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Reported: Nov. 2014

Turkey Creek... Paddling and Scoring a Florida Trifecta: Manatee, Dolphin, Alligator

Turkey Creek at Palm Bay has two personalities. From the mouth at the Indian River upstream to the Port Malabar Blvd. bridge, the creek is wider and lined with homes. Past the bridge, the creek enters the Turkey Creek Sanctuary and becomes more narrow and winding ending at the Melbourne-Tillman Water District dam, about 3 miles. We saw so many turtles we were tempted to rename this Turtle Creek. Hitting the trifecta - seeing manatee, dolphins and alligators all in one day on the same paddling trip - was pretty exciting and a first for us! (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: Various, about 3 miles from Goode Park to the dam but there are several side creeks to explore as well.
Location: Brevard County (Palm Bay)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes, especially closer to the Indian River
Launch points: Goode Park, Pollak Park (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Palm Bay (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Turkey Creek Sanctuary, Melbourne Beach, Cape Canaveral

From the Goode Park launch, bear right and then left around the point past the Pollak Park launch and onto the creek, or bear left and look for the cut-through. From the Pollak Park launch, bear right. Past the railroad bridge at Pollak Park the creek widens before emptying into the Indian River, but we stayed on the upstream side and paddled to the dam. High bluffs within the Sanctuary are remnants of ancient sand dunes. The beach at the canoe dock in the Sanctuary is a good place to stop to snack and stretch your legs or walk on the trails or boardwalk. The entire creek is a manatee zone with no-wake rules.

Goode Park has parking, restrooms, boat ramp, fishing pier, picnic, and meeting rooms are available at the Captain's House; this is a popular location for manatee sighting in season. Pollak Park has parking, boat ramp, restrooms, picnic, playground. Turkey Creek Sanctuary has a nature center, hiking trails, boardwalk, restrooms, picnic.

Wildlife include wading birds, eagles, osprey, alligators, turtles and fish (we spotted some big gar). We saw 3-4 manatee upriver in the Sanctuary, and dolphins closer to Goode Park and the Indian River.

Paddling at Turkey Creek
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
 We launched at Goode Park and paddled about 3 miles upstream from launch to the dam. The current is moderate, an easy paddle. There are several splits, watch for the signs pointing to the Sanctuary.
Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe
Launch at Goode Park Leaving the launch Railroad bridge Along the creek, private homes
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Approaching Port Malabar Blvd. bridge Creek narrows past the bridge Sand bluffs Boardwalk at Turkey Creek Sanctuary Dam
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Catamaran has a sign telling people to "Stop" before padding under Back to Goode Park
More turtles than we could count, and our Trifecta - manatee, alligators, dolphin
Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe
Turtles - they were everywhere! The backs of manatees
(they were camera shy)
A good spot to watch manatees AND a good reason to enact a bottle deposit law in Florida
Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Turkey Creek - Kayak, Canoe
Alligators Dolphins Osprey

More information (opens in a new window):

- Brevard County - Turkey Creek Sanctuary

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