Bird and Wildlife Watching
Indian River Lagoon and Seashore
Space Coast Central
Bird and wildlife watching opportunities associated with the Indian River Lagoon and Beaches along Florida's Space Coast.
This Symbol indicates that the site is a designated site of the Great Florida Birding Trail
 
Beachside
 

Port Canaveral; (Ocean, Port) (Destination)
There are three parks at Port Canaveral managed by the Canaveral Port Authority.

Jetty Park; Port Canaveral (Beach / Ocean)(Notable Stop to Destination)
Directions; Driving from Orlando on Hwy 528 East. After crossing over I-95, drive 12 miles on Hwy 528 East and exit right to the "B" cruise terminals. After exit, turn left under bridge onto George King Blvd. Drive 1.3 miles and enter Jetty Park entrance. From A1A in Cape Canaveral, take the port Canaveral entrance at George King Blvd. Drive 1.3 miles and enter Jetty Park entrance. Jetty Park provides the opportunity to view wildlife from side of the port near the mouth, from the pier and from the seashore itself. From the pier you can also scan the rock jetty alongside the pier for shorebirds, gulls, terns, and many other species. Sometimes just below the surface of the water sea turtles can be see browsing on vegetation growing on the rocks and pier pilings. Also keep an eye out over the open waters of the port and the ocean for sightings of gannets and other pelagics. They do sometimes ply the open waters of the port itself. RV and Tent Camping are available as is the rental of Wheelchairs designed for the beach, providing a unique opportunity for challenged birders. There is also a 1-1/2 mile bike and pedestrian path between the west border of Jetty Park and Freddie Patrick Park.
GPS N 28 24.426 W 80 35.639
Google Satellite Image

 

Freddie Patrick Park; Port Canaveral (Port) Directions; From the Port Entrance at George King Blvd. Drive 3/10th of a mile and turn left on Flounder Street. Drive 1/10th of a mile and turn right into Freddie Patrick Park.
This 10-acre park is located in the center of the Port's south side. You may enjoy its facilities, including covered picnic tables and boat-launch ramps, at no charge.
GPS N 28 24.501 W 80 36.803
Google Satellite Image

 

Rodney S. Ketcham Park; Port Canaveral (Port) Directions; Enter the South Entrance to Port Canaveral from 528 / A1A, at George King Boulevard, turn left and follow it to Dave Nisbet Drive. Look for this sign right before the intersection of Dave Nisbet Drive and Mullet Road. Turn onto Mullet road and follow it faithfully. Just before it goes under The bridge near the locks you will come to the park.
Rodney S. Ketcham Park is a four-acre park at the Port's west end featuring boat-launch ramps, covered picnic tables, fishing from the bulkheads and an observation tower for a great view of ships in the harbor. This park is also a stop on the Great Florida Birding Trail. There are no fees for its use. Avocet Lagoon is also in this area and allows the viewing of many shorebird species within a shallow lagoon ecosystem.
GPS N 28 24.517 W 80 37.866
Google Satellite Image

 
Manatee Sanctuary Park;; (Lagoon) (Quick Stop)
701 Thurm Boulevard, Cape Canaveral,
Just South of State Road 528 Causeway, turn east on West Central Blvd next to the Radison (north side) and follow West Central to Thurm Blvd, turn left and the park will be on the west side of the road.
Manatee Sanctuary Park boasts over 10 acres of waterfront beauty. Nestled on the Banana River, Scan the river for waterfowl, osprey, manatee, dolphin, and more.GPS N 28 23.657 W 80 37.098
Google Satellite Image
 
Constitution Bicentenial Park; (Lagoon) (Quick Stop)
Located on the State Road 520 Causeway, just west of Cape Canaveral Hospital
Constitution Bicentennial Park is a one-acre roadside recreation site providing boat launch facilities. The park was dedicated in 1988 as a permanent reminder of the importance of the U. S. Constitution. The park features 23 car/trailer parking spaces, and four sheltered picnic tables. Scan the shallows and along the shoreline trees for wading birds, waterfowl, osprey, Manatee, and dolphin.
GPS N 28 21.442 W 80 37.713
Google Satellite Image
 
