How to Pick the Best Airboat Ride for Your Kids

For moms and dads, the best airboat rides are kid-approved, but fun-friendliness isn’t the only thing that makes one ride better for your children than the competition. General safety, positive word of mouth, and overall uniqueness are the top qualities that can make some tours rise above the rest—and here’s how to tell which of them really is the best.

Safety Standards

There are plenty of “fun” activities that won’t get your parents’ seal of approval, which is why you shouldn’t settle for an airboat tour without doing some safety research. You can usually find out everything you need to know about how safe a tour company is by visiting their website or reading their blog. However, if you aren’t completely sold, give them a call and ask what sort of measures they use for security on board.

Experienced Captains

If you’re searching for a kid-friendly airboat tour, know how to search for kid-friendly airboat captains. A captain known for creating a wild ride might seem like a blast, but they probably aren’t the most age-appropriate guide for your kids. Airboat captains with a lot of local experience, however, can teach everyone on board about nearby wildlife, history, and current events. Likewise, an experienced captain with training and certifications is a trusted leader to put at the helm of your airboat tour, because they can provide a ride that won’t make anyone on deck feel unsafe.

Great Reviews

It’s no secret that the best airboat rides have the best reviews. But if you want to see which of the best is best for your child, dig a little deeper into local feedback and look for reviewees who brought kids along for their trip. This will help you separate airboat tours that are great for adults from airboat tours great for everyone, and it will even give you a look into why families liked specific tours for their kids over others.

Exotic Wildlife

Spotting wild animals on your tour is not only an adventurous and unique experience for your kids but a chance for them to learn while having a ton of fun. That’s why the best airboat rides come with a wildlife guarantee. While it’s common to see alligators on your trip, there’s so much more to explore in wild Florida. So, try and find an airboat tour somewhere central in the state that’s surrounded by various animals.

The Best Airboat Ride in Central Florida Are you still looking for the right ride? Take the whole family to Grape Hammock Fish Camp for a locally run airboat tour. Journey through the south end of Lake Kissimmee, right in the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, and get close to wildlife you can’t find anywhere else. Exploring the area with our USCG captains, your family will feel safe and have fun.

Ways Fishing Helps Relieve Stress

There’s no magic trick to make all your worries disappear, but there’s also no reason to spend a ton of money just to get a little relaxation. You don’t need a luxury-priced facial or bank-breaking massage chair to start feeling good; all you need is a few fishing essentials. If you’re thinking about scheduling your first fishing trip or just need another reason to bring out your rods and reels, check out all the ways that Central Florida fishing can help relieve stress.

Natural Medicine

When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or overworked, a breath of fresh air can really turn your mood around. Stepping outside for just a few minutes will start to clear your thoughts, and fishing for a few hours is sure work even more wonders. You can’t go fishing without surrounding yourself with nature, which means you’re sure to get a healthy dose of outdoor air big enough to lift your mood and lower your stress levels.

Muscle Therapy

Fishing is mostly a game of waiting, but you’re still going to target some key muscle groups while out on the water. In fact, while waiting for fish to bite, you have to keep a healthy posture and stand for an extended time, engaging your abdominal and leg muscles. And, of course, when casting or reeling, you’re definitely going to get your arms, shoulders, and back involved. Because fishing is a sport that can require you to get pretty active at times, it helps you to better lean into the more relaxing moments of your day.

Technological Detachment

There are plenty of gadgets in the sea made just for fishing, but plenty of fisherman have their most successful and stress-free catches with no screen time at all. Use fishing as an opportunity to completely unplug and center your thoughts on winding down. Silence your notifications, put your inbox on hold, and let your voicemail do all the talking. While you’re out on the water, try some breathing techniques or other natural remedies that can reset your mind and body while releasing physical and mental stress.

Total Control

As a hobby, fishing is what you make it. If you feel better clearing your head without having to entertain others, take a solo trip to the dock. Or, if being with friends or family members is what really relieves tension, bring your loved ones on board with you. Because destressing can look a little different to everyone, you should create a fishing environment that helps you relax the most.

Central Florida Fishing at Grape Hammock

Destressing isn’t easy for everyone, which is why picking up a different hobby or taking your favorite pastime to new places can be the change that makes a much-needed shift in your mind. When you’re ready to make relaxation a priority, head to Grape Hammock, a Central Florida fishing camp. Located on the edges of Lake Kissimmee, centered in the one of the quietest parts of the state, Grape Hammock is a prime spot to cast your worries away.

