Check Out This Low-Key Wildlife Safari on the Space Coast


Words and Photography by Sara Sheehy
Live Wildly Lead Adventurist

Just an hour’s drive from Orlando lies the beautifully wild Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where scenic Biolab Road takes adventurers on a low-key escape from the hustle and bustle of Florida’s I4 corridor.

HIGHLIGHTS Canaveral National Seashore Sara Sheehy Camera 9 e1715663355865

Nestled along saline Mosquito Lagoon, Biolab Road stretches for 6 miles and is open to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. The dirt-packed road is passable to all vehicles, though its proximity to the water (no more than a couple of feet in some cases!) means that it may close during or after large storms. Check with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Center before making the trek in stormy seasons.

Did you know: A lagoon is a body of water that is separated from a larger body of water (in this case, the ocean) by a natural barrier.

HIGHLIGHTS Canaveral National Seashore Sara Sheehy Camera 10

Venturing here mid-week may grant you the luxury of solitude, as it did during my visit. Drive slowly to take in the views and keep your senses alert for wildlife sightings. I was lucky to see bobcats along the road, but other species to watch for include otters, alligators, deer, and birds…lots and lots of birds. The Refuge is home to 358 species of our flighted friends, including roseate spoonbills, egrets, herons, anhingas, and peregrine falcons.

See a list of all 358 bird species in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

HIGHLIGHTS Canaveral National Seashore Sara Sheehy Camera 13

Pair your Biolab Road adventure with a visit to Canaveral National Seashore’s Playalinda Beach, a loop around Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, or a stop at the nearby Johnson Space Center.

More: Weekend in the Corridor: Orlando with Nekiesa Faraji-Tahrishi

Entrance to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is $9 per vehicle or free for holders of the America the Beautiful Pass. Whether you seek solitude, wildlife encounters, or simply a scenic drive, Biolab Road is a chill, low-key adventure in wild Florida.