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Flagler Beach outdoor tours

WHALE WATCHING

Here's a free one, and it's 10/10 on the 'communing with nature' scale. This coast is very lucky to host right whales every winter as they migrate to its warmer waters to give birth and raise their calves. If you keep an eye out, wherever you are along the coast, you might spot some whales – especially the younger ones playing.

  • How to spot a right whale? Forget Free Willy-style jumps. These are mummy and baby whales so they need to conserve their energy. Instead, look for water spouting in a V-shape.
  • Are right whales endangered? Yes! And have been listed as such since 1973. Estimates state there are about 450 North Atlantic right whales.
  • How big, how heavy? Between 45-55 feet long (that's a 'Turnpike double' semi-trailer), and 30-40 tons!

Details

  • When: December through March
  • How close: They can be as close as a quarter of a mile from shore.
  • Rules: Maintain a distance of at least 500 yards from a right whale.
  • Keep in mind: If you see a whale (congrats!), please call to report it: Toll-Free 1-888-979-4253 (1-888-97-WHALE). The number is active from November through May.

BIRD-WATCHING

Quick - name four species of birds. How about forty-seven? As for four hundred seventy? That's the total number of species verified to have been spotted in Flagler County. 470!!! Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, the variety of bird-life here is enough to get your attention. Five of Flagler's twenty parks are designated stops on the Great Florida Birding Trail – easy enough to see all five in even a week's vacation. See the link below for a map-based trip-planner and then charge that camera battery!

  • Website: Great Florida Birding Trail online
  • See also: Florida's Birding & FotoFest – workshops and tours featuring professional nature photographers, the festival is based at University of Florida Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.

RIPPLE EFFECT ECO-TOURS

We've covered the good guys at Ripple Effect previously (see page 65), and from Palm Coast or Flagler Beach, it's just a twenty-minute drive to Marineland's Marina. For any angle on nature, there's a great tour to be had with these guys.

HAMMOCK WATER SPORTS (GUIDED ECO-TOURS)

Reasons for: If staying anywhere in or near Ocean Hammock, you won't get closer to nature more conveniently. If planning a voyage with children who might not pay much attention to the talking part – the educational front might not rate so much. Reasons against? Ripple Effect's guides have such expertise in this field, all with outstanding qualification and Master Naturalist certification. Perhaps consider it the difference between a very nice outing with a perceptive local, or a PhD Paddle. Both very enjoyable, whether you choose convenience or expertise.

  • Website: Hammock Water Sports Facebook
  • Address: 5054 N. Oceanshore Blvd. Palm Coast, FL 32137
  • Children: Ages 6 and up
  • Keep in mind: A 2/2.5-hour tour

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