The vast Florida Everglades is one of the most impressive landmarks to explore. It is a fun day trip from Naples, Orlando or Miami that the whole family will enjoy. The Everglades is a 1.5 million acre wetlands preserve in southern Florida.The Everglades consists of mangroves, marshes, alligators, manatees, panthers, birds, turtles and hundreds of other animal species. The best way to see the Florida Everglades is by taking an airboat tour.
Airboat Tour in the Florida Everglades
The Everglades has two seasons, wet summer and dry winter. I visited the Everglades in January; the winter is apparently the best time to see wildlife. During the winter season (December- May) the ecosystem goes through a drought period where there is little rain and wildlife is more visible.
An airboat tour allows for easy navigation of the swampy wetland, moving quickly through the mangroves. I chose the Everglades City Airboat Tour based on their positive reviews. The tour cost $39.62 plus tax, and it was an hour-long narrated tour. They provide a two-way communication headset so you can respond and ask questions during your tour.
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The airboat tour begins by leaving from Barron River. It heads straight into the thick mangroves in search of alligators and other wildlife.
The Florida Everglades is the largest subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America making it an ideal environment for mangroves. The mangroves grow even larger here because they do not encounter frost. This is also a reason I enjoy living in Florida 🙂
Alligators in the Florida Everglades
But mangroves are probably not the only thing you want to see on your airboat ride. You are taking this tour for the alligators, right? Even though alligators are large reptiles, you still have to do a bit of searching to find them because alligators are experts at camouflage. During winter months alligators tend to be slower and hang out in more visible locations to bask in the sun.
Some of the tour guides at City Airboats get up close and personal with these Florida gators. Alligators are not known to be aggressive animals, but they are quicker than you may think. Alligators run up to 11mph on land and swim as fast 25mph. It is no surprise here that I chose to stay on the airboat!
You will see birds more than anything else throughout your airboat ride through the Everglades. The Florida Everglades is one of the country’s top locations for bird watching. There are over 350 species of birds that live in these wetlands.
Most of the airboat tour is spent flying through the mangroves. The airboat glides with ease over the water, there is no motor underwater, but a huge fan propelling it through the grassy swamp. Check out this video to experience the exhilarating airboat ride.
Here are some tips for visiting the Florida Everglades:
- Make a reservation with a tour guide before arrival
- If you go in the summer bring sunscreen and bug spray
- Bring a hat and sunglasses to provide shade making it easier to spot wildlife
- Checkout Everglades Day Safari if you need transportation from a neighboring town
Click below to find out more things to do in the Florida Everglades.