Space Coast Kayaking & Canoeing

Space Coast Hiking

Trail descriptions and photos by Sandra Friend.
Sandra's Florida Hikes
Sandra's web site: Books, Images, Travels & Florida Hikes!

Our sister web sites:
Space Coast Paddling
Space Coast Birding
Space Coast Biking

Spruce Creek Park
Smyrna Dunes Park
Canaveral National Seashore
Lake Ashby Park
Lyonia Preserve
Kratzert Tract, Lake Monroe Conservation Area
Lake Jesup Wilderness Area
Spring Hammock Preserve [FT]
Little-Big Econ State Forest [FT]
Geneva Wilderness Area
Lake Proctor Wilderness Area
Orlando Wetlands Park [FT]
Seminole Ranch Conservation Area [FT]
Econ River Wilderness Area
Hal Scott Regional Preserve [FT]
Tosohatchee Reserve State Park [FT]
Canaveral Marshes Trail [FT]
Wuesthoff Park
Enchanted Forest Sanctuary
Merritt Island NWR
Pine Island Conservation Area
Rotary Park, Merritt Island
Wickham Park
Erna Nixon Park
Bull Creek WMA [FT]
Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Cocoanut Point Sanctuary
Maratime Hammock Sanctuary
Moccasin Island Tract
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Pelican Island NWR
Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area
Explore Florida's Scrub:
  Hike South Brevard
Malabar Scrub Sanctuary
Micco Scrub Preserve
St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

Florida Trail Association
Indian River Chapter

• Schedule & Directions •


Titusville Outdoors — Hiking
Out in the Boonies
Space Coast Geocachers
Hunting Seasons Calendar
An encounter with a harmful creature or plant is no more likely in Florida than in any part of the country. Highly unlikely. Any good outdoorsperson knows a little about the possibilities. Here are some excellent resources:

Yellow FliesRed Bugs
Mosquitos 1Mosquitos 2

Species Geographic Distribution
Tick Removal

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Dixie Crossroads seafood restaurant in Titusville Florida
Your guide to more than 50 rewarding destinations in the Titusville area.

Outdoor Activity Providers on Florida's Space Coast

Welcome to a fun, safe, and educational kayaking adventure. We have a combined 42 years of paddling experience of the Indian River Lagoon and Thousand Islands. Thrilling Florida airboat ride adventure.
RESERVATIONS ONLY:  407-568-4307. 90 min. exciteing , Native Wildlife viewing on the Scenic St. Johns River, with FLORIDA  Cracker GUIDE, Capt. John.  Real Airboats - NO BARGES. USCG LICENSED, INSURED. AirBoat rides at MidWay


Birding Adventures - Paddy Cunningham
  (954) 926-5458 – South Florida
Birding with David Simpson
  321-720-5516 – Statewide
CFBW Birding & Photography Guide
  321-383-3088 – FL Statewide
Joanne Williams Photography
  954-941-7901 – Central, South FL
Natural Visions - Kevin Doxstater
  386-212-4319 – Florida
Larry Manfredi Birding Tours
  407-644-0190 – Statewide
Milton Heiberg Studios
  407-658-4869 – Statewide
Wildscape Images - Robert Amoruso
  407-808-7417 – Statewide
Wildstock Photos - Reinier Munguia -
  863-644-5022 – Statewide
Merritt Island Wildlife Association
321-861-2377 – Titusville
Merritt Island N.W. Refuge
321-861-0667 – Titusville
Florida Trail Association
  321-723-6339 – Indian River Chapter
Space Coast Audubon Society
  321-449-9678 – Central FL
Turtle Coast Sierra Club
  321-984-0604 – Space Coast

Airboat Rides

A Awesome Airboat Rides
  407-568-7601 – Christmas
Airboat Rides at Loughman
  321-268-2277 – Mims
Airboat Rides at Midway
  407-568-6790 – Christmas
Camp Holly Airboat Tours
  321-723-2179 – Melbourne
Grasshopper Airboat Eco-Tours
  321-631-2990 – Cocoa
Lone Cabbage Fish Camp
  321-632-4199 – Cocoa
Old Fashioned Airboat Rides
  407-568-4307 – Christmas

