Launch Spots

We launch mostly around Titusville, west of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center, south-southwest of the Canaveral National Seashore. This is the best place to connect with wildlife and nature. Here at the Merritt Island Wildlife preserve and Canaveral National Seashore you will find one of the most relaxing paddle experiences of your life. Canaveral National Seashore, located on a barrier island, is home to more than 1,000 plant species and 310 bird species. Occupying 58,000 acres (230 km²) you will find bountiful lagoons and bays to wet your paddle amongst dolphins, manatees, native and migrating birds.
 Just for the folks who are from out of town, here is where we are located if you are looking for general directions from Orlando. The easiest way to find Titusville coming from Orlando is to follow the signs to the Kennedy Visitor Complex.
Take the Beach Line (528) until you get to Challenger Memorial Parkway (SR-407). Once you cross I95 head North and take the Garden Street (SR-406) exit. Stay straight on Garden Street until you get to the Max Brewer bridge crossing the Indian River Lagoon. From here follow the more detailed directions based on the individual launch spot.

Titusville Marina ParkTitusville Municipal Marina

For directions to the Titusville area, follow the general instructions above. Starting at the intersection of US1 (Washington Street) and Garden Street.  Coming from Garden street turn left onto Washington Street and you will see Sand Point Park on your right. The very next road will be  Marina Road, just look for the boat storage and Marina signs. Follow Marina Road passing the marina until you get to the Marina Park entrance. There is a doggy park, playground, plenty of parking and public restrooms. We launch down by the boat launch.
You can use GPS coordinants 28.622765,-80.810416 or enter 451 Marina Road, Titusville, 32796 but then keep going passed the Marina for another 200 feet to get to the park entrance.
Haulover Canal
Take the Beach Line (528) until you get to Challenger Memorial Parkway (SR-407). Once you cross I95 head North and take the Garden Street (SR-406) exit. Stay straight on Garden Street until you get to the Max Brewer bridge crossing the Indian River Lagoon. Cross the bridge and follow the Parkway until you get to where the road forks. Head left following signs to Blackpoint Wildlife Drive and the Manatee lookout. You’ll pass Blackpoint Drive (save it for later to experience on your way back) and keep going up to Courtenay Parkway (SR-3). Turn left and go for about 1.8 miles heading towards the Manatee Lookout at Haulover Canal. You will pass Scrub Ridge Trail and the Bio Lab Ramp. After that look on the left side of the road (west side) until you see a sign for Bair’s Cove boat ramp. Follow the dirt road back all the way back to the parking area. Look for the Kajak launch ramp.
Eddy Creek
From US 1 in Titusville, take SR 406 east. Approximately 2 miles out, the road divides. Stay to the right and continue east on SR 402. When you reach the Seashore, turn left and travel north to the Eddy Creek boat launch area. There is a $5.00 fee to access the Seashore.

Manatee Cove Park   (4905 N Tropical Trail Merritt Island, FL 32953)

From Orlando airport:
Go east approximately 38 miles on SR-528 to exit #49, SR-3 Exit, then left onto Courtenay Parkway (SR-3) and go 3 miles. Turn left on Porcher Road, go 0.4 miles, then left on North Tropical Trail and go 0.2 miles to the Manatee Cove park entrance. Follow access road to the end and park there. Restrooms available.

Manatee Cove ParkFrom downtown Orlando:
From downtown Orlando go approximately 7 miles on SR-408 (East-West Expressway) to the SR-417 exit. Take SR-417 south towards the Orlando Airport. Go approximately 7 miles then exit onto SR-528 east towards the beaches. Go east approximately 32 miles on SR-528 to exit #49, SR-3 Exit, then left onto Courtenay Parkway (SR-3) and go 3 miles. Turn left on Porcher Road, go 0.4 miles, then left on North Tropical Trail and go 0.2 miles to the Manatee Cove park entrance. follow access road to the end and park there. Restrooms available.

 Shipyard Island
To reach the north entrance of Canaveral National Seashore, take SR 44 east to A1A from I-95 or US 1 in New Smyrna Beach. Go south approximately seven miles on A1A. Entrance fee is $5.00 per vehicle.  The boat launch is on the right just past the entrance kiosk.

 

What you will find in these areas:

Dummett Cove

Lots of history in this area. Dummett grove could be the birthplace of the “Indian River Orange”. Douglas Dummett, born 1806, established his plantation in this part of Merritt Island and began to grow oranges. Dummett used a new grafting technique which was later widely adopted in Florida. He grafted buds from sweet orange trees onto his sour orange trees. The Dummett groves were damaged beyond recovery in the 1893 hurricane and the freeze of 1894-95. The property became part of Kennedy Space Center in 1963.

Dummett cove is a nice paddle spot. There are many species of birds and lush seagrass beds. Redfish and seatrout swim here. There are lots of little coves to venture into with mangroves growing on the sides.

Manatee Cove Park
This 29-acre community river park is located in north Merritt Island, an easy drive from both Cocoa Beach and Orlando. An access road extends from an equestrian facility at the park entrance to a small lagoon that offers refuge for manatees and a launch site for our paddleboards. There is a natural trail around the lagoon which provides easy viewing of manatees from the shore.  Being in the lagoon and on the paddleboard will get you close up to the manatees in their natural habitat. There are several species of birds, you might see comorants, pelicans, ospreys and anhingas as well as a Bottlenose dolphin or two.

Shipyard Island Canoe Trail (North Merritt Island Refuge) We can paddle it during high tide only.

This meandering water trail in the Mosquito Lagoon is a true Florida treasure.  It has been dubbed “one of the top 10 places to paddle in the U.S.” by Outside Magazine. There is parking, restrooms and a sandy beach.  Shipyard Island has numerous waterways that honeycomb this large island, leftovers from mosquito control efforts in the 1940s and ’50s. Higher than surrounding mangrove islands, Shipyard Island is shaded with oak trees, red cedars and cabbage palms. Prickly pear cacti are covered with beautiful yellow flowers in late spring, followed by attractive purple pear-like fruits in summer. It is quite easy to see distinctive salt marsh vegetation along this trail. Sea oxeye daisy, mangrove, saltwort, glasswort and spartina grass are prevalent.

Along the trail, you’ll paddle around and over oyster beds, and you can stop on islands with white, sandy beaches. These areas are protected because of shallow water. Motorboats are unable to negotiate them, leaving them virtually untouched. Numerous wading birds, including roseate spoonbills and wood storks, shorebirds, ospreys, cormorants, brown pelicans and, in winter, white pelicans should be seen. Bald eagles are a good possibility. Look for a stunningly handsome, black-and-white shorebird with a big reddish-orange bill; oyster bars in Mosquito Lagoon are likely places to see American oystercatchers. Look down in the water and you may see horseshoe crabs, redfish, mullet and stingrays. The deeper waters between the boat launch and Shipyard Island are a good place to see manatees and Bottlenose dolphins.

Eddy Creek

Eddy Creek is the site of an ancient inlet. The barrier island is very narrow here and the estuarine waters are usually crystal clear, allowing great views of the colorful sea grass beds and marine life they support. The dunes are undisturbed and the sound of crashing waves  during high tide is a pleasurable complement to the peaceful tranquility of the lagoon’s mangrove shorelines. There are numerous coastal birds, pelicans, ospreys and herons and wading birds like white ibis. You may also see manatees, redfish and mullet, horseshoe crabs as well as dolphins and the occasional alligator.