Turtle tours: Sea turtles are a migratory species found in a variety of coastal areas around the world, including southeastern U.S. beaches from North Carolina to Florida, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica. Tours to see turtles laying eggs on the beach take place at different times of year depending on the location, with Florida programs running only through the end of July while programs in Mexico and Costa Rica run through the fall. Here are a few organizations that sponsor turtle walks; tours fill up quickly so get reservations well ahead of time. For tours elsewhere, contact state or local tourism bureaus for recommendations.
Marine Life Center, Juno Beach, Fla.: www.theturtleplace.com or (561) 627-8280. General guided tours about marine conservation and ocean ecology are offered Tuesday to Friday, 10:30 a.m., for $3 a person. Turtle walks take place on selected nights through July at 9 p.m. Adults, $5; children, $2.50.
Bald Head Island Conservancy, Bald Head Island, N.C.: www.bhic.org/research/stpp.shtml or (910) 457-5786. Offers sea turtle walks through September for members, with membership open to the public at $50 for individuals, who may bring two guests on a turtle walk, and $100 for a family, which can bring up to eight people on a walk. Tour tickets for guests are an extra $10 per person.
Georgia Sea Turtles, Jekyll Island, Ga.: www.georgiaseaturtles.org or (912) 635-4036. Offers nightly turtle walks through mid-August at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Adults, $10; children ages 6 to 12, $5.
World Wildlife Fund: www.worldwildlife.org. Offers sea turtle tours in southern Mexico through a local conservation-minded travel provider, Natural Habitat Adventures, from August to October; details at (888) 993-8687. In Costa Rica, WWF recommendations for turtle-watching on the Caribbean from July to October include tour operators in Tortuguero -- www.tortugueroinfo.com (click on "Where can I see the Turtles?") -- and nearby Parismina --www.costaricaturtles.com; and the Organization for Tropical Studies, based in San Jose, www.rainforesttours.com.
For other turtle walks around Florida, check out these Web site: www.southflorida.com/attractions (scroll down the home page to the "Guide to Florida Turtlewalks"); www.funandsun.com/1tocf/wildlife/turtles/observe.html; and www.finetravel.com/unitedstates/southsoutheast/seaturtl.htm.