Florida: Everglades National Park
Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge/Everglades National Park, Florida is situated on the southwestern coast of Florida. This region is one of the largest expanses of mangrove forest in North America, holding a rich diversity of wildlife. Over 200 species of fish and 189 species of birds use the region at some time during the year. Common mammals found in the area include raccoons, river otters and bottle-nosed dolphins. Several threatened and endangered species can also be found along this coastal environment, including West Indian manatees, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, wood storks, green and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles and the Atlantic loggerhead. Camp on white sandy beaches, kayak or canoe through the islands of mangrove trees and watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico: these are all staples of a trip to the Florida Everglades. The best time to visit is in the winter or early spring when average temperatures can range between a mild 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Destination: Southern Gulf Coast of Florida
Activities: Kayaking, canoeing
Day 1: Meet your instructor(s) at a local indoor pool to learn how to safely get in and out of your boat and basic paddle strokes, then start the overnight drive down to Florida.
Day 2: Arrive at an inland state campground, set up camp and cook dinner on your camp stoves for the first time.
Days 3-8: Paddle! Set up camp on different islands along the coast, spend time exploring, swimming, and looking for manatees, dolphins, sting rays and egrets, and talk about faith and life.
Day 9: Head back north.
Day 10: Clean up and go home.
Disclaimer: All guided trips are offered by request. Necessary permits and fees are requested and obtained from the National Park Service prior to each trip.