Titusville Outdoors

PADDLING LOCATIONS

In the Titusville Florida Area
Page One
Titusville Outdoors

Titusville sits on the shoreline of the beautiful Indian River Lagoon and just across this lagoon from the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Adjoining the refuge just to the east is Cape Canaveral National Seashore and the southern end of Mosquito Lagoon. This entire area boast some of the highest biodoversity of any area within North America. Paddlers cruising here find themselves gliding silently along mangrove lined shorelines, over extensive seagrass beds, and in the company of countless birds, marine mammals such as Atlantic Bottle Nosed Dolphins and West Indian Manatees, Alligators, and countless other estuarine and marine species.

This page details primarily brackish water paddles on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Canaveral National Seahore, and the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons. Page two will address freshwater destinations associated with the St John's River Basin.

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Photo by Dean Richard Pettit.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
There is a variety of paddling opportunities to be found on the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. From the Max Brewer Causeway connecting Titusville to the refuge you can access miles of saltmarsh habitat and seagrass flats. You will be sharing the water with atlantic bottlnosed dolphins, manatees, alligators, pelicans, osprey, and numerous wading and other birds. Fishing for seatrout and redfish can be extremely productive in these waters from canoe or kayak. You can start your exploration of the refuge and the Lagoon by putting in on the western end of the Max Brewer Causeway and paddling the shorelines either North or South. Other areas to put in can be found out on the refuge itself.

Photo by Lauralee Thompson.

Dummitt's Cove can be found between the S.R.3 intersection and Haulover on the west side of the road and is plainly marked by a sign. Following the shoreline of this cove makes a great paddling loop trail. You will find many species of birds here and possibly an alligator or two. Seagrass beds here are very lush.

Wanna see an Aerial shot?

Photo by Bob Paty.

Haulover canal can be found on State Road 3. Drive from Titusville on the Max Brewer Causeway east across the Indian River Lagoon, past the refuge visitor's center until you come to the only stoplight. this is the intersection with State Road 3. Turn left at the light and head north until you come to the bridge at Haulover Canal. there are landings on either side of the bridge. Putting in at Haulover and paddling to the east puts you in the Mosquito Lagoon portion of the Indian River Lagoon System, while paddling to the west puts you in the Indian River Lagoon itself and near a designated rookery island, one of our most popular sites for bird watching.

Photo by Lauralee Thompson.

To get to Rookery Island, cross the bridge at Haulover Canal. Turn to the left immediately after crossing the bridge and follow the dirt road as it first turns back towards the canal and then turns to the right along the canal's edge till it meets the lagoon. When you get to the lagoon, the island can be seen almost straight offshore. Remember to respect the approach limit signs posted around the island. These are placed to prevent the birds from becoming stressed and abandoning their young.

Wanna see an Aerial shot of Haulover and Rookery Island?

You can read my Out There! eMagazine Rookery Island experience Here.

Photo by Dean Richard Pettit.

Other places to put in can be found on the refuge, however care must be taken not to inadverdantly enter the NASA security zone, located primarily north of SR 406 (refuge access road) Traveling along SR 3 towards Haulover Canal from the intersection of SR 406 will reveal several dirt roads that lead towards the two lagoons. Many are marked as public access roads and can lead to some great "secret" paddling opportunities.

Heres a map of the refuge!
This map is PDF format. You can download and print it if you have Acrobat Reader.
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More Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge info!

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Cape Canaveral National Seashore
offers 24 miles of undeveloped beaches and 57,000 acres of beach, wetlands and other coastal habitats. It is accessable from the south through Titusville and the north from New Smyrna Beach. This is one of the last opportunities to paddle along an undeveloped beach of any significance in the state. There are also two places to paddle in the Mosquito Lagoon from the Seashore Property. Eddy Creek and Shipyard Island. The 100 Timucuan Mounds that are within the seashore property are evidence of past generations of people that lived here and fourteen endangered species make their home within Canaveral's boundaries. These are undeveloped beaches with limited services. There are no designated picnic areas, food services, or beach showers. Life guards are on duty May 30th through September 1st. Backcountry beach camping can also be had accessed from the north end at Apollo Beach. Photo by Rose Sroda.
Eddy Creek

The Eddy Creek area was formed several thousand years ago when an inlet connected the Mosquito Lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean. Tidal currents through this inlet brought vast amounts of sand and sediment through the inlet into the lagoon forming a tidal delta that later became mangrove wetlands. The inlet later closed, leaving these wetlands. Here you will find yourself paddling along mangrove shorelines on shallow seagrass flats. Wading birds, pelicans, ospreys, and many other bird and wildlife species can be sighted from the seat of a canoe or kayak. To get to Eddy Creek, Drive from Titusville on the Max Brewer Causeway east across the Indian River Lagoon, past the refuge visitor's center until you come to the stoplight. Go straight through the stoplight, pay the $5 fee at the seashore entrance, and follow the road as it winds through the wetlands until it turns to the north. There is also a turn to the South, however it is off limits to the public due to it's proxomity of to the Space Shuttle Launch pads. Heading north, you are now at Playalinda Beach and will now begin to see the numbered beach access points to your right. Eddy Creek is the only turnoff to the left and is number 8. Here you find a parking area, boat ramp and a dock.

Unfortunately, as of this writing Eddy Creek was closed due to post September 11th security measures. Hopefully this will change soon. Below is a link detailing closure.

Wanna see an Aerial shot?

