Canaveral National Seashore
To see a Florida east coast beach as it’s been since the start of time, plan a visit to Cape Canaveral National Seashore, part of a barrier island east of Orlando on the Atlantic Coast that was originally protected as a buffer for NASA’s nearby space center. The park stretches across the border of Volusia and Brevard counties and is home to the largest natural (read: undeveloped) beach on the entire east coast of Florida. Boardwalks take you across preserved dunes onto pristine sands where sea turtles lay their eggs. Trails inland in the park lead to Native American shell mounds. And there are backcountry camping sites, too. Be aware that the beach at Playalinda, within the park, is a popular spot for nudists.
By Terry Ward
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Discover secluded beaches and backcountry
Nature lovers, fear not. Some 30 percent of Florida is protected for conservation and recreation purposes. At Cape Canaveral National Seashore there are miles of unspoiled beaches. Spot endangered shorebirds at the waterline or kayak the Atlantic Ocean. At Sebastian Inlet State Park, go snorkeling or shelling on the beachside. Opposite the beachside is Indian River Lagoon, which is ideal for canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Manatees are particularly common here. North of Daytona in Volusia County, North Peninsula State Park provides good hiking trails and bird watching for native and migratory species. Look for roseate spoonbills with deep pink plumage. Gopher tortoises—large, native land tortoises—also call this park home.
By Jack Barr, AFAR Local Expert
S Washington Ave, Titusville, FL 32796, United States
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