So, what is ecotourism? Ecotourism combines the adventure of exploring the beauty of nature with a raised awareness of it. Destinations like the Everglades, with its untouched ecosystem and high biodiversity, offer an experience that’s both fun and educational. Nature enthusiasts and adventurous families alike can expect a great time while learning its secrets. The Everglades has areas so remote that they can only be reached by an airboat, and have remained largely unchanged for centuries.
As children we may learn that wetlands are the playground of ducks and frogs, not yet able to see their importance. Wetlands habitats are of vital importance to all life that thrives near it, and the Florida Everglades is no different. Many endangered animal species call it home, and it also provides drinking water to millions of South Florida residents.Even though it’s an ecosystem fed by floods and shaped by fires year after year, the Everglades are remarkably fragile. In recent years, its protection and its restoration have grown as important issues to Floridians.
Offering the chance to see and hear exotic bird species and observe the quiet power of wading alligators up close under an endless sky, the Florida Everglades is a feast for the senses. It is truly the defining natural attraction of Florida, as well as the legacy of the Gladesmen Culture here at Mack’s Fish Camp. If you’d like to take an Everglades eco tour with us or just want to experience an airboat ride in Miami, come on by.
There have been some aircraft that have vanished over the Everglades. In 1945, a group of five naval planes took off from Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station for a training mission. All five Grumman Avenger TBM Torpedo bombers lost radio contact and disappeared. Over the years, the wreckage of old military planes has been found in the Everglades. But to date, no trace of Flight 19 has been found, which helped to popularize the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.
Centuries ago, pirates terrorized the seas from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean, attacking merchant ships. One such attack involved a pirate ship overtaking a merchant vessel off the Florida coast. The chase angered the pirate captain so much that he made the merchant crew walk the plank and made their captain’s wife watch.
Before her turn to walk she cursed all pirates, and suddenly rough waves pushed the pirate ship deep into the Everglades. The story goes that the cursed ship and the ghosts of its crew wander the swamps and marshes to this day!
In December of 1972, an Eastern Airlines flight bound for New York crashed into the Everglades after taking off from Miami. The crash was likely caused when the autopilot was accidentally shut off by a while investigating a burned out indicator light. In the years after the tragic crash, sightings were reported of ghostly-looking men on Eastern flights.
The descriptions given of the men sounded very similar to those of the captain and flight engineer of Flight 401. Rumor has it that Eastern Airlines installed good parts from the wrecked plane into other planes in their fleet.
Bermuda Triangle and pirate ghosts aside, the Everglades itself holds a great sense of mystery. It’s this mystery that gives weight to the stories and legends born here. But when you take an airboat ride at Mack’s Fish Camp, there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just the side Florida very few people get to see.
It definitely feels like summer in Florida for most of the year. But, the Everglades doesn’t really have a summer, or even four distinct seasons, just two! There is the wet season, which lasts from May through November, and the dry season, lasting from December through May. During the Everglades wet season, the Florida wetlands are replenished by heavy rains, and alligators nest and hatch their young. The dry season is defined by little rainfall, and peak activity of several species of Everglades birds like herons and egrets.
The best time to take an Everglades tour can be a matter of preference. The dry season offers cooler temperatures, and the lower water levels and bird nesting concentrate Everglades wildlife into smaller areas. But many tourists visit South Florida at this time, and it gets very busy. During the wet season there are fewer crowds, but also higher temperatures and frequent rain.
Despite there being only two seasons in the Everglades, there are transition periods between them. Starting in October, a noticeable shift starts to occur, the rains become less frequent, and the heat is less intense. Also, a decrease in humidity brings a decrease in pesky, biting mosquitoes!
The Everglades wet season can get too hot for some, and the dry season can bring too many people. But, maybe there’s a time of year that’s just right for you. Miami in the fall doesn’t see the leaves changing colors, but the license plates start to! So before the holidays take a bite out of your budget, and snowbirds start arriving from across America and beyond, consider taking an Everglades tour in Miami this fall at Mack’s Fish Camp.
As of this past weekend, we finally have power back, but have still been offering airboat rides during the outage. Not only were we still standing, but up and running as well. That’s right, we have still been running private airboat tours and offering our bass fishing guide service in the Everglades. In fact, our airboats have made for formidable leaf blowers, helping us with clearing much of the foliage.
Like much of South Florida, our trees sustained the heaviest damage. But our old structures are still intact, including our home, for which we are very grateful. Looking at the devastation experienced by people in Texas and the Keys, we feel blessed to still have our home and each other.
As a family of Gladesmen, we thrive in times like these through our toughness, tenacity, and a bond that no wind can uproot! But as a small, family-owned business, Mack’s has stayed alive through word-of-mouth, and we sure could use some now.
We took a hit with this storm. So, now we’re looking to you: our friends, family, and fans, to spread the word about this little piece of heaven we call home. Recommend us to a friend who’s never seen the Everglades, or bring them out here with you for an airboat ride.
