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Florida’s Wild Beauty: An Up-Close Adventure on the Nature Coast

Immerse yourself in nature and get up close to wildlife like manatees and alligators along Florida’s Nature Coast as you explore forests and rivers on nature walks and boat rides.
Rating (4.67)
Program No. 23621RJ
6 days
Starts at

Florida’s Wild Beauty: An Up-Close Adventure on the Nature Coast

Immerse yourself in nature and get up close to wildlife like manatees and alligators along Florida’s Nature Coast as you explore forests and rivers on nature walks and boat rides.
6 days
Starts at
Program No. 23621 RJ
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At a Glance

This up-close wildlife exploration of Florida’s stunning Nature Coast will take you to Goethe State Forest, Three Sisters Spring and Crystal River. Learn about wildlife photography and get lots of opportunities to photograph wildlife in the field on nature walks and boat rides. Watch for woodpeckers and herons and try to spot alligators and manatees. Find out about ancient river dwellers and Florida sinkholes. Plus, take advantage of the serene setting of Chinsegut as you take in panoramic sunsets from the manor house porch and share stories by the fire.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Meander through the old growth cypress trees at Goethe State Forest on birding nature walks.
  • Glide along Crystal River by boat to learn about and spot a variety of local wildlife, like manatees, turtles and egrets.
  • Learn about the ancient river dwellers at Crystal River Archaeological Park’s burial mounds — a National Historic Landmark.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Saving Florida: Women's Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century
by Leslie Kemp Poole
Florida is renowned for its beautiful beaches, natural springs, and subtropical wilderness, but it is widely joked that the official bird should be the construction crane. Dredge-and-fill projects, air pollution, and pesticides spread so uncontrollably during the twentieth century that they sparked an environmental movement within the state, and those who led the fight were very often women. Saving Florida reveals how women's clubs prompted legislation to establish Florida's first state park, which became the core of Everglades National Park, in 1916--before women even had the right to vote. It tells the story of Doris Leeper, who convinced her community and federal government to protect a 24-mile stretch of sandy beach that is now the breathtaking Canaveral National Seashore. It remembers Clara Dommerich, who summoned the "Who's Who" of Central Florida to her living room for the first meeting of the Florida Audubon Society. And it celebrates the towering environmental legacy of the three "Marjories": author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, scientist Marjorie Harris Carr, and journalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Cracker: Cracker Culture in Florida History
by Dana M. Ste. Claire
For over 200 years scholars have attempted to define the Crackers, but their name is as elusive as their nature, their character as tough as Florida’s hardscrabble countryside, and any real Cracker will tell you that's just the way they like it. Part history, part folklore, Cracker is a generously illustrated account of Cracker heritage, its rich history, and its disappearance as today's fast-paced society reaches even into the remote backwoods of the state. From the language they spoke to the houses they built, from clandestine moonshine stills and cowhunting to "grits and gravy," Dana Ste. Claire offers a colorful and revealing tour of Crackerdom.
Nature's Allies: Eight Conservationists Who Changed Our World
by Larry Nielsen
In eight engaging and diverse biographies—John Muir, Ding Darling, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Chico Mendes, Billy Frank Jr., Wangari Maathai, and Gro Harlem Brundtland—we meet individuals who have little in common except that they all made a lasting mark on our world. Some famous and some little known to readers, they spoke out to protect wilderness, wildlife, fisheries, rainforests, and wetlands. They fought for social justice and exposed polluting practices. They marched, wrote books, testified before Congress, performed acts of civil disobedience, and, in one case, were martyred for their defense of nature. Nature’s Allies pays tribute to them all as it rallies a new generation of conservationists to follow in their footsteps.

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