The Longest Stretch of Undeveloped Atlantic Coastline in Florida
Canaveral National Seashore is a beautiful and unique destination located on Florida's east coast. The park covers more than 57,000 acres and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the threatened West Indian manatee.
Located between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida, the park is located on a barrier island, and was created on January 3, 1975, by an act of Congress. Canaveral National Seashore protects 24 miles of beaches, dunes, mangrove wetlands, and a large portion of the Mosquito Lagoon. The Canaveral National Seashore is also the longest expanse of undeveloped land along the East Coast of Florida. It’s home to more than 1,000 plant species and 310 bird species.
The Mosquito Lagoon is a popular spot for fishing and boating, and it is home to a wide variety of fish, birds, and other wildlife. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals, including alligators, manatees, and bald eagles.
One of the main attractions at Canaveral National Seashore is the 24-mile-long stretch of pristine beach. The beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing, and it is also home to a variety of sea turtles, including the loggerhead turtle and the green turtle. In addition to the beach, there are several other areas to explore within the park, including the Mosquito Lagoon, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the Kennedy Space Center.
At Canaveral you can see what the beach looked like when the Spaniards first arrived in Florida almost 500 years ago. Today you can walk along some stretches of the beach and have a wilderness experience free from the intrusion of other people. There are 3 major beach sections in the seashore. The southern section is Playalinda Beach, the middle section is Klondike Beach, and the northern section is Apollo Beach.
The historic shell mound at Seminole Rest is the foundation of the main house and the caretakers house, is 13 feet high and comprises more than 90% quahog clam shells left as refuse by the Timucua. Evidence from the mound indicates that this mound was seasonally used as a clam processing station. The clams were mass harvested, smoked for preservation and packed for use at a later date. Artifacts such as projectile points, pottery shards, and shell beads for necklaces were found in the mound during an archeological dig that was conducted in the 1990's.
John F. Kennedy Space Center
Of course, the Kennedy Space Center is a must-see for anyone interested in space exploration. The John F. Kennedy Space Center is located at the southern end of the barrier island occupied by Canaveral National Seashore, so access to the seashore is often restricted during launch-related activities at the space center. The Playalinda Beach has 13 parking lots numbered from the south.
NASA's Launch Complex 39B and SpaceX's Launch Complex 39A are easily visible from the approach of the Parking Lot 1 as well as most of the beach. Playalinda is usually a popular location for the public to get a close viewing of launches from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Although space is limited and viewing areas are pushed back depending on the launch.
Fishing and hunting are extremely popular in the seashore. On the beaches, anglers target species such as pompano, whiting, bluefish, and sharks. On the Mosquito Lagoon side of the seashore, there are a few fishing piers accessible from the roads. Shoreline anglers target species such as speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and mangrove snapper. Over 2/3 of the entire seashore consists of the Mosquito Lagoon, and there are several kayak and motorboat launches that are located within the seashore. Hunters often launch from the seashore to enter the neighboring Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge during hunting season, as hunters are allowed to hunt waterfowl, deer, and wild pigs on specific days of the week in portions of the seashore and the refuge during hunting season. A few popular waterfowl targets are Canada goose, teal duck, and wood duck.
Canaveral National Seashore is a great destination for nature lovers and those looking to relax on a beautiful beach. Whether you're interested in birdwatching, fishing, or just soaking up the sun, there is something for everyone at this unique and beautiful national park.
Meet Rob Decker, Creator of National Park Posters
Photographer and graphic artist Rob Decker studied photography with Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park during the summer of 1979 when he was just 19. It was an experience solidified his love of photography and our National Parks. Now he is on a journey to photograph and create iconic WPA-style posters of all our major national parks as we celebrate the next 100 years of the National Park Service.
"I feel it’s important to protect America’s special places, and to connect people with nature. And it’s up to all of us to pitch in. Perhaps more importantly, we need to inspire the next generation of park stewards. I’m trying to make a difference by giving back to the amazing organizations that support our National Parks. I donate 10% of annual profits, so when you buy one of these original works, you're helping these trusts, conservancies and associations, too."
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