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Orlando's Lake Jesup is Home to 13,000 Alligators and One Wild Airboat Ride at The Black Hammock

Updated: May 23


The Black Hammock airboat ride at Orlando's Lake Jesup
The Black Hammock airboat ride at Orlando's Lake Jesup

"I feel like I just went through a washing machine", I said turning to Brittany, who was pouring water out of her black cowgirl boots beside me. "I didn't realize we were going to see Shamu", she replied in jest. We'd just been drenched from head to toe, right down through the skivvies. There wasn't an inch of dry fabric on my body.


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A choppy January day, four of us met for a teambuilding activity for work, unprepared for the exciting events about to unfold.


Gilligan would be singing "...a three hour tour" looking at this rag tag bunch. I was worried about the boat ride being rough. Others were worried about alligators and capsizing. As it turns out, these were non-issues.


The Black Hammock airboat ride at Orlando's Lake Jesup
Ready for The Black Hammock airboat ride at Orlando's Lake Jesup

After a brief safety introduction we took to the lake. The boat's giant fan sounded like a jet engine, even through muffled ears. Although loud, it wasn't ear drum shattering and was pretty cool to experience.


We spotted dozens of alligators sunning, splashing and looming in the marsh grass. We saw a bald eagle, a hawk, many herons, and more.


Beautiful scenery on Orlando's Lake Jesup
Beautiful scenery on Orlando's Lake Jesup

All in all, a pleasant ride through "real Florida". Our hosts, Black Hammock, were informative, professional, and warned us the last part of our ride would be bumpy and 'wet'.


Soaking wet ladies
"Wet" was an understatement on our airboat ride at Lake Jesup

As we learned, wet wasn't just a few dribbles or splashes, but actual WAVES of water crashing into the airboat's flat bow and sides. We screamed in both horror and glee as cold lake water absorbed into our once dry clothes. Although you won't always get wet, what a great time.


Holding an alligator at The Black Hammock on Orlando's Lake Jesup
Holding an alligator at The Black Hammock on Orlando's Lake Jesup

When the ride was done we got to take pics with a small alligator and enjoy some backwater eats at their neighboring restaurant.

The Black Hammock Restaurant at Lake Jesup
The Black Hammock Restaurant at Lake Jesup

Kitschy interior decor at the Black Hammock Restaurant
The interior at The Black Hammock Restaurant

If You Go on the Lake Jesup Orlando Airboat Ride

Book your airboat ride in advance on their website: https://www.theblackhammock.com/


Another great option for an airboat ride with an option BBQ lunch in the Orlando area is at Wild Florida, smack in the middle of nowhere just 45 minutes south of Orlando. Either option offers great fun for the whole family and surely will not disappoint!

The Black Hammock Restaurant Entrance on Lake Jesup
The Black Hammock Restaurant Entrance on Lake Jesup

Consider wearing air wicking clothes or even a poncho and leave your stuff in the car.


They WILL provide protective gear for your ears.





If you get there early there is a parrot aviary on site as well as a restaurant and bar.


Pro tip: You can order drinks inside at the bar before you depart and they'll give you a to go cup to bring on board!


Enjoy the amenities The Black Hammock has to offer, and try one of Orlando's coolest airboat rides at Lake Jesup.




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