Vero Beach Airboat Ride Out in the Florida Swamp!

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There is nothing like an airboat ride in Florida swamp if you are here in the winter! I love adventure travel and I really love airboats. This is a very low key activity, but if you are looking for something that is a little off the beaten path, this is great for all ages to enjoy. If you love nature and being in the great outdoors, you should definitely add an airboat ride in Florida needs to be on your bucket list while traveling here!

There is nothing like an airboat ride in Florida swamp if you are here in the winter! I love adventure travel and I really love airboats. This is a very low key activity, but if you are looking for something that is a little off the beaten path, this is great for all ages to enjoy. If you love nature and being in the great outdoors, you should definitely add an airboat ride! | Born to Be Boomers @borntobeboomers #airboatride #floridavacation #evergladesflorida #airboattours #borntobeboomers

How We Got to Ride an Airboat

We had friends down from Pennsylvania with their four children. Since they were staying with us I needed to come up with fun ideas to keep them busy in our small town of Vero Beach, Florida.

Marsh Beast, Vero Beach, Florida. Garcia Ranch. Blue Cypress

One thing I came up with and has been on my own personal bucket list was an airboat ride in the Everglades. They were not able to go for that far of a drive so I put a group together and we went out locally right here for our airboat ride in Vero Beach, Florida.

Nearly every area in Florida that has wetlands offers options for an airboat ride so even if you are not in this specific area you should not have a problem finding somewhere to go.

We Headed to the Swamp

We traveled out to the western side of the county. If you live here you know that means out in the middle of nowhere. The area is still filled with groves and the St Johns Water Management system. So there are canals and wetland areas that people visit for fishing, air-boating and other fun outdoor activities. On the weekends you will see people towing their airboats heading west toward the swamp areas. It was a nice cool day and partly cloudy. We had perfect weather.

We all headed out to the meeting place called Garcia Ranch about 20 miles west of Vero Beach. Growing up in Vero Beach, my husband had been out there before it had been flooded. Garcia Ranch was its original name but now it is a part of the Blue Cypress Recreational Area where the airboats are launched for tours as well as hunting.

The now thriving wetlands were once a prosperous cattle farm. My husband even recalled a race track for horses out at the ranch when he had visited the ranch as a child. We pull up and there were several airboat tour operators there waiting for their reservations or bringing people back to the dock.

Gator Vero Beach, Florida

Wildlife is Everywhere

Wildlife abounds in this natural Florida habitat. You will definitely see Gators, Turtles, Fish, Hawks, Commorant, Ibis, Egrets and Heron. The most exciting find? Bald Eagles and Osprey. You will see huge nests atop trees housing these beautiful birds. Blue Cypress is a conservation area so it is a beautiful area to view Florida’s most prized possessions.

Gators, Vero Beach, Florida

Gators lay in the sun on the banks of the many islands in this flooded area. You can spot them sunning themselves and then slipping into the water to look for food. They often will bundle up together on colder days to stay warm.

Osprey Nest

Airboats provide people visiting Florida a unique way to experience our natural wildlife! This allows you to get deep into the marsh, canals and rivers of central Florida that would otherwise be inaccessible. It exposes you to areas that are not easily accessible which in turn allows you to see species that are not necessarily in heavily populated areas. You will also be able to see these species living in their most natural environment.

Cormorants, Vero Beach, FL

Your tour will be about an hour long and the Marsh Beast can take up to 15 people. The reason I chose Marsh Beast? The captains were USCG certified and had a combined 60 years of experience in the industry and a strong knowledge of the area and the eco-system they were visiting. This was also an educational tour for the kids. The kids would squeal with delight every time they were able to spot a new animal or bird find. In the end, we all got to hold a baby gator!

The captain was extremely knowledgeable about our ecosystem, unique plants and the animals he took us to find.

Vero Beach, Florida

The kids really enjoyed the headsets. Make sure you warn them ahead of time the everyone in the boat can hear their conversation. This way your children are not disturbing the other passengers.

Airboat Ride, Marsh Beast, Vero Beach, Florida

Tip: The kids got to hold a live gator! However, gators and other wildlife like lizards, snakes and turtles can carry salmonella. It is important to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer to clean up right away!

Marsh Beast, Vero Beach, Florida

All in all, it was an exciting day for my friends and their kids visiting. We had great weather and best of all there were plenty of wildlife for us to see while we were out there. Florida has some very unique landscapes and a beautiful eco-system for all to enjoy! The Captain made it fun with some zippy rides on the water and a lot of education for everyone. Renting an airboat in Florida is fun for everyone!

