Canaveral National Seashore | BAIR’S COVE BOAT RAMP

Bairs Cover Boat Ramp at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Bair’s Cover Boat Ramp at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge


See the Boat Launches web page for an interactive location map.


Bair’s Cove Boat Ramp in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge launches into Haulover Canal, a short waterway that connects Mosquito Lagoon with the Indian River. It is one of the few boat ramps at Merritt Island that has a paved road leading to it (half-mile drive once you turn off Kennedy Parkway), a paved parking area, and a concrete ramp. There are parking spots for two dozen vehicles with trailers. The ramp is also open for nighttime launching. Fishing is allowed from a boat on the waters of the canal, Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and Banana River Lagoon 24 hours a day.

Bairs Cove Boat Ramp at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Bair’s Cove Boat Ramp at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Parking area at Bairs Cover Boat Ramp at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Parking area at Bair’s Cover Boat Ramp at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

There is a separate canoe and kayak launch located across from the boat ramp. It also has its own parking area.

Canoe launch at Bairs Cove, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Canoe launch at Bair’s Cove, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

There is a fee to use the Bair’s Cove Boat Ramp, and this fee gets you a pass that is good for the day at any of the fee-based facilities within Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. You can get a pass online in advance at Recreation.gov, or on the day of your visit at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center or the self-pay kiosk located at the boat ramp (cash or check). You cannot get change if paying in cash at the ramp. If you need change, you must get a pass at the Visitor Center. I recommend first stopping at the Visitor Center anyway just to get basic information. National Park Service annual passes, Duck Stamps, Canaveral National Seashore passes, and annual Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge passes are also good for using the boat ramps at Merritt Island. Annual passes are on sale at the Visitor Center. The last time I visited, no credit or debit cards were accepted at the Visitor Center. I do not know if the policy has changed since, but be prepared to pay in cash or check. At the time of this writing the fee is $10 / day, but be sure to get the latest prices on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge’s Visit Us web page.

Bairs Cove Boat Ramp pay station, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Bair’s Cove Boat Ramp pay station, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The Bair’s Cove Boat Ramp is also a popular location for manatees. In fact, the Refuge suggests that if you don’t see any at the Manatee Observation Deck to try Bair’s Cove. There were plenty of manatees in the water when I visited in early March. Boaters must be very careful when entering and exiting the cove.

Manatees swim next to a fishing boat at Bair's Cove in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Manatees swim next to a fishing boat at Bair’s Cove in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on February 5, 2024
Share this article