(863) 692-1500

Airboat Rides

The History of Airboats

From board games to video games, many of the greatest forms of entertainment have drastically evolved since their invention—but few items have made as big of a transformation as airboats. The way they’re designed and even the reason passengers take airboat rides is vastly different from when the watercraft was first invented over a century ago.

What once was used exclusively for testing machinery and researching aquatic life is now a go-to, family-friendly form of Florida recreation, and here’s a look at how it all got started.

The Airboat Prototype

Alexander Graham Bell invented the first airboat in 1905. Nicknamed “The Ugly Duckling,” the first version of these famous watercrafts was very different from the flat, smooth one known today. And, rather than using them for entertainment or sport, Graham Bell used his primary prototype to test various engines and tools for other pieces of equipment.

The First Official Airboat

Although a man named Glenn Curtiss registered the first Florida airboat in 1920, it wasn’t until 1943 that these machines began to take their true shape. Modeling the boats with lightweight aluminum materials, Cecil S. Williams, Leo Young, and G. Hortin Jensen introduced the first airboat model to have both a flat bottom and a seat for the pilot, which inspired the designs for modern versions.

The Introduction of Airboats

As airboats became more popular across the country, scientists began using them for research, and everyday citizens began using them for recreation or transportation. Many people even created homemade versions of the watercraft so that they could easily access their local waters without having to make such a large investment up front.

The Use of Airboats Today

Airboats have come a long way since the first version was designed over 100 years ago. Now, these watercrafts are fast, efficient, and safer for both passengers and aquatic wildlife. They’re a major attraction for Florida locals and visiting tourists, and they’ve even become a standard watercraft for natural disaster relief and water emergencies.

The Best Central Florida Airboat Ride

If you want to learn more about the history of airboats, schedule your airboat ride with the history-rich Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Our airboat captains have extensive experience with their watercrafts and the Florida waters around them. To plan a fun adventure for the whole family, call us today at 863-692-1500 and book your airboat ride.

Are Airboat Tours Family-Friendly?

If you’re planning a family trip to Florida, you might have a hard time finding the right attractions to suit everyone in your party. Although you want to take the little ones on an adventure they’ll never forget, Grandma and Grandpa can’t be on their feet all day.

Fortunately, airboat tours are the perfect way to accommodate and entertain both the youngest and eldest passengers in your party.

Get Close to Wildlife

Passengers of all ages enjoy airboat tours, because each outing on an airboat is a one-of-a-kind excursion. While cruising through the waters of Florida, everyone on board is guaranteed to see some wildlife up close. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a sunbathing gator or cross paths with a rare Florida bird.

Learn Something New

Airboat tours are a guilt-free way to entertain your children, because they can learn all about the Florida waters, ecosystem, and aquatic life right from the watercraft. And, although the propellers on an airboat create some serious noise, each passenger is given a headset linked directly to the captain’s microphone. This system cancels out the sounds of the watercraft, so you can easily hear all the tips and tokens of wisdom from your airboat captain.

Go on an Adventure

Most people assume that airboat tours are only for daredevils and thrill seekers, but they’re actually the perfect adventure for children who might be intimidated by some other attractions in Florida. Rather than being strapped into an oversized seat and separated from Mom and Dad, your children can sit right next to you to feel totally secure on their excursion.

Tips for Every Passenger

No matter how young or old your party members are, here are some essential items that will help you make the most out of your airboat tour.

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Bug spray
  • Camera
  • Comfortable clothing

Airboat Tours in Central Florida

At Grape Hammock Fish Camp, our USCG captains have years of experience with Florida waters and wildlife, so you can feel good about bringing your whole family along for an exciting and educational airboat tour. For more information or to schedule a tour for your family, call us today at 863-692-1500.

How Are Airboat Tours Different from Other Boat Tours?

With so many Central Florida attractions vying for a top spot among the hearts of residents and visitors, it can be hard to find the best bang for your buck. Anyone looking to have a truly exclusive experience in Florida will end up deciding between a range of outdoor adventures, but there’s only one option that fits the budget and exceeds the expectations of every passenger possible: airboat tours.

Airboat tours are a great way to walk on the wild side without spending wild amounts of money, and they’re a fantastic, family-friendly option for parties of all ages. If you still aren’t entirely sure whether these tours are right for you, take a look at what makes them stand out from all the rest.

