With more than 23 miles of oceanfront, this massive national park stretches across two counties. It includes lands managed by NASA as a buffer zone for the Kennedy Space Center as well as popular Playalinda Beach, which shares a boundary with the edge of space.
The unique location of Canaveral National Seashore makes it the northernmost point for many tropical plants to thrive. It is also a major stopover point for migratory birds in fall and spring.
Location: New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill, and Titusville
Land Manager: National Park Service
Access to the Apollo Beach (New Smyrna Beach) and Playalinda Beach (Titusville) units of Canaveral National Seashore costs $10 per vehicle. If you have a National Parks/Interagency Pass, it covers all fees. There is no charge to visit Seminole Rest.
All three units are open sunrise to sunset.
Dogs are not permitted on any of the beaches, on beach crossover boardwalks, at Seminole Rest, or on the boardwalk at Turtle Mound. They are welcome on the lagoon-side trails and beaches.
Use this map to determine which of the units of Canaveral National Seashore you plan to visit. Clicking on an icon will take you to information for that specific location.
Directions to Apollo Beach
The northernmost unit is Apollo Beach. From Interstate 95 in New Smyrna Beach, follow SR 44 east, crossing US 1 and the Indian River Lagoon. Past S. Peninsula Avenue, continue 8 miles along A1A to the park entrance gate. The Visitor Center, trailheads, and beach parking are along this 6.4-mile dead-end piece of A1A inside the park.
Directions to Seminole Rest
From Interstate 95 south of New Smyrna Beach, take the Scottsmoor exit, located between Edgewater and Mims. Drive briefly east to meet US 1. Turn north and drive to Oak Hill. Signs will point you east to River Road. The parking area is on the right at a large National Park sign immediately after a sharp left turn in front of a campground.
Directions to Playalinda Beach
From Interstate 95 in Titusville, take SR 406 (Garden Street) east through town. After you cross US 1 and the Max Brewer Memorial Bridge over the Indian River Lagoon, keep right at the fork as you enter Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Signs guide you straight ahead towards Playalinda Beach.
Visiting Canaveral National Seashore
Since Canaveral National Seashore is so vast, much of it is wild. This includes nearly 12 miles of oceanfront known as Klondike Beach, the most remote shoreline in Florida on the Atlantic Coast.
Nearly 20 miles of wide-open shallow flats, spoil islands – piled up in the flats when the Intracoastal Waterway was dredged – and natural mangrove islands are a part of the North Indian River Lagoon, also known as Mosquito Lagoon.
It’s here that paddlers and boaters can get away from it all on island campsites under starry skies.
Three markedly different units define this National Seashore. From north to south, they are the Apollo Beach Unit in New Smyrna Beach, Seminole Rest in Oak Hill, and Playalinda Beach in Titusville. Each has its own set of recreation activities and landscapes with stories to tell.
While the beaches of the Apollo Beach Unit have attracted visitors for decades, it’s here you’ll find the most places to explore the seashore on a trail.
You can paddle a marked trail through Shipyard Island, a large island in the lagoon within sight of Turtle Mound, or follow the shoreline of this barrier island in a rental kayak from the Visitor Center.
Four foot trails offer short interpretive walks, the most fascinating of which leads to the Eldora State House. Visit this historic home and museum to learn all about the community that once thrived along these shores.
At Canaveral National Seashore, the Turtle Mound Trail leads you to a promontory from which you can see both the Atlantic Ocean and Mosquito Lagoon.
At Canaveral National Seashore, the Eldora Hammock Trail provides an interpretive loop through the beauty of a lush coastal hammock, highlighting the tropical understory below.
Lesser known than its sister units, Seminole Rest is a small site with a deep history. A shell mound several millennia old rises from the edge of the Indian River Lagoon, with a historic home from the late 1800s atop it.
You can paddle in and out of the beach at Seminole Rest to explore both the community of Oak Hill and the wild shorelines that stretch south towards Merritt Island.
If you want to see a rocket launch up close and personal, Playalinda Beach is the place to go. Beach Access 1 is literally separated from Kennedy Space Center by a fence.
Visitors crowd the beach to see launches at Pad 39A, which is the go-to launch site for all SpaceX rockets including the Falcon Heavy.
In addition to miles of renowned beaches, Playalinda offers anglers and paddlers a place to play at Eddy Creek. Birders will appreciate the extensive salt pond flats where roseate spoonbills are frequent visitors.
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