Are you traveling to Florida for a family vacation? You should consider an airboat ride, which is both a unique and great learning experience for both kids and adults. My family visited the Panhandle of Florida and we chose to go on an airboat tour of the Apalachicola Bay and River/Estuary System. We loved it! I’m sharing my reasons why Airboat Rides in Florida are Fun and Exciting. I was happy the activity was both educational and entertaining for my whole family.
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We rented a beach house in Carrabelle, Florida, on the panhandle south of Tallahassee. The beach house rental was a wonderful vacation plan for our family because we were able to spread out and enjoy the comforts of home, yet we were somewhere awesome. We had our own private beach on calm ocean water; it was fabulous! One of the days we reserved spots on an airboat ride that took us through the cypress swamps of the Apalachicola Bay and River/Estuary System. It was a great adventure! We visited in the month of March and got lucky with warm weather while we were there, at least warm coming from Minnesota!
Why Airboat Rides are Fun and Exciting…
The Harbor, Bay & River/Estuary System and the Cypress Swamp
We boarded the airboat, which was driven by a fourth generation captain who was also a retired police officer and native to the area. The Captain was very knowledgable and entertaining! We learned a lot about the area and alligators from him. The Captain was a great narrator, he clearly knew the area very well having lived there his whole life. We felt very safe with him during the whole tour. He made it fun with some swerves and turns of the boat and also by busting through the weeds. Our boys enjoyed it, so did my husband and I, it was really fun to ride the airboat!
Note that it was chilly when the boat was speeding along, so I was glad I had my sweatshirt. We rode in early March.
Also, it was loud, but the Captain provides ear protection if riders want to block out some of the loudness from the fan.
The bay and estuary system were both very beautiful with all of the lush green vegetation against the deep blue water.
We enjoyed seeing many different types of wildlife too.
On to the cypress swamp area.
We enjoyed a Beautiful Ecological Journey…
We saw several wild alligators on the airboat ride! There was a super large alligator named Brutus who was sunning himself. Brutus was 1.200 pounds and about 14 feet long. He was huge! The female alligators are smaller as seen in the picture below.
The picture above shows another alligator we saw on the airboat excursion.
The Gator Littles!
These little guys, they are on their own. Mama gator lays the eggs and the sex of the gators is determined by the temperature. The entire nest will be either all males or all females based on the temperature of the air. The Captain informed us, the colder incubation temperatures result in all female offspring while warmer temps produce all males. Hmm…maybe that’s because females are tougher;)
(Ha! I couldn’t resist that one!!)
We enjoyed seeing the young alligators. The babies! Well, sort of. They are like a year old or more. Not many survive to this age even. The tour guide taught us about how the young alligators stay in the swampy back lake area, the cypress swamp, for safety as alligators eat other alligators, so to avoid being prey, they stay put rather than venture out and about into the river and bay areas.
The area is “one of the most productive estuaries in the Northern Hemisphere.” https://apalachairboat.com/about
This one was hiding out in the muck!
We saw the nest of the Ospreys way up high on a tower. One bird always stays at the nest while his or her mate goes off for food. Then they switch places. They keep making their nest up high in the same spot each year.
Other tour attendees have seen manatees, we, however, did not. Perhaps it was the wrong time of year for them. We sure enjoyed seeing the wild alligators though!
We also saw pelicans.
There are hundreds of birds and animals who live in the area.
We thoroughly enjoyed our airboat excursion and we totally recommend it. To learn more about it, click here for Apalachairboat.
They also offer fishing excursions and sunset excursions in addition to the airboat excursion tour we went on through the Apalachicola Bay Estuary System to view the wild alligators and other wildlife.
Apalachicola the Town
The town of Apalachicola was very cute, charming, and quaint. As we drove through, I wished we would have had time to peruse the town but it was our last day of vacation and we had to head back to the beach house to pack up. The area is a great place to visit however with delicious seafood, beautiful national and state forests to hike, fishing, and St. George Island with its gorgeous beaches and huge rolling ocean waves.
Thank you to Apalachicola Airboat Excursions a for allowing for the fun airboat tour and for allowing this review.
I hope you found this review helpful in planning your trip to the area.
Eat well and enjoy life!
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