It’s not that often that you get to do something fun and adventurous on vacation or cross something off of a bucket list so this excursion might be a great way to do both if you are in the Miami area. When we found out we would be in the Miami area, I looked into several air boat excursions and chose Air Boat In the Everglades. The website is http://www.airboatineverglades.com/ The company came highly recommended and making our reservation online was easy. We had our choice of a semi-private one hour trip at a number of times throughout the day or a private tour. We received confirmations by e-mail letting us know how many people would be on the boat with us when we chose the semi-private tour and our credit card was processed when the trip was confirmed. Everything went through smoothly.
We drove ½ hour from the Biltmore Hotel where we had just checked out to Dade’s corner using our GPS and the address provided to meet up with Bill from Airboats in the Everglades. I had arranged the trip in advance but didn’t realize that we would be meeting them at a gas station nearby. Fortunately, we were within a few minutes of arrival when Bill, our escort, called me on my cell phone to make sure we were still coming. He told us where to pull in and we couldn’t miss the air boat parked in the parking lot. That was my fault. I hadn’t paid attention to that detail when we booked the trip but I thought their confirmation call was a great benefit. Many other companies might have just left without us. We followed him as well as two other cars to the launch site which looked like a power station of some sort and seemed a bit remote but it was a convenient spot to park our cars, put on sunscreen and get our geared stowed away for the trip. Our captain, John, was there waiting for us. One group went on another boat for a private tour and we were joined with another family for a semi-private tour. In total, there were just ten of us on our airboat.
Captain John offered ear protection for anyone in the back of the boat or for anyone that wanted it. The four of us sat on the front bench and didn’t feel as if we needed the ear protection. The air boat does get very loud but you can still hear him talking. He explained that he had 48 years of experience on the Everglades with air boats. He had been on those waters from the time he was young and still belongs to a local air boat association. He definitely knew the vegetation and flora of the area. He showed us Pond Fruit and different flowers but the best was seeing the alligators. In August, you aren’t guaranteed to see them but three rather large alligators seemed to know him well and came right up to the side of the boat to visit! He taught us that the Everglades are actually a very slow moving river. It moves only about 1 mile per day but that is why the water doesn’t get stagnant. We talked about ecology and what he’s seen over the years. We all really enjoyed it. They offered us water when we returned and was kind enough to let us take photos before we left.
The whole excursion didn’t take our whole day but was well worth the time and money. If you have your own vehicle in Miami or Coral Gables, I highly recommend this company for your air boat ride.