Florida on a Tankful: Natural Florida on an airboat in Christmas

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017, 7:57 AM EST

Orlando boasts some of the most thrilling attractions in the country, but if you’re looking for a more nature-friendly way to enjoy the Sunshine State, you don’t have to travel too far.

Tucked away on the border of Orange and Brevard counties, off of State Road 50, you’ll find a wetland paradise in the St Johns River.

“This is the natural Florida,” Derrick Lockhart with Airboats at Midway explained.

Derrick still does the occasional tour, even though the business has expanded since they opened back in the late 80’s. But the history here goes back much further than that.

“The town of christmas was settled all the way back in 1837,” Derrick said.

Whether you’re sweeping over some of the 2,000 square miles that make up the St Johns River, gliding through the cyprus tree swamps, or viewing some of the thriving wildlife, you’ll be seeing a more secluded part of Florida.

“This is an area that the general public really doesn’t have too much access to, and we can take them into to see a different part of Florida,” Derrick said.

And what makes it a real treat to experience is the down home, local feel.

“We always wanted to grow the business, but we never wanted it to get so big that it was out of control,” Derrick said, “We’ve always wanted to keep it more quaint, a little smaller.”

But quaint doesn’t mean they don’t have something for you thrill seekers.

If you’re feeling daring enough after your airboat ride, they’ll let you hold a 40-pound alligator, free of charge.  

But if that’s not quite your speed, there’s always the resident pig, Porkchop. He makes his rounds to all the new guests before they hit the water.  

“It’s about going out here and enjoying the environment and what the St Johns River and Florida in general have to offer,” Derrick said.

Airboats at Midway’s rides typically last an hour on the Saint Johns River in Christmas, in east Orange County.

  • Pricing for Adults - $37
  • Pricing for Children 12 and under - $28 
  • Pricing for Children 3 and under - FREE