See Sea Turtles on the Space Coast
Did you know the Space Coast is one of the most important sea turtle nesting habitats in the world? Every year between May and September thousands of sea turtles return to our beaches to lay their eggs. The best part is, there are several organizations that host guided turtle walks so that you can safely see and experience this incredible cycle. If you’re headed to the Space Coast during Sea Turtle Nesting Season, don’t miss out on one of these incredible tours.
Turtle Walk Tours
- Sea Turtle Preservation Society – Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
- Sea Turtle Conservancy – Archie Carr National Wilfe Refuge
- Stella Maris Environmental Research – Melbourne Beach
- Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – Canaveral National Seashore
What to Expect for a Guided Sea Turtle Walk
A guided sea turtle walk is a once in a life-time event, here’s typically what you can expect.
- Arrive and meet up with tour group and guide.
- Your guide will provide a safety briefing and let you how you are able to view the turtles as they nest.
- Head out to the beach. Guides are scouting the beach for turtles and waiting for them to crawl to the dunes and dig their nest. Once one is in place they go into a “trance” and now it is safe for your group to head over and check it out.
- You’ll watch the turtle nest from a safe distance and wait around for another turtle to make her way to the dunes.
Prepare for your Turtle Walk
There’s not much you need to do to prepare for your turtle walk, however, it’s important that you bring insect repellant and wear clothes that offer as much protection as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and close-toed shoes are ideal and can protect you from tons of bug bites.
Keep in mind that these are wild animals and are easily spooked. It’s CRITICAL that you listen to your guides and follow every rule they lay out in their safety briefing.
What to wear and bring
It is suggested you wear dark breathable clothing, bug spray, and comfortable walking shoes. Do not bring flashlights or phone camera lights as artificial light has a negative impact on the nesting sea turtles and emerging hatchlings. Cell phones and digital cameras utilizing a lighted LCD screen are also prohibited.
Seeing Sea Turtles Without a Guide
Sea turtle season on the Space Coast is an incredible time. If you’re an early riser, you may just be able to witness a sea turtle nesting or hatchlings making their way out to sea in the sunrise. It’s so important to not impede these animals in any way. Please be a patient and respectful observer of this process. Even though every fiber of your body will be telling you to get closer to take another picture, tap that zoom and watch from afar.
Should you be out and about and notice a sea turtle nest or hatchling, here’s what you can do:
- Leave it alone
- Do not remove it from the beach
- Do not put it in the water
- Do not touch or collect the eggs as this could kill the hatchling
- Call the FWC (1-888-404-FWCC) for further instructions
- For exposed nests, contact FWC (1-888-404-FWCC), or the Sea Turtle Preservation Society 321) 206-0646 and give the condition of the turtle along with the closest beach access.
Whether you’re taking a guided turtle walk in the Wildlife Refuges or happen to see one while you’re out for your sunrise stroll, seeing sea turtles this summer should be on your Space Coast bucket list! Book your trip today.