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Author: Kollin Yelensky

Are Airboat Rides Safe for Everyone?

If you’re thinking about taking the family on an airboat ride, chances are, you’ve got some questions. Beyond wondering how much fun your kids will have and the kind of wildlife you’ll see, you’ll need to know just how safe these attractions are. Luckily, you don’t have to personally test each one to find out. Here’s how to make sure you book a tour with the safest airboat ride in the area.

Pick Certified Captains

With an experienced captain at the helm of your airboat ride, safety always comes first. But what kind of experience should you look for in a captain? Other than a license to legally operate the vehicle, make sure your airboat captain is certified through an accredited institution, like the United States Coast Guard. To earn this type of recognition, captains must pass rigorous courses, training, and tests.

Check for Safety Gear

Your airboat tour guide should provide proper gear before you get started, including lifejackets and headsets. Younger passengers or not-so-strong swimmers can wear their lifejackets throughout the tour. For adults who prefer to ride without, however, lifejackets will still remain close by for easy access in case of emergency. Furthermore, to protect your ears from the loud noise during the tour, most captains will pass out noise-reducing headphones.

Read Online Reviews

When searching for the safest airboat ride, you don’t have to test them out yourself. Instead, go online and check the reviews of previous passengers. To get the best picture of just how safe this adventure is for your family, check for reviews from parents and first-time airboat passengers. Depending on which website you use to find reviews, you might even be able to chat more with the people who shared an opinion.

Look for Locally Owned

While commercially owned airboat rides can still be safe, they often operate under far more relaxed regulations when compared to locally owned ones. If you’re looking for a locally owned airboat ride with USCG-certified captains, top-of-the-line safety gear, and an unbeatable reputation, book your airboat ride with Grape Hammock Fish Camp. We’ve taken children and adults of all ages on the waters and across the vast landscape of Lake Kissimmee. To get answers to all of your airboat ride questions, contact us today.

4 Things to Do in Central Florida This Summer

Of all the reasons you just can’t wait for summer — warm weather, blooming wildlife, and even more time outside — your upcoming Central Florida vacation is probably the biggest one. This year, instead of sharing your season with crowds, long lines, and lots of traffic, spend your time at some of the area’s locally owned and history-rich attractions.

Here are some activities that you can enjoy with your family, friends, or significant other this summer in Central Florida.

Sample a Few Delicious Sweets

No summer vacation is complete without some sweet treats. Satisfy your cravings and try some all-new flavors at Webb’s Citrus Candy Factory. Famous for their goat milk fudge and array of chocolate confections, this candy factory is favored by locals. Or, get your hands on some old-fashioned marmalade, jam, and jelly made locally at Davidson of Dundee. Sample some gourmet citrus chocolates and swipe some jars of your favorite fruity spread to take home.

Take a Stroll Through the Local Gardens

Central Florida is full of natural wildlife and nature preserves, some of which are personally grown and raised by local botanical experts. Visit Harry P. Leu Gardens to see acres of exotic plants, trees, fruits, and vegetables. If you’re in the mood for even more nature, head over to Mead Botanical Garden. This 47.6-acre public park features everything from a bike trail to a butterfly garden.

Beat the Heat at a Nearby Museum

If you’re looking for a unique way to take a break from the outdoors, spend part of your trip taking in local art, history, and art history at one of Central Florida’s nearby museums, including:

Embrace Adventure on an Airboat Tour

Do you want to add some adventure to your itinerary? Look no further than the one and only Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Known as one of the top airboat tours in the state, Grape Hammock’s airboat rides take passengers on a trip to experience the “real” Florida right on the waters of Lake Kissimmee.

Things to Keep in Mind When Camping in Florida

There are two kinds of campers: those who like to rough it out and those who prepare as much as possible. When camping in Central Florida, however, even the most spontaneous outdoorsmen need to keep a few things in mind before their trip starts.

Campground Rules

Camping is a freeing experience, but it’s not a free-for-all. Each campsite has its own set of rules that you need to clearly and carefully follow during your trip. From nightly curfews to prohibited pet policies, some rules can come with serious consequences for violating campers. Luckily, you can find them ahead of time by searching your campsite’s website or calling the office directory.

Even if it isn’t written in the rulebook, it’s common courtesy to keep your campsite clean and free of litter. You can maintain a tidy area by running through some quick chores after each meal, like properly sealing leftovers, throwing waste away in designated areas, and recycling any single-use pieces of plastic.