Click here for security closure info.

Photo by Dean Pettit

Shipyard Island Canoe Trail

At the north end of the seashore is the Shipyard Island designated canoe trail with designated primative campsites on some of the islands in the area. A permit and reservations are required for island camping (call 386-428-3384, extension 10). To paddle the Shipyard Island Canoe Trail, take either US-1 or I-95 to SR-44 (exit 84 from I-95) in New Smyrna Beach and go east until you come to SR-A1A and go south until you reach Cape Canaveral Seashore. You can put in at the boat dock, which is at the first parking lot on your right after entering the park, (designated parking only for vehicles with boat trailers), and then park your vehicle across the street in parking lot #1.

Wanna see a map?

Photo by Rose Sroda.

Playalinda Beach / Apollo Beach

Both Playalinda and Apollo Beaches offer the opportunity to paddle along a rarity in Eastern Florida these days, an undeveloped beach. After putting in and making it through the surf, paddling to the North from Playalinda or South from Apollo will enable you to see Florida's beaches as they were hundreds of years ago. No condos, cheesy hot dog stands, or even private homes. Nothing but wilderness beach habitat for the next 24 miles, with absolute solitude. You may find yourself paddling among Atlantic Bottle Nosed Dolphins, through schools of fish, and among the seabirds. Manta Rays are occasionally seen leaping from the water and very early in the year a Northern Right Whale sighting becomes a possibility.

Heading south from Apollo Beach offers another cool opportunity, beach camping. Limited backcountry camping is allowed from here down to grid marker 45 from November 1 through April 30 (permit required, call (321) 267-1110 in Titusville or 386-428-3384, extension 10 in New Snyrna for more info). Due to NASA security concerns, there is no beach camping from the Playalinda Beach end of the seashore. (Warning! Do not head south of Playalinda Beach in your kayak! Those towers are Space Shuttle Launch Pads, and NASA takes security very seriously, and have a highly trained security force to back it up.)

To get to Playalinda Beach, Drive from Titusville on the Max Brewer Causeway east across the Indian River Lagoon, past the refuge visitor's center until you come to the stoplight. Go straight through the stoplight, pay the $5 fee at the seashore entrance, and follow the road as it continues through the wetlands until it turns to the north. There is also a turn to the South, however it is off limits to the public due to it's proxomity of to the Space Shuttle Launch pads. Heading north, you are now at Playalinda Beach and will now begin to see the numbered beach access points to your right.

To get to Apollo Beach, take either US-1 or I-95 north to SR-44 (exit 84 from I-95) in New Smyrna Beach and head east across the Halafax River until you come to SR A1A. Turn south until you come to the designated parking areas for Apollo Beach.

More Canaveral National Seashore info, including Shuttle Launch Closures.

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Photo by Dean Richard Pettit

Turnbull Creek (north)
Turnbull Creek can be found just North of the Brevard County line in Volusia County on US-1 between Scottsmoore and the Town of Oak Hill. Heading south on US-1 you will pass the merge between SR-3 and US-1, then cross a bridge over a railroad track. Just south of the bridge the highway crosses Turnbull Creek on a level bridge. It is fairly easy to miss until you're right on top of it, so slow down real soon after the railroad bridge. Here is where you put in. From the South, you will see the railroad bridge before you see the bridge over the creek soon after entering Volusia County. If you cross the raised bridge over the railroad tracks you have gone about half a mile to a mile too far. After putting in at the US 1 Bridge, you have two choices, into the swamp (North) or towards the Lagoon (South). Paddling to the north takes you from the beginnings of the salt marsh habitat near the bridge, and rapidly the vegetation changes to a more freshwater environment. There will be a point where the treeline seen across the marshgrasses merge across the creek, but there is an small opening to fit through. Then the scenery changes dramatically. You find yourself in a narrow creek and shaded by trees growing from the wetlands until the creek opens into a most beautiful pond, (pictured above). This can be a challenging paddle, against the current and sometimes blocked by logjams but can be well worth it. After the pond, the creek seems to flow into this pond from the left. Not quite sure where it goes from there, I guess I'm just gonna have to go back.

Wanna see an Aerial shot?

Photo by Dean Richard Pettit

Turnbull Creek (south)
From US 1 south, the current slows the creek widens, and the habitat is definitely becoming salt marsh. This is a birdwatchers paradise! White Pelicans, Egrets, Herons, and other waterbirds are in abundance. This is one of the last truly pristine salt marshes left in the entire Indian River Lagoon system unaltered by man. This is a very relaxing paddle and a chance to experience one of the lagoon system's most unique habitats.

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Photo by Kevin Shufelt.

Hi, feel free to email any questions you may have concerning hiking trails, or any other outdoor subject in the Titusville area,
Thank you,

EMAIL; Dean Richard Pettit

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TITUSVILLE OUTDOORS (HomePage):
|| WILDLIFE WATCHING | FISHING | PADDLING | HIKING | "OUT THERE" eMagazine ||

QUICK LINKS TO LOCAL "OUTDOOR" WEBSITES:
|| Ecotourism on Florida's Space Coast || Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival - January || Canaveral National Seashore || Canaveral Tour of the Vistas || Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge || Black Point Wildlife Drive || Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary || Blue Herron Wetlands Park ||
Other helpful local sites:
|| Places to Go - Things to Do || Calendar of Events || Places to Eat || Places to Stay || Educational Resources || Photography ||

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