Lost in the Wilds
Cape Canaveral is best known as home to the Shuttle Program but it is so much more! There are tons of places to go if you love nature. The Cape, or more specifically the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, is home to a host of nature related sites. From the refuge’s own welcome center to Haulover canal nature can be seen everywhere. The layout of the roads are straight forward and as non-invasive as possible. Most of the land can be entered by the public and is home to numerous species of bird and wildlife. The refuge also boasts scenes that could be ripped from earlier times. Old Florida, before tourism, before the mouse, before the space program.
Wildlife Refuge Welcome Center
This building can be found on the main road of the sanctuary. It is a moderately sized facility and is staffed with volunteers and appointed government workers. Their sole job is to educate the public who seek them out. They are very knowledgeable of the area and can help you find just about anything nature related nearby. The facility is also host to tours, programs and art/photography of the area. Speaking of photography, in the near future the facility will also have a photographic group for those wanting to learn. You will also find restroom facilities, a gift shop and a nature walk here as well.
Black Point Drive
This seven mile drive through bird and wildlife sanctuary is opened from sunup till sundown. Multiple geographical ecologies are found here. Mudflats, wetlands, scrub brush and more are featured here. I have been here many times in my life and I love every trip I take through these serene landscapes. Countless species of bird can be spotted and lots of places to park and watch them. This is on the top of my favorites list for wildlife preserves. They do ask for donations of course but it is voluntary. Every dollar does go into the wilderness refuge in upkeep.
I just recently discovered this little gem buried deep in the reserve. It serves as a boat dock but is also a fantastic spot for a picnic, family outing, fishing or even a night under the stars. Even though the reserve closes at night this remains open for boaters. There are no shops near by so pack what you need before hand. I had the pleasure of seeing many birds and even a dolphin within the canal. This area is also called Bairs Cove if you are following the signs on the road.
All in All
There is so much to see here in the wilderness preserve. Whether you are into bird watching, animals or just going to the beach there is plenty to do. Playlinda beach here is a great beach but a little forewarning beach #6 and beyond are nudity allowed beaches so bear that in mind. If you do come to Florida do not miss this opportunity to visit old Florida!
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