Bugs and Bites

With all the flying mosquitos and crawling ants, it’s hard to run from bugs in Central Florida. Luckily, you can prevent them from overtaking your campsite with a few simple tricks. Keeping ants away is often as easy as keeping everything covered. Protect your feet with close-toed shoes, and protect your food with secure, airtight containers.

To stop other bugs from bothering you and your family while camping, think about putting up citronella candles, stocking up on DEET-free bug spray, and packing extra layers of clothing. And, if you don’t already have one, find yourself a tent with a screened opening to keep the tiniest bugs from getting inside.

Sun Protection

Even under the cover of rain and clouds, the Florida sun is harsh. Since just one sunburn can itch, blister, and stop your family members from some of their favorite camping activities, you’ll need to do your best to prevent one.

Pack extra SPF in your camping kit and try to include a handful of options to make the application as easy as possible. From creams and lotions to sprays and sticks, there are tons of handy sunscreen products that will keep your family safe when swimming, hiking, or boating.

The Right Campsite

Whether you’re a local or not, don’t choose to camp at just any-old campsite. Instead, choose a locally owned one with unique amenities and plenty of things to do on-site, like Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Here at Grape Hammock, we offer boat rentals, cozy cabins, and exciting airboat tours.

And, we sell everything from boat gas to bait at our family-run marina. If you’re planning on camping in Central Florida, book your campsite or cabin with Grape Hammock today.

When Is the Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass?

Some days, it can feel like you’re landing every lunker bass around. Other days, it can feel like there’s no bass in the water at all. Because certain trips to the dock turn out completely different from others, you might be wondering if fishing is up to chance — or up to the time of day.

Let’s take a look at how lunker bass behave around the clock to see which hours are best to bait your hook.  

Early in the Morning

Morning time can be prime time for fishing because there’s usually little activity in the water. With fewer boats cruising and kids swimming, lunker bass are more likely to be on the search for food. Furthermore, while the sun is still at a low point, there’s just enough light in the water for bass to have an edge over their prey. That’s because bass have a complex sense of vision that allows them easily spot other fish and measure their distance with just a small amount of sunlight.   

Mid-Day Afternoon

When the sun shines at its highest, both bass and their prey have the clearest view of the day. Therefore, bright afternoons are not the ideal hunting conditions for bass. Because they are less likely to be able to sneak up on or effectively hunt smaller fish, lunker bass aren’t going to be as active in the afternoon. On days with a lot of pre- or post-storm overcast, however, a mid-day fishing trip can be just as effective as an early morning one.

Late in the Evening

Fishing in the evening is great for the same reasons as it is in the morning: there’s less traffic and just enough light for bass to have an advantage over prey fish. While bass are usually active in the evening as the sun starts to set, they become even easier to catch as the day goes on. In fact, fishing at night under a full moon gives bass enough light to hunt while being practically undetectable by prey, which gives them the confidence to jump at just about anything that crosses their path.

Of course, there are countless other things that can affect how many fish are biting during certain hours of the day: the weather, the season, and the body of water.

But no matter what time of day you choose to let your line loose, you’ve got the best odds when you stay with Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Located right on the waters of Lake Kissimmee, a breeding ground for lunker bass, our family-owned camp has cabins and campsites, so you can turn your fishing trip into a full vacation. For more information, contact us today.

Are Airboat Rides Fun for Kids?

Whether you’re on a budget or on a mission to find unique experiences to share with your family, it can be a bit of a struggle to find an activity your kids will actually have fun with. If you are a resident of or are traveling to Central Florida, however, you may have considered airboat tours as a potential adventure.

But if you’ve never been on one yourself, you might be afraid they’re a little bit too exciting or perhaps not exciting enough. To help you decide whether airboat rides are right for your family, check out all the features that make them a top choice for just about every parent.  

Unlimited Adventures

Where standard boat tours are slow and boring, airboat rides are fast and adventurous. As your airboat zooms across the waters around you, your children are sure to feel the same level of excitement as they would on their favorite kid-friendly roller coaster — except this ride lasts for more than just one or two minutes. Even if your kid is less daring, they’re sure to feel comfortable and have a great time with mom and dad right by their side on the tour.

