Canaveral National Seashore | WILDLIFE VIEWING

Alligator in the marsh along Bio Lab Road on Merritt Island

Alligator in the marsh along Bio Lab Road on Merritt Island

Wildlife at Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge can be viewed along scenic roads, hiking trails, and designated observation decks. See the Wildlife Photo Gallery web page for a collection of all wildlife I photographed at the park.

SCENIC DRIVES

Black Point Wildlife Drive

Bio Lab Road


HIKING TRAILS

While you can see birds and other animals when hiking any trail in the park, the largest concentration of animals will be on trails that border open bodies of water or marshes. The following is a list of trails that I recommend.

Allan D. Cruickshank Memorial Trail
5-mile loop accessed along the Black Point Wildlife Drive

Scrub Ridge Trail
1-mile loop, half of which borders ponds and other wetlands

Wild Birds Unlimited Trail
.5-mile round-trip trail accessed along the Black Point Wildlife Drive


OBSERVATION AREAS

Manatee Observation Deck

Bairs Cove Boat Ramp (manatees)


OTHER AREAS

The roads at the southern end of Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, even the major roads, were constructed through wetlands by digging ditches on either side of the proposed road bed and then piling the dirt in the middle to create a road that is elevated higher than the surrounding wet areas. These “borrow” ditches still run along most roads and usually remain filled with water. These are good places to see birds and a possible alligator. Of the four alligators I saw during my visit, one was along the road.

The road to Playalinda Beach, Hwy 402, is surrounded by water, and there are eight roadside pullouts once you enter Canaveral National Seashore. Anywhere you can find water, you can find animals.

Panoramic view of Vista 8 near Playalinda Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

Panoramic view of Vista 8 near Playalinda Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

Dolphins live year-round in Mosquito Lagoon, which is accessible by private boat, canoe, kayak, or other hand-paddled watercraft. Though the location was changed in the movie Dolphin Tale, this is where the dolphin Winter was found.

Dolphins in Mosquito Lagoon, Canaveral National Seashore

Dolphins in Mosquito Lagoon, Canaveral National Seashore

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Last updated on April 22, 2022
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