Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2002)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural
- Length233 miles
The Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway is 233 miles long and parrallels the Indian River Lagoon from South Volusia County to Indian River County. The Byway was designated a Scenic Highway because of the great historical, natural and recreational resources for explorers of all ages. As you travel the byway, you'll be taken back by the unique and diverse habitat, special places and breathtaking scenery that await you. It is a place where visitors are surrounded by a unique and diverse habitat with special places and breathtaking scenery that inspires a sense of calmness.
Story of the Byway
The Indian River Lagoon is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America, straddling 156 miles of Florida's east coast. The Lagoon meanders through delicate expanses of national wildlife refuges and state parks. It is home to over 4,000 species of plants and animals, including one-third of the U.S. population of the endangered West Indian manatee. This pristine, fragile resource welcomes visitors year after year, encouraging them to get "off the beaten path" through boating, swimming, fishing, bird watching, or by experiencing glimpses of Florida's past and visions of the future. Combined with the ocean beaches to the east and the St. Johns River a few miles to the west, the Indian River Lagoon attracts visitors from around the world who seek to experience nature's beauty and man's history. With Cape Canaveral, the Canaveral National Seashore, and Merritt Island National Wildlife to the north and Sebastian Inlet to the south, this resource can carry a visitor from backwater fly fishing to the moon and beyond.
The Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway, designated in 2001, built its story around the national significance of this diverse resource. With a mission that includes preservation, education, and economic development, the byway Coalition has implemented a series of successful projects designed to enhance the visitor experience, including a string of visitor centers and informational kiosks while many of its community partners are leading efforts to preserve and protect the region's fragile environment.
The focal point of the Coalition's efforts was the construction of the Ted Morehead Lagoon House, located in Palm Bay that serves as a visitor center, educational resource, and research center with a broad array of scientific efforts underway, all focused on community and Lagoon's health.
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary as a National Scenic Byway, the Coalition's website (www.indianriverlagoonbyway.com) includes an interactive map that highlights many of the corridor's resources and traveler guides to help visitors navigate the corridor while its bi-monthly guest lecture series offers speakers that focus on pertinent local and regional topics of community interest.
This 233 mile corridor is primarily located on US 1 and SR A1A but includes a number of east/west causeways that cross the lagoon at strategic locations. The entire route along with an interactive map is shown on the byway website: www.indianriverlagoonbyway.com. The entire route includes wayshowing signage to assist with navigation.
Points of Interest
Harry & Harriet Moore Memorial Park & Cultural Center
Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore were the leading civil rights activists in Florida and the nation during the 1930s and 40s.
This man-made canal connects the Indian River Lagoon and the Mosquito Lagoon. In addition, this place is a haven for wildlife viewing including birds, alligators and manatees.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Hiking, fishing & hunting in a sprawling preserve with a wide variety of habitats, animals & plants.
Historic Pritchard House
Tours are available of this restored, circa-1891 Queen Anne mansion with period furnishings.
Ron Jon Surf Shop
Surfer shop stocking boards of various types, plus swimwear, apparel & accessories for beach life.
Pine Island Conservation Center/Sam's House
From Ice Age animals to Native Americans to early pioneers, Pine Island Conservation Area has a rich history. Mastodon tusks, pottery sherds, and 19th century farm tools found on site help piece together the story of this special place. Come inside the oldest standing home in Brevard County, the 1875 Sams family cabin. Travel back in time here and along the paved trail where interactive exhibits highlight Pine Island's many past inhabitants.
Ted Moorhead Lagoon House
Welcome center for the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway. Several educational exhibits including a north Atlantic right whale display, a lagoon-species tank, a movie on the history of the lagoon, a 25-foot map of the entire lagoon, and a small library and gift shop. Enjoy a stroll along the lagoon on our 100-foot boardwalk, where you can view dolphins, birds, manatees and other wildlife. On the south side of the Lagoon House, meander your way down a nature trail to the shore, where you can see one of our mangrove restoration projects in action.
St Sebastian River Preserve & State Park
Boating & hiking are popular activities at this riverside park with grassy forests & swampland.
Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve and Visitor Center
Trailhead,providing access to two major trail systems nearby. You can walk or ride up to 2 miles round-trip within the preserve boundary, and continue in two different directions for many more miles on adjoining public lands.
Fellsmere Old Town District
Fellsmere may be a small town, but you’ll find it’s packed with historical landmarks waiting to discover. It’s a city of firsts – the first city south of the Mason-Dixon line after the reconstruction to allow women the vote as well as having the first library, the Marian Fell Library, which you can still visit today. The first public school, railroad depot and hotel were also built in Fellsmere.
Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
Refuge created to provide sea turtle habitat offering trails, beaches & guided turtle-viewing walks.
Melbourne Beach Pier
The Melbourne Beach Pier was built between 1888 and 1889 by the Indian River and Atlantic Railway Company. Constructed of wood planks and pilings in a method used in the late 1800s, the pier is the oldest known example of such piers on the Indian River.
Castaway Point Park
Riverfront park offering 2 fishing piers & concrete walkways, plus a picnic pavilion & kayak launch.
Riverwalk Family Park
Nestled along the Indian River, this 6.37-acre community river park features a nature center and a nature boardwalk that winds through a natural Florida hammock to the river.
North Loop Itinerary
Start at the Canaveral National Seashore, an undeveloped barrier island with pristine beaches and head west to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center. The Wildlife Refuge has many varieties of habitats for thousands of species of plants and animals. Continue to mainland Florida to Titisville, where you will find a number of fun things to do such as museums, historic houses, and campgrounds and parks.
Continue south on Route 1 to Cocoa, where you will find a historic village, then head to Rockledge where you will find a beautiful riverwalk park. Take the Pineda Causeway east to go back onto Merritt Island and head north to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. On the island visit the Brevard Zoo with fun activities for all ages such as kayaking, feeding animals, Treetop Trek aerial adventures, and riding the train. You will also find a number of beautiful parks, some of which line the beach, and piers. A fun stop is the Florida Surf Museum, located next to the flagship store of the Ron Jon Surf Shop. In Port Canaveral, be sure to stop at The Cove, a waterfront destination where you can enjoy a number of restaurants, book a trip on a boat, shop, and experience live entertainment.
Continue on Route 3 north past many parks until you reach the final destination on this journey: the Kennedy SPace Center Visitor Complex. Known worldwide as NASA’s launch headquarters, this is the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet an astronaut, see formerly used giant rockets, and experience spaceflight simulators. The facility is open
to visitors year-round and is the perfect way to end your journey.
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