The Wild Life with Florida Fish, Birds, and Wildlife
Posted on December 23, 2015
When people up north think of Florida they often think of Miami, followed by the Disney theme parks, if they’ve been thinking of their vacation for a while they’ll throw in Universal and the beaches. While all of this is great—and something natives enjoy too—there is much more to see and do in Florida than just the theme parks, and the well-known party spots.
After all the reason those were built in the first place is because of Florida’s unique climate.
Located in the subtropics, and turning tropical the farther south you go, Florida is between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. This makes the state warmer and wetter than the rest of the US and a haven for Florida wildlife. While they’re in Florida, cruisers might want to the check out what made the state a destination in the first place: Florida birds, Florida fish, and the Florida wildlife. Port Canaveral cruisers are in luck as Florida’s Space Coast is especially rich in all of the above.
The Bridge Between the Earth and Sky
The title of the section might be overwrought—not to mention exaggerated—but the space program has accidentally blessed the Space Coast with an abundance of nature. The property of the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are huge tracks of coastal property that have largely been spared development, creating an accidental wild life sanctuary in the process. Add in the intentional reserves of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore and there are nearly 500 square miles of wetlands and coastal environments in Brevard County that are protected from development in some way. It’s a unique situation on Florida’s Atlantic Coast where accessible beach front property has either been developed, or is so remote that reaching it is a full day’s hike. The Space Coast is unique for both its preserved habitats and for how easily accessible they are.
Planning on seeing the beautiful Florida wildlife during your vacation stay? Book one of our Fly Snooze Cruise Packages for the most convenient location, price, and services! Airport shuttle to the hotel is included, as well as transfers to the cruise terminals.
Titusville, in Northern Brevard County, is the town that is most convenient for Port Canaveral cruisers who want to incorporate a little of Florida nature into their cruise vacations. Not only is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s complex easily accessed from Titusville hotels—they’re on the same road—but taking a turn towards the north brings cruisers over a bridge and on to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Continuing brings them to the south district of the Canaveral National Seashore, or as its locally known Playalinda Beach.
Playalinda—literally the beautiful beach in Spanish—is a rarity in Florida: a nearly undeveloped beach. While more famous Florida beaches like Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach’s sand ends at restaurants, shops, and condos Playalinda is backed by a sand dune overgrown with vegetation. This can be somewhat inconvenient. If you didn’t bring a lunch for instance, you’ll have to drive back into town to get one. Playalinda does have the compensating virtue of an abundance of Florida fish and wildlife. Which if you’ve made the turn to come out to Playalinda, odds are it’s what you came to see. Surf fishing is popular there, and regardless of time of day and weather you’ll see fishing poles stuck into the sand all year long. Visitors should be aware that a license is required to fish. There is also a fee to get to the beach. What can be appreciated without official documentation is the Florida wildlife.
The Blackpoint Wildlife Drive is free, and it doesn’t require visitors to get out of their car. It’s a road that wends its way through a wetland habitat, and it’s an excellent way to view nature on the fly. Literally, as it turns out. The Blackpoint drive is an excellent way to see many of the beautiful birds that call the Space Coast home, for at least part of the year.
Florida Wildlife – Jays, Gators, and Bobcats
Near the entry booth of the seashore is a colony of Florida Scrub Jays. These pretty blue and gray birds are found only in Florida, and they’re remarkable for both their curiosity and their tameness. Scrub Jays alighting on visitors is fairly common. They also are famous for begging for food. Visitors should be aware that Scrub Jays are endangered and that feeding them alters their breeding cycle. The chicks arrive before their primary food source is ready and end up starving. While they’re adorable and very friendly, please keep this in mind and refrain from feeding them.
Other Florida wildlife on display includes the American Alligator. One of only two species of Alligator in the world. The other is in China, and the American Alligator is the larger and more abundant of the two species. Alligators can be seen in Florida on most every day of the year, but the best time to see them in their entirety are on sunny days in cooler months when they’ll be fully out of the water sunning themselves. Another unique reptile that can be seen on the Space Coast is the gopher tortoise, which in defiance of Florida’s somewhat saturated climate lives on the land in burrows like a gopher, hence the name.
A rarer treat is seeing the local bobcats population. These shy wildcats are normally quite elusive, but are easier to spot at Playalinda than almost anywhere else. In spring they’re out during the day, and from then to the beginning of the summer it’s possible to see juvenile bobcats. The young ones do, rarely, meow. It’s unique to hear a cat of that size meowing in disappointment over its inability to catch a bird, and it is one that only a few very fortunate people are lucky enough to see.
A Part of a Perfect Cruise Vacation
All of the above is conveniently close to Port Canaveral. Less than 20 minutes away from your cruise. Port Canaveral is not just a departure point for cruises, but an international destination and port of call. There are excursions that can be booked through the cruise lines like kayaking and air-boat tours, but there are plenty of hidden gems throughout the space coast that you can find on your own.
Go Port has partnered with hotels in Titusville, and throughout the Space Coast and Orlando to provide you, the Port Canaveral cruiser, with round-trip airport and cruise transportation. Putting all of Florida’s natural wonders within their reach. If the Florida nature is something you want to make a part of your cruise, then check out our Titusville hotel partners below!