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Kayaking Southeast Florida

Program Number: 20928RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/14/2013 - 1/19/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Price starting at: $1,195.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Water Sports Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Set off on a journey through southeast Florida via its rivers, canals and bay. Venture into the pristine subtropical realm of Florida’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River, the Loxahatchee, and kayak via the canals of the “Venice of America” into history as you hear stories of Native Americans, trappers and influential pioneers. Uncover the ecology and history of this unique environment in the same manner in which most humans have witnessed it over thousands of years — by water.


• Watch the flora and fauna change during a paddle down the Loxahatchee River, from its freshwater root to its brackish end in Jonathan Dickenson State Park.
• Paddle a section of Fort Lauderdale’s miles-long network of canals lined by multimillion-dollar homes, cruise ships, mega-yachts and historic sites.
• Come ashore to investigate the Barnacle State Historic State Park in Coconut Grove.

Activity Particulars

Kayaking 5–12 miles per day.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Fort Lauderdale

Situated between Miami and Palm Beach, and embraced by the Atlantic Ocean, New River and myriad inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale is justly known as the "Venice of America." Its semi-tropical climate, natural beauty and rich array of cultural, educational and entertainment resources offer an outstanding quality of life.

Comfortable, centrally located hotel with oceanfront views.
Meals and Lodgings
   Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
  Sunny Isles, Florida 5 nights
 Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel is ideally located right on the beach in Sunny Isles Beach -- between Miami/South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. Participants will find a Publix supermarket right across the street and various restaurants and delis nearby. The Best Western Thunderbird also offers a free shuttle to the Aventura Mall, which is a few minutes from the hotel.
  Contact info: 18401 Collins Ave.
Sunny Isles, FL 33160 USA
phone: 305-931-7700
  Room amenities: Air Conditioning Alarm Clock Balcony Desk Easy Chair/Recliner Iron Iron Board Newspaper - Complimentary Non-Smoking Room Pillow - Hypoallergenic Pillows - Down/Feather Safe High Speed Internet Access TV - Cable/Satellite Coffee/Tea Maker Refrigerator Hairdryer
  Facility amenities: Olympic-sized pool Business Center Fitness Center Restaurant and Lounge
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Please call Road Scholar Boston for more information, (617) 521-5373.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Please call Road Scholar Boston for more information, (617) 521-5373.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00 PM in the Hotel Lobby You will be staying at Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 AM You will be staying at Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Valet Parking is available for $10/day. Self Parking is available for $8/day with th option to come and go unlimited times during the day.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sunny Isles, Florida
  From End of Program
  Location: Sunny Isles, Florida
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Miami International Airport





Commercial Van/Shuttle
Go Airport Shuttle
phone: 954-561-8888


Per Person/One Way:


A private car costs $45-50
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 mins 




20 miles


After you get your luggage go to ground transportation and there are more options for cabs, etc.


Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport





Commercial Van/Shuttle
Go Airport Shuttle
phone: 954-561-8888


Per Person/One Way:


A private car costs $45-50
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


25 mins 




13 miles


After you get your luggage go to ground transportation and there are more options for cabs, etc


Taxi from either airport





phone: No--


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


25-30 mins 


Go to Ground Transportation upon arrival at the airport.

Driving Directions
  From Miami Int'l Airport to the Thunderbird Beach Resort To 112 - Beaches - Take I-95 North. Exit on 826 East - Beaches - Head East. Go Left on Collins Avenue - A1A - to 184th Street. Hotel on the Right
  From the North to the Thunderbird Beach Resort I-95's Exit 20 East Ives Dairy Rd. South on US 1, Go East on Williams Lehman Causeway, South on Collins Ave - A1A - to 184th Street. Hotel is on the Left.
  From the South to the Thunderbird Beach Resort I-95's Exit On 826 East , Beaches, Head East Go Left On Collins Avenue To 184th Street, Hotel Is On The Right.
Equipment Requirements: Kayaks will be provided on the program.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Check-In, and Orientation
(Monday, January 14)
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 4:00pm.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served in the hotel.
 Evening: ORIENTATION : We'll review the schedule and any changes; discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures; and answer any questions you may have. You'll also have an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants.
Accommodations: Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Great Discoveries on the Bay & Coconut Grove
(Tuesday, January 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included at the hotel
 Morning: Kayaking: Miami, Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove

Push off from the shoreline into a world of exquisite beauty. Our kayak journey takes us along the coastline of what the first adventurers called “Chequescha Bay”. The richness born of the confluence of fresh and salt waters in what is today called Biscayne Bay drew many peoples to this place - from the Tequesta Indians, Spanish explorers, privateers and pirates to modern day pioneers. Reflect on how they used the resources for their livelihood and how perspectives of the settlers have changed over time. Hear the story of how a magnificent Italian villa came to life on the bay and get to see it in a way no one else can encounter it.

As you paddle past mangroves teeming with life as well as historical and modern mansions, you will see what dramatic changes the shoreline has experienced. You will encounter breathtaking views of the open bay and learn of the close connection of the waters lapping at your kayak’s hull with the struggle for Cuban freedom. Hear about the preservation of these shallow waters and why they are so important to wildlife as well as humans.

You will explore the ecology and history of this unique bay the same way most humans have witnessed it over thousands of years – or as some locals say: “We all came by water.”
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Coconut Grove Walking Excursion

Pure experience is a most exciting way to learn. Stroll with us through the quaint, colorful, bohemian settlement of Coconut Grove for a peek behind the angled roads, charming shops and graceful canopies of storm-tempered trees that characterize the area today. Step into the past where an erroneously labeled post office turns a dense hardwood hammock into the semi-tropical paradisiacal town of Cocoanut Grove. See the historic site of the first hotel in the area - “The Peacock Inn.” Hear the inspiring story of Ralph Munroe while touring his unusual home, “The Barnacle,” the oldest house in Miami-Dade County still in its original location. Recount the tales of hardship and success as experienced by former slaves and Bahamian immigrants who founded the area now known as the “Black Grove” As you envision the punishing battles with mosquitoes, swamp-lands, and hurricanes, it will not be hard to empathize with the pioneer women who created the “House Keepers Club” in order to make a place of their own in this once foreboding wilderness. This walking tour celebrates, in grand style, one of Florida’s most beloved and eclectic communities.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: LECTURE: Waterways of Southeast Florida
Accommodations: Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: An Oasis in the City
(Wednesday, January 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included at the hotel.
 Morning: KAYAKING: Graynolds – Oleta River

Greynolds is one of the few remaining hardwood hammocks and mangrove forests in northern Miami-Dade County. Paddle to the past under old railroad supports transporting you from the bustling city to the old quarry. The waters are clear and cool. Giant iguanas populate the tree-lined trail up the Oleta River, a perfect stop for a picnic lunch on the river bank. Greynolds has the third largest rookery in Miami-Dade County. Ibis, osprey, juvenile great blue herons, red-shoulder hawks, and owls are common sights in this area. Enjoy nature and old Florida before returning to civilization
 Lunch: Boxed Lunch
 Afternoon: LECTURE: Ft. Lauderdale – The Venice of the Americas
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: EVENING KAYAKING : Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park

The Anne Kolb nature center is a 1,501-acre coastal mangrove wetland with five boat trails accessible by paddle craft only. Paddle your way through mangrove tunnels, creeks, while surrounded by a wide variety of plants and animals, including some threatened and endangered species. Nature thrives on West Lake, manatee, hawks, and fish prosper and mangroves hide the surrounding city. .
Accommodations: Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Fort Lauderdale – The Venice of the Americas
(Thursday, January 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included at the hotel.
 Morning: KAYAKING: For Lauderdale’s Canals

Miles of canals lined by opulent multi-million dollar homes, cruise ships, mega-yachts and more, welcome to Fort Lauderdale. Shaped by the waters and aquatic life, Fort Lauderdale boasts of some of the most stunning sights in South Florida.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Continue Kayaking through Fort Lauderdale.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: LECTURE: South Florida - Turtles and Ecology.
Accommodations: Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Loxahatchee
(Friday, January 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included at the hotel.
 Morning: KAYAKING: Loxahatchee River, Wild and Scenic

Venture into the pristine, subtropical realm of one of the world’s most beautiful and unspoiled waterways, Florida's first federally designated "Wild and Scenic River” - the Loxahatchee. Its narrow winding channels are canopied for most of the river by majestic cypress trees offering the traveler a challenging and fascinating experience.