Lori Wilson Park; (Beach) (Noteable Stop)
1500 N Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach
FROM SR-520 go south 1.4 miles on SR-A1A
Open after sunrise until dusk, except for scheduled use.
This 32.43-acre regional beach park featuring a maritime hammock is a popular site for events and group gatherings. The dunes and maritime hammock allow visitors to experience Florida’s natural coastline. The 3,155’ interpretive boardwalk at the Maritime Hammock is accessed from the north parking lot, or by paved walkway from the south parking lot. Wildlife includes migratory birds, Shorebirds, Songbirds, Butterfly, Opossum, Raccoon, Snakes.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Parking, Restrooms, Pavilions, Playground, Boardwalk, 4 Dune Crossovers, Nature Center, Nature Boardwalk, Paved Walkways
GPS N 28 20.227 W 80 36.470
Google Satellite Image
 
Ramp Road Park; (Lagoon) (Quick Stop)
528 Ramp Rd, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931, Phone: (321)868-3252
From State Road 520 in Cocoa Beach, head south on A1A about 3 miles and turn right on South 5th Street, then take the next left on South Brevard Ave, then the next left on Ramp Road. Located at the west end of Ramp Road in Cocoa Beach, this three-acre neighborhood park provides two boat ramps, picnic facilities, a fishing dock, and a lighted tennis court. Florida Sportsman magazine has ranked the park as one of the state's best fishing spots. The fishing dock and picnic facilities overlook the beautiful Thousand Islands, which are owned by the city. The city plans to keep the Thousand Islands in their natural state for future generations to enjoy. Scan the mangrove shorelines of the islands for many species of birds such as pelicans, cormorants, osprey, as well as the water for dolphins and manatees
GPS N 28 18.558 W 80 36.855
Google Satellite Image
 

Hightower Beach Park; (Beach) (Noteable Stop)
815 Highway A1A, Satellite Beach, FL 32937, (321) 773-6458
Much to their credit, the coastal City of Satellite Beach has taken great pride in their natural resources, preserving 40 % of the beach front property within the city in its natural state and setting it aside for future generations to enjoy. The flagship property of this policy is Hightower Beach Park, roughly 18 acres of prisine beach and dune habitat protecting roughly 1/2 mile of coastline with an observation platform and about 560 feet of boardwalk so visitors can view the habitat and scan the native vegetation for migratory songbirds and other species that reside there. In addition are the chances to see examples of Sabellariid Worm Domes, which are colonies of Sabellariid Worms attached to the flatter coquina rock ridges. At low tide the domes closest to shore are exposed on the beach sometimes forming tidal pools and are valuable habitat for many species of marine fish, shrimps, crabs, and many other invertebrate species. Please do not touch these domes as they are fragile and essentially living ecosystems. Scan the rocks at low tide for shorebirds and wading birds hunting along the coquina ridges, while several species of gulls and terns can be seen scanning the water below for baitfish. Below is more information on Hightower Park and the recent improvements which include parking for 32 cars, restrooms, an outdoor shower, and a non reservable pavillion in addition to the boardwalk and observation platform.
Hightower Beach Park PDF
Report and Florida Today Articles
GPS N 28 11.650 W 80 35.661
Google Satellite Image

 
Pelican Park(Beach) (Quick Stop)
1525 Highway A1A, Satellite Beach, FL 32937, (321) 773-6458
Park hours are from 9:00am till dusk.
Pelican park is a smaller park managed by the City of Satellite Beach. Each summer during the nesting season, the Sea Turtle Presrvation Society conducts weekly Sea Turtle "Walks and Talks" based from this park where during the talks, scouts look for nesting sea turtles and report back so the visitors can go view the nesting turtles at night.
Satellite Beach Park PDF
GPS N 28 10.064 W 80 35.292
Google Satellite Image
 