Interesting Facts About Largemouth Bass

You can come across lots of largemouth on any given day, but it can take some time to catch your personal best. If you want a better grip on your favorite game, check out these five interesting facts about largemouth bass.

They Eat Their Own  

Because they belong to the black bass species, largemouth bass are technically a part of the sunfish family. However, up to 40% of the largemouth diet is made of other sunfish—mainly bluegill—which means these fish like to feed on their kind. Other fish, insects, and animals that largemouth enjoy feeding on include: 

  • Trout 
  • Panfish 
  • Shad 
  • Mice
  • Worms
  • Mussels 
  • Frogs 

They Invade Certain Areas

If you’ve ever found largemouth bass less of a challenge to catch, it might be because there’s more to go around. In the U.S., you can find largemouth bass in 48 of the 50 states. And in some countries, there are so many largemouth that certain governments consider them to be an invasive species. 

They Have a Big Reputation 

The largemouth is the freshwater state fish of Alabama and Florida, and it’s the official state fish of both Georgia and Mississippi. Beyond having a big regional reputation, largemouth are just plain large. Largemouth bass are the biggest of the black bass species. Living an average of 10 to 16 years, the heaviest recorded one came in at 29.5 inches and 25 pounds. 

They Have a Sixth Sense 

Largemouth bass don’t usually find your bait by looking. In fact, they sense movement in the water by using an extra sensory system. Their mechanosensory lateral line system uses detectors to understand the flow of water. Although you can find this sixth sense in each fish species, scientists believe that cave-dwelling, night hunting, and largemouth fish are some of the only ones that use it as a main hunting tool. 

They Grow Bigger in Florida 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida bass are “genetically different,” which lets them grow far longer and heavier than largemouth in northern states. For anyone hoping to land a largemouth of record-breaking proportions, a fish camp in Florida is the best place to bait. 

If you’re on the lookout for a largemouth bass, take a trip to Grape Hammock Fish Camp, a Central Florida destination for campers, boaters, and casters. Featuring a newly renovated general store filled with ice, bait, and boat gas, Grape Hammock offers open access to some of Florida’s largest fish.  

5 Tips to Make Your Camping Trip Enjoyable

Planning a camping trip can be a little hectic for first-timers. Trying to find activities for the whole family, portable entertainment, and close-to-home comforts can take a bit of brainwork—so we’ve done it for you. Before you start planning your next trip, check out our tips to make it more enjoyable for everyone at your campsite.

Pack Your Board Games

Bring family game night to your campsite with your favorite tabletop games. This is a great way to keep little ones occupied during tent setups or dinner prep time, and your games don’t have to take up a ton of space in your pack. Plenty of popular games now come in smaller sizes or portable packages so you can bring your favorite form of fun wherever you go. Even a simple deck of cards can make a huge difference to your downtime on site.

Bring Some Reading Material

If you want to unplug but still love a good story, take one with you. While you’re camping, you can check a few items off of your to-read list by bringing some new books to burn through in your spare time. This will help you to relax and unwind while taking in some of your favorite entertainment. Whether you’re laying out on shore, taking a break by the fire, or sitting under flashlight in your tent, there are plenty of opportunities to turn some pages.

Eat Comfort and Camping Food

S’mores and hotdogs are a traditional camping treat. If you want to mix things up throughout your trip, try whipping up some more creative camping cuisine. For example, campfire quesadillas are an easy dish that you can personalize for each camper at your site. To get your quesadillas just right, lay a tortilla down inside a foil packet, stuff the center with your favorite meats, veggies, and cheeses, and fold everything up to roast over the fire.

Decorate the Tabletop

If you want to make your campsite feel more like home and more convenient for your family, decorate your campsite table or bench to fit your taste. For example, packing some dishware like your favorite mug can make your time away from home feel much cozier. Likewise, adding a tablecloth over the top of your surface can make a huge difference when you sit down to eat and get ready to clean up.

Stay at a Central Florida Campground

Overall, the best way to make your trip enjoyable is to surround yourself with the friends, family, and fun you love most. If you want to book your trip at a place where everyone can have their fill, stay at a Florida fish camp. At Grape Hammock Fish Camp, a Central Florida campground, we have a range of activities to satisfy any visitor. From going fishing to taking an adventurous airboat tour, there are endless ways to make your trip enjoyable at Grape Hammock.

