Well-hidden from the steady flow of traffic to and from Kennedy Space Center but only a mile east of SR 3, Kings Park surprises with its waterways and trails.
A 2.7-mile loop paddling trail through mangrove tangles and a 1.2-mile linear paved path make this a popular destination for locals on bike and by foot.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Merritt Island
Trailhead: 28.447802, -80.693695
Address: 995 Chase Hammock Rd, Merritt Island
Restroom: Vault toilets at trailheads
Land manager: Brevard County
Open daily sunrise to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome. Accessible pavement and boardwalk.
Picnic tables at trailheads, and sporadic park benches along the route. Use caution off-trail due to poison ivy and Brazilian pepper, also an irritant.
From Interstate 95 in Cocoa, follow SR 528 east to exit 49, SR 3 on Merritt Island. Drive north towards Kennedy Space Center 2 miles to the traffic light for Hall Rd. There is a sign for Kars Park pointing east. Turn right and continue 0.8 mile to a trailhead on the left that provides access to both trails.
The park’s main entrance provides far more parking but no access to the paddling trail. Continue north on SR 3 past Hall Rd instead of turning there. A mile later turn right on Chase Hammock Rd. Continue a mile to the park entrance. The paved Island Pioneer Trail trail is adjacent a gate by the lake.
About the Park
Spanning 240 acres between Chase Hammock Rd and Hall Rd on Merritt Island north of the Barge Canal, Kings Park offers a variety of outdoor recreation.
Anglers and bank fishermen can cast from non-motorized boats on the surface of a large freshwater lake at the north end.
Kayakers can ply brackish waters along canals and tangles of mangrove tunnels from the south entrance on the waymarked Pioneer Paddling Trail.
Connecting the two ends of this slice of old Merritt Island is the Island Pioneer Trail, a linear paved path.
A large open green space adjoining the parking area off Chase Hammock Rd is used for pick-up games of soccer, baseball, and disc tossing.
Picnic tables and benches can be found near both trailheads, with some overlooking the man-made waterways.
Worn footpaths off the paved trail lead to fishing holes and promontories off the waterways, some of which are hydrologically connected to Sykes Creek.
The park and trails are relatively lightly used. Its proximity to Kennedy Space Center and the launch pads of Cape Canaveral make it a candidate for watching rocket launches.
Trails at Kings Park
The Island Pioneer Trail at Kings Park
See our photos of Kings Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
A delightful immersion into the natural side of Merritt Island, the trails at Sams House at Pine Island range from mild to wild as they draw you deeper into coastal habitats along the Indian River Lagoon
One of the hidden natural treasures of Cocoa Beach, the Thousand Islands provide a fun paddle through a maze of mangroves on a marked trail through a conservation area.
It’s a summer thing, this shimmering glow of blue that rises from the shallows of Florida’s largest lagoon. Learn why it happens and how to see it yourself.