10 Best Orlando Airboat Tours

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Headed to Florida and looking for the best Orlando airboat tours?

Want to get up close to wild alligators, manatees and more under the expert guidance of an experienced tour guide? Then, you need to explore the swamps, marshland and rivers of the Everglades National Park. 

Whether you want to take a group or a private tour, a sunset tour or a daytime trip, I found ten of the best airboat rides in the Orlando area to help you pick out the perfect tour for your family.

Here’s the highest-rated tour that I took my family on:

View of the Florida Everglades from an airboat tour

In a hurry and want the best option? This Everglades airboat tour gave us an up-close view of alligators and abundant wildlife on our 90-minute tour.

Booking the best airboat tour in Kissimmee or other parts of the Orlando area is the number one best way to explore this untamed, watery wilderness.

The best airboat tours listed here can also take you to other places you might want to visit, such as Florida Wild, a Native American living village or even the Kennedy Space Center. 

Take a break from the theme parks as we did and join one of the following day trips during your Florida vacation!

Family getting on board for a Florida airboat tour
Getting on board our airboat!

Read on for details of the top 10 Orlando airboat tours for the best Everglades experience.

Top 3 Picks for the Best Orlando Airboat Tours

View from our Orlando airboat tour as we begin our journey.

Everglades Airboat Tour

  • 90 minutes
  • Abundant wildlife such as alligators and bald eagles
2nd PIck
Manatee swimming

Full Day Tour with Manatees, Airboat, Lunch & Transportation

  • 12 hours
  • Swim with Manatees
  • Lunch and transportation included
3rd pick
Outside picture of the 7 floor hotel, Homewood Suites, which is one of the best budget hotels near Disney World that you can get.

Full day with airboat tour, Kennedy Space Center & transportation

  • Includes round-trip transportation from the Disney / Kissimmee area
  • Cruise the longest river in Florida
  • 11 hours

10 Best Orlando Airboat Tours

1. Everglades Airboat Tour in Central Florida – BEST OVERALL

View of the Florida Everglades from an airboat tour

This is my top pick of the Everglades airboat tours for a few reasons.

Limited to a maximum of 15 passengers, this trip gives you great views from the safe, stadium-style seating.

It’s the ideal way to enjoy an encounter with Florida wildlife, including of course the local alligator population. 

We had a great time with Captain David. Saw lots of gators and other wildlife. We’d highly recommend this tour for any family.”

Tracy_A, Viator.com review

The tour lasts for an hour and a half and life jackets are supplied as well as ear protection. Throughout you’ll also benefit from fun, informative commentary delivered by expert guides. 

This is the exact tour our family took for an adventure-filled day away from Walt Disney World.

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

2. Full Day Tour with Manatees, Airboat, Lunch and Transportation

Large Manatee swimming in the water

If you’re seeking out airboat rides in the Kissimmee area that will ensure a manatee encounter, then this full-day trip will whisk you off to the Crystal River area.

Lunch and transportation are also included.

It’s legal to swim with manatees on this part of the Gulf Coast, and you’ll explore the river by boat before joining an airboat tour. 

My favorite thing to do when visiting Orlando outside of the parks etc. Been on this tour twice and absolutely loved it both times!! Will go again for sure. Bucket list experience.”

Cara_S, Viator.com review

This tour lasts for a full 12 hours!

It also includes access to Homosassa Springs State Park and the Withlacoochee River. Expect to see flamingos, alligators and more during the day. 

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

3. Kennedy Space Center with Airboat & Transportation

Rocket ships on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

The tour differs from other airboat tours in Orlando because it includes not one but two quintessential Florida attractions.

In addition to the At Johns River, which is teeming with birdlife, turtles and alligators, you’ll also visit the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to learn all about the activities of NASA.

You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the unique Shuttle Launch Experience for yourself!

“A fabulous tour which combined the exhilaration of an airboat ride and the amazing Kennedy Space Centre. We were picked up as planned with a top class coach, and the guide Brad was very knowledgeable providing what to see at NASA, as well as what was happening during the day.”

Matthew_G, Viator.com review

This day trip lasts for 11 hours and covers roundtrip transportation to KSC by private car.

Admission and your airboat tour are included, plus the services of an experienced guide.  

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

4. Airboat Tour with Transportation

Blue airboat docked in the Everglades

This list of the best airboat tours in the Everglades continues with this three-hour experience.

Your ticket covers round-trip transportation, a visit to a nearby Native American village, a gem mining attraction and your choice of a 30 or 60-minute airboat ride.

Includes time at Alligator Oasis, a viewing area where you can see the creatures up close.

I was on a business trip and was looking for a pure Florida experience before catching my flight back to the Midwest. I am so glad I went on this trip! What a great way to spend a morning on an airboat getting up, close and personal with real alligators! The nature park with butterfly exhibit, gem mining and Native American village was a lot of fun too! Our driver was exceptionally warm and friendly. Absolutely recommend!

Pramita_M, Viator.com review

This tour is operated by the reputable Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures and allows you to get up close to Native American culture in addition to local wildlife.

Both life vests and ear protection are included!

