Old Fashioned Airboat Rides
24004 Sisler Avenue, Christmas 32709
Cost: Adults $40, children (3 to 12) $25, including tax; no children under 3
Hours: By appointment
Location: SR 50 at the public boat ramp about 45 minutes to an hour from Orlando
Captain John “Airboat John” Long runs this boutique operation from his home, specializing in private airboat tours on three six-passenger boats. Make your arrangements by phone (don’t drop by the office!) and make sure you bring along lunch or a snack.
John’s 90-minute nature trips are leisurely by the standards of most airboat tours. They explore a 40-mile roundtrip swath of river and swamp. There’s plenty of gators and bald eagles to be seen along this remote stretch. On one side is the Tosohatchee Preserve, on the other large swaths of private ranch land. You can stop at a small island cabin or an ancient Indian mound for lunch and a great photo op of the boat on the water.
In the warmer months, John runs night trips in search of alligators. Gators have a reputation for being stupid but they avoid the blistering summer sun, making them smarter than the average tourist in some people’s estimation.
Expect to ride with other folks, unless your party is four or more people. “Those boats burn a lot of gas,” John explains. “Private tours” of one or two people are offered at $160. John doesn’t allow children under three for safety reasons. Payment is strictly in cash or travelers checks; no credit cards.
More boat rides
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