Six Generations of Expertly-Guided Everglades Tours
For six generations, we have provided expertly-guided boat tours of the Everglades on the southernmost tip of Chokoloskee Island, 3 miles south of Everglades City. Visitors from all over the world have enjoyed our comfortable shaded 6 passenger boats with quiet engines, allowing you to see the Everglades as it is naturally, with no interruptions to the wildlife’s daily routine. We pride ourselves on being a Florida-owned business that cares for its environment and our boats are USCG approved with first aid and safety equipment on board.
You will begin your Everglades National Park boat rides at the Smallwood Store Museum on one of our comfortable shaded 6 passenger boats with quiet engines, allowing you to see the Everglades as it is naturally, with no interruptions to the local wildlife’s daily routine. Every day, we see a variety of birds, manatees, gators, dolphins and much more.
Smallwood Store Museum
A Place to Learn
Aside from our fun and informative tours, our Smallwood Store Museum is included in the price of your boat tour. The Historic Smallwood Store is an attraction of the area itself, ranked on TripAdvisor as one of the top things to do in Chokoloskee.
Here you will learn the story of the pioneers who tamed this vast wilderness also known as “Florida’s Last Frontier”.
Human habitation of Chokoloskee Island began approximately 2,000 years ago when mound dwelling people began altering the landscape with mounds and canals. Subsequent influxes of Native Americans expanded the mounds and they fished, hunted and farmed the rich fertile soil. Moving south from conflict in North Florida and Georgia, the Seminole Indians were the last native peoples to make the Everglades their home. White settlements in the Chokoloskee Bay Area began near the end of the 19th century. Plume, hide and fur hunters as well as archaeologists were the first to visit. They were quickly followed by families who combined seasonal hunting, fishing and farming to make a living like their native predecessors.
Settlements brought a need for goods and mail and that need was met by the Smallwood Store. Established in 1906 by Ted Smallwood, this trading post served a remote and isolated area in buying hides, furs, and farm produce in exchange for providing the goods required to survive. Ted Smallwood’s Store was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and it remained open until 1982. When the doors were shut, 90% of the original goods remained in the store. In 1990 Ted’s granddaughter reopened the store as a museum and today it serves as a time capsule of Florida pioneer history. The center section of the building remains as Ted would have known it. The hide room has been turned into exhibit space, telling the history of Southwest Florida’s pioneers.
Tigertail Gift Shop
Don’t leave before you check out the Tigertail Gift Shop. It was named after “Chief Charlie Tigertail” of the Seminole Tribe and a good friend of Mr. Smallwood’s. Here you will find books & DVDs related to Florida History, authentic Seminole crafts & carvings, artwork & photography from local artists, alligator heads, t-shirts and much more.