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Airboat Rides in Florida: The Fast But Not So Furious

It’s sad to live in a place and never get to experience or explore all that place has to offer, but once again I’ve failed to satisfy my curiosity and my fascination for airboats. I believe this desire to ride on one stems from watching too many ‘Flipper’ TV shows. I had never seen a boat that could fly off the water and travel across land, so yeah, this had my attention in a very big way!

Now, if you happen to be like me and are interested in a totally free, unforgettable experience? Where you get to feel the wind rushing through your hair, while flying over a river of grass, or how about seeing wildlife, face to face…up close and personal? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then prepare yourself for one of the most exhilarating rides you’ll ever have- short of being on a roller coaster. Welcome to Florida, the state I’ve lovingly called the ‘home of the airboat rides.’

Airboat rides are quite plentiful around the state. especially in the Everglades…Everglades City, to be exact. The airboats are not allowed inside the park itself, because the flat bottoms of the boats, do too much damage to the wildlife and plant life there. However, the outer boundaries, where the boats are allowed, is still fun and the rides are still fast.

When investigating about airboat rides, I discovered the prices you pay to book a ride, are as varied as the people that own them, and the experiences of the people that book them. The one thing that remains constant however, is the beauty and diversity of the natural ecosystems you will encounter regardless where you book your ride, and I say, ‘What better way to get to the heart of the matter, and enjoy the panoramic views of the lush vegetation and the native wildlife than by airboat!’

Depending on who you book… your airboat pilot will also be your tour guide and narrator. Which is a good thing, because there will be a lot of things to see in these unique ecosystems. You get to see exotic foliage, different kinds of plant life, and cypress trees. There will be exotic wading birds, alligators swimming, eating or basking in the sun, and you should also fish, turtles and snakes. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll catch a small glimpse of the elusive panther or bobcat. Wildlife may pop up anywhere, and sometimes they do.

The next time you’re in Florida, treat yourself to an airboat ride. Enjoy the speed, the wind, the serenity and the beauty of natures’ wilderness for yourself. And don’t worry about where to book, you should be able to find tours in or near every large city in the state. From North Florida to South Florida. But hurry if you want to experience the beauty of the Everglades.

Out of all the national parks, Everglades National Park is closest to extinction. There are sixteen endangered and five threatened species of wildlife. So book a ride on line. That way you can read about the different outfitters…what they charge, what they offer, and where they are located.

The whole experience is educational and fun, but as usual, go prepared for your ride. Dress accordingly, and don’t forget to take your sun block, shades, hat or cap, camera, binoculars and a bottle of water.

On a last note…did you know the Everglades cover 1.4 million acres? Did you know the it was once an ancient sea bottom? Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell supposedly built the first airboat in 1905? Did you know the highest point in the Everglades is only 10 feet above sea level, and that the name ‘river of grass’, was given to the Everglades, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, from a phrase out of her book, ‘The Everglades: River of Grass’? Just thought you would want to. Enjoy! Travel safe.

Oh, and if you would like to experience more thrills in your life, you can read about taking a storm chasing vacation in tornado alley, or perhaps booking a balloon ride for those special events in your life. Below are just a few places that offer airboat rides and the tours and prices. Enjoy it and don’t forget to read the ‘points to remember.’

Peace River AirboatPeace River Charters
Peace River Campgrounds
Arcadia, Florida
(863) 444-0693

Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Airboat Tours (1 hour ride)
Adults – $43.00
Children 10 and under – $22.00

Group Rates 14 or More (1/2 hour ride)
Adults – $34.00
Children – $18.00
Private Tours 4 or Less (1 hour ride)
Trip -$200

Points To Remember:

  • If you book 6 adults on a tour, you receive $20 off of your reservation.
  • Ask them about their night time rides.
  • They do have hourly rates available for the 1/2 hour ride.
  • Ask about their cancellation policy
  • Ask if taxes are included in their prices.

