Jul 3, 2013

Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve - Great Place for a Long Weekend


Merritt Island, just across the river from Titusville, FL, and in the shadows of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, is a great place to spend a day.  Actually, you could have an awesome long weekend by staying in Titusville and visiting Titusville, NASA, and Merritt Island.

As a city codependent on the space center, Titusville has had its ups and downs.  She has finally grown up, gained some independence and become attractive for eco-tourism.  Redfishing, windsurfing, kayaking, hiking, beaching, etc.   Learning to navigate the delicate balance of nature and commerce, Titusville has a chance to change her image.  I'm hoping she does.  She's a great place to visit and could be so much more.

Kayaking - Visit Tom at the Kayak Store in Titusville (I think it's called Kayaks by Bo) before you cross the Max Bower Bridge to go to Merritt Island.  Rent a kayak or two from Tom and take it with you.    We dropped the kayaks in around Beacon 42 at Mosquito Lagoon where we could weave in and out around the small islands.  This was my first time in a kayak and it was a perfect experience.  There are several places to put in.....

Beach - Canaveral National Seashore is part of Merritt Island.  Drive up along the beach and pick your favorite place to spend a few hours on the beach.  There are several parking areas along the shoreline.  Many locals prefer Playalinda Beach.

Hiking -  Black Point hiking is a several mile hike, great views.  The Hammock Trail is a short one, mostly the same view.

Birding - I was there at the same time as the 16th Spacecoast Birding and Wildlife Festival, although that's not why I was in town.  Merritt Island provides a perfect scrub jay habitat.  The scrub jay is native and endangered.  I saw more than a few.  The scout sits atop a tall tree at he highest point.  If you see that, you'll find the family on the ground below, eating.

Black Point Wildlife Drive.
Manatee Observation Deck

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