You don’t have to book these trips to benefit from them. Reading a Sierra Club itinerary, you could put together your own outstanding Florida vacation.
Here are four terrific spring trips listed by the Sierra Club:
- Manatees and Mermaids, March 10-16, 2013. This trip is based in Chassahowitzka, a small town on what’s called the Nature Coast, the Gulf coast north of Tampa. It’s a terrific area to kayak and in March, manatees should be spotted on many of these waterways. Activities including visiting Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, kayaking the Chassahowitzka, the Crystal River, the Rainbow River and the Weeki Wachi, where I’ve paddling with manatees and enjoyed the mermaid show.
- Magic in the Water, March 24-30, 2013. The trip starts at one of the best places to spot wildlife in Florida: Blue Springs State Park, which should be home to dozens of manatees at that time of year. Blue Springs is in Orange City, 30 miles north of Orlando. From there, the group goes to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, “the greatest place in Florida for birding and wildlife viewing,” according to the Sierra Club. Indeed, I’ve seen bald eagles, roseate spoonbills and all sorts of heron and migrating ducks here. The group will kayak Rock Springs and the Econlockhatchee River inside the Little Big Econ Wilderness Area.
- Florida Spring Flowers and Wild Rivers, April 14-20, 2013. This trip begins with kayaking the Wakulla River near Tallahassee, then takes in the Sopchoppy River, St. Marks River and the the Wacissa River. The group stays in the historic Wakulla Lodge.
- Kayaking Florida’s Greatest Rivers and Springs, May 12-19, 2013. This trip is based at riverside cabins on the Suwannee River and then involves daily kayaking on spring-fed rivers in the vicinity.
All of these destinations offer outstanding hiking, kayaking and wildlife viewing in wild areas many have yet to explore.
If you want to create your own trip, consider booking cabins in state parks in the area. In addition to the cabins at Blue Springs State Park, there are primitive cabins at Hontoon State Park and extremely well equipped cabins at nearby Lake Louise State Park and Silver River State Park.
Because the cabins in state parks are so well situated, they book up fast, so it’s not too early to reserve for winter outings. To book cabins, go through Reserve America.