Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge has a visitor's center with a 20-minute video about the refuge, a short hiking trail, wildlife and habitat exhibits, and a staffed information desk. This largely undisturbed spanse of wildlife habitat offers saltwater estuaries, freshwater marshes, dunes and more. It is home to more than a thousand species of plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Tips and General Information
Four additional hiking trails, a 7-mile wildlife drive, a manatee viewing area, several boat launch areas, boating, fishing, canoeing, and wildlife observation opportunities also exist. The best place to see wildlife on the refuge is Black Point Wildlife Drive. The 7-mile, one-way loop traverses several shallow marsh impoundments and is an excellent place to see waterfowl (in season), wading birds, shorebirds and raptors. Alligators, river otters, bobcats, various species of snakes, and other wildlife may be visible as well.
A self-guiding brochure, available near the entrance to the drive, will provide information on things to look for while on the drive. One to two hours after sunrise and one to two hours before sunset are typically the best times to view wildlife actively feeding in the impoundments. Approximately one-half of the refuge's 140,000 acres consists of brackish estuaries and marshes. The remaining lands consist of coastal dunes, scrub oaks, pine forests and flatwoods, and palm and oak hammocks.