After our airboat ride we headed to Fellsmere for a Florida style lunch at Marsh Landing. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in this historic building which was renovated and opened in 2002. You can immerse yourself in a rustic Southern restaurant offering classics like Fried Chicken, Gator Tail and Frog Legs. Don’t worry! You can also get a burger there! This is a special place to visit as they work to preserve native Florida cuisine as well as our local culture.

If you have been on an airboat ride in Florida tell me about it in the comments!

Learn more about Vero Beach, Florida and everything it has to offer!

Airboat ride in the Florida Swamp

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93 responses to “Vero Beach Airboat Ride Out in the Florida Swamp!”

  1. Cathy Avatar

    This is something I have wanted to do for years! We are usually in Florida in Springtime. I am definitely going to do this next time we are there! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I can’t wait to see the photos!

  2. FAheem ahmed Avatar
    FAheem ahmed

    I like these pics and would like to going to this place.

  3. Eric Rafael Gamble Avatar
    Eric Rafael Gamble

    That is so cool! Being from New Orleans I have ridden in an airboat in our Swamps near Lafitte, Louisiana and I love all the animals and of course the Gators. It is so cool to see them swimming around and here we even got to pet them in the water. But I have to say that there is just something iconic about riding an airboat across the everglades in Florida too! I bet it is a totally fun and exhilarating experience. Definitely on the Bucket List!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes! You get it! I can’t wait to hear about it!

  4. Kez Avatar

    Looks like such fun!

  5. TarunD Avatar

    that looks like so much fun! ‘m just worried going that fast won’t bugs hit your face? just imagine swallowing a mosquito! ewww!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      LOL That is an issue in Florida, however not one bug on this trip, I am happy to say!

  6. Nomads RTW Avatar
    Nomads RTW

    It looks like a fun ride! I’d like to try that 🙂

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      We had a great time, thanks!

  7. Tamera Avatar

    I just got back from Florida today! It rained the whole time I was there, so there are a lot of things I want to do when I go back. I’m adding this to the list!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It has been raining a lot! I hope your trip is better next time!

  8. Miss D Avatar
    Miss D

    Very neat article. Enjoyed reading it 🙂

  9. Alex Avatar

    What a great post! Those alligators look huge!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Some of them were! Glad we were safe on the boat!

  10. Amanda Avatar

    I went on an airboat ride last May in the Everglades. It was beautiful but alligators are freaky!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I can’t wait to try the Everglades, Amanda!

  11. Pauline Avatar

    Cool!!! I love critters and I bet I would enjoy this.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      If you love the outdoors and seeing animals in their natural habitat then this is for you!

  12. Angela Greven Avatar

    Looks like a great Airboat Tour, love your photos! We’ve been on so many down in the Glades, they’re fast and fun, right up our alley lol Didn’t realize they had them in Vero will check them out when we get up that way! 🙂

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I can’t wait to hear about it!

  13. Kathryn at Avatar

    That looks like SO much fun! I haven’t been out to swamps before, but it looks like such a cool experience!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is great for nature lovers!

  14. Dennis Avatar

    These boat rides are a lot of fun! Nice post!

  15. Kristen Avatar

    I have always wanted to do this! How fun.

  16. Laura Avatar

    How cool! Looks like a super trip! I’ll have to check this out! Thanks!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear about it!

  17. Susan Franklin Avatar

    I’m not sure if we’ll ever make it to Florida for a visit – but if we did, this sounds like fun. We love to be out in nature. Even though the crocks scare me a bit, I’d love to see some and snap pictures. It looked like so much fun!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Florida is so diverse! I hope you make it some day!

  18. Michele Vadnais Avatar

    OMGosh! This looks like a blast! And the kids are all smiling so they obviously didn’t miss their screens!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      No need for electronics here!

  19. Jennifer|Me and My Traveling Hat Avatar

    I didn’t realize Vero had these tours. I use to ride on an airboat when visiting my sister in-laws family on the west coast of Florida. It’s been years, we will have to explore this when back in Vero Beach.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes! Lot’s to do here!

  20. Jennifer Avatar

    I have always wanted to on one of the gator swamp trips! I think it would be such a blast.

  21. Gail Avatar

    I did this years ago but need to really bring the kids

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      This is great for all ages!

