Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region


The National Wildlife Refuge System –552 Refuges Protecting 150 Million Acres Nationwide.

Welcome to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 as an overlay of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.  Consisting of 140,000 acres, the Refuge provides a wide variety of habitats:  coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries and marshes, freshwater impoundments, scrub, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks provide habitat for more than 1,500 species of plants and animals.

Many recreational opportunities are offered at the Refuge.  Bird and wildlife observation, a wildlife drive, manatee observation deck, fishing and hunting opportunities, and boating and paddling are examples of available activities. The Visitor Information Center located 4 miles east of Titusville, Florida, is a great place to start your visit.

The Staff at Merritt Island NWR also manages Lake Woodruff NWR and St.Johns NWR.



Visitor Center Hours

The Visitor Information Center is now open Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm. Closed Sunday. Black Point Wildlife Drive and all other public areas are open from sunrise to sunset daily. There are no expected closures for any NASA rocket launches.



Entrance Fees at Black Point Drive & Boat Ramps

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has an Entrance Fee for Black Point Wildlife Drive and for launching a boat at three improved boat ramps within the refuge (Bairs Cove, Beacon 42, and Bio Lab).  Visitors will have the option to purchase a $5/vehicle Daily Pass at any of these areas from a self-serve kiosk or from the Refuge Visitor Center.  Visitors can also purchase a $15 Annual Pass at the Refuge Visitor Center.  Other federal passes can be accepted.

Fee Summary



Upland Hunt

The Final Environmental Assessment for the Upland Hunt is available for public comment until September 11, 2014.  The next step is to send the new hunt regulations to the federal register and they will be made available for a final public comment before published. That process will be completed early next year. The proposed Upland Hunt which includes White-tailed Deer and Feral Hog will be open for the 2015-2016 pending all approvals. 

There is NO hog hunting on the refuge at this time!


Final Upland Hunt Environmental Assessment



Law Enforcement

To report a refuge law enforcement violation please call (321) 861-2807. Please provide as much information as possible, i.e. license plate number, color and/or make model of the vehicle, description of individuals, etc. Your voicemail will be checked by the Law Enforcement Officers on duty. In case of an emergency dial (321) 867-7911.













Free Fishing Fishing Permit Required

Beginning February 1, 2009 any person fishing on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge without a signed FREE refuge fishing permit will be cited. The fine for violating the permit requirement is $125.00. The permit is required for ALL fishermen - those fishing from land and those fishing from a vessel in refuge waters.

You can pick up a permit at two information kiosks located at either entrance to the refuge or you can download it here. Once you have your fishing permit, read it, sign the business card sized permit and keep it in your wallet.

2015 Fishing Permit & Regulations



KSC Center Master Plan

Scheduled Activities

Proposed Port of Canaveral Rail Extension

Proposed Shiloh Launch Complex





Shuttle Launch
Shuttle Launch - NASA Photo




green turtle

Photo - Thomas Dunkerton

Baby Green Sea Turtle




Roseate Spoonbills



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Two Mottled Ducks
Mottled Duck - Photo by Bill Powell

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