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Our Beaches > Merritt Island

Merritt Island

A barrier island surrounded by the Indian and Banana Rivers, Merritt Island separates our central and north beaches from the mainland. Definitely worth a quick side trip when visiting Brevard County, most travelers to the Space Coast make a point to visit the renowned area.

The John F. Kennedy Space Center is actually located in the middle of a pristine natural area on Merritt Island—and is not located in Cape Canaveral as so many around the world believe. The federal government, when creating the Kennedy Space Center, purchased hundreds of acres of land, of which only seven percent has or will be developed. The rest was set aside decades ago as the huge 220 square mile Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge, which includes points of interest along Black Point Wildlife Drive (best accessed from Titusville), is a seven mile self-guided tour of impounded marshes, a visitor center, four hiking trails and the historic Haulover Canal, and is a veritable cornucopia of unique eco-systems and animals. Kayaking tours of some of the wading bird islands and otherwise hard to reach spots are offered by many tour providers including the Brevard Zoo.

On the city side of the island is Merritt Square Mall which has a large movie theater and many themed-restaurants and shops. Merritt Island offers a nice break from the beach with Jet-ski rental shops and a developing historic shopping district called Merritt Park Place. When exploring the area, be sure to check out the Crab Shack on State Road 520 for one-of-a-kind crab butter and unique riverside dining as well.

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