What to Wear on a Central Florida Airboat Ride

Are you planning to take an airboat ride but aren’t sure what to wear? Beyond water and a fully charged camera, here’s everything you’ll want to bring on the boat.

Plenty of Sunscreen

The breeze on an airboat tour might make it easier to beat the heat, but the sun can still do damage at top speeds. To protect your skin from too much exposure or sunburn, apply sunscreen before you set out. Since you’ll be on the water for roughly an hour or more, bring your lotion on board so you can reapply.

Comfortable Clothes

Clothing isn’t optional on an airboat tour, but the right outfit will change with the seasons. In the summer and spring months, slip into a tank top, shorts, and other lightweight clothes that will help you stay cool. In the fall and winter, bring a light jacket and comfortable pants to keep things covered as the Central Florida chill sets in.

Eye Glasses

Sunlight and high speed can put a strain on your eyes. Many airboat tour guides will recommend that passengers bring a pair of sunglasses to block out the sun and make it easier to spot alligators, birds, and other animals. If you want to have the best view on the boat, wear a pair of binoculars around your neck to quickly swap out with your shades.

Bug Spray

Airboat rides bring passengers close to wild animals—and their natural habitat. Because Florida freshwater is a breeding ground for all sorts of bugs, you should keep some insect repellant on hand. This will help you ward off mosquitos, flies, and other pests that can pop up on your airboat ride. You can spray some on right before you board and keep the bottle by your side to touch up.

Close-Toed Shoes

Surprise rain showers can come up at any time during your airboat tour. Of course, you might catch some light mist as you glide through the ride, but full-on rainfall can put a damper on your drive. To keep your feet dry and safe from blisters, wear close-toed shoes, like sneakers or rain boots.

Airboat Rides in Central Florida

Now that you know what to wear on your ride, you need to know where to book your tour. For an exclusive airboat experience with USCG Captains, reserve your airboat ride with Grape Hammock Fish Camp. As a family-owned and operated Central Florida fish camp, Grape Hammock has decades of experience on the water and a general store to help you stock up before your trip.

The History of Airboats

From board games to video games, many of the greatest forms of entertainment have drastically evolved since their invention—but few items have made as big of a transformation as airboats. The way they’re designed and even the reason passengers take airboat rides is vastly different from when the watercraft was first invented over a century ago.

What once was used exclusively for testing machinery and researching aquatic life is now a go-to, family-friendly form of Florida recreation, and here’s a look at how it all got started.

The Airboat Prototype

Alexander Graham Bell invented the first airboat in 1905. Nicknamed “The Ugly Duckling,” the first version of these famous watercrafts was very different from the flat, smooth one known today. And, rather than using them for entertainment or sport, Graham Bell used his primary prototype to test various engines and tools for other pieces of equipment.

The First Official Airboat

Although a man named Glenn Curtiss registered the first Florida airboat in 1920, it wasn’t until 1943 that these machines began to take their true shape. Modeling the boats with lightweight aluminum materials, Cecil S. Williams, Leo Young, and G. Hortin Jensen introduced the first airboat model to have both a flat bottom and a seat for the pilot, which inspired the designs for modern versions.

The Introduction of Airboats

As airboats became more popular across the country, scientists began using them for research, and everyday citizens began using them for recreation or transportation. Many people even created homemade versions of the watercraft so that they could easily access their local waters without having to make such a large investment up front.

The Use of Airboats Today

Airboats have come a long way since the first version was designed over 100 years ago. Now, these watercrafts are fast, efficient, and safer for both passengers and aquatic wildlife. They’re a major attraction for Florida locals and visiting tourists, and they’ve even become a standard watercraft for natural disaster relief and water emergencies.

The Best Central Florida Airboat Ride

If you want to learn more about the history of airboats, schedule your airboat ride with the history-rich Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Our airboat captains have extensive experience with their watercrafts and the Florida waters around them. To plan a fun adventure for the whole family, call us today at 863-692-1500 and book your airboat ride.

Tips for an Unforgettable Largemouth Bass Fishing Trip

Some people book Florida fish camp trips to have an unpredictable outdoor adventure, but there are others who plan their trips with one goal in mind. Because, catching a largemouth bass isn’t just something fisherman hope to do; it’s something they’re determined to do. So, if you’re tired of wasting time on sub-par sizes, here are some tips to help you take home a trophy fish in no time.

