On my February, 2015, trip to Orlando I took a wonderful day trip with the family Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida. This is a do not miss opportunity to take a journey to the wild, natural beauty of Florida only 63 miles from Disney World.
The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 140,000 acre complex that includes a wide variety of habitats: (a) coastal dunes, (b) saltwater marshes, (c) fresh water areas, (d) scrub, (e) pine flatwoods and (f) hardwood hammocks. These areas combine to provide a natural habitat to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. The refuge is part of an area acquired by the federal government in 1963 in order to build the John F. Kennedy Space Center.
The beauty of this place is indescribable. To be honest, we were just planning a day on the beach with the family. However, upon entering the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge you cannot resist the natural phenomena around every curve. Slow down on the long road that approaches the seashore and a beautiful world of egrets, osprey, bald eagles, armadillos and river otters presents itself. Scan the canal banks and you can’t miss the American alligators basking in the sun. Check out the wood ducks, ring-necked ducked and blue-winged teal that cover the myriad of roadside ponds. There are turtles, snakes, lizards and a host of other wildlife. Take the special Black Point Wildlife Drive through marsh impoundments and pinewood flats—the wildlife just envelops you. The kids will love it!! And then take them to the wonderful beach along the Atlantic Ocean.
This is an old fashioned beach day. Pack a lunch, bring the fishing poles, grab the beach chairs and the Frisbee—there are minimal facilities located on the beach. There are restroom facilities located at each parking area but be ready to hold your nose (and your breath) if heaven forbid you need to use them. The beach is beautiful and there were more people fishing (you must have a Refuge Sport Fishing Permit) than swimming on the day we were there—the water is a bit chilly in February. However, if your family is like mine, they will love every minute.
By the way, all of this comes at the outrageous price of $5 per vehicle (cash or check). The kids will get a rest from the frenetic activity of the theme parks and your wallet will get a rest too. Enjoy a wonderful day at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge!!
Want to Save Even More Money in Orlando?
And if you want to save big money and find great Orlando discounts, check out my articles on the Sheraton Vistana Resort, How to Save Big Money on Universal Studios Fast Passes, Five Great Nightlife Spots Near Disney World and Eight Rules to Get the Best Timeshare Rental Deals.