Florida is known for its incredible array of beaches. From the seashell lined shores surrounding Naples to the party filled atmosphere in Miami there is truly something for everyone.

But, one part of Florida that was made to attract those looking to enjoy the absolute natural beauty of Florida’s beaches and coastal sea life has to be Merritt Island and Canaveral National Seashore. Here, you won’t find sandwich shops, arcade boardwalks, and souvenir kiosks, nope these 23 miles of undeveloped land has been left just as it was intended to be enjoyed.

Both Merritt Island and Canaveral National Seashore are part of the overall US Parks system, so you can be sure you’ll enjoy much more than just the beaches. Let’s take a look at what else these spots offer.

Amazing Natural Wildlife on Merritt Island

Merritt Island FloridaMerritt Island is a National Wildlife Refuge, thus it is teeming with some of Florida’s most interesting and exciting natural wildlife. A visit to Merritt Island means you’ll be able to get up close and personal with waterfowl and birds, endangered species like manatees and tortoise, and yes maybe even an alligator or two.

There are a number of hiking trails that wind around the island, giving you plenty of vantage points to explore the natural habitat, and don’t forget to bring your camera!

If you’re a sportsman or sportswoman, well Merritt Island has something for you as well. There are a number of lagoons and freshwater lakes perfect for fishing, shrimping, and clamming. Plus, both waterfowl and big game huntingĀ have recently been introduced.

Beaches and Launches on Canaveral National Seashore

One of the most amazing features of Canaveral National Seashore is its location. Spread along over 20 miles of pristine undeveloped land, it showcases the beauty of nature. At the same time it’s only miles from NASA’sĀ Kennedy Space Center launch facility, making this area a prime rocket launch viewing spot.

The beaches are broken up into three main areas, Apollo Beach is the northernmost part, Klondike Beach in the middle, and Playalinda Beach makes up the lower portion.

Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

NPS Photo, Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

What is important to remember when you head out to any of these beaches is that cars are not allowed beyond the parking lots. So you will need to carry anything you bring with you (that includes food and water) back and forth from the beach and car.

Since the seashore is part of the National Park Service, visitors can take advantage of ranger led programs and monthly interpretive programs that run on Apollo and Playalinda Beaches.

Surfers tend to flock to the waves at Playalinda Beach, while historians might love the Turtle Mound area of Apollo Beach where groups of Native Americans made their home. Klondike Beach is a draw among families as it is usually less crowded.

One final note, nudity is allowed on these beaches, though the vast majority of those who like to sunbathe au natural tend to stick to the northern edges of Playalinda beach.

So, next time you’re looking to explore some of Florida’s best beaches, take in some natural wildlife, and maybe even watch a rocket launch, well you’ve got the perfect place to visit.