Samsoms Island(Lagoon) (Notable Stop)
Samsons Island is a 52 acre island nature preserve owned by the City of Satellite Beach accessable only by boat. Except in inclement weather, the City provides free boat transportation each Sunday from the Satellite Beach Fire Station (1390 S. Patrick Drive). The boat, which holds 11 passengers, leaves at 1 p.m. (first come, first served) and returns from the island approx. at 3:30 p.m. Park at the Fire Station, and walk to the dock behind the Station. The island has three docks or landing platforms, walking trails, kayaking trails, and rustic campsites available by permit (a permit is required for anyone on the island after dusk).
Samsons Island Homepage
GPS (Fire Department) N 28 10.367 W 80 36.390
Google Satellite Image (Fire Department)
GPS (Samsons Island) N 28 10.997 W 80 36.685
Google Satellite Image (Sampsons Island)

 
Editors Pick; A Sample Itinerary for the A1A Corridor;(Note; More Destinations below this article, all destinations IN this article listed above)
As mentioned above the Port Canaveral listing at the top of this page, several non-destination stops can be put together for a great day-long birdwatching safari. Here is a sample itinerary for a full day of wildife observation from the Central Space Coast Highway A1A corridor. Having several stops along the tour means you can also break for breakfast, lunch, and finish with a nice dinner.
Stop 1; Hightower Beach Park in Satellite Beach at dawn. Scan the beach for plovers and other shorebirds. Hopefully it will be low tide so you can see the mound colonies of Sabellariid Worms attached to the flatter coquina rock ridges. Herons may be hunting any tidal pools that may form for small fishes among the rocks. At real low tide you can walk right up to some of the formations for closer inspection. Do not walk on or touch the Sabellariid Mounds. They are living colonies. Then take the boardwalk tour to learn about the Coastal Strand Palmetto habitat and the beach grasses that help to anchor the dunes against erosion.
Stop 2; Ramp Road Park in Cocoa Beach, where you can scan the Mangrove Shorelines of the Thousand Islands Preserve for birds and other wildlife from the fishing and observation deck. Hopefully you will see dolphins or manatees as well.
Stop 3; Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. The beach will likely be fairly crowded by now but the Maritime Hammock Trail is definitely worth a walk. In winter this hardwood forest comes alive with Warblers and many other species of neotropical migrants.
Stop 4; Port Canaveral's Jetty Park. There is an entry fee but this allows access to the pier which gives you a view of the rock jetty for shorebirds terns and gulls, offshore for pelagics, while scanning below the waters surface along rocks and pilings for sea turtles feeding on attached vegetation. In the winter you may even be treated to the sight of a Northern Right Whale. There are two other parks To finish the day off you can also visit Rodney Ketcham Park in the port and / or Freddie Patrick Park about halfway down the port on the south side. I definitely reccommend Ketcham Park first due to the observation tower and proximity to Avocet Lagoon and the wading and shorebirds that frequent the area. Then a quick scan from Patrick Park as the sun is setting and you find yourself conveniently in the area of "The Cove", Port Canaverals Waterfront Recreation Area and its Restaurants, Lounges, and Tiki Bars, where you can dine outside and watch ships enter and exit the port, or watch the charter boats unload the catch of the day and then catch some Live Music, DJs, do a little Karaoke or dance the night away.
By the time you get home you have experienced three Beach Habitats (Coquina / Worm Reef, Coastal Scrub and Maritime Hammock) One estuary habitat (Mangrove Forest) scanned the waters, shorelines, rocks and pilings of the Port, and ended the day with some of the best nightlife around.
Merritt Island
All sites listed are associated with the Lagoon
 
Manatee Cove Park (Noteable Stop)
4905 N Tropical Trail, Merritt Island
Parks Referendum Project
FROM US Hwy 1, go east 2.7 miles on SR-528 to the SR-3 Exit, then left onto Courtenay Parkway (SR-3) and go 3 miles. Turn left on Porcher Road, go 0.4 miles, then left on North Tropical Trail and go 0.2 miles to the park entrance.
A natural trail around the lagoon provides access for viewng of wading birds, waterfowl.
Open after sunrise until dusk, except for scheduled use.
GPS N 28 26.784 W 80 43.168
Google Satellite Image
 

