Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

Take a picture by the sign
Take a picture by the sign
  • 1 hour east of Orlando,
  • 45 minutes south of Daytona Beach and north of Cocoa Beach;
  • What a better place for a wildlife refuge to sit.
  • FEE :$5 cash or check

Set aside 3 hours from New Smyrna Beach area and 4 hours from Orlando,

wear walking shoes,

pack some water, snacks, lunch… then relax and enjoy the moments and the people of this day!

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is only 30 minutes from my house and once I discovered that out, I was itching to visit.

Last Sunday, Aubry and I headed out for a quick afternoon drive and hike.

From US 1 we headed south through Edgewater and Oak Hill. A fun, sharp left onto Route 3 lead us right into the refuge.

If you’re coming from the south, start at the Visitor’s Center on Max Brewer Highway.

Once in the park stop and grab the self-serve maps and guides and don’t forget the bird watching pamphlets.

–>take a picture by the Merritt Island sign and drive on!<–

Haulover Canal - no manatees for us
Haulover Canal – no manatees for us

Your first stop needs to be Haulover Canal, jump out and hopefully see some manatees!

Back on the road again continue on Route 3 towards the Visitor’s Center. The book Weird Florida has an interesting fact about this road your on, click here to learn more.

You’ll turn right onto 402 toward Visitor’s Center – in 1.2 miles on your right are the Oak Hammock and Palm Hammock Trails.


The Oak Hammock has two loops and can be done in a figure 8;

walk it!!

Fun climbing
Fun climbing

We saw 3 armadillos, a bunch of cool trees and got up close to one too many spiders!

Oak Hammock Trail
Oak Hammock Trail

Did I say spider? Don’t let that keep you away, the paths are nice with boardwalks over the low areas.

We opted out of hiking the Palm Hammock Trail because of all the rain, so next we say head toward the Visitor’s Center and poke around there.

After visiting the inside and the outside of the Visitor’s Center, make your way to Blackpoint Wildlife Drive.

Self-pay station at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive
Self-pay station at Blackpoint Wildlife Drive

You’ll have to self-pay the %4 so have cash or check!

Grab a guidebook and enjoy the ride, the wildlife ride!

The 6-mile, one-way loop is relaxing; stop, get out and enjoy the Florida wildlife. We saw lots of ducks, birds and a gator!

ducks, duck, ducks- actually pretty cool
ducks, duck, ducks- actually pretty cool

The mangroves and cedar trees are always neat to see how they grow so perfectly and beautifully built by God.

The Wildlife drive ends in true Florida fashion as a straight shot for the last little clip of the drive.

From here you can:

a. take a right toward Titusville


b. Aubry adn I took a left and headed straight on home to New Smyrna Beach;

she slept and I…

well, I had a good playlist of TSwift and the Eagles!

If you make this trip please let me know. Hashtag #thefrugaltravelmom

Happy travels



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