Boat Tour Florida’s Everglades by Traditional Pole Boat, Kayak, or Canoe

everglades boat tours
Touring the Florida Everglades in a traditional pole boat

Everglades Adventure Tours provides Everglades boat tours using traditional pole boats. Pole boats were used by Native Americans who inhabited the Everglades and later by Gladesmen who scratched out a living hunting and fishing the shallow water of the Florida Everglades. In a video on the Everglades Adventure Tours website, Jack Shealy, a 5th generation Gladesmen and the founder of Everglades Adventure Tours, stands on the stern of his flat-bottom boat and glides through the everglades powered only by a long pole that he puts on the bottom of the swamp and leverages forward moving the boat. As he does this he talks about his love of the Everglades natural environment and how the pole boat method of transportation and Everglades eco tours connects him with it. “This is a world away from the cities,” he says. “This is our home. Nobody loves this place like the people who live here. Ecotourism has made a future for our traditional culture. Gladesmen have used this land for generations for sustenance. We now have a sustainable ecotourism industry that offers quality experiences for our guests. Ecotourism gives us hope for our children to enjoy this wilderness and preserve our culture and traditions.” It would be hard to find a more stark contrast in Florida Everglades boat tours than this pole boat method of touring and the deafening air boats (recently banned from Everglades National Park) that speed through the Everglades marshes scattering wildlife before and after them. Many species of marine animals who live in the Gulf of Mexico were born and spend some portion of their early life in the Everglades.

Pole Boat Eco Tours Through a Subtropical Landscape

Ride a stable pole boat with elevated cushioned seats to see cypress swamps, grasslands, and subtropical mangrove jungles.

Everglades Kayak Tours to Big Cypress Preserve

Paddle a stable Jackson kayak along with 6-to-12 other paddlers. An interpretive naturalist guide is in close proximity to your kayak in these Everglades boat tours. See mangrove jungles and grassland prairies of the Big Cypress Preserve. See Everglades wildlife. Learn from your guide about the importance of protecting and preserving the Everglades environment. Tour for 2 hours or a half-day.

Canoe Tours in the Florida Everglades

Paddle Big Cypress National Preserve in two-or-three-person canoes. A naturalist guide accompanies your canoe trip and provides an interpretive narrative of the surrounding environment. This is one of the best ways to see the wildlife of the Everglades including alligators, turtles, and birds.

Hiking Tours in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve

Hike Fakahatchee Strand State Park Preserve, Florida’s largest state park. Hike off the beaten path. Go deep into Big Cypress Swamp. A naturalist guide accompanies the hike and provides interpretive information about what you are seeing. This hike provide opportunities (though never guaranteed) to see the Everglades mink and the Florida panther. You may get your feet wet on this hike, depending on the time of year.

Paddleboard (SUP) Tours of Grass Prairies

Tour the Everglades using a method of transportation similar to the original pole boats used by Native Americans and Gladesmen. These paddleboards provide a unique view of the Everglades environment. A naturalist guide accompanies the tour. Tours are limited to 4 people or less. Previous SUP experience is recommended for paddlers on this type of tour.

Other Everglades Boat Tours and Eco Tours

  • EVERGLADES ECO SAFARI Spend 4 hours in the Everglades backcountry. Tour either Cypress Swamp, Mangrove Jungle or the River of Grass. Opportunities to see Everglades wildlife including alligators, turtles, deer, otters and birds. A naturalist guide accompanies these Everglades boat tours.
  • EVERGLADES DAY SAFARI Spend 6 hours touring the Everglades backcountry accompanied by a naturalist guide.
  • PHOTO SAFARIS Explore areas of the swamp that contain the best photo opportunities. Photograph in areas of the Everglades seldom reached by others.
  • BIRDING SAFARIS 350 species of birds have been identified in the Everglades. Tour Big Cypress Swamp where some of the best birding in the Everglades can be found.
  • EVERGLADES NIGHT TOURS Tour the Everglades at night to the accompaniment of the sounds of nature including frogs, owls, and hundreds of species of insects. A naturalist guide accompanies the tour and provides interpretive commentary. Tours are by pole boat, canoe, or kayak.

Read more about Everglades Adventure Tours

Brown's Guide
About Brown's Guide 195 Articles
Brown’s Guides is a website about the top outdoor experiences in America and about the professional outfitters and guides who know them best. Hiking, biking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and over 100 other outdoor activities are indexed on the site. BG has been doing this type of thing since 1972 in books, magazines, maps and on the Internet.

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