Florida Manatee Adventure

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January 13-16, 2015
kayaking – manatees – wildlife
3-NIGHTS / $1150

OVERVIEW
This 3-night adventure will get you out of the cold and into the Florida sun for some invigorating outdoor activities and fun! Kayak in pristine, spring-fed rivers alongside gentle giant manatees, hike a beautiful Florida trail and enjoy a sunset pontoon boat ride out to the Gulf of Mexico all while surrounded by abundant fish, birds and vegetation. You might even spot blue herons, pelicans or playful otters right from the deck of our riverside lodging. We’ll take a gentle pace with time for taking pictures, bird watching and learning about the river ecosystems along “Florida’s Nature Coast”. In the evening enjoy a fabulous Florida seafood dinners, outdoor grilling, or campfire s’mores under the stars.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kayaking on gentle, crystal-clear spring-fed rivers with wild manatees
  • Learning basic kayaking skills
  • Pontoon sunset boat ride out to the Gulf of Mexico
  • Relaxing riverside campfire
  • Sampling local hang-outs and fresh seafood

Register today to save your place on this adventure!

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Tuesday: Your Sol Sister Adventure guide will pick you up and depart the Tampa airport at 11am. You’ll be introduced to your guides and then head for Homosassa Springs, Florida, about 1.5 hour drive. Upon arrival, we’ll get settled into rooms at our lodging located on the beautiful Homosassa River. Enjoy a welcome drink and picnic lunch while getting to know your new friends. Then, we’ll head to the water for some kayaking instruction and short paddle on the water. You’ll learn how to paddle safely and efficiently so you won’t be exhausted at the end of the day. After getting comfortable with your boat and being on the water, we’ll return to our rooms to freshen up.

Enjoy a hearty dinner at our lodge tonight, rest up from your travels, and prepare for tomorrow’s paddling adventure.

Wednesday: We’ll start the day with a full breakfast at the lodge, and a brief kayaking review to prepare you for the day.  We’ll board our kayaks and leave the marina near our lodging and take a short paddle around the area’s famous little Monkey Island, where an entertaining family of spider monkeys live. Then, we’ll head toward the springhead, where manatees migrate in the winter to enjoy the warmer temperatures of the spring. Seeing manatees in never guaranteed, but it’s likely that we’ll see them and spend time with them here. Paddling gently as not to disturb them, we’ll observe them from our kayaks. They’ll often come up for air right next to your boat as if to say hello! We’ll have lunch in our kayaks, because if our manatee friends are here, we won’t want to leave!

After paddling back to our lodging we’ll freshen up and head back to the springhead, this time by land through the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. This park is a rehabilitation location for sick or injured manatees. It’s a great place to learn more about them. You’ll also see a huge variety of birds, fish and mammals that are native to Florida, many of them endangered.

It’s been a big day, and it’s time to head out and enjoy some delicious seafood at a lively locals hangout and share fun stories from the day. After dinner, enjoy a warm campfire with tasty s’mores back at our lodge.

Thursday: After breakfast, we’ll pack our lunches and drive to Crystal River for another day of paddling. Here, we’ll have more great manatee viewing opportunities, especially at the famous Three Sisters Springs. This location is stunningly beautiful and sometimes crowded with manatees, so we’ll be careful to be respectful to our manatee friends. Along the way you’ll find great opportunities to spot Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Pelicans, and White Ibis. After lunch, bird watching and picture taking, we’ll head back to the lodge.

This evening we’ll enjoy a relaxing and educational sunset pontoon boat ride along the Homosassa River all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico. As fresh water turns to salt, the brackish waters create a striking change in vegetation and wildlife along our route. With luck, we’ll spot some dolphins playing in the surf.

The evening wraps up with a farewell dinner at the Riverside Crabhouse, where we’ll reminisce about our adventures on Florida’s Nature Coast in the company of new friends.

Friday: We’ll enjoy a full breakfast this morning and then it’s time to pack up for our departure. As we drive through Homosassa Springs we’ll stop along the way to visit the Yulee Sugar Mill for some area history and to stretch our legs before our drive to the airport.

We head to the Tampa airport together to catch flights departing after 2:00.

$1150 includes 3 Nights Lodging + All Activities on Itinerary

  • 2 experienced, supportive Sol Sister Adventure guides
  • Roundtrip van transfers from Tampa Airport to Homosassa
  • 3 nights shared accommodation in rustic riverside rooms
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages (from lunch on Tuesday through breakfast on Friday)
  • Beer or wine with lodge dinner
  • Welcome drink
  • Kayak rentals and instruction
  • 2 local restaurant dinners
  • Sunset Pontoon boat ride
  • Fireside snacks
  • All park entrance fees

NOT included • Guide tips • Alcoholic beverages at restaurants • Alcoholic beverages outside of meal time • Airfare to/from Tampa, Florida

We will spend all three nights at our lodging along the Homosassa River, a small riverside motel with comfortable cabin-type rooms that have been a part of the history in Homosassa since the early 1900s. It’s in a lovely location directly on the river. Rooms are shared, but you will have your own double sized bed. All rooms feature efficiency kitchens, and bathrooms are stocked with bath towels, hand towels and washcloths.

This trip is designed for moderately active women looking for a nice mix of activity and downtime for relaxing. There will be 3-4 hours of non-competitive kayaking on two days. No experience is required for either activity, but you will need to be able to enter and exit your kayak from shore (with instruction). You will also be able to opt out of activities if you would like more time for relaxing by the river.

January 13, 2015: Fly in to Tampa International Airport (TPA) any time before 11:00am on Tuesday.

January 16, 2015: Departure flights should leave Tampa International Airport (TPA) after 2:00pm on Friday afternoon.