Located on the eastern coast of Florida and part of Brevard County, Merritt Island is an unincorporated area known as the site of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Although the space shuttle program has ended, NASA continues to be a major employer and is still a major attraction for tourists.
Although the total area of Merritt Island is about 47 square miles, only 17.5 square miles is land and the rest is water.
The small and tight-knit Merritt Island community is made up of about 35,000 permanent residents, with single-family housing dominant.
Since Merritt Island lacks a municipal government, most of the common utilities, such as sewer and water, are managed by the Brevard County government.
Merritt Island is part of Brevard Public Schools and has some of the top-rated public schools in Florida.
There are five public elementary schools in Merritt Island: MILA, Tropical, Audubon, Lewis Carroll, and Robert Louis Stevenson School of the Arts. At the middle school level is Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
There are two public high schools, Merritt Island High School and Edgewood Junior/Senior High School. Edgewood Junior/Senior High earns consistently high rankings and in 2016 was ranked #4 in Florida and #30 in the country on U.S. News and World Report's Best Public High Schools list.
Merritt Island Christian school is a private day school that serves preK through grade 12.
The Kennedy Space Center and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are located in the northern part of Merritt Island.
At the Kennedy Space Center, visitors can see space shuttles and rare artifacts from previous space missions, including from the lunar landings.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is open to public unless closed for special purposes by NASA, which originally owned the land on which it stands. Bobcats and cougars live in the refuge, as well as 29 other mammal species. The refuge also serves as the gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail.
Kiwanis Island Park has over 18 acres of river park dedicated to providing a place for boating, fishing, basketball, tennis, hiking, and a variety of community events at the community center.