Top-Secret Stories

Because airboat rides take passengers into the depths of local lakes and swamps, experienced airboat captains are typically resident experts of the area. If your kids are curious about Florida history or the secrets of the local land, they can ask their airboat captain for the inside scoop.

Instant Access

Nobody likes waiting in line — especially young children. Instead of taking them to an amusement park where most of their day will be spent standing around for their favorite rides, a bite to eat, or a turn in the restroom, take your kids to an airboat ride reserved in advance. This way, you won’t have to wait in never-ending lines or spend ridiculous amounts on special amusement park passes.

Unforgettable Moments

Because each airboat ride is different from the last, the memories made on a tour are so incredibly unique when compared to those made at even the biggest Central Florida amusement park. Ultimately, families choose airboat rides over other attractions so they can get everyone out of the house and on a fun-filled expedition like no other.

Reserve Your Airboat Ride

At Grape Hammock Fish Camp, our USCG captains will take your family on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure through the beautiful and bountiful Lake Kissimmee. Get close to exotic animals, learn from area experts, and feel the rush of the ride.

7 Ways to Make Fishing More Exciting for Kids

Fishing is your sport of choice, your favorite pastime, your lifelong hobby — and you want nothing more than to share this part of your life with your kids. But depending on their age and attention span, you could have a hard time getting them interested.

To spend quality time with your children and squeeze in more time doing what you love, check out these five tips that will get them as hooked on fishing as you are.

Buy Them Their Own Pole

You can easily get away with letting them borrow your spare rod for the first few trips, but if you want your kids to take fishing seriously, consider getting them their own poles. Remember, just like a kid’s first bicycle, a kid’s first fishing pole can make each trip more fun if it fits their age, frame, and skill level.

Let Them Lead the Way

Picking the best fishing spots might come easy to you, but you can make the experience way more enjoyable for your little ones by letting them lead the way instead. Feel free to give them some pointers of the kinds of areas fish tend to flock to, and watch as they try to figure out where to cast first.

Show Them Your Skills

As your child’s biggest role model, you can make fishing one of their favorite activities just by showing them how much you love it. Teach them your special baiting tricks, reeling technique, and other unique quirks that you’ve adopted over the years or learned from the anglers you look up to.

Explore the Area Together

Fishing trips can take you to some of the most beautiful bodies of water surrounded by endless amounts of natural scenery. So, anytime your kid gets anxious, fussy, or bored during your outing, you can easily turn the trip into an outdoor expedition that will reel their attention right back in.

Bring Their Favorite Snacks

A day out on the dock isn’t complete without plenty of water and energy-fueling food. Knowing this  ahead of time, you can use break time as an opportunity to pack your kids’ favorite snacks, drinks, and on-the-go meal — so they can see fishing as just as much of a treat as you do.

Have Nothing but Fun

Don’t get bogged down with the idea of bringing home a trophy-sized fish or turning your kids into overnight anglers. Make your day more enjoyable by putting your attention on bringing home the best memories instead.  

Stay at a Fish Camp in Florida

Immersing your child in the fishing experience is a great way to turn an afternoon outing into a full-fledged vacation. Out of the many fish camps in Florida, stay with one built on family fishing traditions: Grape Hammock Fish Camp. With dock and boat access to the bountiful Lake Kissimmee and an on-site shop to stock up on fishing essentials, you’ll have all the ingredients for a perfect fishing trip with your kids. When you’re ready to show them the ropes, reserve a cabin for the family or a camping site for your RV.

Fun Camping Games for Kids

Camping in Central Florida is unlike camping anywhere else. Between the unforgettable scenery, exotic wildlife, and never-ending outdoor opportunities, it can seem impossible to run out of things to do in Orlando during your trip. However, if you have some little ones in your group who aren’t as easy to entertain, it can also seem impossible to pull fun out of thin air.

Whether you need some ideas for planning ahead or on-the-fly activities to start using now, these games will help you turn any kid into a happy camper.

Camping Trip

This classic camping game is perfect to play on-site, but it will also keep your kids entertained on the way to and from your trip. With no materials required, you can easily play it on the road or around the campfire. The main phrase of the game is “I’m going on a camping trip and I’m bringing…” The first player starts the game by finishing the sentence with an object that starts with “a.” On the second player’s turn, they end the same sentence repeating the last player’s item and an item that starts with the next letter in the alphabet, “b.” Players who follow have to repeat the last player’s object and add a new one of their own until there are either no more letters in the alphabet to use or a player can’t remember the listed items.

