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Canaveral National Seashore, Mosquito Lagoon, paddle, kayak, canoeCanaveral National Seashore, Mosquito Lagoon, paddle, kayak, canoe

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Reported: Oct. 2012; latest update: Nov. 2016

Canaveral National Seashore (north)... Paddling at Mosquito Lagoon

Canaveral National Seashore's North District, is reached from New Smyrna Beach - continue south on AIA to the national seashore's north entrance. From the north entrance, the road continues another 7 miles - there is no south exit, you have to return the same way. In this area you will see Florida at its most natural, as it was before development - Canaveral National Seashore is the longest pristine shoreline in Florida, extending 24 miles from Ponce Inlet to Titusville. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: Various
Location: Volusia County (New Smyrna Beach)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Boat ramps inside the park entrance and at Beach Parking Lot 5; kayak/canoe launches inside the park entrance, behind the Visitor Center and along the Eldora/River Rd. Loop. (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: New Smyrna Beach (link, above right)
Nearby points of interest: New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Kennedy Space Center

There is much paddling available on Mosquito Lagoon (watch for motor boats) and winding through the islands of the national seashore - some are mangrove, others are oak and palm hammock. It's easy to get lost paddling around the islands so GPS and/or a good map is recommended. Watch the tides, at low tide it may be necessary to pull your kayak or canoe in some areas. Launching onto Mosquito Lagoon is available at several spots:

  1. The boat ramp and kayak/canoe launch across from Lot 1 just past the entrance station are directly across from Shipyard Island.
  2. The launch behind the Visitors Center is open to individuals, the kayaks/canoes at the launch are available to registered campers only. Access to National Seashore islands.
  3. Along the Eldora/River Rd. loop, Eldora Lot 6 involves a 50-yard carry on a narrow path, the launch at Eldora Lot 7 is easy on/easy off. Access to National Seashore islands.
  4. The boat ramp/launch at Lot 5 requires a pass for parking (available at the entrance station), from here the water is wider and more popular with fishermen.

To access the southern area of the National Seashore, launch from Seminole Rest Park at Oak Hill or from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. For paddling we like the north region with its small islands and the like, in the south Mosquito Lagoon gets bigger and more popular with fishermen. Playalinda Beach is at the southern tip of Canaveral National Seashore where Kennedy Space Center begins.

Apollo Beach is on the ocean side, accessed across the dunes from several parking lots. Some sites to visit are Turtle Mound which at 50 feet high is one of the tallest shell mounds on Florida's east coast, and the Eldora State House which is all that remains of the village of Eldora, an old fishing and agricultural center. Visitors should be aware that the area south of parking Lot 5 is a "clothing optional" beach. Camping is available, registration is required.

Wildlife include alligators, turtles, and crabs, and many fish.  Birds include hawks, eagles, and osprey as well ibis and other water birds. In Mosquito Lagoon, dolphins are a common sight.

Paddling at Canaveral National Seashore and Mosquito Lagoon
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Launches at Canaveral National Seashore
Near the entrance station Behind the Visitors Center
Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe
Kayak launch (left) and boat ramp (right)
across from Lot 1 - parking, restrooms
Canoes and kayaks at the launch are for campers only, but others can launch here
Lot 6 and Lot 7
Eldora/River Rd. loop
Parking Lot 5
Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe
From Lot 6, a 50 yd. carry along a narrow path At Lot 7, easy on and off from the parking area Easy on and off, get a parking permit at the entrance ranger station
Mosquito Lagoon
We paddled around Shipyard Island and the upper section of Mosquito Lagoon. Heard a big splash and turned around just in time to see a dolphin diving underwater about 15 feet behind our kayaks - there were 4-5 dolphins feeding and cavorting around the lagoon.
Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe
At the boat ramp, across from Lot 1 near the north entry station
(this was before the kayak launch built)
Toward Shipyard Island Rounding Shipyard Island on Mosquito Lagoon Toward New Smyrna Beach Last houses in New Smyrna Beach before entering the national seashore
Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe
Oyster shells, be careful at low water Visitor Center Watch for speed boats Turtle Mound
Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe
This is the access
to one of the campgrounds
(permit required)
Picnic spot,
permit needed
for camping
Watch where you're wading, stingray Some of the birds around the lagoon
Apollo Beach
We went across the road from the boat ramp to beach parking Lot 1 and over the dune to the beach. It was late in the day, no one was there but us - a beautiful slice of paradise!
Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Canaveral National Seashore, Shipyard Island - Kayak, Canoe
Boardwalk to the beach Apollo Beach Bobcat and Mudfish in silhouette Footprints in the sand Beach parking lot, boat ramp is across the road

See also:

More information (opens in a new window):

- National Park Service - Canaveral National Seashore

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Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Canaveral National Seashore - North Entrance

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