Sea Turtle Nesting Season in Florida
Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Season
Sea Turtles frequent our shores and nest on our beaches from March through October, with the most active times starting May 1st. When you visit Florida beaches during this time, chances are you will see crawl marks from the Sea Turtles.
Sea Turtles are protected by Florida state statues and Floridians and activists along the beach towns are very protective of them. By law, you cannot touch, harass, disturb or harm Sea Turtles or their nests.
But if you are curious about these amazing animals, you can see them, watch them laying their eggs, witness the babies making their way back to the ocean by joining an organized Turtle Walk with organizations who know the locations and teach the proper ways to view.
The majority of Florida's Marine Science Centers and Aquariums also provide an opportunity to see sea turtles up close.
Why does Florida play such an important role in protecting the Sea Turtle?
- Florida is the nesting place for 90% of all loggerheads
- Florida, specifically Palm Beach County, is where the majority of leatherbacks nest.
- From 2011-2015, an average of 106,625 sea turtle nests were recorded on Florida beaches.
On the east coast, sea turtles start nesting as early as March. The main season of Sea Turtle nesting starts May 1st when the Loggerheads become more active. The majority of Sea Turtle nesting occurs on the East Coast of Florida, but sea turtle nests are reported all across the state.
Sea Turtle Walks
The Turtle Walks in Florida are conducted by organizations that know the laws and the locations that will be best for viewing. Most turtle walks occur in June and July and start between 8-9pm and end around 1am. There is never a guarantee that you will see a nesting turtle and there are no refunds, but the experience is worth the opportunity to learn and catch a glimpse of these amazing animals. Be sure to plan ahead as the walks tend to fill up quickly and there is limited space.
Loggerheads are the largest population nesting on our beaches and because they are the only species that is threatened, rather than endangered, they are the only turtle species available to watch on the walks.
Central East Coast Beaches Turtle Walks
- Sea Turtle Preservation Society based in south Brevard County on the Central East Coast. Walks run in May, June & July at 3 different locations along the beach.
- Brevard County Barrier Island Center Turtle Walk
- Sebastian Inlet State Park Ranger Guided Turtle Walk
- Environmental Studies Center - Jensen Beach
- Florida Oceanographic Society - Stuart
- InWater Research Group Turtle Walk - St. Lucie
Southeast Florida Turtle Walks
- Gumbo Limbo Turtle Walk & Hatchling Release - Boca Raton
- Hobe Sound Nature Center Turtle Walk
- Loggerhead Marine Life Center - Juno Beach
- Museum of Discovery and Science - Ft. Lauderdale
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a great downloadable map of places to see Sea Turtles that includes those at aquariums and captive to Turtle Walks to view them in their natural habitats.