The 17-minute ride around Tom Sawyer Island on the Liberty Belle, which departs on the hour and half-hour and has very little seating, makes for a relaxing break. It’s not unusual to see Florida water birds on the journey, which passes a few mild (and mildly stereotypical) dioramas of American Indian camps.
The top deck offers views but a deafening whistle, and mid-deck has a good look at that hardworking paddle. The bottom is where sailors work the levers that make the honest-to-goodness steam engine run. Fight the urge to praise them for their steering ability—the boat’s on a track. Tip: As you board, ask a cast member if you may pilot the boat. The captain may invite you to turn the wheel and sound the whistle—and you may come away with a riverboat pilot’s license.