Perfect choice for those without a car, yet would like to do other experiences besides theme parks.

Choose either the 30-minute or 1-hour tour at the time of booking.

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

5. VIP Private Airboat Tour

Small airboat docked in the Everglades

Have your own car?

Then, this private VIP airboat tour is just for you!

Some of the best Everglades airboat tours are private options that are limited to only your own group.

This one-hour tour is a great example and includes a Native American village experience and a visit to Gator Oasis, as well as the unspoiled natural beauty of the area.

Great tour with Captain Steve. Our family learned so much about these stunning Everglades, whilst also seeing some alligators and wonderful birds”

Sam_C, Viator.com review

One of the perks of this tour is that the uncrowded airboat can go at your own pace. You also have a good chance of encountering turtles as well as alligators.

Best Orlando Airboat Tour

6. Airboat Tour Plus Wild Florida Admission & Optional Lunch

Purple Everglades airboat

On the hunt for wildlife?

This Florida airboat tour stands out from other Everglades airboat tours in the Orlando area as it includes a trip to the Wild Florida Airboats and Wildlife Park in Kenansville.

Visit the wildlife park with over 200 creatures, a restaurant and a ranch buggy with airboat tours.

Various options are available so you can truly make this trip your own, including a half or full-hour airboat ride and an optional lunch.

We booked the 30-minute boat ride thinking that the middle of summer would be too hot for an hour. We can’t wait to go back and enjoy an hour out in the Everglades! Captain Farmer was great! Great sense of humor and very informative. I didn’t realize there was an entire park that had alligators, birds, capybaras and so much more, all included”

Claudia_L, Viator.com review

During the day, visit a tropical bird aviary and also witness a jaw-dropping alligator handling show.

You’ll also discover over 4,200 acres of protected river, marshland and swamps.

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

7. One-Hour Sunset Airboat Ride

Airboat in the water during a sunset in the Florida Everglades

Not all Everglades airboat tours in Orlando take place during daylight hours.

This one is at sunset, so you can spend an hour gliding down the river at dusk.

This is not only when the area is at its most photogenic, but also when many animals are on the move.

This was so worth the money! It was incredible learning about the whereabouts of alligators and how they adapt to different circumstances. It was informative and absolutely beautiful. Not only did we get a tour of the lake and the alligators, but we got a tour of the sky.”

Christina, Viator.com review

Sunset tours only depart when the temperature is 50°F (10°C) or higher. So you can expect pleasant temperatures, without the searing heat of the midday Florida sun. 

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

8. All-Inclusive Florida Everglades Airboat Tour + Wild Florida Day with Transport

Pelican resting on the fan engine of an airboat in the Florida everglades

If you want to find Orlando Florida alligator tours which include a drive-through safari and a Gator Park visit in addition to an airboat tour, then this could be the one to go for.

First, enjoy an airboat ride on Cypress Lake. Then, you’ll have the chance to see wildlife such as the Florida panther, giraffes, lemurs and sloths. 

Brad our tour guide was engaging and knowledgeable – great time doing the various activities from the airboat tour to the gator experience and safari ride! Great not having to worry about getting from place to place and having inclusive lunch. Would highly recommend.

TripAdvisor Reviewer, Viator.com review

A barbecue lunch at The Chomp House is included with this six-hour tour, as are roundtrip transfers.

You also get alligator and giraffe feed, plus one digital photo per party. 

Best Orlando Airboat Tour

9. 30-Minute Airboat Ride, Lunch, Gem Mining and Park Admission

Orlando airboat tour through the swamps in Everglades National Park

Want more than just an Orlando airboat ride?

Add other experiences to scenic boat tours in the Orlando area for a truly unique experience.

This one lasting two or three hours is a whistle-stop tour of various essential Florida experiences.

It includes the airboat tour, a gem mining experience and a trip to a Native American living history museum.

Definitely worth every penny! The people here put on an amazing experience! The food was amazing! Would put this experience on your must do list.

Merry_M, Viator.com review

The airboat tour lasts for 30 minutes and you also get to spend time at the live alligator viewing area.

A satisfying barbecue lunch is supplied, and your guide will also teach you all about the local ecosystem along the way.

Best Orlando Airboat Tours

10. Kissimmee Airboat Swamp Tours

Red airboat docked in the swamp

Want to see more secluded areas?

These Orlando gator tours take place in smaller airboats than those used by most boat trip companies

This makes a real difference, as you can access the areas that larger vessels cannot reach during this narrated tour through the swamps. 

The captain of the airboat was very knowledgeable and had a good sense of humor. He gave us a very comprehensive tour. Their price is very reasonable. I would highly recommend this Airboat Swamp Tour. A must-do when you are in the Orlando area.

Antonette, Viator.com review

The tour lasts for around two hours and is a far more personal experience than many larger tours.

You also have far more chance of a close-up wildlife encounter since you are in a smaller boat that can venture into tight places.

What is an Airboat?

Before booking an airboat experience in Orlando, you might like to know exactly what an airboat is!

Airboat rides in central Florida take place on a kind of vessel that’s designed for traveling through shallow water.

