In the heart of Osceola County awaits a beach formed 1,000 years ago that few have seen. Getting there will take earplugs.

  • Wild Florida airboat tours is in Osceola County
  • Travelers can see herons, gators and old Florida
  • Airboat tours are just off Florida's Turnpike

The tranquility of pristine Osceola County is broken only by the sounds of horse power.

"This is where it all starts,” said Sam Haught with Wild Florida airboat tours.

Florida casts off with group airboat rides that give an overview. In the meantime, Sam and fellow captains give private charters allowing for deeper exploration.

"By all accounts, the true headwaters of The Everglades," Sam said as the airboat drifted through untouched Central Florida wilderness.

The flat bottom airboats serve as time machines, transporting groups of friends, families and work colleagues hundreds of years into the past.

"By all accounts, this is what Florida used to look like 1,000 years ago,” Sam said after stopping the airboat in a spot few human hands have touched. No homes, no strip malls, no hotels and no apartments can be seen in 360 degrees. Here, the outside world is turned off.

With the engine off, Sam provides reflection in an area few ever see. Decades-old cypress trees. Stumps left behind from what Sam thinks were settlers harvesting wood more than 150 years ago. Small rivers carrying rain water away from Orlando, preventing flooding in the Walt Disney World area.

"We're in the middle of Central Florida, yet we have channel markers, which means these are navigable waters. Which means, we must connect to the ocean at some point,” Sam points out of signs you may expect to see on the ocean.

Wildlife such as blue herons line the banks.

And sure, there are gators.

For those who are really brave, Sam will stop the airboat here in the middle of Lake Cypress, where you can go overboard and dip your feet in the sand. He promises to keep an eye on the natural wildlife. The water here is clear. For those who cast off their shoes and socks, the sand somehow feels more real and tactile; almost like an expensive spa treatment, knowing this area is seldom seen by humans.

“This is really the last great frontier, for untouched, wild Florida, this close to the developed areas in Central Florida,” Sam says. "You definitely need an air boat to see what it used to look like."

Know Before You Go
Private airboat rides need to be reserved in advance. You'll find Kenansville in Osceola County just a few minutes from Florida's Turnpike.

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