Kelly Park-East (Quick Stop)
2550 N Banana River Drive, Merritt Island
Parks Referendum Project
FROM US Hwy 1 go 5.3 miles east on SR-528 then right at the N. Banana Drive exit. The park is along the river on the left.
Look overthe lagoon for osprey, pelicans, gulls, terns, cormorants, dolphins, manatees, etc.
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark, except for scheduled use.
GPS N 28 24.195 W 80 39.744
Google Satellite Image

 

Watts Park (Quick Stop)
695 Needle Boulevard, Merritt Island
FROM SR-520, go north 0.6 miles on Courtenay Pkwy/SR-3, turn right and go 0.3 miles on Needle Blvd, turn right on 4th Place, go 0.1 mile, turn left on Needle Blvd and go 0.6 miles.
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark.
GPS N 28 22.116 W 80 41.116
Google Satellite Image

 
Ulumay Wildlife Sancturary (Noteable Stop)
805 Sykes Creek Parkway, Merritt Island
FROM US Hwy 1 go 2.9 miles east on SR-520, turn left and go about 0.5 miles on Sykes Creek Parkway. The park entrance is on the left.
Projecting into Sykes Creek at the southwest corner of the park is a pier commonly known as the Old Humpbacked Troll Bridge. There are also dikes along the impoundment with 7 miles of hiking, biking and birding trails.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Fishing Pier
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark.
GPS N 28 22.317 W 80 40.426
Google Satellite Image
 
Intracoastal Waterway Park (Quick Stop)
Hwy 520 Causeway at the Hubert Humphrey Bridge, Merritt Island
FROM US Hwy 1 at SR-520, go east 0.7 miles just over the Humbert Humphrey Bridge. Turn back to the SR-520 westbound lane. The park entrance is on the westbound lane and the exit is on the eastbound lane.
Concrete Fishing Pier
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark.
GPS N 28 21.394 W 80 42.786
Google Satellite Image
 
Kiwanis Island Park (Quick Stop)
951 Kiwanis Island Park Road, Merritt Island
FROM US Hwy 1, go east 3.2 miles on SR-520. Turn into the park complex at the light just east of Sykes Creek Parkway.
Look for waders, shorebirds, waterfowl and others within the Sykes Creek area.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Parking, Restrooms, Community Center, Community Building, Playground, Pavilions, Fishing Dock, Paved Walkways
Park open after 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.
GPS N 28 21.540 W 80 40.689
Google Satellite Image
 
Margaret and Danny Strickland Park (Quick Stop)
298 Milford Point Drive, Merritt Island
FROM SR-520 and 0.2 miles east of Banana River Drive, turn north onto Milford Point Drive and go 0.2 miles.
Open after sunrise until dusk.
GPS N 28 21.691 W 80 39.744
Google Satellite Image
 
Veterans Memorial Park (Quick Stop)
400 S Sykes Creek Parkway, Merritt Island
FROM US Hwy 1 go east 2.9 miles on SR-520, turn right on Sykes Creek Pkwy and go 0.4 miles.
335’ lighted boardwalk and benches along the waterfront for scenic viewing and fishing.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Parking, Restrooms, Community Center, River Boardwalk
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark, except for scheduled use.
GPS N 28 21.056 W 80 40.971
Google Satellite Image
 
Osteen Park (Quick Stop)
425 S Tropical Trail, Merritt Island
FROM US Hwy 1, go east 1.7 miles on SR-520, turn right on South Tropical Trail and go 0.5 miles. The park is on the right.
Fishing Dock, Boardwalk.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Parking, Restrooms, Pavilion, Fishing Dock with Boardwalk, Drinking Fountain, Paved Walkway. Nice wooded little park. Check the trees for warblers and other songbirds while checking the lagoon for ospreys, pelicans, gulls, terns, egrets, herons, and other waterfowl.
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark, except for scheduled use.
GPS N 28 20.999 W 80 42.224
Google Satellite Image
 