Kayak and Canoe Tours and Rentals
T=tours offered
R=rentals available

A-Day-Away Outfitters
  321-268-2655 - Titusville • T,R
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach, Inc.
  321-453-6952 – Cocoa Beach • T
Blazing Paddles
  321-890-9992 – Cocoa • T
Brevard Zoo / Kayak Tours
  321-254-9453 – Melbourne • T
Cocoa Beach Kayaking
  321-784-4545 – Cocoa Beach • T
Fin Expeditions
  321-783-6092 – Cocoa Beach • T
Hidden River Park
  407-568-5346 - Orlando • R
Honest John's Fish Camp
  321-727-2923 – Melbourne Beach • R
Inlet Marina
  321-724-5424 – Melbourne Beach • T,R
Kayaks, Etc.
  772-794-9900 – Vero Beach • T
Space Coast Kayaking
  321-784-2452 – Cocoa Beach • T
Village Outfitters
  321-633-7245 – Cocoa • T,R
Space Coast Paddler's Club
  321-633-0701 - Melbourne • T
Mosquito Lagoon Kayakers
  Volusia County • T

Boat Tours

A Florida Experience
  321-960-7644 – Cocoa Beach
Fish Tales Nature Cruises
  866-657-7929 – Cocoa Beach
Indian River Cruises
  321-223-6825 – Cocoa
Island Boat Lines
  321-454-7414 – Merritt Island
Indian River Queen
  321- 454-7414 – Merritt Island
Space Coast River Tours
  321-652-1052 – Cape Canaveral & M.I.
Wildside Tours
  321-799-5495 – Cocoa Beach

Horseback Riding

Ace of Hearts Ranch
  321-638-0104 -- Port St. John
Florida Eco-safaris
  1-866-854-3837 - Kenansville
Flying D Ranch
  321-268-5955 -- Titusville
Miz Denyse's Farm
  321-794-5751 -- Cocoa
The Hanging H Ranch
  321-632-2208 -- Cocoa

Bicycle Rentals

Bob's Beach Bicycle Works
  321-725-2500 -- Indialantic
Bob's Bicycle Shop
  321-773-2093 -- Indian Harbor Beach
Brevard Bicycle Shop
  321-725-0755 -- Melbourne
Matt's Bicycle Center
  321-783-1196 -- Cocoa Beach
Pampered Bicycle Tours
  321-759-3433 -- Rockledge
Ron Jon Surf Shop
  321-799-8820 -- Cocoa Beach

Sailing and Windsurfing

Calema Windsurfing
  321-453-3223 – Merritt Island
Extreme Sports
  321-779-4228 – Indian Harbor Beach
Kite World
  321-725- 8336 – Indiatlantic
Performance Sail & Sport
  321-253-3737 – Melbourne
Sailaway Charters
  321-427-0658 – Cape Canaveral

Extraordinary Experiences

Archaic Adventures
  321-298-9811 – Canaveral National Seashore
Cocoa Beach Parasail
  321-212-8277 – Cocoa Beach
Katabi Helicopter Tours
  321-231-0802 – Titusville
Skydive Space Center
  321-823-0016 – Titusville
Zero G
  1-800-ZERO-G-800 – K.S.C.

Space Coast Outdoor Activity Providers, Click for information on promoting your business here.
Visit the official website of
Space Coast Office of Tourism
Florida's Space Coast
Office of Tourism

With a variety of habitats to explore, from coastal scrub and floodplain forest to open prairies and tropical hammocks, hikers can enjoy an amazing diversity of ecosystems along the hiking trails of the Space Coast. Florida's prime hiking season is from October through March, when temperatures are cooler, the weather is drier, and insects are less persistent. During the summer, hikes on the barrier islands are a good destination, since coastal breezes tend to temper the heat and insects.

Hikers should carry a map of the area and adequate water for the length of the hike, and should utilize sun protection and insect repellant as conditions dictate. Hikes in wilderness areas may involve getting your shoes wet or wading short distances across sloughs. For safety's sake, it's best to hike with a companion. Always let someone know where you're planning to hike and when you plan to return. Some lands are open to hunting (as noted), so check before planning your hike. If you hike during hunting season, wear an orange vest.

One of only eight National Scenic Trails in the United States, the Florida Trail, provides hiking opportunities through all of Florida's habitats. Stretching 1,300 miles across the state, the Florida Trail has numerous segments and loop trails (designated [FT] on the following listings) that pass through portions of the Space Coast. For information, contact the Florida Trail Association (877-HIKE-FLA;, 5415 SW 13th St, Gainesville FL 32608. Additional resources that cover hiking in this region include the books 50 Hikes in Central Florida and The Florida Trail: The Official Hiking Guide.

