You’re about to head to South Florida, packed and ready to enjoy some time relaxing near one of its many beautiful beaches. But, if you’re craving some time away from the artificial reefs of city hotels, and some excitement for the whole family, why not book an Everglades airboat tour?
A unique, and memorable experience for everyone, airboating in Miami is also a fun and educational way to see the Florida Everglades. If you’re wondering as to what an airboat is or what the benefits of riding one might be, here’s a quick overview to get you started.
Airboats, also known as fanboats or blowboats, are flat-bottomed boats powered by aircraft engines fitted with caged propellers on the back of the vessel. By having these large propellers spinning above the water, airboats are able to cross the mostly shallow waters of the Florida Everglades quickly, while getting access to its more remote areas better than boats with standard engines. Along with their elevated seating, airboats provide a unique and exciting way for passengers to see out and over plants and grass and observe the wide variety of wildlife that inhabits the Everglades.
Florida is recognized as having a lot of three things: oranges, beaches, and the American alligator. They like to make their homes here in the Everglades, so airboating in Miami is the best way to see them and the many other animal species that reside here too. The Everglades is an environment with incredible biodiversity, with wading birds like the Roseatte Spoonbill and Great Blue Huron, turtles, and more calling it home. Once endangered in the 1980’s, the alligators have bounced back so well that you’re likely to lose count of how many you see while on an Everglades airboat tour.
The Everglades truly is a gem of South Florida, one that no other state has. Outdoor sportsmen, nature enthusiasts and thrill-seeking families alike come from around the world to explore this area, many opting to tour it on a guided airboat ride to best experience it. At Macks’s Fish Camp, you and your family get to behold the vast, natural beauty of the Everglades, guided by the fifth-generation Florida Gladesmen who call it home, at an exciting pace. The chance to see the wide variety of local wildlife and a private airboat tour is just the activity to make for a complete family vacation to South Florida.
The Florida Everglades is a one-of-a-kind environment. But, this is largely due to the fact that Florida is the only state in the continental United States closest to the Tropics. This location makes us both the envy of people living in the blizzard-prone, northern states as well as a coveted winter vacation destination by them.
It’s easy to see why: Florida’s sub-tropical climate lets both residents and visitors alike relax along its many beaches or enjoy the excitement of airboat rides year-round. But the Florida Everglades doesn’t really have four seasons.
Sounds strange, right? We can explain.
You may recall from science class that the tilt of the earth and its rotation around the sun change the amount of sunlight and heat we get throughout the year, giving us four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. As we mentioned earlier, Florida’s location being closer to the equator means that it stays warmer on average than other states. Because of Florida being in this fortunate position, the Everglades experiences only two seasons a year.
If you are guessing which ones they are, no, the two seasons are not spring and summer, or even spring and autumn. In fact, differences in sunshine and temperature are not the biggest overall signs of changing seasons in the Everglades. Changes in water levels during the year are what determine which season that the Everglades is currently in.
From the middle of May through November, the Everglades experiences heavy rainfall, known as the wet season. Moving into December on through April, there is little to almost no rain, which is known as the dry season. While these two very different seasons sound extreme, the Everglades wildlife treats it like we would a calendar.
The dry season is the peak of bird activity in the Everglades. Migratory birds wait out the cold, northern winds and eventually chase them back home as the temperature rises. The native Florida wading birds use the low water levels to make nests, making dry season and their hatching season one in the same. During the wet season, the alligators, turtles, and frogs nest and hatch, as the wading birds teach their young to hunt.
The incredible biodiversity of the Florida Everglades allows you see it thriving at any time of year. With that said, what would you want to see there? You can plan your journey to Mack’s Fish Camp by clicking here.
Here in South Florida, modern life has made the world seem much smaller to people. Unfortunately, the world has literally gotten smaller for several animal species, including those in the Everglades. Their habitat is threatened by human development, as well as longer periods of drought, affecting the water levels that define the Everglades wet and dry seasons. As of January 2017, there are currently 83 species classified as “Federally Endangered” or “Federally Threatened” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, including:
The last two animals mentioned are significant, as both play vital roles in the health of the Everglades’ ecology.
Wood storks are one such creature threatened by changes to the Everglades. They are considered to be the “Goldilocks” species of wading birds, because their nesting habits show the health of the Everglades. Wood storks nest during the dry season when water levels are lower, and then feed and train their young as the water and fish population rises.
If the rain season brings too much water, it’s harder for them to find fish to eat. An extended Everglades dry weather season makes their prey scarce.
Even the mighty American alligator has seen its numbers decrease, mostly due to human population growth and a demand for their meat and skin. Since being removed from the endangered species list in 1987, their numbers have been improved through farming. Unlike wood storks, alligators play a more direct role in maintaining the environmental health of the Everglades, by making small ponds called alligator holes.
Alligators clear old vegetation when making these holes, which promotes new growth. And once an alligator moves out of one, it can act as a refuge for fish, turtles, birds, and other small animals during the dry season. Even though they have bounced back, they are still listed as “Federally Threatened” due to their similarity of appearance to the American crocodile.
The Florida Everglades is a truly unique place, one that sustains and is sustained by the wide variety of the plants and animals that live here. At Mack’s Fish Camp, appreciation and awareness of the relationship between the many birds, fish, alligators, and the River of Grass is a cornerstone of Gladesmen Culture, and one we’re grateful to share with you. If you’re interested in experiencing the unique beauty of this environment firsthand on one of our Everglades eco tours, please click here.
During your daily commute, you might spy a glance at a stretch of wilderness that seems unexplored when compared to your all-to-familiar routes to and from work. Getting settled into a traffic bottleneck, you recall that patch of wild earth you saw. You wonder not so much about what exploring it would reveal, only how glad you would be to be there at that very moment.
Sure, you may get a break at work, but what you’re after is a real escape from the maze of city living.
Some would argue that people require constant mental stimulation, but really the opposite is true. Living in a city environment makes a person’s brain work harder to process all of the random sounds and constant movement around them
The burnout of so much focus can make us irritable and impatient, but spending time outdoors can give your brain a much-needed break. Being in nature puts the brain in a type of cruise control called soft fascination, where you’re relaxed and your mind is focused effortlessly.
If the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” rings true for you, that could be reason enough to break out of the urban sprawl. Taking a canoe trip through the Florida Everglades is a great way to see different varieties of wildlife and immerse yourself in its vast landscape. Or if that’s not your speed, a private airboat tour across the alligator holes and sawgrass is the thrilling reunion with the outdoors you need.
With the hectic pace that modern life is set to, sunrises and sunsets can end up just being bookends to a day. When you visit Mack’s Fish Camp, that stubborn urgency is replaced with a sense of timelessness. Having nature so close to the residential areas of South Florida, the simplicity and stillness of the Everglades can easily be overlooked. If you take the time to see it up close, you’ll discover another world hiding in plain sight.