Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge


(772) 562-3909

Map Directions

Things To Do



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.

Map of Archie Carr NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 27.922834, -80.522232



  • 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.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The best time to view sea turtles is in June and July when guided, night-time sea turtle watch programs are offered. Participants are given the opportunity to view a Loggerhead sea turtle nesting on the beach. Reservations for the programs are required.There are two different locations within the Archie Carr Refuge in which to participate in a sea turtle watch program.

    Barrier Island Management and Ecosystem Center: Reservations are required by calling (321)723-3556 from Tuesday through Sunday starting May 1st. Programs are $10 per person (collected at time of reservation) and are conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday nights only in June and July. Programs are conducted by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Sebastian Inlet State Park, Fishing Museum: Reservations are required by calling the State Park at (772) 388-2750 from 10am to 4pm starting on May 15 (for June programs) and June 15 (for July programs). Programs are free, conducted by State Park Rangers, and are conducted Friday through Wednesday nights each week in June and July.

    Additionally, 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

Park Partners



Northbound on I-95: Exit Fellsmere / Sebastian SR 512 east to SR510, then to A1A. Head north on A1A approximately two miles. An entrance sign located at Golden Sands County Park designates the southern boundary. Access to the refuge is managed through County-managed parks and Sebastian Inlet State Park. Southbound on I-95: Exit Melbourne taking US 192 east to A1A. Head south on A1A approximately 5 miles to get to the northern boundary of the Refuge. An entrance sign located at Coconut Point Park designates the northern boundary of the Refuge.

Phone Numbers


(772) 562-3909