Airboat Rides in the Everglades
By Cynthia Hardin
Our Cypress Airboat tour was the ride of a lifetime. We took the whole family on this Everglade adventure, and it was a great experience for all of us. The special child pricing made it an affordable family outing during our Florida vacation, and I’m sure the kids will remember their airboat ride in the Everglades for a lifetime. We have wonderful memories and photos of our airboat ride in the Everglades to take home and share with friends.
Before our trip, I wasn’t even sure what an airboat was, but I’d heard it was the best way to see the Everglades! Many areas of the Everglades are only accessible by airboat, so I certainly recommend an airboat tour, if you’re interested in the ecology and wildlife of the Everglades. I was pleasantly surprised to find the airboat ride both smooth enough to be comfortable in the shallow waters of the Everglades and fast enough to be a lot of fun for all of us. For anyone who doesn’t know, airboats are light, small boats powered by a rear-mounted airplane propeller. While our group was small, Cypress Airboats can handle groups of up to 14 on their larger airboats. We took a two-hour tour, but both shorter and longer tours are available. They’ll even schedule night tours! We ruled that out because of the kids, but I imagine it would be wonderful for adults. While I didn’t expect the airboat to be fast, it can move quickly through the swampy waters of the Everglades. The kids in particular liked this part of our Everglades airboat adventure.
We chose Cypress Airboats over other companies in the area for several reasons. First and foremost, they are experienced and knowledgeable about the area, so we felt that they would provide us with a safe and fun airboat experience in the Everglades. Our primary reason for choosing Cypress Airboats over their competitors was the depth of the tour. Many airboat tours go just a few miles into the Everglades and do not offer a substantial amount of information, or a real chance to experience the beauty of the Everglades. Cypress Airboats does offer shorter airboat rides, geared toward speed and excitement, and we’d love to come back and give an adventurous airboat ride a try!
While I was a bit nervous about venturing deep into the backwoods of the Florida Everglades, our professional and knowledgeable captain made me completely comfortable for our airboat ride in the Everglades. The captain was, like all the captains for Cypress Airboats, US Coast Guard certified, and grew up piloting airboats in the Everglades. We had no worries at all about our safety on our airboat tour of the Everglades. The boat was equipped with floatation devices and first- aid supplies, as well, so we felt like we were well prepared if something did occur. Not only did our captain ensure our safety, but also he was also a great tour guide and shared many details about the ecology, animals, plants, and history of the Everglades.
Our two-hour airboat tour with Cypress Airboat was an approximate 40-mile ride through the River of Grass. The River of Grass is a shallow wide span of water, ranging from as shallow as six inches deep to as much as three feet deep. The waters of the River of Grass are home to many different plant and animal species, from alligators to orchids. Our captain was a knowledgeable and experienced guide and he freely shared his knowledge of the area. His skills as a guide and as a pilot of the airboat thoroughly enhanced our trip and made it fun and educational for the whole family.
Our airboat ride through the Everglades was a great way to experience this amazing, natural environment. We traveled through the River of Grass on our airboat tour and saw a huge variety of wetland plants and trees. We saw sawgrass, water lilies, bladderwort, and other marshland plants, as well as cypress trees, orchids, and ferns. We found the mangrove trees in the Everglades particularly interesting. Our captain was very familiar with the many interesting plants on the airboat tour.
We’re all interested in bird watching, and this was definitely a highlight of our airboat trip in the Florida Everglades. We were lucky enough to spot a white ibis and a great blue heron, but a number of other birds also inhabit the Everglades. We’d hoped to see a roseate spoonbill or one of the varieties of egrets in the region, but didn’t get quite that lucky.
We did see a number of alligators during our visit to the Everglades, including one big one! That was very exciting for all of us. It was interesting to learn more about the role of alligators, not only as a top predator in the area, but also the importance of alligators to the overall ecology of the Everglades. Alligators burrow out gator holes that provide homes for many aquatic species during the dry season. Manatees and dolphins also live in the open waters of the Everglades, but are obviously not seen in the shallow waters of the backcountry.
Our captain told us of a number of other interesting animal species in the area. We had hoped to spot the endangered Florida panthers, but didn’t get to see them this time. However, we did catch a glimpse of a white tailed deer, and our captain told us to watch for bobcats, opossums, skunks, raccoons, and other small mammals, which are common in the area, as well.
Our airboat ride in the Everglades was an experience none of us will ever forget. We all can’t wait to go back and definitely plan on taking another ride with Cypress Airboats on our next trip to the area. We’re even considering arranging a special full day tour to really explore and experience the beauty and wonder of the Everglades. Fortunately, Cypress Airboats operates 365 days a year, assuming the weather is safe for airboating, so we’re sure to be able to find time for another exciting adventure with the great folks at Cypress Airboats.
Cynthia Waldin is a mother of two, and frequent visitor to Cypress Airboats. For the most exciting adventure in Florida, book a family Everglades Airboat Trip today. We are open year round for your convenience. Airboat Rides
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