Let our knowledgeable guides help you discover the extraordinary history of a place once known only to coastal Indians and lonely pioneers. Unlike many other rivers that have been forced into channels by development, this river remains virtually unchanged. Paddle this reminder to the Old Florida and explore flora, fauna and history unique to these meandering shorelines.
 Lunch: Boxed Lunch
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Continue kayaking through the Loxahatchee.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner
Accommodations: Thunderbird Beach Resort Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program Wrap-up and Departures
(Saturday, January 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included at the hotel.
 Morning: Time to say your good-byes and reflect on the week!
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Canoeing and Kayaking Florida (Canoe and Kayak Series)

Author: Johnny Molloy, John Pearce, Elizabeth F. Carter, Lou Glaros, Doug Sphar,

Description: Completely updated, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida, 2nd is the most comprehensive guide to the best of Florida’s unique streams, springs, creeks, and rivers. Engaging and concise yet filled with carefully selected details vital to any successful Florida paddling adventure, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida spares readers encyclopedic fluff in favor of practical, no-nonsense information. With expanded regional maps and revised river maps, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida is simply the best and most informative Florida paddling guide available. Florida has a lot of sand, but it also has a lot of water—and not just for drinking. It’s only natural that native Floridians and transplants alike paddle and ply the waterways of this waterway-rich state. Of course, Florida’s native Indians and subsequent settlers used the creeks, streams, and rivers long before the first plastic kayak or fiberglass canoe took to this watery paradise. In the early 1970s, the state of Florida established a canoe trail system, which was born out of paddlers discovering the many destinations here. For various reasons, this state-sanctioned canoe trail system lost momentum.

The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

Author: Michael Grunwald

Description: The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it. The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land. The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and "reclaim" it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished. Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.

Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species

Author: Ellie Whitney, D Bruce Means, Anne Rudloe

Description: Priceless Florida presents the incomparable ecological riches of this unique region in a way that will appeal to young and old, laypersons and scientists. A cornucopia of colorful illustrations and exquisite photos makes you feel you’re there. The comprehensive text enlightens with facts and brims with intriguing curiosities while bridging multiple fields in a crisp, readable style that only seasoned science-educators like Drs. Whitney, Means, and Rudloe could offer.

From the Swamp to the Keys: A Paddle through Florida History

Author: Johnny Molloy

Description: Johnny Molloy, author of several best-selling outdoor guides to Florida, is always game for adventure. In his latest, he travels the Sunshine State from north to south along some of its most famous rivers, swamps, salt marshes, and open waters in search of Florida's disappearing history. This personal travelogue of his two-month expedition begins in a canoe at the Okefenokee Swamp, headwaters of Florida's best-known river. Paddling the dark Suwannee, Molloy curves through the scenic and sometimes wild Big Shoals, past sparkling clear springs--Troy and Turtle and Rock Bluff and more--to the Gulf of Mexico, where he transfers his grub, life jacket, and portable computer into a sea kayak. He continues past Tampa Bay into the Everglades and then heads due south, ending his voyage at Long Key and the Atlantic Ocean. Molloy focuses here on the state's history, human and natural, and on the interplay between the land and the water around it. He describes attempts made through the centuries to explore them, conquer them, and, finally, to coexist with and preserve them. He also invites readers to eavesdrop on his conversations with characters along the way, from anglers on the Suwannee River to crabbers off the shore of Everglades City. Best of all, Molloy invites readers to join him on this remarkable excursion -- either from their armchairs, following his references to bridges, highways, and towns along the route and charting his journey on the maps provided, or by taking to the water themselves--to soak up the sunshine and soft Florida air, to listen to the evening frogs and crickets, and to ponder the mystery of what has been lost in Florida and what might yet be saved.

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