Miami's Best Airboat And Swamp Buggy Rides

Miccosukee Indian Village Airboat

Miccosukee Indian Village Airboat

Anhinga Spearfishing

Anhinga Spearfishing

Coopertown Everglades Airboat Tours

Coopertown Everglades Airboat Tours


Cormorant Bird in the Everglades

Photo by Federico Calvo
Florida Alligator

Florida Alligator

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By: Jennifer Agress

Ride Through The Everglades In Style

South Florida is known for its wetlands, the two most notable being Everglades National Park – the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., with 1.5 million acres of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes, pine flatwoods and hundreds of animal species – and, nearby, Big Cypress National Preserve. Beautiful and wild, these vast protected lands are well worth exploring, but their rugged, wet terrain requires one of two specialized vehicles: an airboat or a swamp buggy.

Both designed for navigating shallow water, airboats and swamp buggies let you immerse yourself in South Florida’s wetlands in different ways. Airboats are flat-bottomed boats powered by giant fans mounted on the stern, and swamp buggies are elevated trucks, similar to a Jeep, with canopy tops and huge, knobby tractor tires. While airboats glide across shallow waters, swamp buggies plow right through it, powering through wetlands, cypress heads, hardwood hammocks, muddy marshes and more. Try a ride in either one or both, and you’re guaranteed to see the Everglades like never before.

Here are five places to ride in an airboat or swamp buggy in Greater Miami and its surrounding areas.

Show at Miccosukee Indian Village
An alligator wrestling show at the Miccosukee Indian Village

Miccosukee Indian Village

Learn about the vibrant life of South Florida’s Miccosukee Indian tribe at Miccosukee Indian Village, a hammock-style camp with a museum, daily alligator wrestling, a casual eatery with authentic Everglades food such as alligator and, of course, airboat rides. Experience the wildlife of the “River of Grass,” as the Florida Everglades is called, and fly across its shallow, placid waters on an authentic, fan-powered airboat.

Coopertown Original Airboat Tours

Rated “Florida’s Best” by the Miami Herald, Coopertown Original Airboat Tours has been operating in the Everglades since 1945, when John Cooper started giving free rides on his frogging airboat to interested passersby. Today, Coopertown has a fleet of seven airboats, with the largest carrying 24 people. Led by knowledgeable professionals, these tours take guests on a personalized, educational airboat tour through nine miles of the Everglades, passing through a hardwood hammock, past alligator holes and through some of the area’s most interesting wildlife habitats. Finish your tour with frog’s legs, gator tail, catfish and more at the laid-back Coopertown Restaurant.

Billie Swamp Safari's Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours
Billie Swamp Safari's Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours

Billie Swamp Safari

Owned by the Seminole Indian tribe, Billie Swamp Safari is a perfect one-stop destination for both airboat and swamp buggy rides. Its popular, family-friendly airboat rides are offered every half hour, taking visitors on a 20-minute thrill ride past fish, snakes, turtles, alligators and more in Big Cypress National Preserve. For a different kind of adventure, head out on one of Billie Swamp’s award-winning Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours. This 55-minute experience runs at the top of every hour and explores the lush wilderness of Seminole country on a bouncy, splash-filled ride through marsh, low-water passages and thatch brush. Riding in the swamp buggy, you just might see deer, antelope, bison, a variety of bird species, alligators and, if you’re extremely lucky, maybe even a Florida panther. 

Osprey with fish
An osprey with its fresh catch

Airboat Rides Miami

Operating in the heart of Everglades National Park, Airboat Rides Miami offers daily airboat tours that leave every 20 to 30 minutes. Led by experienced guides, these tours take visitors through the natural habitats of some of Florida’s most iconic wildlife: alligators, soft-shelled turtles and birds that you’re unlikely to spot anywhere else. When you get back on land, stay for the alligator and wildlife show – some lucky audience members will get to hold a baby alligator. 

Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours

Take an airboat ride at Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours and you’ll get free access to its alligator park and animal sanctuary. Led by licensed guides dispensing fun facts, stories, folklore and more, the thrilling and educational hour-long ride will whip you through twisting mangrove tunnels outside Everglades City. Eager to try a swamp buggy ride? Captain Jack’s also offers half-hour swamp buggy tours that take passengers through the cypress forest. See the flora and fauna of the Everglades as well as Native American artifacts. 

Everglades Alligator Farm

As one of the oldest alligator farms in South Florida, Everglades Alligator Farm is home to more than 2,000 alligators. This year round attraction is conveniently located near the entrance to Everglades National Park and is a must-do when venturing south of Miami. The farm features daily airboat tours with master naturalist guides , animal meet and greets with emus, snakes and tortoises and even an alligator encounter that includes a feeding demonstration. With numerous daily show times, VIP packages and family-friendly activities, the Everglades Alligator Farm offers a wide variety of wildlife experiences.

Everlgades Alligator Tour
An alligator opens wide for an Everglades Airboat guided tour

Everglades Airboat Tours

Private Airboat tours through the Everglades are available with Everglades Airboat Tours Miami. Local tour guides will take you and a guest through the famous wetlands for anywhere from 1 to 2 hour tours. By the end of these tours you will have a new understanding of the Everglades ecosystems and habitats. Guides will point out alligators, rare plant life and a large variety of birds and other wildlife that call the Everglades home. For a one of a kind experience, try the sunset tour. Miami skies turn all shades of colors at different times of the year, and watching the sunset over the Everglades is a sight beyond comparison.

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