Last weekend the family and I packed up for a true wilderness adventure! We had a nice day and a great ride down to the Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge! The last time the little guy and I headed out to the Brevard area, I was scoping out a scoping out some local hiking trails and stumbled upon this natural wonder right in our own backyard. Growing up in Florida, I always knew that the Kennedy Space Center was right in the middle of Canaveral National Seashore, but I wasn’t aware that a huge portion of the natural land around the space center is actually considered Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has lots to offer a frugal Florida family! While we were in the area, there were two main attractions within the refuge that I really wanted to check out. I had read on the US Fish and WIldlife Service website that there was a wildlife drive that was available for visitors to actually drive through. It sounded a bit like a drive through safari so it was the main destination of the day. Known as the Black Point Wildlife Drive, this twisting, winding, one way dirt road was a perfect start to our adventure. This is a well maintained dirt path, with multiple places to pull over and observe the local wildlife. The best times to go are early morning around sunrise or a few hours before sunset. We saw tons of birds, but little else on the wildlife drive. Granted we were there in the middle of the day, but it was still cool to check out. The admission is $5 per car and it’s handled on the honor system with a pay-station at the entrance. You can also pay your entry fee at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Welcome Center as well.