Spruce Creek Park

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To Spruce Creek trail photos A 1.5-mile combination of boardwalk and pathways through cedars and pines borders the Rose Creek estuary. The trail leads to an observation tower, where you'll find a rugged loop into the woods and a spur trail that takes you out on forest roads to Rose Bay.

Directions: The park is located between Port Orange and New Smyrna on US 1, north of Spruce Creek on the west side of the highway. The trail starts at the playground. (386-322-5133) - Free. Spruce Creek Park

Smyrna Dunes Park

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To Smyrna Dunes trail photos Enjoy a walk on this 1.4-mile boardwalk around the scenic tip of this windswept cape along the Mosquito Lagoon at Ponce Inlet, traversing maritime hammock, massive coastal dunes, and mangrove marshes. On a leisurely stroll, you can spot a variety of birds without ever leaving the boardwalk. Watch for gopher tortoises as you pass over pristine coastal scrub habitat.

Directions: Follow Peninsula Blvd north from SR 44 in New Smyrna Beach. The park is at the end of the road on the right. (386-424-2935) . Fee. Smyrna Dunes Park

Canaveral National Seashore

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To Canaveral National Seashore trail photos Showcasing the maritime forest and coastal habitats of a coastal barrier island, the nature trails of Canaveral National Seashore (Turtle Mound, Eldora Hammock, and Castle Windy) provide 1.5 miles of pleasant hiking. The middle section of the Seashore has no vehicular access. A 12-mile dike trail connects the north and south ends of the park, allowing for a wilder experience while viewing the lagoon and its wildlife. A hike down the beach reveals the coast of Florida as it looked when early Spanish explorers arrived -- a wilderness of endless sand and dunes.

Directions: Follow SR 44 east from New Smyrna to A1A South. Continue 7 miles south to the park entrance (386-428-3384; Ask for a trail map at the entrance station. - Fee. Canaveral National Seashore

Lake Ashby Park

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To Lake Ashby trail photos A network of 1.5 miles of nature trails meanders through hardwood hammocks and floodplain forests along the shores of Lake Ashby, leading to a boardwalk that passes through impressive cypress trees and along the open waters of the lake.

Directions: Follow SR 44 west 4.5 miles from 1-95 (or east 10 miles from 1-4) to its junction with CR 415 in Satsuma. Turn south and drive 4.2 miles on CR 415 to Lake Ashby Rd; turn left. After 0.7 mile, turn left on Boy Scout Camp Rd. Continue to the park entrance on the right. (386-428-4589). - Free. Lake Ashby Park

Lyonia Preserve

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To Lyonia Preserve trail photos Nowhere else in Florida will you get as up close and personal with Florida scrub-jays as along the 2.5 miles of loop trails through the scrublands of Lyonia Preserve. The hilly terrain (rising up to fifty feet above sea level) provides challenging hiking with great views across the wetlands and forests of the preserve.

Directions: From 1-4 Exit 114 drive 2.5 miles south on SR 472 to Providence Blvd; turn right. Continue 0.7 miles to Eustace Aye, and turn right. The entrance and parking for the preserve is shared with the Deltona Public Library. (407-736-5927; - Free.

Kratzert Tract, Lake Monroe Conservation Area

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To Kratzert trail photos This property features 4.5 miles of hiking trails, with a primitive campsite set in a palm hammock near Lake Monroe. The Kratzert Tract trail is only about 2 miles, the nearby Brickyard Slough area has several miles of trails. The trails wander through dense hammocks of tall cabbage palms decked in ferns, with meandering tannic sand-bottomed streams flowing towards the lake.

Directions: From SR 46 east of Sanford, follow SR 415 north for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Reed Ellis Rd. Continue 0.6 miles to the trailhead parking on the left. Hunting permitted. (904-529-2380) - Free. Lake Monroe Conservation Area

Lake Jesup Wilderness Area

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To Lake Jesup trail photos A 2.7-mile trail system provides access to this lakeside wilderness, where you can slosh through wetlands and along a canal en route to a high and dry palm-lined berm that was once used for flood control.

