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Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
9700 S Hwy A1A
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951
Phone: (772)469-4275

No Reported Park Wildlife Information

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The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge stretches across 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach along Florida's east coast. The refuge was established in 1991 and was named after the late Dr. Archie Carr, Jr., in honor of his extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation. The Refuge is a direct result of Dr. Carr bringing attention to the world's declining turtle populations due to over-exploitation and loss of safe habitat.

The refuge was designated to protect habitat for what is the most significant area for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the Western Hemisphere, and the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America. This represents 25-35% of all loggerhead and green sea turtle nests in the US. It also serves as a minor nesting area for the leatherback turtle, which is one of the world's largest and rarest sea turtles. The long stretches of quiet, undisturbed sandy beaches, with little or no artificial light, are essential to the reproductive success and survival of the 15,000 to 20,000 sea turtles nesting annually.

The 248-acre refuge is also unique for its placement within a patchwork of protected lands and among properties that have already been developed. To help preserve this globally important nesting ground the Service has established a partnership with State and County governments and private conservation groups to acquire and manage this dune habitat. The primary management thrust is to provide long term protection of this habitat for sea turtles and other listed species as well as providing compatible public use. Collaboratively, this partnership, known as the Archie Carr Working Group has protected over 900 acres and continues to educate thousands of residents and visitors about the unique characteristics of the barrier island ecosystem.

Visitor Center

Barrier Island Sanctuary Management & Education Center

Located in the heart of the Refuge and operated by Brevard County's Environmentally Endangered Lands Program in partnership with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation.

The Center offers:

  • Exhibits on sea turtles and the barrier island
  • Environmental education programs and tours
  • Auditorium with orientation movies
  • Gift shop
  • ¾ mile foot trail and lagoon kayak launch
  • Closed on Mondays

Wildlife Observation

Sea Turtle Watch Programs

The best time to view sea turtles is in June and July when guided, night-time sea turtle watch programs are offered. Reservations for the programs are required. For sea turtle watch program information visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website.

Interpretive Foot Trails

A total of four trails on the west side of Highway A1A provide unique wildlife observation opportunities within the rare habitats of the barrier island ecosystem.

  • Coconut Point Trail - ¾-mile
  • Maritime Hammock Sanctuary Trail - 2-mile
  • Barrier Island Sanctuary Trail - ¾-mile with lagoon kayak launch
  • Hammock Trail at Sebastian Inlet State Park - 1-mile

Beach Access

All Brevard County beach parks within the Refuge are open for day use only.

South Brevard County

Saltwater Fishing

Surf fishing is permitted through all designated dune crossovers but outside life-guarded areas. Two ocean jetties and catwalks under the Inlet bridge at Sebastian Inlet State Park provide excellent fishing opportunities. For fishing regulation information and licenses, go to or call (888) 347-4356.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge Features & Activities
Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife Viewing  
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