Barrier Island Sanctuary

8385 A1A, Melbourne Beach, 32951
(321) 723-3556
Tuesdays-Sundays: 9:00am-5:00pm


Part of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge complex, this diverse site stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian River Lagoon. It features a new, state-of-the-art Management and Education Center with interpretive exhibits and nature programs, a 1-mile hiking trail through maritime hammock and mangrove swamp, plus spectacular views of the beach and lagoon. The oaks provide shelter for songbird migrants in spring and fall, and don’t miss the colorful Giant Land Crabs! On the beach, look for Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling, along with Black Terns (August) and Ring-billed Gulls (winter). The center’s expansive deck and observation platform are good for scoping seabirds such as Northern Gannet (winter) and Parasitic Jaegers chasing terns and gulls in the fall. Short boardwalks and trails through coastal strand lead north and south of the center for additional viewing opportunities. Explore the lagoon by kayak via the launch on the south end of the sanctuary. Electric carts for the mobility impaired are available with advance notice. Guided sea turtle walks are given in June and July (call well in advance for reservations).

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