Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (Indian River)
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge
Canaveral National Seashore (Volusia)
Bays & Inlets
Indian River Lagoon, Mosquito Lagoon
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Banana River, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail segments (Space Coast and Indian River/Pelican Island), Indian River Blueway Trail
Brevard’s coast is widely known as Florida’s Space Coast as home to both the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which draw eager crowds to nearby shores to witness launches.
Playalinda Beach within the Canaveral National Seashore is a favorite among rocket watchers. On a typical day the beaches are valued for their tranquility. As one of the longest stretches of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida, its lagoon, dune, and hammock habitat is home to many threatened and endangered birds, amphibians, and plants.
Overlaying the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center is the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which was established to serve both migratory birds and the space program. Hiking, fishing, hunting, and birding are all enjoyed with the reserve’s 140,000 acres. Connecting Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River is the Haulover Canal, a known spot in the reserve for kayakers looking to spot bioluminescent plankton and comb jellies.
The Banana River Aquatic Preserve’s 300,000 acres of surface waters are nestled between Merritt Island and the outer beach barrier island. The northern area of the preserve is one of the most important spring habitats for the east coast manatee population, in addition to supporting large pelican, alligator, and diamondback terrapin turtle populations.
Golden sand and consistent waves draw visitors learning to surf and kitesurf to the coastal city of Cocoa Beach. Seafood restaurants and surf shops are plentiful from Cocoa Beach through Satellite Beach, down to Indialantic Beach for enjoyment of the surfing atmosphere of this coast. Melbourne, also a coastal city, offers an eclectic mix of shops, craft restaurants, live music, and art galleries in the historic downtown district.
South of Melbourne and extending down along 20 miles of shoreline in Brevard and Indian River counties is the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, protecting important nesting areas for many endangered sea turtles including loggerhead and green turtles. For an unforgettable chance to observe nesting turtles lay their eggs and venture back to the sea, Friends of the Carr Refuge host nighttime turtle walks from June to September.
At the southernmost end of Brevard lies the Indian River Lagoon State Park. The barrier island was historically utilized to grow pineapples, citrus, and guava and is now presently undergoing restoration. It’s mangrove wetlands and salt marshes are of critical importance to protecting the shoreline from erosion, maintaining water quality, and filtering runoff. Even with limited facilities, the park’s trails are excellent for running, hiking, biking, and spotting gopher tortoises, marsh rabbits, and gray foxes.
September 20, 2023 - 3:15pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.