High speed Airboat tour in the Florida Everglades mangrove forest. Wow! I have to say that this was one of the coolest things that I have ever done, and I have done a lot. I had been on one other airboat tour in the Everglades about 20 years ago in the open grasslands. That was a great time but was much less exhilarating than flying through the maze of corridors in the mangrove forest at 45 mph. The open grass land tour is an option here as well but because I had already experienced that wanted to do the mangrove forest. Our captain gave us the ride (and thrill) of our lives. The adventure starts at Captain Jack's Airboat Tours in Everglade City. There are a number of operators in town that offer similar excursions and rates.
We depart the dock on the Barron river in the early afternoon. The temperature this time of year was very comfortable in the mid 80s. The pace starts slow as the captain motors around through this river and cove giving some history of the area and creatures that live there. Alligators were on that list but did not want to be seen while we were there. The anticipation was building and I was ready to get into the thick of it. Another 10 mins of chugging along and we were finally heading into the mangrove forest. The passages started to close in on us and start to twist and turn. The dense forest now closing in above us to create a tunnel of vegetation. In the background you can hear the sounds of the other boats ramping up at full throttle run the same course that we would soon be zipping through. I was ready for the pace to pick up and soon we would approach our launch pad into the labyrinth at full speed. As we meandered through this tunnel of trees the channel was barely wide enough to fit the boat through. As we approached this particular bend in the river something looked different. To the left was the turn and to the right the dense forest of mangroves were dripping wet as if it had been raining. I knew this was it. We were ready to launch. As soon as we turned left the captain floored it, ramping up the giant blades and blasted air and water behind us. Soon we were propelled at 45mph down this long corridor of mangroves literally only a few feet away. We continued to zig and zag every which way only avoiding certain collision with other boats because of the radio system the captains had in order to track where every one else was. Occasionally we would stop at a junction and wait for an airboat to fly by. Along the way we also stopped to see manatees swimming around and a family of raccoons in search of their next meal. Eventually our hour long tour was up and we motor slowly out of the forest and back into the Barron river towards the dock.
If you are looking to try something new and exhilarating then put this on your list. I highly recommend it. It gives you a chance to see the diverse everglades ecosystem up close and is a truly unique experience. Both the grassland and mangrove tours will be memorable, but if your looking for a bit more thrill and adrenaline then go with the mangrove tour. To avoid waiting be sure to book ahead.
Check out the 360 video below.