VISIT FLORIDA
  • Beaches

  • Places to Go

    Featured Destinations

    • Daytona Beach
    • Destin
    • Fort Lauderdale
    • Jacksonville
    • Orlando
    • Miami
    • Pensacola
    • St. Petersburg
    • Tampa
    • West Palm Beach

    All Cities
    • View All
    • Northwest
    • North Central
    • Northeast
    • Central West
    • Central
    • Central East
    • Southwest
    • Southeast

    Places to Stay
    • Find Lodging

    Most Popular
    • Key West
    • Orlando
    • Miami
    • Jacksonville

  • Things to Do

    • Attractions
    • Arts and History
    • Boating
    • Eat and Drink
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Health and Wellness
    • Nightlife
    • Outdoors and Nature
    • Romance
    • Shopping
    • Tours and Sightseeing

    Travel Ideas
    • Road Trips
    • Scenic Byways
    • Off the Beaten Path

    Events
    • Find Events
    • Monthly Events
    • Yearly Events
    • Food Festivals

  • Deals

  • More

    Visitor Services
    • Ask a Question/Contact Us
    • Current Travel Safety
    • FAQ
    • Florida Now
    • Florida Vacation Auction
    • International Travel Info
    • Official Welcome Centers
    • Special Needs Travel
    • Transportation Services
    • Travel Guides

    For Our Partners
    • Media
    • Meeting Planners
    • Travel Professionals
    • VISIT FLORIDA Partners

    Popular Links
    • FAQ
    • Contact Us
    • Florida Now
    • Travel Guides

  • Beaches

  • Places to Go

    Places to Go

    • Featured Destinations

      Featured Destinations

      • Daytona Beach
      • Destin
      • Fort Lauderdale
      • Jacksonville
      • Orlando
      • Miami
      • Pensacola
      • St. Petersburg
      • Tampa
      • West Palm Beach
    • All Cities

      All Cities

      • View All
      • Northwest
      • North Central
      • Northeast
      • Central West
      • Central
      • Central East
      • Southwest
      • Southeast
    • Places to Stay

      Places to Stay

      • Find Lodging
    • Most Popular

      Most Popular

      • Key West
      • Orlando
      • Miami
      • Jacksonville
  • Things to Do

    Things to Do

      • Attractions
      • Arts and History
      • Boating
      • Eat and Drink
      • Fishing
      • Golf
      • Health and Wellness
      • Nightlife
      • Outdoors and Nature
      • Romance
      • Shopping
      • Tours and Sightseeing
    • Travel Ideas

      Travel Ideas

      • Road Trips
      • Scenic Byways
      • Off the Beaten Path
    • Events

      Events

      • Find Events
      • Monthly Events
      • Yearly Events
      • Food Festivals
  • Deals

  • More

    More

    • Visitor Services

      Visitor Services

      • Ask a Question/Contact Us
      • Current Travel Safety
      • FAQ
      • Florida Now
      • Florida Vacation Auction
      • International Travel Info
      • Official Welcome Centers
      • Special Needs Travel
      • Transportation Services
      • Travel Guides
    • For Our Partners

      For Our Partners

      • Media
      • Meeting Planners
      • Travel Professionals
      • VISIT FLORIDA Partners
    • Popular Links

      Popular Links

      • FAQ
      • Contact Us
      • Florida Now
      • Travel Guides

  1. Home
  2. Things to Do
  3. Outdoors & Nature
  4. Explore the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
500

A long road through a lonely landscape is part of the beauty of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Gary McKechnie

– Gary McKechnie

Explore the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

By Gary McKechnie

To see Florida the way it was before there were buildings, billboards, subdivisions, (and electricity even), I’d suggest you head off the beaten path to just east of Titusville and the Black Point Drive entrance to  Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Covering more than 140,000 acres, the natural preserve is a throwback to a simpler time, when it didn’t take a thrill ride or a 3D film to entertain you.

It’s also a throwback to the early days of America’s space program, since the refuge—established in 1963—was needed to provide a buffer zone between civilization and the ready-to-launch rockets.

At the visitor’s center you can watch a video about your surroundings, hike a nearby trail, and look for manatees from a viewing area. You’ll also find boat launch areas and sites for fishing.

Along seven-mile Black Point Drive Loop, the pleasure is in a slow and meandering exploration on a dirt road that crosses a variety of ecosystems and reveals an abundance of wildlife (often camouflaged by the surroundings). According to the rangers, more than 50 species of waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors live here.