Directions: From 1-4 exit 9810110w Lake Mary Blvd east past SR 417 to Sanford Ave. Turn right on S. Sanford Ave and drive to the end of the road, which enters the park. (407-665-7352) . Free. Lake Jesup Conservation Area

Spring Hammock Preserve [FT]

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To Spring Hammock trail photos This enchanting preserve along Lake Jesup, is home to some of Florida's oldest cypress trees. More than 5.2 miles of trail, including part of the Florida Trail, meanders through palm hammocks, pine flatwoods, and floodplain forests. Kids will love the Mud Walk. There is an on-site education center and natural history museum with environmental programs. Nearby, on the Big Tree Park site, stands a majestic 3,500-year-old cypress tree that is one of the world's largest known living cypress trees.

Directions: From US 17-92 just north of the city of Longwood, drive east 0.6 miles on SR 419 to the Soldier's Creek Park entrance on the left. Enter the gates and park on the right. Start at the "Pine Woods Trail" sign to access the frail system. Big Tree Park is located west 0119-92 on General Hutchinson Parkway, just north of Longwood. (407- 665-7352) For informational regarding programs at the education center, call (407-320-0467) - Free. Spring Hammock Preserve

Little-Big Econ State Forest [FT]

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To Spring Hammock trail photos Rated one of America's top family friendly trails, the Florida Trail along the Little-Big Econ Trail takes you on a 4.6 miles (each way) scenic riverside hike through pristine wetlands and ancient forests of giant oaks and cypress. Wildlife is abundant along the Econlockhatchee River, a stunningly beautiful Florida Outstanding Waterway.

Directions: From downtown Oviedo, follow SR 426 east past Lockwood Rd to Barr St. Turn right and park in the grassy parking area on the left for the designated trailhead. (407-971-3500) - Fee. Little-Big Econ State Forest

Geneva Wilderness Area

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A 1.8-mile trail circles lily-dotted ponds amid an array of native Florida plant communities, from mixed hardwood swamp and mesic hammocks to xeric oak scrub, all supporting an equally diverse collection of wildlife. A 1.4-mile connector (the Flagler Trail) leads to the Florida Trail in Little-Big Econ State Forest.

Directions: From downtown Oviedo, drive east on SR 426 for 6.1 miles (passing the Barr St. trailhead for the Florida Trail); the park entrance is on the right. From the intersection of SR 46 and CR 426 in Geneva, go south on CR 426. Look for the park entrance on the left just after passing Snow Hill Road. (407-665-7352) - Free. Geneva Wilderness Area

Lake Proctor Wilderness Area

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More than 6 miles of trails loop around ponds surrounded by sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, sandhill, and bayhead swamps along wetlands south of Lake Proctor. You might see a white-tailed deer, gray fox, wood duck, sandhill crane, gopher tortoise or Florida worm lizard.

Directions: From Sanford, follow SR 46 east through Geneva. Just beyond the intersection of SR 426 and SR 46, keep alert for the trailhead parking area on the left. (407-665-7352) - Free.

Orlando Wetlands Park [FT]

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Circling around vast man-made wetlands and slipping through dense hardwood hammocks, OWP's 6 miles of trails provide numerous options for easy day hiking loops. Marsh birds, wading birds, waterfowl, and raptors are common. The Florida Trail follows the perimeter of the park.

Orlando Wetlands Festival - February

Directions: From SR 50 in Christmas, take Fort Christmas Rd north. At the sharp left curve, turn right onto Wheeler Rd into the park entrance. Continue down the road to the parking area on the left. (407-246-2288). Note: closed to hiking Oct 1- Jan 20. - Free. Orlando Wetlands Park

Seminole Ranch Conservation Area [FT]

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To Seminole Ranch trail photos Between SR 50 and Orlando Wetlands Park, nearly 5 miles of the Florida Trail winds its way through jungle-like hydric hammocks and dense oak hammocks along the floodplain forests of the St. Johns River.

Directions: Follow directions for Orlando Wetlands Park, but park on the right and follow the blue blazes farther down Wheeler Road to intersect the orange-blazed trail at the hunt check station. Hunting permitted. (904-529-2380) - Free. Seminole Ranch Conservation Area

Econ River Wilderness Area

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Four loop trails totaling 4 miles traverse vast pine flatwoods and shady oak hammocks en route to the floodplain forests of the Econlockhatchee River.

