Winding along a narrow hardpacked limestone road for 7 miles, Black Point Wildlife Drive offers from-your-car birding at pulloffs between the marshes as well as two stops to get out and wander down a trail to observation decks.
Lat-Lon: 28.657507, -80.754484
Fees: $10 per vehicle, $1 per bicycle. If you have a National Parks/Interagency Pass, it covers all fees.
Open: Sunrise to sunset
Plan at least an hour for the drive, two hours if you expect to walk around a little at the trailheads, and 4-5 hours if you walk the entire Cruickshank Trail as well. Restrooms (vault toilets) are available at the Cruickshank Trail trailhead, but you must bring your own drinking water.
Follow CR 406 east from Titusville. Once you enter the refuge, keep left at the fork to continue on CR 406 to the entrance to Black Point Wildlife Drive on the left.
As the narrow road twists and turns between dropoffs into mangrove marshes and open lagoons, you’ll want to pay heed to the edges of the road while scanning the skies and the trees. Distraction can’t be helped when roseate spoonbills wing overhead in a blur of pink, but that’s why there are pulloffs here and there along the route. Be courteous to other drivers and use them, or at least pull to the side to let others pass when you stop for a picture. An interpretive brochure explains different points along the route and is keyed to the numbered plaques you see along the road.
You’ll have two opportunities to get out of the car and explore: the Wild Birds Unlimited Trail, which is well worth the stop for the two bird blind observation decks along its quarter-mile length, and the Cruickshank Trail, a five-mile loop with both an observation deck and an observation tower just a short walk in from the trailhead. Expect alligators to sun along the edges of the levees of both trails.
As the drive nears its end, habitats transition from wetlands to uplands with pine flatwoods and cedars dominating. Scan the pines for eagle nests. You’ll frequently see cormorants and herons in the canal that parallels the paved part of the drive before it ends at SR 406.