A little more than midway through the drive you’ll find restrooms as well as a hiking trail that leads further into the wilderness. About 100 yards away, an observation beckons and should you go to it and climb the steps, the surrounding view is majestic in that “I didn’t realize how pretty emptiness can be” sort of way.

The wide expanse of land, the new (yet familiar) sight of Florida, the understanding that the slower you drive the more you’ll see…it all conspires to remind you of the natural beauty that’s available to us every day.

If You Go: 

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Directions: www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Directions.html

Phone: (321) 861-5601

 

Titusville

Cocoa

Cocoa Beach

Related Content

SPONSORS & PARTNERS

  • Busch Gardens

  • Hertz

  • Hilton

  • LEGOLAND

  • SeaWorld Orlando

  • Simon

  • Universal Studios

  • Walt Disney World

vf-privacy-popup-2018

Privacy Notice

We use cookies on our website to enhance your experience. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. Learn more in our  Cookie Notice  and our  Privacy Policy .

GOT IT!

  • Flights

  • Vacation Rentals

  • Restaurants

  • Things to do

      • Merritt Island Tourism
      • Merritt Island Hotels
      • Merritt Island Bed and Breakfast
      • Merritt Island Vacation Rentals
      • Merritt Island Vacation Packages
      • Flights to Merritt Island
      • Merritt Island Restaurants
      • Things to Do in Merritt Island
      • Merritt Island Travel Forum
      • Merritt Island Photos
      • Merritt Island Map
      • Merritt Island Travel Guide
      • All Merritt Island Hotels
      • Merritt Island Hotel Deals
      • Near Landmarks
        • Hotels near Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
        • Hotels near Black Point Wildlife Drive
        • Hotels near Space Shuttle Atlantis
        • Hotels near Brevard Veterans Memorial Museum & Military Museum
        • Hotels near Sams House at Pine Island
        • Hotels near Obloy Family Ranch
      • Near Airports
        • Hotels near (MCO) Orlando Intl Airport
        • Hotels near (SFB) Orlando Sanford International Airport
        • Hotels near (MLB) Melbourne Intl Airport
      • All Merritt Island Restaurants
      • Restaurants near Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
      • All things to do in Merritt Island
      • Things to do near Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
      • Travel Guides
      • Apps
      • Cruises
      • GreenLeaders
      • Road Trips

    TripAdvisor

    Merritt Island

    Cart 0

    Trips
    Tip: All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips.
    Inbox
    Inbox

    See all

    Log in to get trip updates and message other travelers.

    Profile Join
    Search

    • Travel feed: Merritt Island
    • Hotels
    • Things to do
    • Restaurants
    • Flights
    • Vacation Rentals
    • Cruises
    • Travel Forum
    • Airlines
    • Best of 2018
    • Road Trips
    • Help Center

    TripAdvisor

    Log in Join

    • Recently viewed
    • Bookings
    • Inbox

    More

      Help Center

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: Address, Phone Number, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Reviews: 4.5/5

      • United States   
      • Florida (FL)   
      • Brevard County   
      • Merritt Island   
      • Things to Do in Merritt Island   
      • Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

      Save money. We search 200+ sites for the lowest hotel prices.

      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

      834 Reviews
      #2 of 12 things to do in Merritt Island

      Features Animals

      This attraction features animals

      Click below for expert advice on animal welfare in tourism.

      Learn more

      Nature & Parks , Nature & Wildlife Areas

      State Road 402, (5 miles east of Titusville), Merritt Island, FL 32782

      Save

      Share

      Review Highlights
      You want nature…this is the place to go!!!

      We traveled there on our last day this past week and it was the highlight of the trip!! We went to…

      read more

      Reviewed 6 days ago

      prodigysports

      ,

      Burlington, Canada

      Wildlife everywhere!!

      We had a fantastic time at the Refuge. We saw manatees, alligators, roseate spoonbills, a raccoon…

      read more

      Reviewed 1 week ago

      angua7

      ,

      Krakow, Poland

      Read all 834 reviews

      1,065

      All photos (1,065)
      Full view

      Certificate of Excellence
      What is Certificate of Excellence?
      TripAdvisor gives a Certificate of Excellence to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers.