Directions: From the intersection of SR 434 (Alafaya Trail) and SR 50 near the University of Central Florida, drive north on SR 434 and turn right on E. McCulloch Rd. Drive 2 miles and turn left on Old Lockwood Rd. The trailhead is on the right. (407-665-7352) - Free. Econ River Wilderness Area - CountyLittle Big Econ State Forest

Hal Scott Regional Preserve [FT]

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To Hal Scott trail photos Experience the open prairies of Central Florida amid the palmetto thickets and grasslands in this preserve along the Econlockhatchee River, with its 5.1-mile hiking loop and a shaded primitive campsite sheltered in an oak hammock. Look closely, and you'll spy pitcher plants growing in seepage bogs, and glistening sundews along the footpaths. Watch for mature long leaf yellow pines with white stripes painted around their trunks. These marked pines have red-cockaded woodpecker cavities in them.

Directions: Leaving the Orlando International Airport area, drive east on SR 528 (Beeline Expressway). Take exit 24, Dallas Blvd. Turn left at the end of the ramp, and drive 2.4 miles to the park entrance, on the left. (904-529-2380) - Free. Hal Scott Regional Preserve and Park

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area [FT]

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More than 11 miles of the Florida Trail and side trail loops (60 miles in all) provide backpackers with a wilderness experience in this wild and vast preserve. Wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, wild hogs, alligators, woodland birds, wading birds and raptors abound. Tosohatchee is beautiful in spring and fall when wild- flowers bloom profusely.

Directions: From SR 50 in Christmas, follow Taylor Creek Rd south to the park entrance on the left. Stop and pick up a park map, and drive in to the trailhead parking on Powerline Rd. The (rail can also be accessed from the end of Yates Rd off SR 520; do not block the gate. Hunting permitted. (407-568-5893) - Fee. Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area

Canaveral Marshes Trail [FT]

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To Canaveral Marshes trail photos Following a series of dikes across the broad open freshwater marshes of the St. Johns River floodplain, the 3.9-mile round-trip trail leads you past former cattle ranches and a puzzle of marshlands along the Brevard County line.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 215, drive 2.8 miles west on SR 50 to the conservation area entrance on the left, just before the bridge over the St. Johns River. (904-529-2380) - Free. Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area

Wuesthoff Park

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A mile of shady trails passes through natural Florida forest offering three distinct woodland habitats in this 25-acre community park: a wetland area, hardwood hammock, and upland pine forest. A short boardwalk leads across the wetland from the rustic Homer Powell Nature Center and onto the sandy trails.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 215 (SR 50) Titusville, drive east a little over a mile to the second traffic light. Turn right on Barna Ave. Look on the right, between the drugstore and apartment buildings for the sign for Wuesthoff Park and turn right. For information about nature programs, call (321-264- 5105). - Free. Wuesthoff Park

Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

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A 2.5-mile network of interpretive trails leads you through a variety of habitats along the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, including a dense forest of ancient oaks and magnolias and open coastal scrub. An on-site education center showcases universal design, providing accessibility to outdoor natural areas for all people, regardless of age or ability.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 215 (SR 50), Titusville, drive east on SR 50 to the first traffic light, FL 405. Turn right and drive 2.5 miles to the park entrance on the left. (321-264-5185) - Free. Friends of the Enchated Forest

Merritt Island NWR

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To Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge trail photos Look for Florida scrub-jays along the 0.9-mile Scrub Ridge Trail loop, or watch wading birds along the 5-mile Cruickshank Trail loop. You'll get wet feet on the 2-mile Palm Hammock Trail, and the 0.7-mile Oak Hammock Trail leads through a tropical hammock. At the visitor center, a 0.4-mile boardwalk overlooks a large pond.

Directions: Take 1-95 exit 220 and follow SR 406 east to Merritt Island. Stop at the visitor center for a comprehensive map of trail locations. (321-861- 0667) - Free. Merritt Island N.W.Rl

Pine Island Conservation Area

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To Pine Island trail photos Not for the timid, 2.5 miles of trails in the North and South Loops splash out into wet flatwoods and marshes along the Indian River Lagoon, providing observation decks with scenic views of shallow water feeding habitat of wading birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Manatees frequently seek refuge in the quiet waters of Sam's Creek/Rinker Canal.

Pine Island trail. The planned observation deck has never been built but three new trails are open. One is a loop and side trail along the river and another is a trail connecting to the Sams House area, the last is a road walk around the borrow pit which dead ends at the northeast end. The original loop has a connector trail to the lake loop which is a little overgrown now but still walkable.