Harbor Point Park (Quick Stop)
Harbor Point Drive, Merritt Island
FROM SR-520 go south 2.3 miles on South Banana River Drive and turn left.
Neighborhood boardwalk and overlook of the Banana River.
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Boardwalk and Overlook
GPS N 28 19.476 W 80 39.470
Google Satellite Image
 
Mainland
All sites listed are associated with the Lagoon
 
McFarland Park (Quick Stop)
2060 Indian River Drive, Cocoa
FROM US Hwy 1 at SR-520, go north 2.6 miles on US Hwy 1. Turn right on Coquina Drive and go 0.3 miles, turn right on Indian River Drive and go 0.1 miles to the park.
T shaped pier 100 ft.
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark.
GPS N 28 23.455 W 80 44.503
Google Satellite Image
 
Lee Wenner Park (Quick Stop)
300 Riveredge Boulevard, Cocoa
FROM US Hwy 1 at SR-520, go east .5 miles and turn right onto Riveredge Drive. The park is on the Indian River at the southwest side of the Hubert Humphrey bridge.
Fishing Pier, Docks
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Parking, Restrooms, Coast Guard Auxiliary Building, Pavilion, Playground, Paved Walkway, Pier, Docks.
GPS N 28 21.321 W 80 43.382
Google Satellite Image
 
Valencia Dock (Quick Stop)
914 Rockledge Drive, Rockledge
FROM US Hwy 1, go east at the Barton Blvd and immediately left on Seminole Drive. Go 0.4 miles to Valencia Road, turn right and go 0.3 miles to the river.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Pier
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark.
GPS N 28 20.202 W 80 43.042
Google Satellite Image
 
Riverwalk-A Family Park (Notable Stop)
5355 US Highway 1, Rockledge
FROM SR-520, go south 7 miles on US Hwy 1, look for the park on the left. You will have to make a u-turn just to the south of the park onto the northbound lane. If coming from the south, it will be about 4.5 miles north of the Pineda Causeway.
Nature Center, and a nature boardwalk that begins near the pavilion with restrooms and winds through a natural Florida hammock to the river.
GPS N 28 16.089 W 80 41.407
Google Satellite Image
 
Rotary Park at Suntree (Quick Stop)
Highway 1 & Suntree Blvd, Rockledge
FROM SR-520 go 9 miles south, the park is on the left.
FROM the Pineda Causeway (SR-404), go north 1.8 miles. The park is on the right at the Suntree Boulevard intersection.
This 10.36-acre community river park is situated on the shore of the Indian River Lagoon. The large pavilion includes restrooms, barbeque pits, and an expansive river view. Along the shore and boardwalk are 6 picnic shelters with grills and a nearby playground.
ADA ACCESSIBLE: Parking, Restrooms, Pavilion, Playground, Boardwalks, Fishing Pier.
Open after 7:00 a.m. until dark, except for scheduled use.
GPS N 28 13.792 W 80 40.308
Google Satellite Image
 
POW/MIA Park, Formerly known as Pineda Landing (Quick Stop)
5995 N US Highway 1, Melbourne
Parks Referendum Project
FROM the Pineda Causeway (SR-404), go 0.3 miles north on US Hwy 1, the park is on the right.
Shoreline viewing of the Lagoon.
GPS N 28 12.408 W 80 39.679
Google Satellite Image
 
Shoreside Park (Quick Stop)
5025 US 1
Palm Shores, FL 32940,
Located about one mile south of Pineda Causeway on east side of US-1, Shoreside Park runs along the Indian River and offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including fishing pier, canoeing, kayaking, a playground and volleyball courts.
GPS N 28 11.417 W 80 39.378
Google Satellite Image
 
Pineapple Park River Front (Quick Stop)
1521 Pineapple Avenue, Melbourne
Pineapple Park is situated along the Indian River on Pineapple Avenue in the downtown Eau Gallie area, next to the Eau Gallie Library, and features a fishing pier.
GPS N 28 07.959 W 80 37.570
Google Satellite Image
 
Space Coast North
Space Coast Central
Space Coast South
Estuarine and Ocean