      • Photos
      • Overview
      • Tours & Tickets
      • Reviews
      • Nearby
      • Q&A
      • More
        Traveler Overview
        4.5 834 reviews

        • Excellent75%
        • Very good20%
        • Average3%
        • Poor1%
        • Terrible1%

        Travelers talk about

        “visitor center” (93 reviews)

        “manatee viewing” (30 reviews)

        “roseate spoonbills” (49 reviews)

        About
        This wildlife conservation park is home to more endangered species than anywhere else in America.
        Contact

        State Road 402, (5 miles east of Titusville), Merritt Island, FL 32782
        Website
        +1 321-861-0667
        Call
        Improve This Listing

        Does this place or activity accept credit cards?Yes No Unsure
        Is there a recommended dress code for this place or activity?Yes No Unsure
        Does this place or activity have parking?Yes No Unsure
        Would you tell a friend to take an audio tour of this place?Yes No Unsure
        Would you tell a friend to pay to skip the line?Yes No Unsure
        Would you tell a friend to take a guided tour of this place?Yes No Unsure
        Is a headcover required for this place or activity?Yes No Unsure
        Would you recommend wearing modest dress to this place or activity?Yes No Unsure
        Would you recommend formal attire for this place or activity?Yes No Unsure
        Does this place or activity offer free wi-fi?Yes No Unsure
        Thanks for helping! Share another experience before you go.

        Reviews (834)
        Write a Review

        Filter reviews
        800 results

        Traveler rating
        603
        166
        25
        5
        1

        Traveler type

        Time of year

        LanguageEnglish
        More languages

        603
        166
        25
        5
        1

        Show reviews that mention

        All reviews visitor center manatee viewing roseate spoonbills black point drive biolab road playalinda beach bio lab scrub jays nature center driving trail bird watching boat ramp old florida wild hogs white pelicans welcome center the reserve

        FilterEnglish
        Updating list…

        110 of 800 reviews

        prodigysports
        Burlington, Canada
        57

        Reviewed 6 days ago

        You want nature…this is the place to go!!!

        We traveled there on our last day this past week and it was the highlight of the trip!! We went to the Manatee viewing area and were there for 15 minutes…saw nothing! People came and went but we decided to stay. My 11 year-old started…More

        1  Thank prodigysports

        angua7
        Krakow, Poland
        7

        Reviewed 1 week ago

        Wildlife everywhere!!

        We had a fantastic time at the Refuge. We saw manatees, alligators, roseate spoonbills, a raccoon mum with her baby and a bald eagle. The landscape is beautiful too.

        Make sure you stop at the Information Center- they have maps, drinks, bug spray (recommended!) and…More

        Thank angua7

        Stanton M
        Nashville, North Carolina, United States
        14938

        Reviewed 1 week ago

        Lots of Wildlife As Usual

        For a November Day there were reptiles as well as birds to be seen. Nice selection of large birds – herons, egrets and ibis. Gators (up to 10 ft) and several small lizards on rocks and boardwalks. Warm with some wind but a great a…More

        Thank Stanton M

        ymwoodward
        Reading, United Kingdom
        157

        Reviewed 2 weeks ago

        Fascinating

        We spent some time here. Started at the Visitor Centre (and saw an alligator) along with birds and plants. We then went further afield and saw Manatees, a wild dolphin, snakes and lots of birds and plants. A must for any nature lover.

        Thank ymwoodward

        Y1265DMchrisk
        22461

        Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

        Great refuge to see wildlife

        Planned a trip here, not knowing what to expect. Really wanted to see manatees. Started at the visitor center, decided to walk all the trails, saw all types of birds, raccoons, snakes, and flora. They have a black point drive 6 miles, cost 10.00, but…More

        Thank Y1265DMchrisk

        555loveflorida
        Venice, Florida
        498

        Reviewed 3 weeks ago

        Overwhelmingly impressive!

        If you like seeing nature, you’ll love this place. There’s a welcome center that has a boardwalk. The place is so immense, you could spend a few days there.

        Thank 555loveflorida

        P7013WBjulieb
        Cary
        111

        Reviewed 4 weeks ago

        Manatees!! Gators!! Wild pigs!! Snakes!! Birds!!

        What a fantastic day! Very relaxing drives or hikes if you like. We spent an hour watching the manatees (16) before heading to the various trails. Wonderful day trip.

        Thank P7013WBjulieb

        Kathy D
        2

        Reviewed 4 weeks ago

        BlackPoint

        BlackPoint Drive is one of our most favorite places to go. Be sure to visit the welcome center, too!

        Thank Kathy D

        Katja W
        Plano, United States
        2

        Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

        Awesome!

        No need to go to the Bahamas. Just come here! It’s just you and the sea. Dont forget sunscreen or rent an umbrella.