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
2001 E. Southport Road
Kissimme, Florida 34746
(407) 344-9550

Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Scenic Nature Tour (1/2 hour)
Adults – $26.95
Children 3 to 10 – $20.95

Scenic Nature Tour East Location (1 hour)
Adults – $43.95
Children 3 to 10 – $38.95
Baby under 2 – Free

Scenic Nature Tour Southport Location (1 hour)
Adults – $43.95
Children 3 to 10 – $38.95
Children under 2 – Free

Night Time Tour (1 hour)
Adults – $51.95
Children 3 to 10 – $47.95
Children under 2 – Free

Swamp Excursion (45 minutes)
Price is $56.95

Points To Remember:

  • Tickets are good any day from 9am to 5:30pm for one year from the date of purchase.
  • If the ride is cancelled due to bad weather they will offer you another date.
  • If you are a no-Show you will not be eligible for a refund.
  • All sales are final.
  • Ask if taxes are included in their prices.

Panama City Airboat Tours
14856 Bay View Cir
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
(850) 234-1532

Airboat Tour (1/2 hour tour)
Adults – $20.00
Children 2 to 12 – $12.00

Ariboat Tour (1 hour tour)
Adults – $32.00
Children 2 to 12 – $20.00

Ultimate Sunset Night Tour
Adults – $42.00
Children 2 to 12 – $25.00

Group Tours (1 hour)
Group up to 32

Points To Remember:

  • You get $4 off each adult ticket for groups of 10 or more on the 1 hour group tour.
  • Anyone with serious medical problems is not permitted to ride.
  • Children under the age of 2 are not recommended.
  • Baby Carriers are not permitted.
  • They are open all year.
  • Ask if taxes are included in the prices.
  • Customers must cancel at least 4 hours prior to scheduled time.
  • If you don’t cancel 4 hours prior, you will be charged a minimum of $10 per person or full price, depending on the circumstances.

Black Hammock AdventureBlack Hammock Adventures
2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp
Oviedo, FL 32756
(407) 365-1244

Airboat Ride (30 minute ride)
Adults – $26.95
Children 10 and under – $21.95

Airboat Ride (1 hour ride)
Adults – $41.95
Children 10 and under – $36.95

Nigth Rides (1 hour)
Each Person – $55.00

VIP Ride (45 minutes)
Per Person – $50.00

Points To Remember:

  • All reservations must be made at least a day in advance
  • The VIP ride is a private airboat ride with the captain.
  • Each one hour ride has a minimum of four people.
  • Prices did not include the tax.
  • Ask about their cancellation policy.
  • Walk-ins welcome for the 30 minute airboat ride between 9:30am to 4:30pm, departs every 30 minutes.

Everglades Safari ParkEverglades Safari Park
26700 SW 8th St
Miami, Florida 33194

Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm

The Eco-Adventure Tour (30-40 minute ride)
Adults – $23.00
Children 5 to 11 – $12.00
Children under 5 – FREE

Private Eco-Adventure Tour (40 minute ride)
$200 for the first 4 people, $30 each additional person

Private Jungle of Wilderness Tour (1 hour ride)
$250 for the first 4 people, $50 each additional person

Private Island Hopping Tour (2 hour ride)
$450 for the first 4 people, $100 each additional person

Sunset Tour (1 1/2 hour ride)
$350 for the first 4 people, $75 each additional

Points To Remember:

  • All prices include the tax.
  • The Sunset Tour is not available during the summer months.
  • Ask about their cancellation policy.
  • Ariboat Tours depart every 25 minutes.
  • They are open 365 days a year, 7 days a week.

Wild Florida Air Boat RidesWild Florida Air Boat Rides
3301 Lake Cypress Rd
Kenansville, FL 34739
(407) 957-3135

Hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm

Airboat Tour (1/2 hour ride)
Adults – $25.00
Children 3 to 12 – $22.00
Children 2 and under – Free

Airboat Tour (1 hour ride)
Adults – $45.00
Children 3 to 12 – $35.00
Children 2 and under – Free

Private Airboat Tour (1 hour ride)
Each Person – 60.00

Night Time Tour (1 hour ride)
Each Person – $60.00

Points To Remember:

  • The best tour times of the day during the summer are 9:00, 10:15 and 4:30.
  • During the hottest hours of the day, wildlife is harder to spot.
  • They see daily thunderstorms in the summer around 2:00 that prohibit airboat tours.
  • Ask about their cancellation policy.
  • Ask if taxes are included in the price.
  • They are open Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays.

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