Directions: From 1-95, follow SR 528 east 7 miles to SR 3; drive north on Merritt Island for 5.5 miles to Pine Island Rd. Turn left and follow the road to the end. Access both trails via a 0.5-mile walk along the Pine Island Canal. (321-255-4466) - Free. Pine Island Conservation Area.

Rotary Park, Merritt Island

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To Rotary Park trail photos A half-mile family friendly elevated boardwalk with interpretive signage passes though hardwood hammock. A nature center designed as a Florida Cracker style schoolhouse offers displays, hands-on activities, group programs and children's classes.

Directions: From Cocoa, take SR 520 onto Merritt Island. Turn right (south) on Courtenay Parkway and travel 2.5 miles to the Park entrance on the right. For information about the nature center and programs, call (321-455-1385). Free. Rotary Park Merritt Island

Wickham Park

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To Wickham Park trail photos Start at the "Multi-Use Trail" sign to access a network of nearly 4 miles of narrow trails that meander through oak hammocks, scrub, pine flatwoods, and along marshy streams.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 183 (SR 518) go east to Wickham Rd. Turn right and follow Wickham Rd south 7.3 miles to Parkway Drive. Turn left. Continue another 0.5 mile to the park entrance on the left. Make a right when entering the park, and stop at the office for a map. (321-255-4307) - Free. Wickham Park

Erna Nixon Park

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This community park features a half-mile of elevated boardwalk and trail that winds through three different ecosystems where native plant species and small animals can be viewed. Grand old live oaks festooned with moss and fern, an open wetland area, and a wild grape arbor highlight the walk. Exhibits and scheduled guided tours are available at the on-site nature center.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 180 (SR 192), go east on SR 192 (New Haven Aye) for 3.2 miles to Evans Rd. Turn left and go north on Evans Rd approx .75 miles. Erna Nixon Park will be on the left. (321- 952-4525) - Free. Erna Nixon Park

Bull Creek WMA [FT]

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Providing a 20.5-mile backpacking loop as well as a linear hike, this popular section of the Florida Trail crosses cypress swamps along Crabgrass Creek, traces the course of Bull Creek, and winds through expanses of open palmetto prairie beneath the pines.

Directions: The trailhead is along US 192, 2 miles west of Deer Park on the south side of the highway. Hunting permitted. (407-846-5275). Sign in at the register and follow the orange blazes south. - Free. Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area

Turkey Creek Sanctuary

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To Turkey Creek trail photos A 1.6-mile trail leads along boardwalks through sand pine scrub, hydric hammock, and along high bluffs above scenic Turkey Creek, with shorter loop options available. Gentle manatees are sometimes seen munching water plants along the creek banks.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 176, take CR 516 (Palm Bay Rd) east 2.3 miles to CR 507 (Babcock St) Turn right and drive 1 mile to Port Malabar Blvd. Turn left and continue 1.1 miles to Santiago Dr. Turn right. Parking is on the right, across from the park entrance. (321-952-3433) - Free. Turkey Creek Sanctuary

Coconut Point Sanctuary

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Few trails in Florida showcase coastal ecosystems as well as this 1-mile loop, which traverses six different habitats on its short course and provides an overlook on the Indian River Lagoon.

Directions: The trailhead is 6.1 miles south of US 192 on AlA in Melbourne Beach, on the west side of the road just beyond the Publix shopping center. (321-255-4466) - Free.

Maritime Hammock Sanctuary

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A 2.5-mile loop along the Indian River Lagoon, this trail treats you to maritime hammocks dense with bromeliads, shady mangrove forests, and views of the lagoon.

Directions: Follow A1A south 10.3 miles from US 192 in Melbourne Beach; watch for the trailhead on the right. (321-255-4466) - Free. Maritime Hammock Sanctuary

Moccasin Island Tract

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Two non-loop, multi-use trails, each about 2.5 miles long. South trail is 2.6 miles long and takes you to a 2.0 mile loop with a shelter near the St. Johns River. North trail is 2.5 miles long and takes you to an observation point overlooking marshes and Lake Winder.

Directions: Take I-95 Exit 191. Go west on Wickham Road about 5.5 miles to the end where you will find the parking lot. Trails go north or south from there.

Sebastian Inlet State Park

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A half-mile trail winds through tropical hammock and mangrove forest along the Indian River shoreline. This area can be superior for migrant songbirds in late winter and early spring.

