One of the coolest things to do in Central Florida is go on an airboat ride. Not only is it a part of our heritage, but it's also just plain fun! Since it's a booming part of the local economy, there are a lot of options. Here are some helpful hints when choosing the best airboat ride for you.
- Look for Accessibility - Think of all the people in your group. Do any have mobility issues? Some companies have built docks that are even wheelchair accessible, while others have you to hop right on the boat from the shore. Ask them if they can they accommodate special need guests. It's important for everyone to have easy – and safe – accessibility to the airboat. The final accessibility point is to see if you need a reservation. Some places need you to book in advance, while others are fine if you just show up.
- Comfort - Just because it's ecotourism doesn't mean you have to rough it! Some companies have air-conditioned waiting spaces and somewhere to eat or drink. Another important thing to consider is if there are available restrooms. Accidents aren't fun for anyone, so ask what you'll have access to.
- Ride Length - This varies among airboat companies, and companies usually have different options for shorter or longer rides. An important question to ask is when this time starts. If you spend twenty minutes getting to the swamp, does that count towards your total ride time? Some airboats launch right into their adventure, while others need to navigate through canals and lakes first. Take into account everyone's attention spans, and book what's best for your crew.
- Traffic - Not the one on Interstate 4, but the one on the water! Higher traffic areas can decrease your chance of animal sightings, and that's one of the coolest things about going on an airboat ride. Find out where the airboat is launching from, and if it's a part of the Central Everglades. The Central Everglades are teeming with animal life, and not necessarily recreational boaters.
- Reviews - When you think you've found the perfect fit, check out their online reviews. Reviews are from customers that want to share about their personal experiences. They offer good tips and observations, and are a great way to fact check a company's reputation.