Visiting The Everglades: the best airboat tour

Riding on an airboat across The Everglades was on my bucket list, so when I cruised from Port Everglades last year I decided to organise a tour on debarkation day.  The Caribbean cruise I went on did stop in Port Everglades half way through the itinerary but didn’t want to rush this excursion so opted to go when I left the ship – this also gave me something to look forward to once the cruise was over.

I booked one night’s stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Miami (opposite the Dolphin Mall), which was near to the edge of The Everglades.  Our flight wasn’t until the next day so we had plenty of time to visit The Everglades and the mall, which is the largest in Miami.

Hilton Garden Inn, Miami
Hilton Garden Inn, Miami

We actually stayed here on the night of the Superbowl, I remember it being on all the TVs in the lounge bar.  The room was spacious and comfortable so served us well as a base.

Based on good reviews and feedback we had pre-booked a semi-private airboat ride with River of Grass Adventures.  Our research had found that by booking a semi-private tour, we would still get a good quality tour without the price tag.  Reviews also suggested that these tours are not always full so the groups are still relatively small.

We got an Uber to a gas station, detailed on the booking confirmation and the friendly staff met us straight away, from there we hopped into one of their vehicles to be taken to the airboat.  It seemed a very relaxed and informal tour, which was refreshing; the guide was chatty and explained to us that the small family-run airboat company know The Everglades really well and put the customers’ experience first.  It turned out that there was only one other couple joining us for the tour so there was only four of us, plus the airboat driver/tour guide.

Everglade airboats
Everglade airboats
Everglades alligator
Everglades alligator
Alligators are used to the air boats
Alligators are used to the air boats in The Everglades
Baby alligator, The Everglades
Baby alligator – kind of cute?
The Everglades
The Everglades
alligator everglades air boat
This big alligator was inquisitive and came right up to the air boat
alligator everglades
Smile for the camera!
Mangrove trees in The Everglades
Mangrove trees in The Everglades

The tour guide was so knowledgeable and was able to stop at known alligator ‘hang outs’ so we were able to see lots of them during our tour.  The airboat ride was exhilarating and fun, it felt like we were going much faster than we were but we held on tight and enjoyed the ride!

The River of Grass Adventures’ semi-private tour, known on the company’s website as the 1.5 Hour – Best Everglades “small group” Airboat Tour is $85 per person, which I think is really good value for money as there were only four of us on the tour.  You could also book a private tour for two people for $300.

Happy cruising!

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19 thoughts on “Visiting The Everglades: the best airboat tour

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  1. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to seek out someone with some authentic thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is one thing that is needed on the internet, somebody with somewhat originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

  2. I don’t think I would like to go to alligator “hangouts”…. but the trees in the everglades look pretty nice. The alligators being so close seems really scary though! I’m also surprised that it wasn’t so packed for the Super Bowl! Sounds like a great find!

  3. Wow this sounds like an awesome tour! The baby alligator was actually very cute 🙂 I had just got back from doing a crocodile tour and its amazing to see how similar crocodiles and alligators look, yet they are so different. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes apparently alligators are more placid than crocodiles! I’m not willing to test that theory out!

  4. What an interesting adventure! And you also get to visit alligator “hangouts”? I would love to check out this place. I would expect a place like this to be super-crowded for the Super Bowl but I’m glad to hear it wasn’t. Thank you for sharing this lovely article, I’ll have this place in my mind for my upcoming trip

    1. Thank you, it was probably a good day to got as Americans were probably too busy getting ready for the Super Bowl build up to see the alligators that day!

  5. I used to visit Florida a lot as a kid in the 1980s as we had family there. But we never took an airboat trip on the Everglades, something I’d love to do as it’s such an iconic way to see them. Your recommendation of River of Grass Adventures is great, to get a quality tour without huge price tag, thank you, will save this.

    1. Before this trip I’d only visited Orlando so it was something I had to do when I visited Miami. This was a personal tour without it being too expensive.

  6. I did an Everglades tour a very long time ago and loved it! Probably doing this around Super Bowl kept the huge crowds away. I’ve noted the details of the River of Grass Adventures as we will be in Miami next year and I’d love to do this again 🙂

  7. Sounds like you had an exciting tour. I would never venture so close to alligators but this acts as a great guide for people who would really want to. Booking a semi-private or a private tour seems like the perfect way of doing it. I am glad you had a good experience. And I believe the Super Bowl was a great time to do this tour. Best way to keep the crowd away.

  8. The Everglades air boat tour is on my bucket list tour and I’d love to spot those alligator hangouts with a knowledgeable tour guide too! It’s a pity that when I visited Florida 5 years ago, I had no idea about it. I need to go back, I guess. Haha.

  9. Florida and the Everglades are on my radar. It seems like many are accustomed to crocodiles down there, but truthfully, they make me so nervous! Crocodiles seem incredibly unpredictible and powerful–but at the same time an amazing vestige of the dinosaur age. I think I would like to see one like you did on this tour, but maybe from a bit further away. LOL. Yikes!

  10. I am glad you had a great trip with River of Grass Adventures. You are indeed brave to have gone so close to the alligators which I may never ever dream to do. The place looks beautiful wading through the waters and mangroves.

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