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Self Drive Airboats - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Activities

If you like to do your own thing and not be part of a larger group then you might enjoy a gentle exploration of Shingle Creek which is accessed from the 192 at junction 15, just half a mile east of Medieval Times.

You have a choice of craft for hire. The airboats seat 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children, and the less adventurous will be pleased to know that they have a top speed of about 4 mph. This did not go down very well with the men in our party who had visions of whizzing around like the larger boats. However, it does give you the opportunity of watching the landscape go by. Although they are not fast they are still very very noisy but the local birds are obviously very used to them and we saw quite a variety along the banks.

The airboats steer by moving a lever backwards and forwards so it does take a little bit of getting used to and they did not always steer well at very low speed. However, a paddle is provided if you go aground so there are no real difficulties. Life jackets can be provided for children but the creek is not very deep.

You can cruise for about a mile up the creek and back again in the hour with stops to watch the birds and take photographs. Cypress trees line the bank and provide shade and the shallow water at the banks provides feeding grounds for a variety of birds. This trip inspired us to go and buy a book of Florida Birds as it was so frustrating not knowing what everything was, so next time we will be better informed. The hour cost $30 for the boat.

They also hire electric boats, which glide along silently and in theory provide a better platform for bird watching. However, there would still be more noisy visitors disturbing the wildlife. The electric boats can seat 6 and cost $25 an hour.

If you are feeling more energetic there are also canoes for hire. They seat 2 people and cost $7 an hour. This is the boat we will hire next time.

Apparently there are alligators and otters but we did not see any. We did, however, spot a turtle.

You can save $2 off the price of your chosen craft with the vouchers that are distributed and that are on the free maps that you can pick up at the airport when you arrive.

All in all this provides a very pleasant excursion if you have a couple of hours to spare and want a change from the high thrill rides of the parks.

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