A Trip to Canaveral National Seashore

Nature in harmony with science make Florida’s Space Coast an adventure not to be missed. I have been to the Space Coast twice, the first time in 2012 and again last week with Steve. There are several components making up the coast, you have the Canaveral National Seashore, consisting of 57,662 acres, the Merritt Island NWR, consisting of 140,000 acres which includes NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

On both occasions, my main objective was to visit Merritt Island NWR, specifically the Black Point Wildlife Drive. Both of my visits were in late March and I was surprised by the differences. The water levels were much higher in 2012 and my visit coincided with a prescribed burn.

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It’s natural for the water levels to fluctuate and we haven’t had a lot of rain this winter.

Merritt Island NWR is home to over 1500 species of plants and animals, including 15 federally listed species. It is also an important stop on the Atlantic Flyway. You never know what you might come across during a visit.

The wildlife drive is a 7 mile, one-way road through various habitats, from shallow marsh impoundments to pine flatwoods…

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With spring in the air, wildflowers are blooming, attracting lots of butterflies…

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In 2012, I was lucky enough to be visiting when a large flock of white pelicans were resting in the marsh…

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This year, we saw quite a few northern shovelers which are in the spoonbill family…

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While we were photographing them, a grackle made his presence known. He was finding a meal in the fallen palm fronds. When I got too close, he retreated to my spare tire.

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We saw flocks of blue billed ducks. I haven’t quite identified them yet…

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And tons of coots…

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The one animal you are almost guaranteed to see is alligators…

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After we finished the drive, we decided to head over to Canaveral National Seashore. On the way, we were lucky enough to see a sandhill crane with its chick…

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Using our America the Beautiful Pass, we entered our first national park of the year. I don’t think we will visit as many parks this year as last (15 in total), but we love not having to pay the entrance fees.

Our first wildlife encounter was with an armadillo. I’m fairly sure this little guy was completely blind. He was unfazed by my presence and at one point nearly walked into me…

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We also saw what I think was a box turtle on the side of the road…

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Only one of our encounters came with its own warning sign…

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I have to admit, we were a bit surprised. The seashore has 5 areas with beach access and apparently clothing is optional at beach 5. Who knew?!?!?

The one area we haven’t visited yet is the Kennedy Space Center. I’ve heard you can spend the better part of a day there, so it will have to wait until next time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

11 thoughts on “A Trip to Canaveral National Seashore”

  1. Absolutely stunning photos. I love the baby sandhill crane–so fuzzy and cute! The gator, though… How close did you get this time? Honestly, these photos are AMAZING. I did notice there were no pictures of the nude human variety. 🙂 Happy manatee hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dawn. I was in the safety of the Jeep when I took these gator pics. If you could zoom into the center of the opening image, the nude person is almost dead center. I’m hoping to come across more baby sandhill cranes! It was definitely cute! Happy manatee hugs back atcha!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m thinking maybe that grackle saw the sign on your Jeep and decided he wanted to hitch a ride and live the RV Life too!!! Alligators are some dinosaur looking craziness, but man, are they cool! Your photos are awesome. As for the nude beach, have you ever noticed the people who go to places like that are never the people anyone wants to see nude? It’s never Chris Hemsworth… it’s always “Frank from Iowa” LOL… Anyway, glad they give folks some warning…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The pass sounds like a fabulous idea for anyone who lives in the US or is planning to visit. Those alligators look awfully close. I’m going to hope you were in a safer location than the pictures might lead one to believe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, the pass is a fabulous way to save money if you plan on visiting more than one park or one park several times. Last year, we visited 15 National Parks, so it’s a no brainer for us. For most of the alligator shots, I was in the safety of the jeep, plus I use the zoom lens so I wasn’t too close 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one part of the Florida coastline I’ve never seen, but hope to soon. The nude beach is surprising! When we were camping in Little Talbot Island FL last week, 15 feet away from us on the beach a woman (who was with her husband and toddler) was topless. We assumed the family was European, and later heard her speaking French. It was mid-week so the beach wasn’t crowded, but still it was funny to watch the people walking by consciously avert their eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel the same way, it doesn’t bother me either, and I didn’t find it awkward. I’ve become a bit less modest myself after time on the road and not-always-private camping areas/shower areas. I think it’s all about what one is used to.

    Liked by 1 person

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