4 Tips for Taking an Airboat Tour in the Everglades

Airboat in the everglades

If you’re like me and were the kid who watched Animal Planet and Nat Geo TV every day, then airboating in the Everglades was 100% on your bucket list. And as that former kid, when my dad started spending a month in Florida every winter I knew I had to take the opportunity to cross this activity off of my bucket list and book an airboat tour in the Everglades.

Now, I had to convince my brother and father that this was a great idea. Luckily it didn’t take that much effort, and I was able to book a trip about an hour outside Naples (where we were staying) via Everglades Excursions. But Everglades tours can start in almost any city within a few hours range and there are tons of Everglades tour companies to choose from!

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The Short Version

  • Do a half day tour at very least
  • Decide which terrain you want to see, sawgrass or mangroves before you book a tour
  • Pack layers because it will be chilly on the boat
  • Go close to sundown

The Long Version of My Tips for Airboating in the Everglades

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1 – Do a Half Day Tour at Least

We signed up for a half-day tour and went in the afternoon. I wouldn’t recommend anything less than that because I don’t think you’ll get to fully experience the Everglades like you want to. If/when I go back and go airboating in the Everglades again, I’ll be doing a full day.

2 – Decide Between Sawgrass vs. Mangroves

What we didn’t know before we got there is there are two types of tours we could have done; through the sawgrass or within the mangroves.

The mangroves are just as you’d think, they’re mangrove forests you take the airboat and ride around in.

Sawgrass tours don’t have the mangrove trees, they just have the grass sticking out of the swampy water that you airboat over.

We chose to do the sawgrass and it was truly insane to feel like you were just boating across grass. I’ve done both mangrove and sawgrass excursions in Florida and I personally enjoyed the sawgrass one for an Everglades airboat tour specifically.

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3 – Pack Layers, It’ll Be Chilly

I know it’s Florida but it will be chilly and windy on the boat, so grab yourself a blanket, jacket, and something to clip your hair back if it’s long. That way you can truly enjoy the experience of an airboat tour on the Everglades without being cold or whipped by your own hair.

4 – Go Close to Sundown

Typically for excursions, I would recommend to go to the earlier one to miss all the crowds, but I think I would actually recommend the opposite for the Everglades tour. Airboating in the Everglades at dusk was magical. We were probably the only ones left out on the boats and were coming back right around dusk and saw DOZENS of alligators throughout the waters. It was incredible. Our guide was excellent at spotting them, and because we were there in January we saw tons of little adorable baby murder logs as well. Was it creepy? Absolutely. Was it amazing? 100%. Was it expensive? A little. Was it worth it? Yes.

To see what I saw on this trip, check out my Instagram highlight, and tap until you see me start to get out there. I’ve also got more national parks tips and tricks if alligators aren’t your thing. Beauty is calling!

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