  22. Jordin Avatar

    How fun?! I love adventures that are educational, fun, and memorable! I’ll be adding this to my visit Florida list!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Definitely hits all the hot buttons! Thank you!

  23. Trisha Avatar

    We just left Florida but next time we will make sure to book this airboat tour! This sounds like a great time!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to see your photos!

  24. Sandi Avatar

    Looks like so much fun – gotta try it.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Let me know how it goes!

  25. Cindy Avatar

    What a fun outing! I’d love to visit Florida’s marshlands.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear about it!

  26. T.M. Brown Avatar

    My husband has been wanting to do something like this, so I’m going to have to do some more research. I’m not so sure about being THAT close to gators, buuuuuut ~ he really wants this experience.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      They are actually pretty far away.

  27. Kim Avatar

    I would love to do this!! Finding all the animals would be fun but no crocodiles llease!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      No crocs here! Gators are less aggressive and generally will leave people alone.

  28. Missy Avatar

    We have not been on a boat ride like that. it looks like a wonderful time. The baby gators are so cute.

  29. Jelane Avatar

    It looks like a lot of fun! Good to know you don’t have to drive to the Everglades to take an airboat ride.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes there are several in Central and East Florida!

  30. Meagan Avatar

    How cool to get to hold the baby alligators!!!! Kinda scary to see the big ones though!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Always bring a telephoto lens!

  31. Arianny Rodriguez Avatar

    Would never think of this as a vacation but looks like fun!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Oh central FL is so beautiful. Different but still beautiful.

  32. Shirley Avatar

    I have always wanted to try an airboat ride. It looks like you had a grand time! So fun!

  33. Janine Avatar

    I’ve only been to Florida once and we didn’t head out to the swamps. I think we definitely need to go back and try it out!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You will not regret going!

  34. Karie Avatar

    I’m getting excited to go do this next month.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear all about it Karie!

  35. Tanya Avatar

    My husband would love this, but I’m not sure I’m ready to be up close and personal with gators!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      We used a telephoto lens. Totally safe!

  36. Holly Bird Avatar

    This looks like it is so much fun!! You have such great adventures..thank you for sharing them!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awww… thank you Holly!

  37. Akiko Avatar

    This looks like SO much fun although seeing alligators will be a little unnerving, not gonna lie! Kids looked like they had a great time!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      They were so not interested in any of us. You will be totally safe!

  38. Anna Avatar

    It must be scary and fun at the same time to hold aligator on the hands.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Well, this wasn’t my first rodeo holding a gator. His mouth was tied. That little there is not much else they can do.

  39. jen Avatar

    Florida freaks me out… 52 kinds of mosquitos, countless snakes and gaters… I will appreciate and love your photos and articles from a safe distance… LOL

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Haha! You are too funny. I had no idea there were 52 kinds of mosquitos! LOL

  40. Jocelyn Avatar

    Looks so fun! Totally looking into this for our upcoming trip!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome, Jocelyn! Let me know how it goes!

  41. jul Avatar

    Oh wow – my son would love that. Me? Not so sure!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Totally safe! You will love it!

  42. Pam Avatar

    This is on my bucket list – we typically go to Florida in the summer though so it’s always been too hot. However, in just a few years it’ll be much easier to travel during the school year, so we just might be able to make this happen.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Early morning is not too bad. Plus you are going fairly fast so if it is a little warm the prop helps a lot!

  43. Brittany Avatar

    This looks like a trip I need to take! How fun!!!

  44. Nissa Haight Avatar

    What an amazing Adventure! I am going to be going got Lousiana in May, and we may be going on a boat ride similar to this! So excited!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to see it in LA!

  45. Tracey Avatar

    My boys would LOVE this! (I however, would be trying to avoid seeing snakes…I’m sooooo terrified of them.) We’re in Florida frequently for visiting family so I’ll have to make this a priority next time!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome. Tracey! I can not wait to see the pics!

  46. Gennel zimmerman Avatar
    Gennel zimmerman

    That right there is so super fun! Its always important to reveal how fast the boats go. Kids want to know that sort of thing. And husbands. 😉

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I don’t know. Do you remember? It did not feel all that fast. Maybe 40 MPH?

  47. Cynthia Mackintosh Avatar

    I would do this, but I would surely be keeping my hands, feet, shirt, pants, everything inside that boat! I might hold a baby alligator though.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I assure you we were not that close!

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