Camping Charades

While camping in Central Florida, there’s a ton of inspiration to fuel your kids’ imaginations. Turn those daydreams into an active game the whole family can participate in, and round your campers up for a game of charades. Using a camping theme, you and your little ones can write down some ideas, toss them into a bowl, and take turns recreating what you all came up with. If you need some inspiration to toss in the charades hat, add items like “pitching a tent,” “going fishing,” and “roasting marshmallows.”

Balloon Ping Pong

Pick up some ping-pong paddles and a pack of balloons for endless hours of fun while camping in Central Florida. To set your players up for balloon ping-pong, swap out your regular ping-pong ball for a blown-up balloon. Balloons are much easier for smaller kids to keep track of and unpredictable enough to entertain players of all ages. Whether you want to set up a scorekeeping system or just let your little ones let loose with this simple and super fun game, your campers will no doubt have a blast.

Scavenger Hunt

Every camper wants to feel like an explorer. Take your little ones out to venture through the campsite with a camping scavenger hunt. You can place items out beforehand or write down objects you’re sure to find on your travels. Either way, your kids will have a blast checking each item off the list. If a tough-to-track item stumps your kids, you can nudge them in the right direction with a little insight. Some common camping objects worth putting on your list include, “feathers,” “leaves,” and “rocks.” Bonus items can include objects that are certain colors, shapes, or sizes. Depending on their age, feel free to group all of your little campers into one team or encourage them to work independently.

Camping in Central Florida

It’s always safe to have a few games prepared when you take your kids camping in Central Florida. But, if you stay with the right campground, you might not even have to use them. At Grape Hammock Fish Camp, we’re proud to make camping fun for all ages. Take your children on an adventure with one of our airboat tours, teach them some skills while fishing on one of our boat rentals, or encourage them to appreciate nature anywhere else on our site. To book your family-friendly trip, contact us today.

How to Pick the Best Airboat Ride for Your Kids

For moms and dads, the best airboat rides are kid-approved, but fun-friendliness isn’t the only thing that makes one ride better for your children than the competition. General safety, positive word of mouth, and overall uniqueness are the top qualities that can make some tours rise above the rest—and here’s how to tell which of them really is the best.

Safety Standards

There are plenty of “fun” activities that won’t get your parents’ seal of approval, which is why you shouldn’t settle for an airboat tour without doing some safety research. You can usually find out everything you need to know about how safe a tour company is by visiting their website or reading their blog. However, if you aren’t completely sold, give them a call and ask what sort of measures they use for security on board.

Experienced Captains

If you’re searching for a kid-friendly airboat tour, know how to search for kid-friendly airboat captains. A captain known for creating a wild ride might seem like a blast, but they probably aren’t the most age-appropriate guide for your kids. Airboat captains with a lot of local experience, however, can teach everyone on board about nearby wildlife, history, and current events. Likewise, an experienced captain with training and certifications is a trusted leader to put at the helm of your airboat tour, because they can provide a ride that won’t make anyone on deck feel unsafe.

Great Reviews

It’s no secret that the best airboat rides have the best reviews. But if you want to see which of the best is best for your child, dig a little deeper into local feedback and look for reviewees who brought kids along for their trip. This will help you separate airboat tours that are great for adults from airboat tours great for everyone, and it will even give you a look into why families liked specific tours for their kids over others.

Exotic Wildlife

Spotting wild animals on your tour is not only an adventurous and unique experience for your kids but a chance for them to learn while having a ton of fun. That’s why the best airboat rides come with a wildlife guarantee. While it’s common to see alligators on your trip, there’s so much more to explore in wild Florida. So, try and find an airboat tour somewhere central in the state that’s surrounded by various animals.

The Best Airboat Ride in Central Florida Are you still looking for the right ride? Take the whole family to Grape Hammock Fish Camp for a locally run airboat tour. Journey through the south end of Lake Kissimmee, right in the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, and get close to wildlife you can’t find anywhere else. Exploring the area with our USCG captains, your family will feel safe and have fun.

