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Plan Your Everglades National Park Airboat Tour

a reptile in the water

Everglades National Park is the jewel of the Florida Everglades, and one of the most popular activities to enjoy in this biodiverse ecosystem is an airboat tour. Exciting and eco-friendly, airboats are the perfect way to take in the amazing views of the wetlands and mangroves and spot the iconic wildlife that calls this area home. Get ready to make the most of your Everglades National Park airboat tour with this complete guide to planning your visit.

Why take an airboat tour?

With their large fans and thrilling speeds, airboats have become synonymous with Everglades National Park. This is a rich ecosystem, with beautiful wetlands, swamps, forests, and mangroves where a variety of wildlife dwells. The Everglades support the lives of alligators, manatees, birds, turtles, and so much more. It’s of utmost importance to protect these habitats, which is why an eco-friendly airboat tour is one of the best ways to explore the park.

Not to mention, it’s so much fun! Airboats can get up to speeds of 60 miles per hour, creating a joyous ride that is safe for all ages. Entertaining, safe, green, and exciting for the whole family — what’s not to love about an airboat tour?

What’s the best time of year to visit Everglades National Park?

The short answer is there’s no bad time to experience the Everglades on an airboat tour. No matter what time of year you plan to travel, you’ll be able to enjoy this amazing wilderness. But there are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding when to visit, particularly depending on what you want to see.

a bird sitting on grass

Dry Season: December – April

Best for: Birdwatching and wildlife sightings

Starting in December, the Everglades go through a dry season that typically ends around early May. This is a busy time of year for Florida as many people escape from the cold winter in the northern states to enjoy the warmer temperatures, which stay around the low 50s to high 70s.

This time of year, alligators dig dens known as alligator holes to hold water, which becomes scarce. These dens actually support many species in the Everglades, and you have a great chance of seeing a variety of wildlife congregating near alligator holes during the dry season.

If you absolutely must see alligators, opt for an airboat tour that includes an alligator show!

If you’re a bird enthusiast, this is the perfect time of year to visit. Hundreds of species of migrating birds fly south to nest, filling the sawgrass prairies that emerge as the water recedes. Birdwatchers have the chance to spot wood storks, roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, great white herons, snowy egrets, and more! Learn more about the abundance of wildlife you can see in the Everglades.

Another benefit of the dry season is that pesky insects like mosquitoes and biting flies are few and far between, making for a more comfortable experience.

a river running through a body of water

Wet Season: May – November

Best for: Uncrowded tours and baby alligator sightings

This time of year is hot and humid, with temperatures reaching highs around 90 degrees and heavy rainfalls causing the water levels to rise. This is a less popular time to visit due to the heat and abundance of mosquitoes, but if you’re armed with the right clothing and insect repellent, it’s a great time to enjoy an airboat ride with the waterways to yourself.

As the season progresses, the water levels rise dramatically, causing wildlife to disperse. However, there are amazing opportunities for nature photographers to take stunning photos of the wetlands. This is an active time of year for alligators as they wake up from their biological slowdown in the winter and begin their mating, nesting, and hatching season. In the late summer, toward the end of August, the baby alligators begin to hatch, making for exciting and adorable wildlife sightings.

If you’re looking for some solitude and want to experience the wetlands at their best, this is a great time of year to visit. Just keep in mind that thunderstorms can delay your plans, but they don’t typically last long.

What should I wear and bring on my Everglades airboat tour?

Ready for your adventure in the wilderness? Use this handy checklist to make sure you pack everything you need for your Everglades National Park airboat tour.

What to wear:

  • Comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting muddy or wet: Remember, this is the wilderness! Dress for the weather.
    • Dry season (winter): Opt for jeans and a T-shirt, and bring another layer as it can get chilly when the airboat reaches higher speeds.
    • Wet season (summer): Shorts and T-shirts help you stay cool in the high temperatures, but light, long-sleeved hiking shirts can help protect you from insects.

What to bring:

  • Bug repellant: Mosquitoes and biting flies are abundant in the summer, so be sure to bring plenty of bug repellent to keep them away. Opt for a DEET-free, eco-friendly repellant.
  • Sun protection: You’ll get plenty of sun no matter what time of year you visit, so be prepared with sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses can make it easier to spot wildlife in the water!
  • Camera: Capture amazing moments and unique wildlife!
  • Binoculars: Many visitors forget this, but a pair of binoculars will help you see birds and other wildlife at a distance.
  • Water: It’s important to stay hydrated throughout your tour. Bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.

Your visit to Everglades National Park promises to be an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in nature at this one-of-a-kind park and prepare to be amazed by the wildlife and vegetation that make this such a popular destination. Explore a variety of Everglades airboat tours and start planning your visit!