Learn More About Florida’s Space Coast – Merritt Island, FL
Merritt Island real estate consists of a combination of rural, riverfront and planned communities. This barrier island is centrally located in Brevard County and is easily accessible to the mainland, beaches, and is situated between the Indian and Banana Rivers. The northern section of the island is home to the Kennedy Space Center. Merritt Island homes are typically priced from the $150,000 to $1,000,000 plus and were built in the 1960’s and newer. Merritt Island riverfront condos were typically built in 1990’s and newer and can be priced from $300,000 to $1,000,000 plus. Other Merritt Island condos are priced from $125,000 to $300,000 plus and were built in the 1980’s and newer. Want to check the latest news in Merritt Island? Check out The Press for neighborhood news from Florida Today.
Merritt Island is a census designated place in Brevard County, on the Atlantic coast of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2000 census, the population was 36,090. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center are located on the northern part of Merritt Island. The area is heavily residential, with centralized light commercial and light industrial areas.
Merritt Island, originally named “Merits Island”, was originally an island and is still referred to as one. The construction of the Crawlerway in the north (for the NASA space vehicles to move to the launch pad over the Banana Creek) connects Merritt Island to a mainland peninsula. To the west and south it is separated by the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The east side of Merritt Island splits and is divided by Sykes Creek and Newfound Harbor. They, in turn, are separated by the Banana River Lagoon from Cocoa Beach, Florida.
To the north, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, along with a narrow barrier island that make up Canaveral, offer an unpopulated protected buffer area for the space shuttle launching site of Kennedy Space Center. The area is a wildlife magnet drawing huge sums of migratory birds that join the more resident wildlife including, alligators, manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, bald eagles, ospreys, bobcats, and the elusive Florida panther.
To its south and east, the Island is linked by causeways to the beaches of the barrier island that run from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the east of the Kennedy Space Center, past the cruise ship docks at Port Canaveral, onward to Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, and Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. To the west, the island connects to mainland Brevard County near Titusville, Cocoa, and to north of Melbourne, Florida.
Merritt Island’s recent history dates back into the mid-1800s and centers on the growth of citrus, stressing the cultivation of pineapples and oranges. The famous Indian River oranges and grapefruits come from this sandy area. The Island became a huge draw in the 1950s and ’60s as the Space Race began and NASA expanded. The construction of a barge canal to the Intracoastal Waterway from the Atlantic Ocean (for power plant oil shipments) cut off the northern half of the Island for many years and to this day remains slightly less developed with few areas remaining of cattle pastures and citrus land. Now though a 4-lane highway connects to the Space Center, moving workers rapidly from the more densely populated central and southern sections of the Island. The small towns of Merritt Island vanished with the coming of the Space Age. Towns like Georgiana, Courtenay, Tropic, Fairyland, Orsino, Angel City, Wilson, Lotus, and Indianola now only live on in the names of streets and historic churches. The island now belongs to no official city; however the central part of Merritt Island is home to the majority of the population and includes the local high school, library, and shopping district.