Directions: Follow A1A south 17.5 miles from US 192 in Melbourne Beach. Watch for the trail on the west side of A1A about 200 yards before you actually turn into the park. (321-984-4852) - Fee. Sebastian Inlet State Park

Pelican Island NWR

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To Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge trail photos Two 5-mile loops offer superb birding along mangrove-lined pools on the Indian River Lagoon, while the short family-friendly Centennial Trail and an observation tower offer a view of the pelican nesting area on Pelican Island.

Directions: From the junction of CR 510 and A 1A, follow AlA North 3.5 miles to the park sign on left; turn left onto "Jungle Trail" and follow it to the trailheads. (772-562-3909) - Free. WEBSITE

Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area

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To Oslo Riverfront trail photos 3.5 miles of trails through this jungle-like preserve lead to fun discoveries like the Old Quarry, the Awesome Pine, and an observation deck above the mangroves. Bring the kids and expect to get a little muddy!

Directions: From 1-95 exit 147, follow SR 60 east to US 1 in downtown Vero Beach. Turn right and drive south 3.8 miles to CR 606 (Oslo Road). Turn left onto the dead-end road; the parking area is immediately on the left. (904-529-2380) - Free. Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area

Explore Florida's Scrub: Hike South Brevard

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On the palmetto prairie, you can see forever - or so it seems. Early Florida settlers found it difficult to traverse the vast open spaces of Florida scrub where saw palmetto creates a thick understory beneath scattered pines, and they lamented about how hard it was to make any progress through the prairie. Yet these prairies are home to threatened species like the gopher tortoise, sandhill crane, indigo snake, burrowing owl and the Florida scrub-jay, who are drawn to ancient sand dunes that create islands of desert-like oak scrub amid the wetter prairies. Unlike early settlers, your pathways are in place - visit these special scrub preserves and hike their trails to sample Florida's scrub. Some of the best scrub trails on the Space Coast lie within the town of Malabar's city limits or nearby.

Malabar Scrub Sanctuary

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To Malabar Scrub trail photos Highlighting the interdependence of wetland and upland habitats, this trail system leads you across boardwalks through bayheads, diminutive oak scrub, and around vast wetlands and prairies with white sand beaches. Watch for gopher tortoises along the Gopher Trail, and listen for rufous-sided towhees and Florida scrub-jays in the oak scrub along the Acorn Trail. Hiking is a little rough where the sand is soft.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 173, go east on CR 514 (Malabar Rd) for 2.4 miles; watch for a fire station on the left. Turn left immediately after the fire station and follow the unmarked road up to the preserve entrance. Turn left and park by the restrooms at the county park. (321-255-4466) - Free. Malabar Scrub Sanctuary

Micco Scrub Preserve

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To Micco Scrub trail photos This is a hiking-only 3.2-mile Flatwoods Loop through vast palmetto prairies where wildlife sightings are likely -- from armadillos in the pinewoods to gopher tortoises on the prairie. Passing through pine plantations, the trail then takes you into a sea of saw palmetto and follows the Sottile Canal along the edge of scrubby flatwoods.

Directions: Take 1-95 exit 173, and drive east on Malabar Rd to the first traffic light. Turn right on Babcock St and drive south for 8.5 miles to Micco Rd. Turn left on Micco Rd and drive 0.5 mile to the (railhead, on the left side of the road. (321-255-4466) - Free. Micco Scrub Preserve

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

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To St. Sebastian Inlet trail photos The trails here are primarily for equestrians, so footing can be a bit uneven. Learn about scrub habitat on the interpretive trails at the visitor center. Further into the preserve, white blazes lead you into forests of longleaf pine and wiregrass savanna the red-blazed loop circles a colony of red-cockaded woodpeckers, where trees with nests are ringed with white paint. The sandhill area supports about 25 breeding pairs of Florida scrub-jays as well as gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. Forty miles of trails offer plenty of opportunity for visitors to enjoy the diversity of this large wild property.

Directions: From 1-95 exit 173 (Palm Bay), go east on Malabar Rd 0.25 miles to Babcock Street (CR 507) and turn right. Go south for about 11 miles. Turn left on Buffer Preserve Road just before crossing the C-54 Canal. A visitor center is on-site. (321- 953 -5004) - Free. St. Sebastian River Preserve State ParkCitizens for the St Sebastian Preserve

- 4/24/05