Know Where to Look

Bass are attracted to areas with a lot of vegetation, which means you’ll have to aim for cover. Your first instinct might be to simply fish deep to find the biggest catch, but largemouth bass always head for hidden spots to hunt for smaller bait. However, if you’re unable to uncover some cover at your fishing spot, check for any fallen structures like trees or bushes, because bass often use them when they can’t find a dense area to wade.

Bring the Must-Have Items

Even if you manage to hook a largemouth bass, you put your catch at risk by casting without the right equipment. Some of the most important pieces of gear to bring on your trip include:

  • Strong lure – Largemouth bass thrive under dense cover. If your lures aren’t strong enough to handle the brush that comes with the cover, your chances of landing a largemouth are significantly smaller.
  • Fish finder – If you want to improve your chances of reeling in a largemouth bass, invest in some tools to help you find them. Fish finders use sound waves to track movements and even estimate the size of fish, which can help you to cast at the right catches.
  • Multiple rods – Like people, fish have their moods. And when they aren’t feeling as energetic, you can still have some successful casts just by changing up your rod and reel. Instead of lugging around your heaviest rod throughout the day, carry a lightweight option that you can easily hang on to while you wait for the waters to wake up.
  • Extra line – Anything can happen on the water, and you don’t want to miss out because of a broken line. Carrying a surplus of strong line will keep you in the casting, reeling, and catching game for the long haul.

Visit the Right Florida Fish Camp

When you’re ready to lock in on a largemouth, book a trip to the Florida fish camp favored by locals and visitors: Grape Hammock. At the Grape Hammock general store, you can pick up just about everything you’ll need for a full day of fishing. And, our experienced staff can point you to all the thriving spots of Lake Kissimmee. For more information, contact us today.

Are Airboat Tours Family-Friendly?

If you’re planning a family trip to Florida, you might have a hard time finding the right attractions to suit everyone in your party. Although you want to take the little ones on an adventure they’ll never forget, Grandma and Grandpa can’t be on their feet all day.

Fortunately, airboat tours are the perfect way to accommodate and entertain both the youngest and eldest passengers in your party.

Get Close to Wildlife

Passengers of all ages enjoy airboat tours, because each outing on an airboat is a one-of-a-kind excursion. While cruising through the waters of Florida, everyone on board is guaranteed to see some wildlife up close. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a sunbathing gator or cross paths with a rare Florida bird.

Learn Something New

Airboat tours are a guilt-free way to entertain your children, because they can learn all about the Florida waters, ecosystem, and aquatic life right from the watercraft. And, although the propellers on an airboat create some serious noise, each passenger is given a headset linked directly to the captain’s microphone. This system cancels out the sounds of the watercraft, so you can easily hear all the tips and tokens of wisdom from your airboat captain.

Go on an Adventure

Most people assume that airboat tours are only for daredevils and thrill seekers, but they’re actually the perfect adventure for children who might be intimidated by some other attractions in Florida. Rather than being strapped into an oversized seat and separated from Mom and Dad, your children can sit right next to you to feel totally secure on their excursion.

Tips for Every Passenger

No matter how young or old your party members are, here are some essential items that will help you make the most out of your airboat tour.

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Bug spray
  • Camera
  • Comfortable clothing

Airboat Tours in Central Florida

At Grape Hammock Fish Camp, our USCG captains have years of experience with Florida waters and wildlife, so you can feel good about bringing your whole family along for an exciting and educational airboat tour. For more information or to schedule a tour for your family, call us today at 863-692-1500.

How Are Airboat Tours Different from Other Boat Tours?

With so many Central Florida attractions vying for a top spot among the hearts of residents and visitors, it can be hard to find the best bang for your buck. Anyone looking to have a truly exclusive experience in Florida will end up deciding between a range of outdoor adventures, but there’s only one option that fits the budget and exceeds the expectations of every passenger possible: airboat tours.

Airboat tours are a great way to walk on the wild side without spending wild amounts of money, and they’re a fantastic, family-friendly option for parties of all ages. If you still aren’t entirely sure whether these tours are right for you, take a look at what makes them stand out from all the rest.