Ways Fishing Helps Relieve Stress

There’s no magic trick to make all your worries disappear, but there’s also no reason to spend a ton of money just to get a little relaxation. You don’t need a luxury-priced facial or bank-breaking massage chair to start feeling good; all you need is a few fishing essentials. If you’re thinking about scheduling your first fishing trip or just need another reason to bring out your rods and reels, check out all the ways that Central Florida fishing can help relieve stress.

Natural Medicine

When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or overworked, a breath of fresh air can really turn your mood around. Stepping outside for just a few minutes will start to clear your thoughts, and fishing for a few hours is sure work even more wonders. You can’t go fishing without surrounding yourself with nature, which means you’re sure to get a healthy dose of outdoor air big enough to lift your mood and lower your stress levels.

Muscle Therapy

Fishing is mostly a game of waiting, but you’re still going to target some key muscle groups while out on the water. In fact, while waiting for fish to bite, you have to keep a healthy posture and stand for an extended time, engaging your abdominal and leg muscles. And, of course, when casting or reeling, you’re definitely going to get your arms, shoulders, and back involved. Because fishing is a sport that can require you to get pretty active at times, it helps you to better lean into the more relaxing moments of your day.

Technological Detachment

There are plenty of gadgets in the sea made just for fishing, but plenty of fisherman have their most successful and stress-free catches with no screen time at all. Use fishing as an opportunity to completely unplug and center your thoughts on winding down. Silence your notifications, put your inbox on hold, and let your voicemail do all the talking. While you’re out on the water, try some breathing techniques or other natural remedies that can reset your mind and body while releasing physical and mental stress.

Total Control

As a hobby, fishing is what you make it. If you feel better clearing your head without having to entertain others, take a solo trip to the dock. Or, if being with friends or family members is what really relieves tension, bring your loved ones on board with you. Because destressing can look a little different to everyone, you should create a fishing environment that helps you relax the most.

Central Florida Fishing at Grape Hammock

Destressing isn’t easy for everyone, which is why picking up a different hobby or taking your favorite pastime to new places can be the change that makes a much-needed shift in your mind. When you’re ready to make relaxation a priority, head to Grape Hammock, a Central Florida fishing camp. Located on the edges of Lake Kissimmee, centered in the one of the quietest parts of the state, Grape Hammock is a prime spot to cast your worries away.

Interesting Facts About Largemouth Bass

You can come across lots of largemouth on any given day, but it can take some time to catch your personal best. If you want a better grip on your favorite game, check out these five interesting facts about largemouth bass.

They Eat Their Own  

Because they belong to the black bass species, largemouth bass are technically a part of the sunfish family. However, up to 40% of the largemouth diet is made of other sunfish—mainly bluegill—which means these fish like to feed on their kind. Other fish, insects, and animals that largemouth enjoy feeding on include: 

  • Trout 
  • Panfish 
  • Shad 
  • Mice
  • Worms
  • Mussels 
  • Frogs 

They Invade Certain Areas

If you’ve ever found largemouth bass less of a challenge to catch, it might be because there’s more to go around. In the U.S., you can find largemouth bass in 48 of the 50 states. And in some countries, there are so many largemouth that certain governments consider them to be an invasive species. 

They Have a Big Reputation 

The largemouth is the freshwater state fish of Alabama and Florida, and it’s the official state fish of both Georgia and Mississippi. Beyond having a big regional reputation, largemouth are just plain large. Largemouth bass are the biggest of the black bass species. Living an average of 10 to 16 years, the heaviest recorded one came in at 29.5 inches and 25 pounds. 

They Have a Sixth Sense 

Largemouth bass don’t usually find your bait by looking. In fact, they sense movement in the water by using an extra sensory system. Their mechanosensory lateral line system uses detectors to understand the flow of water. Although you can find this sixth sense in each fish species, scientists believe that cave-dwelling, night hunting, and largemouth fish are some of the only ones that use it as a main hunting tool. 

They Grow Bigger in Florida 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida bass are “genetically different,” which lets them grow far longer and heavier than largemouth in northern states. For anyone hoping to land a largemouth of record-breaking proportions, a fish camp in Florida is the best place to bait. 

If you’re on the lookout for a largemouth bass, take a trip to Grape Hammock Fish Camp, a Central Florida destination for campers, boaters, and casters. Featuring a newly renovated general store filled with ice, bait, and boat gas, Grape Hammock offers open access to some of Florida’s largest fish.  

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