They’re Super Personal

Unlike ferry rides and other large boat tours, airboat tours provide a truly intimate experience. Tour guides can effortlessly maneuver the watercraft through intricate passages to bring guests to some of the most exclusive scenes in the state. And, rather than pushing their way to the edge of the ride just to get a decent glimpse at what lies beyond, every airboat passenger gets the best seat on the boat.  

They’re Full of Adventure

You don’t have to be a thrill-seeker to enjoy an airboat tour, but these rides are an absolute blast for adventurers of all ages. Airboats can reach high speeds and rip through virtually anything that Florida waters throw their way, but they’re also a safe outdoor alternative. Because these captains have years of experience navigating the waves and controlling the watercraft, you can bring your entire family along for a Florida airboat tour without a worry.

They’re Practically Unlimited

Regular motorboats easily get stuck in the muddled waters of Florida, but airboats were designed to coast across waves and navigate through all kinds of vegetation. Airboats can easily trek through shallow waters, crowded coves, and tangled depth, because the massive propellers allow the boat to graze just above the surface.  

They’re Safer for Wildlife

Airboats aren’t fueled by underwater motors, which means they can safely skim across waters without disturbing surrounding wildlife. Sure, these large boats can cause some ripples and ruckus on the surface, but they aren’t nearly as upsetting to Florida’s aquatic creatures as some other boat tours can be.

They’re Incredibly Affordable

Considering the speeds you reach and the scenes you encounter on an airboat tour, these attractions certainly pack in a ton of value. Rather than drifting through calm waters with a cheap paddleboat tour or racing through waves with a luxuriously priced speedboat rental, airboats offer top-speed adventures, one-of-a-kind views, and safe sailing at an unbeatable rate.

Airboat Tours on Lake Kissimmee

If you want an unforgettable outdoor adventure, book your spot on an airboat tour with Grape Hammock. Our seasoned tour guides take passengers throughout the exceptional waters and abundant ecosystem of Lake Kissimmee to provide a unique experience on every single outing.

What Is an Airboat?

In many ways, the airboat is the distinctive boat of Florida. Though they were invented in Canada, airboats first appeared in America nearly 100 years ago.

Ever since then, they have been used to explore the unique environment of the Everglades and have become synonymous with natural Florida.

In fact, it is difficult to reach many spots in the Everglades, Lake Kissimmee, and the St. John’s with anything other than an airboat.

How Airboats Work

What makes the airboat special is that it does not have any underwater steering or propulsion parts. A large propeller inside a cage powers the airboat forward, and the pilot uses rudders to direct the column of air and change directions.

The boat itself is a long, light, shallow structure that sits on the top of the water. This makes it easy for the propeller to push the boat forwards, since it can skim across the surface rather than cut through water like other boats.

It takes considerable skill to operate an airboat, since there is no mechanism to stop or reverse the boat.  

Airboat Tours

Airboats are perfectly suited to exploring Florida’s nature at its best. Lake Kissimmee is home to a lot of marshes, sloughs, and other wetland environments.

Boats with underwater propellers or deep hulls cannot access many of these areas without disturbing or destroying the habitat and getting stuck in the shallows. Lake Kissimmee has a similar environment with many swamps and shallows that are inaccessible by other boats.

What is there to see on an airboat tour? In addition to the striking scenery of Florida’s unique wetlands, airboat tours offer up-close looks of the native animals of the area like alligators, exotic birds, deer, and even buffalo!

An experienced airboat pilot with deep knowledge of their environment will be able to take passengers close to these animals in their natural habitat, which is an increasingly rare opportunity.

Lake Kissimmee Airboat Rides

When it comes to airboat tours, you can’t do better than Grape Hammock’s. Our guides, Captain Kevin and Captain Barrett, have lived on Lake Kissimmee all their lives and have a deep love and respect for the area.

Come experience natural Florida through the eyes of those who know it best with our airboat rides!

When’s the Best Time to Go on an Airboat Ride?

Florida isn’t all beaches and theme parks. It is home to some of the most scenic wetlands in America, where famous Florida wildlife like alligators, manatees, and roseate spoonbills coexist.

The best way to experience all of the beautiful scenery and creatures is by zooming across marshes, mangroves, and lakes on an airboat tour.

However, you may wonder when is the best time of the year to go on an airboat tour? Can you can see more animals in the summer or winter, in the morning or at midday?

Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your airboat ride.

Best Time of Year

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Florida is a nice place to be during any time of year. Unlike many other places in America, there are really only two seasons in the Sunshine State: summer and winter.