They’re Super Personal

Unlike ferry rides and other large boat tours, airboat tours provide a truly intimate experience. Tour guides can effortlessly maneuver the watercraft through intricate passages to bring guests to some of the most exclusive scenes in the state. And, rather than pushing their way to the edge of the ride just to get a decent glimpse at what lies beyond, every airboat passenger gets the best seat on the boat.  

They’re Full of Adventure

You don’t have to be a thrill-seeker to enjoy an airboat tour, but these rides are an absolute blast for adventurers of all ages. Airboats can reach high speeds and rip through virtually anything that Florida waters throw their way, but they’re also a safe outdoor alternative. Because these captains have years of experience navigating the waves and controlling the watercraft, you can bring your entire family along for a Florida airboat tour without a worry.

They’re Practically Unlimited

Regular motorboats easily get stuck in the muddled waters of Florida, but airboats were designed to coast across waves and navigate through all kinds of vegetation. Airboats can easily trek through shallow waters, crowded coves, and tangled depth, because the massive propellers allow the boat to graze just above the surface.  

They’re Safer for Wildlife

Airboats aren’t fueled by underwater motors, which means they can safely skim across waters without disturbing surrounding wildlife. Sure, these large boats can cause some ripples and ruckus on the surface, but they aren’t nearly as upsetting to Florida’s aquatic creatures as some other boat tours can be.

They’re Incredibly Affordable

Considering the speeds you reach and the scenes you encounter on an airboat tour, these attractions certainly pack in a ton of value. Rather than drifting through calm waters with a cheap paddleboat tour or racing through waves with a luxuriously priced speedboat rental, airboats offer top-speed adventures, one-of-a-kind views, and safe sailing at an unbeatable rate.

Airboat Tours on Lake Kissimmee

If you want an unforgettable outdoor adventure, book your spot on an airboat tour with Grape Hammock. Our seasoned tour guides take passengers throughout the exceptional waters and abundant ecosystem of Lake Kissimmee to provide a unique experience on every single outing.

6 Interesting Facts About Alligators

Floridians like to think they know everything about alligators, but scientists continue to find out more about the extensive history of these creatures every day. So, let’s take a look at six interesting facts that’ll put your alligator knowledge to the test.

They Aren’t Carnivores

Next time you decide to take an alligator tour, you might see one of these creatures munching on anything from fish to fruit. Because, despite how movies and other media depict alligators as flesh-crazed fiends, alligators actually appreciate a little variety in their diet. Beyond a multitude of meats, alligators enjoy a range of other wild harvests like watermelon and wild grapes.

They Have a Big Appetite

It’s no secret that alligators have an appetite; however, most people don’t exactly know how they manage to eat as much as they do. Turns out, these creatures have the ability to relocate blood from their lungs to their stomach, which elevates the production of stomach acid. This helps to increase the rate of gastric breakdown, allowing them to digest food faster and ingest meals in larger amounts.

They Are Social Creatures

They might not be as in touch with their emotions as humans are, but alligators still have strong communication skills. Whether they need to send a message through air or water, alligators can easily communicate through non-verbal and verbal signals. And, these signals often vary depending on where an alligator is in the courting, mating, or nesting cycle.

They Easily Fight Infection

You often find alligators wading in murky swamps or trudging through muddy marshes, but you don’t often find them bothered by the germs and bacteria around them. That’s because alligators secrete a slightly antiviral serum that naturally fights infection in their daily lives, which means that alligators can easily survive some of the harshest wounds of the waters. 

They Eat Other Alligators

These prehistoric predators may come across as a threat to humans, but they’re usually more of a threat to other alligators. In fact, a 2011 Florida study found that adult alligators are likely to feast on newborn or juvenile ones, which scientists believe is responsible for removing roughly 7% of young alligators each year.

They Regulate the Environment

Alligators play a huge role in controlling their own population by eating young alligators, but they also help regulate the environment by feasting on animals that would otherwise overpopulate, like certain species of fish, insects, and crustaceans. And, the holes these gators dig for hibernation provides another source of water for local aquatic animals.

Test Your Knowledge on an Alligator Tour

Whether you want to fact check our alligator information or just want to get a look at one of Florida’s favorite mascots, schedule an airboat ride with Grape Hammock Fish Camp. Our adventurous alligator tours take you through the waters of Lake Kissimmee to see alligators in their natural habitat—with some insightful information from our expert airboat captains, of course.

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