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

Cormorant Bird in the Everglades

Photo by Federico Calvo
Florida Alligator

Florida Alligator

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By: Jennifer Agress

Ride Through The “River Of Grass” In Style

South Florida is known for its swamps, the two most notable being Everglades National Park—a precious landscape boasting 1.5 million acres of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes, pine flatwoods and hundreds of animal species—and, right next to it, Big Cypress National Preserve. Both beautiful and educational, these protected lands are worth exploring. But because of their wet, rugged terrain, really doing so requires two special vehicles: an airboat or a swamp buggy.

Designed for shallow waters, both airboats and swamp buggies let you immerse yourself in South Florida’s swamplands in very different ways. For starters, airboats are flat-bottomed boats powered by giant propellers, and swamp buggies are elevated trucks, similar to a Jeep, with canopy tops and huge tractor-like tires. While airboats seem to “glide” on shallow waters, swamp buggies bounce right through it, powering through wetlands, cypress heads, hardwood hammocks, muddy marshes and more. Try either or both, and you’re guaranteed a peek into the Everglades like you’ve never had before.

Read below for five great places to ride an airboat or swamp buggy in Greater Miami and its surrounding areas.

Show at Miccosukee Indian Village
Show at Miccosukee Indian Village

Miccosukee Indian Village

Adventure awaits at this traditional Native American village! See how South Florida’s Miccosukee Indian Tribe lives at Miccosukee Indian Village, a hammock-style camp with a museum, daily alligator wrestling, a casual eatery with authentic Everglades food (alligator bites, anyone?) and of course, airboat rides. Experience the wildlife of the “River of Grass,” as the Florida Everglades is called, and fly through its shallow, glass-like waters on an authentic, propeller-powered airboat. Miccosukee Indian Village is located at 512b Tamiami Trail, Miami, FL 33194. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. Group tours are available and priced at $20 per adult and $12 per child ages 6-12, and tickets can be purchased onsite. Children six and under are free. Private tours are also available. Find out more about private tour reservations and prices.

Coopertown Original Airboat Tours

Rated “Florida’s Best” by the Miami Herald, Coopertown Original Airboat Tours has been in the Everglades since 1945, when John Cooper started giving complimentary 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. The laid-back Coopertown Restaurant is onsite too, so finish your tour with frog legs, ‘gator tail, catfish and more. Coopertown Original Airboat Tours is located at 22700 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33194. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. Group tours are priced at $23 per adult and $11 per child ages 7-11, and tickets can be purchased onsite. Children seven and under are free. For information about private tours, click here. A $3 Everglades National Park entrance fee is required for every guest 16+ years old.

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 one of the top places for both airboat and swamp buggy rides. Its popular, family-friendly airboat rides are offered every half hour, taking visitors on an exciting 20-minute thrill ride past fish, snakes, turtles, alligators and more in Big Cypress National Preserve. For a different kind of swamp tour, hop 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, thatch brush and more. Guests who go will get up close and personal with everything from deer, antelope and bison to different bird species, alligators and, if they’re lucky, maybe even a Florida Panther. Billie Swamp Safari is located at 30000 Gator Tail Trail, Clewiston, FL 33440. Tours happen from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free parking is available onsite. Group airboat rides are priced at $20 per passenger. Passengers must be at least four years old to ride an airboat. Group swamp buggy tours are priced at $25 per adult, $20 per senior citizen (ages 62+) and $15 per child age 4-12. Passengers must be at least three years old to ride a swamp buggy. All tickets can be purchased online.

Osprey with fish
Osprey with fish

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 revered wildlife: like alligators, soft-shelled turtles and birds that might be hard to find anywhere else. When you get back on land, catch the spot’s famous alligator and wildlife show! Rumor has it you’ll actually be able to hold a live baby alligator. Airboat Rides Miami is located at 24050 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33194. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. Different group and private tour packages are available and can be purchased online.

Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours

Take one of the airboat rides at Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours, and you’ll get complimentary access to its alligator park and animal sanctuary! Led by licensed captains who are filled with fun facts, stories, folklore and more, this hour-long, thrilling and educational ride will whip you through twisting mangrove tunnels in Everglades City. Want to try a swamp buggy? You can do that, too. Captain Jack’s also offers half-hour swamp buggy tours that take passengers through the Everglades’ cypress forest, past wild plants, animals, Native American artifacts and, for some lucky visitors, manatees. Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours is located at 905 Dupont Street, Everglades City, FL 34139. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. Different tour packages are available.

Read More:

Top Activities In The Florida Everglades
Life in the Water, Miami's Boat Tours and Water Parks
Tour Miami
The Best Everglades Water Sports and Boating

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