The Road Less Traveled
2331 N Elston Court
Chicago, IL 60614
June 30 - July 12, 2016 // 13 Days
July 15 - July 27, 2016 // 13 Days
Our 2017 dates, pricing and details are almost finalized. Information below is based on our 2016 program.
If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure, and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Come down to the warm waters of southern Florida to learn the sport of diving. Our 15-day middle school PADI SCUBA certification and environmental exploration program will get you under way with top Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Once certified, we shift gears and move into our exploration, helping out the local sea turtle population who return to nest on the white sandy beaches of Florida’s coastline.
We head underwater with our certification to help clear fishing lines and debris that trap the sea turtles on their journey to the beach to nest. We also help track and catalog environmental conditions in nesting grounds and keep the habitat clean and safe for future sea turtles.
Our adventure continues with a sea kayaking trip through pristine mangroves, a shallow water shipwreck dive, and relaxing on the beach to scan the horizon for dolphins.
Dreaming about diving? Go for it in our middle school PADI SCUBA and environmental exploration program in Florida! Click on the Description tab below.
PADI SCUBA: Divers can work toward earning an open-water certification, build skills toward an advanced open-water certification, or obtain additional specialty certifications.
Of the seven species of sea turtles that have managed to survive modern times, all are considered threatened or endangered. This program is a chance to see and help them in their natural habitat.
Florida is home to the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States with fish, lobsters, turtles, and so much pristine and breathtaking beauty. Its warm waters and depth make it perfect for snorkeling.
The Everglades ecosystem is incredibly varied. Its tropical wilderness supports alligators, bottlenose dolphins, and manatees while bald eagles live amid the mangroves, cypress, hardwood hammocks and miles of grass. There are endless opportunities in the Everglades for hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, boating, camping, and fishing.
Being the state animal, alligators are commonly seen lumbering along, dragging their tails, although they sometimes walking or run on their toes for short sprints.
A popular beach and tidal waterway, this state park is a protected zone for the endangered West Indian manatee and a other marine species. Mangrove-lined waterways are scenic places to paddle and photograph. We carefully explore the nursery areas for fish, crustaceans, and shellfish, as well as the brown pelican and osprey.
Shallow depths make the SS Copenhagen an adventure for beginners and snorkelers. The wreck, a designated historical shipwreck, is part of the Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve.
A beacon for environmental education, research, and conservation, this 20-acre barrier island provides refuge to many varieties of plants and animals – some rare or endangered.
Known as the “Venice of America” due to its canal system, Fort Lauderdale is most famous for its beaches and boats. With a crisp new promenade separating the beach from the shops, it’s a great place to people watch!
PADI Scuba: Open Water Jr. Diver Certification or work on next level certifications (Jr. Advanced)
Sea Kayak: Everglades National Park
Explore: John Lloyd State Park, Loggerhead Marine Life Center, Gumbo Limbo Nature Preserve
Fun Dives: John Lloyd State Park; Wreck Dive on the USS Copenhagen
Private rented home
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Traveling to the peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, an area notable for the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, we find fabulous opportunities both under and above water for adventure.
We arrive in Fort Lauderdale, settle into our private “Treasure by the Sea” home, and get oriented to our surroundings and one another.
Our three-day PADI SCUBA open water junior diver course is guided by highly trained, experienced professional PADI SCUBA instructors. (Courses for junior advanced open water and for building skills to reach the next level of certification are available, too.)
Our diving helps us learn personal responsibility and takes abstract concepts from physics, math, biology and earth science, allowing us to apply them to the real world. From our first breath underwater, our certification transforms our lives.
We move to our exploration with the sea turtles of south Florida, where these marine reptiles have existed since the Age of Dinosaurs. We scan above and below water along the coastline area beaches to clear any debris that may bring harm to the nesting turtles. The loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles are yearly visitors to these beaches from April through September.
The loggerhead is the most common turtle nesting here. In fact, from the Space Coast to the Gold Coast, our location is the second-most important nesting area in the world. Helping to protect and preserve the habitat, we track and catalog nests on the beach so they can be properly flagged and protected. We also visit the Loggerhead Marine Life Center to learn more about these incredible creatures.
Taking our diving to new depths, we share an extraordinary experience exploring the SS Copenhagen underwater wreck. Now a shallow dive site just one-half mile off the coast of Pompano Beach, the Copenhagen, an English steamer transporting coal, ran aground on a shallow ledge in 1900. The Copenhagen has become part of the reef with its collapsed hull and anchor and plaque still visible among the sea life.
Moving to comfortable sit-on kayaks that are fun and easy to paddle (even for first-timers), we relax and enjoy the sounds of nature as we course gently through the mangrove ecosystem without disturbing the native flora and fauna.
In Everglades National Park, we discover isolated lagoons and secret passageways accessible only to paddlers. We explore the many tidal channels and lagoons in the mangrove and search for dolphins off the coast. We learn about the complexity of this coastal ecosystem and the vast diversity of life above and below the water.
We visit the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Education Center and explore the abundant wildlife, take advantage of great bird watching opportunities, snorkel, and relax on the soft sand beach.
Our last day, we create a magnificent banquet to celebrate our work in preserving this coastline paradise as well as our newfound skills. Most importantly, we share a better understanding of a world that lives just below the waves.
Arrive in Fort Lauderdale, and make the quick trip to home for the next 13 days.
Learn the fundamentals from top Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).Test skills in the pool before heading out into the open water.
Spend a day at Loggerhead Marine Life Center, learning about how it helps sustain and protect the sea turtle populations of south Florida. Head out to Peanut Island for snorkeling and swimming along the beach.
Dive back into the water to help clear debris that may harm nesting sea turtles that make the long journey here to lay their eggs. Track and catalog nests on the beach so they can be flagged and protected. Spend an afternoon at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and evenings hiking the beach looking for and flagging turtle nests.
Another day to test diving skills by exploring a shipwreck just off the coast.
Kayak through Everglades National Park. Explore the mangrove and cypress forests of the world’s widest river. Enjoy the final banquet together, remembering all the hard work we put in to protect these amazing turtles.
Head back to the airport and board the flights home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years). We do require a signed Road Less Traveled specific physician's form, which will be made available after acceptance to the program.
Please click below to view your program’s equipment and packing list!
For an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please call our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 773-342-5200, and we’ll happily send you one!
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare or making their own travel arrangements to get their student from home to Ft. Lauderdale, FL on the first day of the trip, and from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to home on the last day of the trip. RLT will provide exact windows of time that we require all students to arrive and depart within.
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT directs them to do so. We will provide directions to our clients, including timing specifics and arrival day details, at the appropriate time of year (usually mid-spring).