Two benches for passengers; back seat for captain. • Racing airboats hit speeds of 130 mph, but tour boats stay around 40 mph. • Boats have forward, neutral and reverse options. When the airboat glides over an alligator, the boat just pushes down on the alligator with no keel or propeller to cause injury.
  8. 8. Through the mangroves we go
  9. 9. Hungry raccoons learn to get close enough to snag catfish for lunch without becoming an alligator’s lunch.
  10. 10. Back through the mangroves we go
  11. 11. Sweet Everglades dream house…
  12. 12. …if you don’t mind the constant parade of noisy airboats.
  13. 13. Boat photo for Beezel
  14. 14. Pier photo for the heck of it
  15. 15. Final boat thoughts • Tip Capt. Steve and he’ll show you shortcut out of the boatyard. • Tip your hat on the ride and it’ll probably blow away. Sanctuary thoughts • Location is few miles down the road. • You’ll get your alligator fix, with more than 100 alligators on hand. • Overall vibe is kind of sad, with kennels and gated ponds (although the animals are rescues from the wild.) • Heed the yellow signs.
  16. 16. • Yes, it’s fun. • Yes, I enjoyed it. • Yes, I’d say try it at least once when in Florida. • Yes, you want to remember your sunscreen (oops!). Different airboat companies provide different experiences, such as mangroves vs. grassland rides, narrated vs. see- for-yourself rides, and single sessions vs. combo package with swamp buggy option. Ours was a see-for-yourself mangrove whirl where we saw all mangroves tend to look the same.
  17. 17. See more fun stuff at