Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
4.5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
About
This wildlife conservation park is home to more endangered species than anywhere else in America.
Meets animal welfare guidelines
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and nearby attractions

See what travelers are saying
  • Jthomp01
    Detroit, Michigan70 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful
    Great place to visit even in the rain. We walked the boardwalk trail behind the welcome center (wear bug spray)! It was nice. We also drive the Black Point wildlife drive which was really cool. We saw gators, lots of cool birds, turtles and voles. We also checked out the manatees at the viewing platform. Such a great place for the day.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 26, 2023
  • Dee M
    Delray Beach, Florida16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    140,000 Acres of quiet beauty
    Quiet, not crowded. Unspoiled. So very glad this land was preserved, not developed. Went in early June so not a lot of animal activity but thoroughly enjoyed no crowds. Saw gators, wild feral hog, turtles and manatees and dolphins….if you love nature, you will appreciate this place. Plan to go again over winter months to see more activity.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 4, 2023
  • christiep28
    16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great day at Merritt Island!
    We took a day, left the Kissimmee area and headed for Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We are glad we did. The first stop was the visitor center where we encountered Mr Bob. He was delightful and was very knowledgeable about the area. We spent the entire day exploring most of the sights and sounds around Merritt Island. Highlights were the boardwalk behind the visitor center(several butterflies were spotted), the 7 mile wildlife drive(encountered many different types of birds, a small snake and changes in area), manatee oberservation deck(saw many manatee, a dolphin, a fish spinning out of the water and a large pontoon boat which made the draw bridge open), we drove to the canal. We had spotty showers throughout the day so we were in the car most of the day. Overall it was a welcome change of pace from fast paced and over crowded Orlando.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 4, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles991 reviews
Excellent
749
Very good
202
Average
31
Poor
8
Terrible
2

Kristin F
12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
Visitor Center attractive and informative. Helpful staff. Bring your NPS lifetime pass to avoid $10/car fee for driving loops. Black Point Drive had many birds and young alligators. Don't use google maps GPS to find. Give wrong location.
One very rude visitor yelled at me because I had blocked his passing (One lane crushed rock loop Black Point Drive) If you don't have time or inclination to stop and view wildlife please don't visit. There are spots to pull over and let others pass.
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ed B
Virginia Beach, VA18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
After leaving the Manatee Observation Dock, we stumbled across the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. What an amazing experience. We enjoyed being close to nature from the comfort of our vehicle, and also having the experience to venture on foot to see various birds, plants, alligators and others. According to details, the refuge is 140,000 acres. There is a minimal $10.00 fee, in which you will see the envelopes and rear view mirror "hangar" at the front of the refuge. Very happy to have had the experience, and looking forward to returning again.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ward D
Satellite Beach, FL2,830 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
This is a wonderful starting point for an understanding of not only this national wildlife refuge but where the other ones are and what a refuge is all about. It is a beautiful Visitor's Center with wonderfully helpful and friendly staff. This is located right off the south side of the Max Brewer Memorial highway and has good signage. This is a 1 story building on the south side of the road near the south-end entrance of the Canaveral national seashore. It is definitely a great place to stop. It has a running movie that explains the seashore and the wildlife contained there. There is a small paved parking lot with an overflow gravel parking lot right next to it. The rangers were especially helpful in explaining the options to the park. There is a fee to drive specific parts of the park but, I think, it is well worth it for the pleasant drive and wildlife you will see. Behind the building is a walkway around one side of the lake and through the forest/wetlands. It also has a gift shop, restrooms, and some interactive displays to explain parts of the park. During this most recent visit, the gift shop and part of the walkway around the lake were closed. Even with these restrictions, I highly recommend this as a first stop for the park.
Written December 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael W
Edison, NJ822 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Starting off in the Visitor center is a must, you can pick up a pass for the reserve and get tons of information geared to what you want to see. Another thing not to pas up at the visitor center they sell little animal figurines, my Wife bought a little turtle figurine that she is going to put on her terrarium, the cost of the figurine was half of what we saw in Cocoa Beach.

We did the Black Point drive and it was great tons of birds and we saw 5 alligators, it was a really fun day.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KateS
Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States4,854 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
What a GREAT use of the land surrounding the Cape Canaveral launch complex. We did a Get Up and Go kayak tour here (see separate review) in the Haulover Canal where we saw incredible amounts of wildlife including dolphins, a pair of bald eagles, & one giant alligator. On a separate visit to the area, I spent a lot of time at the visitor center. While the visitor center building only has a small space of exhibits, they were all nicely done & very informative. The staff was incredibly helpful & provided maps of the area & suggestions on what not to miss. I wandered the boardwalk behind the building & spent a great deal of time just watching all the different birds. It's hard to review this place, because it is so large. There are so many different places to explore, & each place is worth a review of its own. But if you're limited in time, I suggest you explore in & around the visitor center.
Written January 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hughesj949
North Wales, UK31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
I visited Merritt Island after getting glimpses of wildlife being driven around the Kennedy Space Centre. We travelled to Merritt and went to the visitor centre first, sighting turtles basking in the sun and various birds including vultures. The 'drive' was excellent and we saw numerous wild fowl and waders, the highlight being the Roseata Spoonbill. A further highlight was viewing a pair of Manatee at the Manatee viewing point. I would highly recommend a visit here as well as the Lake Apopka Trail.
Written January 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stuart Beesley
St. Albans, UK544 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
Visit the visitor centre first and get advice and directions. Then take your car for $10 and drive round the wildlife reserve. If you go slow and look for the many gators and birds this will take a few hours. Worth it!
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SharonEssexville
Essexville110 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We had this on our list to visit because there was a wildlife drive. We barely started the drive and we started seeing a lot of birds. Osprey, little blue herons, painted buntings, great egret, tri-color egret, glossy ibis, reddish egret, northern shovelers, wood stork...just to name a few! It was a very windy day, but the birds were everywhere. We had stopped at the Nature Center first for a walk around the boardwalk. We didn't see too much, but it was really cold and windy. The man working there was a great help showing us where we could go and giving us a map. The gift shop was small, but nice. We did not look for manatees, because he said it was too cold for them. You have a much better chance of seeing them in the summer or spring. Lovely place to spend 3-4 hours!
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JCSRQ
Toronto72 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
We had an amazing visit and wish we scheduled more time to spend here. First we stopped at the visitor centre to learn more about the refuge and get our park pass. The Blackpoint Wildlife Drive is an great 7 mile self-drive tour where you can see alligators, tons of different birds, and wild boars. Be sure to make a stop at the Manatee Observation Deck, where we saw four manatees and a dolphin. What a great way to top off our day.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jill Allison 76
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Family
My 3 teenagers and I really loved this place. A great break from the beaches and shops. The trail that goes out the back door of the visitors center was very pretty. We took Black Point Wildlife Drive and enjoyed readingout of the brochure at each stop. We got out of the car a few times for a short walk.
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 949
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

According to Tripadvisor travelers, these are the best ways to experience Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge:


Restaurants near Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: View all restaurants near Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on Tripadvisor

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Information

Excellent Reviews

748

Very Good Reviews

202

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Photos

1,337