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“One of the best Birding Tours We Have Ever Done”

Blue Heron River Tours
Ranked #1 of 11 Tours in DeLand
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: We operate a 45 foot, 49 passenger Coast Guard licensed tour boat out of Hontoon Landing Resort and Marina in Deland, Florida.
Kissimmee Florida
Level Contributor
37 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“One of the best Birding Tours We Have Ever Done”
Reviewed February 2, 2013

We have done a fair number of river tours, harbor tours and birding tours. This is among the best.

Gary, the owner, was our captain and guide. My wife and I are novice birders and we thought we were good at picking out the wildlife we see, but Gary routinely saw things before we did and we were using binoculars.

The only "rare" species was saw was the purple gallanoule, but the ability to get so close to so many other birds was amazing. We saw several hundred white ibis roosting in the trees along the route. We saw the usual compliment of coots, great blue herons (some nesting early this year), great egrets, cattle egrets, mature and immature little blue herons, kingfishers, and hawks. Not bad for a two hour cruise on the river.

As the picture shows, this is a pontoon boat. It is not an airboat. This is a good thing. I know that in many areas airboats are preferred because they are faster and can go into shallower water than a pontoon boat can, but a pontoon boat is quiet and does not scare away half of what you came out to see. Environmentalists hate airboats and love pontoon boats.

The fine print: (There is always fine print.) Birds are the originators of the expression "fly by night" and that is what they do. They're here today and gone tomorrow. So, just because I saw a thousand ibis today that does not mean that you will. In fact, after seeing hundreds of birds together, we turned a corner on the river and there were none. However, even in summer when the birds are mostly up north (They are "snowbirds" after all.), the lush greens of the plant life and the reflections on the dark water should be spectacular.

The drive from the attractions area is over an hour, but is worth the trip.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank CruisingtoRetirement
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sailor1978, Owner at Blue Heron River Tours, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
I really enjoyed my trip with you and your wife. It's always wonderful on the river, and I am pleased that you enjoyed your time with Blue Heron River Tours.

Hope to see you again on the river,
Captain Gary S. Randlett
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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346 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Apopka, FL
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Blue Heron”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

Had a wonderful experience with Blue Heron tours. I live in Orlando and have done several different boating tours. Captain Todd was excellent. Not only did he point out and give information on the birds and reptiles we saw but he was extremely knowledgable about the plants along the river. He also gave us some local history about the area. Definitely recommend

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank sbcornett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sailor1978, Owner at Blue Heron River Tours, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
We are so lucky to have Captain Todd doing tours for us. He has a wonderful knowledge base, and gives such an interesting tour. So pleased that you enjoyed your trip with Blue Heron River Tours!!!

Hope to see you on the river again,
Captain Gary S. Randlett
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Old Florida Nature”
Reviewed January 26, 2013

They offer a fabulous tour at a great rate! We saw gators, manatees, turtles, and so many different types of birds, I lost track. The captain would explain different animals and parts of the river (including history) in a very interesting way. It is so beautiful with so many things to see!! Bring your camera!
The boat is very stable and has a bathroom on board. Snacks, drinks, and binoculars are offered at good rates.

Helpful?
1 Thank Mint159
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sailor1978, Owner at Blue Heron River Tours, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
We are pleased that you enjoyed your trip with Blue Heron River Tours. Thanks for the nice comments about our vessel. We work hard to keep our boat safe, clean and comfortable.

Hope to see you on the river again.
Captain Gary S. Randlett
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Blue Heron River in Deland, Florida so educational for the all family”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

This experience was excellent. Very relaxing and educational. The captain of the tour was very entertaining and what I like the most is that he involve everybody on what he is teaching us about nature and wild birds in Florida and some history too. Good for the all family.

Helpful?
1 Thank qmarlene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sailor1978, Owner at Blue Heron River Tours, responded to this review, February 1, 2013
We are so glad that you enjoyed your trip with us. You got to experience a bit of the old Florida that many people don't realize still exists. Thank you for the wonderful comments.

Hope to see you on the river again,
Captain Gary S. Randlett
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, Canada
Level Contributor
609 reviews
305 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 443 helpful votes
“Best Ecological Tour Ever”
Reviewed January 22, 2013

This is by far the best Eco tour we've ever been on. Its in the middle of nowhere, 10 minutes from Deland, 45 minutes from Orlando and 30 minutes from Daytona. Go to the website blueheronrivertours.com and download the driving directions as you will need them. To be sure you have plenty of time take a picnic and arrive a couple of hours early. You can take the free ferry to Hontoon Island State Park and enjoy the smaller museum and eat lunch on the park's nice picnic tables. On the cruise you will see many species of birds, alligators and Manatees. There are lots of other similar cruises in the Blue Springs area of the St John's River but this one has a better boat, is less crowded, finds more wildlife and the captain is so dedicated he will keep you out longer than the advertised time if the wildlife viewing is really good that day. I strongly suggest the afternoon cruise so you avoid the notorious Orlando area traffic and if you take a picnic you can be there in plenty of time and relax.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank jfarlam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sailor1978, Owner at Blue Heron River Tours, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Thank you for your positive review. We are getting more and more people who want to get away from Orlando for a day to see the real Florida.

Hope to see you again on the river,
Captain Gary S. Randlett
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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