Or even if you’re just curious to see the result of the awesome power of nature against its otherwise calm beauty, come pay us a visit. Rest assured that as long as the Florida Everglades are around, you can bet us Gladesmen will be, too!
At Mack’s Fish Camp we have everything you need to have a fun and successful Everglades fishing trip. We offer jon boat rentals, and sell tackle, beverages and snacks at our store. But, if you’d like to have some help navigating the Everglades, and are up for some exploration while you do, Mack’s Fish Camp offers airboat bass fishing guide service.
Gladesmen who have fished the Everglades since they were born will be your knowledgeable guides, showing you both great fishing spots and the unique beauty of the River of Grass. On this 4-hour Everglades fishing trip, you’ll be provided with tackle, fishing rods and reels, sunscreen, bug spray, and a cooler packed with refreshments from our store.
Bass fishing on an airboat has its own distinct advantages. Because airboats move by a propeller that’s above the water, their movement doesn’t disturb fish as much as traditional boat motors do. Also, airboats can navigate over shallow water in marshes, allowing more access to areas of the Everglades than regular boats can.
But in addition to an amazing fishing trip, you’ll be treated to an to an airboat ride where you’ll see many species of Everglades wildlife up close. The Everglades is home to many birds like egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue heron, and is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.
Bass fishing in the Everglades provides a great time in truly unique and beautiful place. At Mack’s Fish Camp, taking an Everglades fishing trip while enjoying an airboat ride provides a thrill for the whole family. Whether fishing alone or with a guide, the Florida Everglades provides plenty of great weather, incredible scenery, and of course, plenty of fish!
Taking an airboat ride in the Everglades can be a blast for all ages. Young or old, toddler or teen, Everglades airboat tours provide excitement and exploration for all ages. With a born and bred, fifth-generation Gladesmen as your guide, you’ll learn a lot about the Everglades ecosystem and the over 350 animal species that thrive here.
While Florida theme parks are bursting with attractions and rides, they’re also bursting with large crowds in the summer. Lines and wait times can be up to 2 hours long for rides that last for only a few minutes. In South Florida, the Everglades is a hidden gem just west of the sunny beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Miami. When you come to take a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, the ride is waiting for you, never the opposite.
With the many northern visitors Florida receives during the winter, it’s no secret that Florida is warm year-round. The increased humidity coupled with rising temperatures can make even a trip to the beach a tiring ordeal, and The Everglades can feel the heat, too.
In the summer, Everglades airboat tours are best-enjoyed in the morning until noon and in the late afternoon. In addition to the temperature being more hospitable to people then, much of the Everglades wildlife, like the many bird species residing here, are more active then. Also, if you take an airboat ride later in the day, you can witness a vivid, wildly colorful Everglades sunset.
Time and money can take on more importance as summer break draws to a close. Even with the school year looming large, you want to make good use of that extra time with your family. If you live in South Florida, taking an airboat rideat Mack’s Fish Camp in the Everglades is an exciting and affordable way to do that while staying close to home.
In the episode “The Other Florida”, Andrew spent the afternoon with Keith and Marshall Jones, who were happy to share a glimpse of Gladesmen Culture with the world (You can watch it here). They took an airboat ride into the Everglades to show Andrew the land they call home. They also grabbed a few resources from it that they call supper in the Glades, some Bracken fern fiddleheads to have as a side dish. For an entrée, Marshall made fried and grilled frog legs from the haul he and Keith had caught frog gigging the night before.
All in all, Andrew had a great time visiting and exploring our “Other Florida”, and found our distinct cuisine to be as delicious as it was bizarre. Anyone who comes to the Everglades and dines on the wild plants and game animals here usually finds them to be a real treat! But the Gladesmen living here have thrived on those foods, with marshes, sloughs, and hammocks acting as their grocery store.
Florida gets its name for being full of flowers, and there are plenty of flowers and plants growing in the Glades, many of them good for eating! Amaranth, dollarweed, and Bracken ferns can make for great salad greens. A few wild Florida plants can be used to make tea also, such as blackberry leaves, roots and bark from sassafras, or young pine needles.
When preparing wild plants, it’s important to how to make and consume them safely in some cases. For the fiddlehead (Bracken) ferns we cooked for Andrew Zimmern, we made sure to blanch them in salt water then shock them in ice water. Doing this greatly reduces certain chemicals in them that while not poisonous or toxic, can be harmful if eaten over time or too frequently.
One food staple of the Gladesmen Culture that can’t be overlooked is alligator meat. With the Everglades having so many of them, you could say, “When life hands you gators, make Gatorade.” While probably not the best ingredient for a sports drink, American alligator meat tastes great no matter how it’s cooked. It’s also packed with protein, having nearly 30 grams in a 3.5 ounce serving.
With so many resources available in the South Florida Everglades to live on, it truly does feel like living in paradise!