Merritt Island

Located on Florida’s eastern coast, Merritt Island is home to spectacular natural beauty, a rich history, and a significant role in America’s space exploration efforts.

Geography and Nature

Merritt Island is the largest island in Florida, situated between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of Brevard County and is connected to the mainland via several bridges and causeways. The Island’s unique location creates a varied ecosystem that blends the beach and marshlands, making it a haven for diverse wildlife.

A large part of the Island, about 140,000 acres, is a designated National Wildlife Refuge. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1963, serves as a habitat for over 1,500 species of plants and animals. With its pristine beaches, dunes, marshes, scrublands, and hardwood hammocks, the refuge is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. Visitors can spot bald eagles, sea turtles, alligators, and the rare Florida scrub-jay.


The Island is steeped in history, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the prehistoric era. The Ais tribe, an indigenous people of Florida, were among the earliest known inhabitants. The arrival of European settlers led to changes in the Island’s landscape, including the establishment of citrus groves and the development of a thriving seafood industry.

The Island played a significant role in the Seminole Wars of the 19th century and was the site of several important events during the Civil Rights Movement. Its history is well-documented in the Merritt Island-based Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, which offers fascinating insights into the region’s past.

Space Exploration

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Merritt Island is its central role in American space exploration. In 1962, NASA established the John F. Kennedy Space Center on the Island. This facility has been at the forefront of America’s space program, launching humans to the moon, satellites into orbit, and interplanetary missions. Visitors can tour the facility, walk among historic spacecraft, meet astronauts, and even watch rocket launches.

The American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame in nearby Titusville pay tribute to the astronauts, engineers, and technicians who have made America’s space accomplishments possible. With a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia, these museums are a must-visit for anyone interested in space exploration.