The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a protected wildlife management area contains dozens of amazing natural habitats including coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries, freshwater impoundments, saltwater marshes, and pine flatwoods. Established as a part of the John F. Kennedy Space Center is 1963, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has taken on a life of its own. It has flourished with thousands of species of birds, reptiles, and mammals native to Florida’s coastal areas.
This fascinating refuge encompasses 140,000 acres, where over 1,500 species of plants and animals can live without fear of excessive hunting, construction or other threats which heavily effect these species outside of protected areas. Popular activities at the refuge include birdwatching including roseate spoonbills, taking the wildlife drive or hiking trails, visiting the manatee observation deck, watching green sea turtles laying eggs or eggs hatching, some fishing and hunting opportunities with proper permissions and licenses, and boating and paddling where allowed.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge provides an information center just east of Titusville, Florida only minutes away from our hotel. This center will provide you with maps, information on the local wildlife, and tips on the best spots for nature viewing. The center is open 5 days a week Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm. Fees are required for accessing some parts of the refuge including 3 boat launches. Fees are typically $5 per car load or you can purchase an annual pass for $15. For directions to the center or for other information on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, please click here.
By Becky Schaff