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Tours & Cruises | FLORIDA

Next to nature in the Everglades

January 29, 2006|Maggie Barnett | Times Staff Writer

PADDLE the inlets of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge on six-day canoe trips to the southwestern corner of Florida.

The trips, which explore the saltwater ecosystem of the Everglades, are offered Feb. 21 and March 4 and 13.

"It's natural Florida," said Greg Lais, executive director of Wilderness Inquiry, emphasizing the wildlife and environment of the region, which abounds with bird species, manatees and dolphins.

Wilderness Inquiry trips are designed to include people of all ages and abilities. The nonprofit, whose philosophy is that diversity is educational, provides additional support staff such as sign-language interpreters or personal-care attendants at no additional charge.

Cost: $745 per person, including trail meals and snacks, tents, group camping and cooking gear, canoe and paddle. Adaptive gear is available as needed. Airfare to Fort Myers, Fla., is not included.

Contact: Wilderness Inquiry, Minneapolis, Minn.; (800) 728-0719,



Birds of the bay

GO birding for a day on Morro Bay.

The package, available daily, includes an overnight hotel stay and a half-day guided tour by canoe or kayak to learn about bird biology, anatomy and identification techniques.

Participants will paddle the Morro Bay estuary, searching for bird groups including sandpipers and raptors.

Cost: $269 and up Sundays through Thursdays and $299 and up Fridays and Saturdays for one or two people, including accommodations, a picnic lunch and a tour of the estuary.

Contact: The Cliffs Resort, Shell Beach, Calif.; (800) 826-5838. Tours are led by Baysong Eco-Tours,



The art of leisure

ABSORB a bit of culture on a museum tour of New York City on April 20.

The six-day trip, sponsored by the Oceanside Museum of Art, will tour gardens and Lincoln Center as well as the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum and the Cloisters branch of the museum.

Cost: $2,369 per person, double occupancy ($799 single surcharge), including round-trip airfare from San Diego, five nights' hotel accommodations, receptions, airport transfers, entrance fees and a tax-deductible contribution to the Oceanside Museum of Art.

Contact: STS International Tours, Vista, Calif.; (800) 620-9995,



Seafaring singles

CRUISE for dates on a singles voyage to Ensenada that begins April 21.

The three-night excursion aboard Carnival's Paradise includes onboard activities such as dancing and swimming. In Ensenada, the group will shop and visit a winery.

Cost: $275 per person, double occupancy (single cabins $389), including meals, accommodations and sightseeing. Port charges and government fees are not included.

Contact: Singles Travel Co., Los Gatos, Calif.; (888) 286-8687, Ext. 222,



B&B and green tee

TAKE tee time in Ireland on a six-night trip during April.

The package includes four rounds of golf on courses including Ballybunion' s Old Course, near Tralee, Dingle, in Dingle; Killarney; and Ring of Kerry, near Killarney.

Duffers have a choice of small family-owned bed-and-breakfast inns in Tralee, Killarney, Dingle and nearby villages.

Cost: $699 per person, double occupancy ($189 single surcharge), including accommodations, breakfast daily, manual-transmission rental car and greens fees. International airfare and car upgrades are available but not included.

Contact: Brian Moore International, Boston; (800) 982-2299.


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