The summers are hot and sunny, the winters mild and dry. When it comes to airboat tours, the cooler temperatures are actually preferred times to go.

During the winter, you have a greater chance to see a lot of alligators. The summer is hot, and most of them are hiding in the shade. We do, however, operate year-round.

Best Time of Day

When the weather is nice, there really is no bad time of day to go on an airboat tour. If it’s alligators you are dying to see, then around dawn or dusk would be the best, since they are most active at these times. But, you will be able to see them sunning themselves on the banks of the shore whenever the sun is out (assuming it isn’t too hot).

What time you take your tour is entirely up to you, though it is always smart to keep in mind the weather conditions for your time of year.

For example, Florida is notorious for the afternoon thunderstorms, so you could opt to go out early in the morning.

There’s no one that knows Lake Kissimmee better than the folks at Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Our captains can help you experience Florida’s natural wildlife like never before.

If you have any questions about wildlife, weather, or seasons, don’t hesitate to ask us. Check out this page to learn more about our airboat tours.

What to Know Before Going on an Orlando Airboat Tour

Both Florida natives and visitors know that airboat tours are one of the greatest adventures to have in the state. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel down to the Everglades to get an exclusive airboat experience. Some of the most remarkable wildlife and unforgettable views can be found right here in Central Florida. To get the most out of the experience, here are the top four things you need to know before going on an Orlando airboat tour.

There Will Be Noise

Airboat engines are responsible for propelling these impressive watercrafts through rugged terrain and vast stretches of water, which is why they make a little more noise than average boats. You can expect to receive a pair of headphones or a microphone headset to reduce noise and to listen to your airboat guide.

It’s Always the Right Time to Ride

There’s sure to be something amazing to see when you’re out on the water. Don’t worry about missing anything – your captain will be there to point out the must-see spots and spread their knowledge on the local fish, birds, and other animals of the area. Whether want to you catch the early morning wildlife or wait to view the colorful Florida sunset, you’re guaranteed to get maximum enjoyment from your ride.

You Can Bring the Whole Family Along

An Orlando airboat tour is the perfect experience to have with the whole family. Bring your little ones for an open water adventure that they’ll remember forever. As a great way to get the family together for a unique experience, airboat tours are also affordable enough to let everyone in on the fun. And since no airboat ride is the same, you can keep bringing the family back for a new experience each time!

You’re Safe with Grape Hammock Orlando Airboat Tours

One of the most important things to know before going on an airboat tour is that you’re going to be just fine. Our USCG captains are not only area experts, they’re also experienced airboat safety specialists. Having delivered countless airboat tours, our captains ensure that you and your loved ones will be safely guided across Lake Kissimmee.

If an Orlando airboat tour sounds like something you would be interested in, contact our crew at Grape Hammock Fish Camp. We can break down everything that you should expect from your trip and answer any questions you may have about the tour.

Tips for Seeing Gators on Our Alligator Boat Tour

Safely spotting gators is what makes alligator boat tours a famous Florida attraction. These creatures may be cold blooded, but you don’t only have to wait for the temperature to drop to get a peek at a gator.

Here are some year-round tips for seeing gators on our airboat tour across Lake Kissimmee.

Know Where They Hide

Stagnant waters, wetlands, and the shores of swampy stretches are a gator’s go-to spots. Along the shore banks of Lake Kissimmee, gators will typically create muddy pools to help regulate their body temperature.And while on tour, your captain will periodically stop so that you can look for movement in still waters.

And while on tour, your captain will periodically stop so that you can look for movement in still waters.

Alligators are stealth experts that know how to stay hidden up until the moment they strike. During the search for potential prey, sawgrass marshlands are the secret spot for lurking gators.

Even when the sawgrass flattens, gators will still be able to use these areas as camouflage while they scan for other wildlife.

Know When They Hide

Alligators have to eat, but they also have to keep their body temperature under control during the colder months. Alligators are known to be more active in cooler temperatures.

If you’re taking an alligator boat tour during the winter or fall, you shouldn’t have to look hard to spot some sunbathing gators.

In order to warm up, these reptiles will gather on dry land to catch the incoming heat of the sun, which provides a great view for nearby boat tours.

Pick the Right Alligator Boat Tour Captain

Boating with the team at Grape Hammock Fish Camp gives you the best seat on Lake Kissimmee.

Our USCG captains can safely lead your tour to prime alligator territory. If you want to schedule an alligator boat tour, visit our website or call 863-692-1500.

Scroll to top