Although not technically an island, Merritt Island is the next best thing. This coastal community is sandwiched between two rivers, directly across the Banana River from Cape Canaveral. Merritt Island is also the name for the peninsula that the town is situated on, which also coincidentally is not an island.
Merritt Island is not really an incorporated town and does not belong to any city. The history of Merritt Island is both complex and fascinating, and the scenery is, of course, stunning like most places on Florida’s sunny coastline. Merritt Island is just across the Indian River from Interstate 95, and approximately halfway between Jacksonville and Miami. When you book an RV in Merritt Island, the many different parks, reserves, beaches, and cities in or close to town are a pleasure to drive to.
The Great Outdoors
There's much to do when you finally arrive and pick up your camper rental in Merritt Island. The sheer number of parks, beaches, recreation areas, forests, swamps, and eco-reserves in Florida is astonishing, and with so many to choose from, it's hard to pinpoint exactly where to go. Saint Sebastian River State Park is south of town on the mainland, with camping, hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, fishing, swimming, and much more. When hiking through the pine forests and scenic meadows of wildflowers, you won’t be able to resist the urge to take a photo. River Lakes Conservation Area is a 40,000-acre reserve across the river from Merritt Island, with seasonal hunting, plenty of lakes and waterways to fish in, and a geocaching hub for explorers. Motorboating, canoeing, kayaking, bicycle riding, and hiking are optimal ways to get a feel for this incredible nature reserve that is just teeming with natural wildlife of all different varieties. There are a few campgrounds for you to choose from when you rent an RV and need a place to stay for the night.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a little bit farther down the coast, about halfway to Miami, but entirely worth a visit. The park gets its name from a Quaker man who shipwrecked off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean and journaled his survival story, eventually making it up to St. Augustine safely. The park was once a homestead owned by a man named Trapper Nelson, but all of it was deeded to the state when he passed away with no heir. When you bring your Merritt Island motorhome rental to Jonathan Dickinson State Park, you can go bicycling, hiking, boating, fishing, or visit Trapper Nelson’s original cabin and homestead. There are even camping sites where you can stay with the Merritt Island camper rental.
If you want to see some more beaches, Canaveral National Seashore is perhaps the crown jewel of Florida’s east coast. With 25 miles of undeveloped beach, Canaveral National Seashore has the longest expanse of undeveloped shoreline in eastern Florida, and thousands of different plants and animals that call it home. On clear days, guests can even see shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center across the water.
Much like parks, forests, and beaches, there are too many campgrounds to possibly name. You can stay at Space Coast RV Resort with your Merritt Island RV rental and you'll have access to a variety of amenities. There is a pool for guests to cool off in, a beach, a clubhouse, and a library.
Carvers Cove RV Park is over on the barrier island in Cape Canaveral, with an ocean pier for guests to indulge in some fishing. There are places to dock boats and grassy camping lots. Jetty Park Campground is a public campground also found in Cape Canaveral, where guests can stay and enjoy short walks to the white sand beaches of the Sunshine State. There are hundreds of other campgrounds in the region, so don’t be afraid to do some digging on your own to ensure you find the best fit for you.
Exploring the City
It’s your lucky day… There is a wealth of wonderful attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops in Merritt Island, so you don’t have to spend all your time on the beaches while you rent an RV. The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse oozes elegance and was one of the region’s first “talkie” (movies with sound) motion picture theaters. The theater is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its stunning aesthetics and classic architectural style. The now refurbished playhouse frequently puts on plays to foster a love for the theatrical arts in the community.
Brevard Zoo over in Melbourne is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. This unique nature park allows guests to kayak through different parts of the park and observe animals in more natural habitats. Hippos, lions, tigers, giraffes, rhinos, and countless other exotic animals make up an unbelievable menagerie at Brevard Zoo.
The U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum is located on the south side of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base and welcomes guests to learn about the early space flights, aviation, and tons of other interesting flight-related topics. There are amazing missiles and rockets on display for patrons to see, much to the delight of aviation aficionados. Head over to Kennedy Space Center and tour one of NASA’s premier facilities or simply watch one of its many shuttle launches from a distance while marveling at the beauty and brilliance of human ingenuity.