        Thank Katja W

        4plusadogandcat
        London
        188113

        Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

        Lovely day out from Orlando

        Gorgeous island, really beautiful. Forget the busy manatee viewing point and head for Bairs Cove Boat Ramp instead. There were maybe 30 manatees including babies playing in the water there – we’d previously paddled with them in kayaks (see my review of A Day Away…More

        Thank 4plusadogandcat

        View more reviews

        Previous Next

        1 2 3 4 5 6 … 80

        Nearby

        Nearby Hotels See all 2 nearby hotels

        Budget Motel Titusville

        47 reviews
        .69 miles away

        Executive Garden Hotel

        29 reviews
        2.82 miles away

        Ramada by Wyndham Titusville/Kennedy Space Center

        855 reviews
        5.14 miles away

        Best Western Space Shuttle Inn

        807 reviews
        5.26 miles away

        Nearby Restaurants See all 155 nearby restaurants

        Sunrise Bread Co

        189 reviews
        .48 miles away

        Cruisers Frozen Yogurt

        47 reviews
        .49 miles away

        Crackerjacks Seafood and Tiki Bar

        316 reviews
        .24 miles away

        Playalinda Brewing Co

        79 reviews
        .44 miles away

        Nearby Attractions See all 66 nearby attractions

        Canaveral National Seashore

        775 reviews
        .40 miles away

        Titusville Playhouse

        97 reviews
        .55 miles away

        American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame

        92 reviews
        .59 miles away

        See all 2 nearby hotels See all 155 nearby restaurants See all 66 nearby attractions

        See all
        Questions & Answers

        Ask a question

        See all 13 questions

        Jennifer D
        How is the accessibility there? I use a scooter… I used my scooter on the nature trails at Hillsborough River State Park and it worked fine.
        April 13, 2018|

        AnswerShow all 3 answers Hide all answers

        Are you sure you want to delete this question?

        DeleteConfirm Cancel

        Response from bnut59 | Reviewed this property |
        Fine around the Visitors Center
        Are you sure you want to delete this answer?

        DeleteConfirmCancel

        TheFinnegans2014
        What is th eprice of admission?
        February 26, 2018|

        AnswerShow all 5 answers Hide all answers

        Are you sure you want to delete this question?

        DeleteConfirm Cancel

        Response from kingbyriverk | Reviewed this property |
        We didn’t encounter any fees. Just drive on through…
        Are you sure you want to delete this answer?

        DeleteConfirmCancel

        thegreenster
        How long would you suggest for a visit? We are going in August? What time of day will be best to see wildlife?
        Where & when can you see Manatees? (Thank you)
        May 6, 2017|

        AnswerShow all 9 answers Hide all answers

        Are you sure you want to delete this question?

        DeleteConfirm Cancel

        Response from ginamD3182LD | Reviewed this property |
        The best time to do the Black Point Wildlife drive, where I saw the most Wildlife, is first thing in the morning and 1.5 hours before sunset. I went both times. I went to the Canaveral Seashore for sunrise, which was… More
        The best time to do the Black Point Wildlife drive, where I saw the most Wildlife, is first thing in the morning and 1.5 hours before sunset. I went both times. I went to the Canaveral Seashore for sunrise, which was amazing, and then drove over and did the loop. I came back at the end of the day about 2 hours before sunset and did it again and got lucky!!!!!! Saw a BOBCAT!!!! Take your time, you never know what you’ll see!!!! I saw manatees near the boat launch. Flow the road to the drawbridge that is closed, and go to the left. Also, check the National Park Service website for closures and other info. Also see what walks or talks they may have available. They have binoculars you can borrow as well!!!! Have fun!!!!
        Are you sure you want to delete this answer?

        DeleteConfirmCancel

        Previous Next

        1 2 3 4 5

        Related to items you viewed

        Black Point Wildlife Drive

        Black Point Wildlife Drive

        274 Reviews

        Nature & Wildlife Areas

        Canaveral National Seashore

        Canaveral National Seashore

        775 Reviews

        Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks

        Sams House at Pine Island

        Sams House at Pine Island

        46 Reviews

        Hiking Trails, Historic Walking Areas, Historic Sites, Nature & Wildlife Areas

        Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

        Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

        171 Reviews

        Nature & Wildlife Areas, Forests

        Manatee Sanctuary Park

        Manatee Sanctuary Park

        290 Reviews

        Jogging Paths & Tracks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks

        Brevard Zoo

        Brevard Zoo

        2,238 Reviews

        Zoos

        TripAdvisorknow better book better go better
        © 2018 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.
        Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map

        * TripAdvisor LLC is not a booking agent and does not charge any service fees to users of our site… (more)
        TripAdvisor LLC is not responsible for content on external web sites. Taxes, fees not included for deals content.

        EXPLORE
        About Us Help Center

        CURRENCY/REGION
        RUBRUB
        United States