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Posted on 12/12/2020 in Wildlife and Nature

Walk with us through Maritime Hammock Sanctuary [photos]

Walk with us through Maritime Hammock Sanctuary [photos]

While Florida is known for ocean front condos, Disneyworld, and white sand beaches, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does a fantastic job at preserving the native flora and fauna that has called Florida home for hundreds upon hundreds of years. With a vast network of preserves, residents and visitors can easily immerse themselves in nature. 

With some of the preserves in Florida boasting big wooden walkways, restroom facilities and pavilions, the Maritime Hammock Sanctuary is one of the more remote and untouched places in Florida. The 150-acre preserve is full of coastal hammock, marshland, and mangroves along the Indian River Lagoon that conjures the imagination to what the conquistadors saw upon landing on these shores. If you aren't familiar with the term, "Maritime hammocks" are low forests of broadleaved evergreen trees. They are native to inland areas along the Atlantic coast as well as along the Gulf coast's grassland communities. 

As you head down the A1A south from Melbourne Beach, you’ll come across Maritime Hammock Sanctuary on your right hand side. It’s fairly easy to miss with only a few unpaved parking space along the side of the road and a small trailhead. With an easy, mostly flat hiking trail of 2.8 miles, it’s a perfect quiet morning get away as the sun begins to shine through the treetop canopy down to the ferns below. At the trailhead is a map, and it is recommended you take a cellphone photo of the map as the trail is infrequently marked once you walk past the trailhead. With smaller side trails splintering off the main trail, one could be easy to get turned around and there is limited cell reception in the area. Hiking boots or heavy duty shoes are recommended as the path changes from sand to dirt to mud to grass multiple times along the course along with a few narrow plank-style walkways. Be prepared to zig and zag under and around fallen trees and over bare roots. 

A word of warning, this area is frequented by alligators with their nests visible from the trail. Using the trail during mid August through September when baby alligators are hatching is ill-advised as mother alligators tend to protect their young. 

Maritime Hammock Sanctuary Melbourne Beach Florida


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary path with walking planks 



Maritime Hammock Sanctuary native walking path 


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary native flora


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary ferns and flora


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary low clearance path

Maritime Hammock Sanctuary narrow walking path


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary one of many ponds along the walking path


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Maritime Hammock Sanctuary open field walking path


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary waters' edge


Maritime Hammock Sanctuary alligator nest!




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