Back of an airboat as its on tour in the Everglades

This means it’s well suited to the marshes, rivers and swamps of the Everglades – even when they’re only a few inches deep. 

An airboat is characterized by a big fan that sits high up at the back of the vessel.

This is powered by an engine, which propels the boat through the water.

Airboats also often have stadium-style seating, which makes it ideal for wildlife spotting and ensuring the best possible view for every passenger. 

What type of wildlife encounters are there on an airboat tour?

Florida Alligators

Alligator looking right at the camera laying in the swamp during an Orlando airboat tour

Taking alligator tours in the Orlando area is very popular.

These creatures dwell in the marshland and swamps of the region. Experienced boat captains can help ensure you have a thrilling yet safe close encounter with these predatory animals. 

Do try to spy a baby alligator if you can.

These are much harder to see than older creatures, making such an encounter extra special. 


Person petting a manatee while swimming

Some tours also focus on the manatee.

This native creature isn’t as easy to see as species such as alligators and birds, so if you want to see them it can be best to join a specialized tour.

During winter is the best time for manatee sightings.

Native Birds

Soaring bird through the Florida swamp lands

Bird spotters can be in paradise when taking an airboat tour of the Florida Everglades.

The area is home to a variety of species, and you could encounter the likes of magnificent bald eagles as well as egrets and herons. 

Daytime tours are generally the best option for spotting local birdlife.

Your guide can help you to work out what species you’re seeing, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Exotic animals

Bald eagle sitting in the trees

Alongside native species, your educational airboat ride might also include a trip to the Wild Florida Wildlife Park. Here you can see more than 200 different animals from all over the globe. 

Airboat Tour Tips

Booking tips

Whether you pick Wild Willy’s airboat tours, Boggy Creek airboat adventures, Spirit of the Swamp or another operator, the best Everglades airboat tours always ensure a great time and thus sell out fast.

So if you want to avoid disappointment, secure your spot as soon as you can

Alligator in the swamp during our Orlando airboat tour

Tour durations vary, so check the actual time you’ll spend on the airboat when booking your experience.

The minimum boat trip length is usually about half an hour. 

If you want to discover other places while in the area, look out for tours that might also include these.

Examples are the Kennedy Space Centre or Wild Florida, or trips that include gem mining or a Native American village. 

Safety considerations

Safety must always be a priority during your time in Florida. Check that your chosen tour uses only modern boats, and supplies all the safety equipment (such as life vests and ear protection) you might need.

Do listen to the safety briefing when it’s being delivered by the crew before you set off – just in case!

Some safety tips to remember are to wear a securely fastened life jacket and remain seated throughout the trip with your hands and feet inside the boat at all times.

Never try to touch or feed any wildlife and, of course, always follow any instructions given by your guide.

Airboat tour with mom and toddler wearing ear protection
Ear protection is a must!

Best Orlando Airboat Tour FAQs

How much do you tip an airboat tour?

If you genuinely enjoyed your Florida Everglades airboat tour, then tipping around 20% of the tour cost is good practice. 

Do we need to book an Everglades airboat tour in advance?

When you want to join the best tours available, it’s always wise to book as far in advance as you can. This particularly applies during peak season in Florida, which is between January and April. 

Also busy is the summer season when school is out!

Can you wear sandals on an airboat tour?

You can wear sandals on an airboat tour. Whatever footwear you choose, make sure you keep your feet tucked firmly inside the boat at all times.

Secure sandals such as hiking sandals are the best choice, as they won’t slip off. They can also help with grip when it’s wet or muddy.

Can you visit the Everglades from Orlando?

You can indeed experience the breathtaking beauty of nature at the Everglades from Orlando.

Airboat tours operate from here and are the best way to explore this unspoiled area rich in marshland, swamps and wildlife.

These boats can cope with very shallow water and are also ideal for wildlife viewing.

Stay at one of the Disney Springs hotels with shuttles to the parks, then book a tour that includes transportation for ease of travel planning.

What is the best time of day to go on the swamp tour?

You can set off on an airboat tour in the morning, afternoon or at sunset.

Traveling early and late in the day means you can see the area at its most beautiful, but you may improve your chances of seeing local wildlife by taking a tour in the middle of the day.

The midday heat is also something to bear in mind, though this can be tempered by traveling along on a boat.

How many people fit on an airboat tour?

How many passengers can be seated on an airboat depends on the size of the boat and the number of seats. Some smaller boats might seat half a dozen passengers or less, while larger craft could have sufficient seats for 17 people or more.

Family on board an Orlando airboat tour in the Florida Everglades
My family and me on our first Orlando airboat tour

Best Orlando Airboat Tours Summary

Are you excited to take one of the best Orlando airboat tours yet?

From encountering those majestic alligators to diving into the world of manatees, each tour promises a unique experience that’ll leave you with memories to cherish.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast, or just someone looking for an exciting escapade beyond the theme parks, these Orlando airboat tours have got you covered.

So, take your pick, book your spot, and get ready for a thrilling ride through Florida’s untamed beauty.

And remember, no matter which tour you choose, you’re in for an adventure that’s sure to make your visit to Orlando unforgettable.

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