What is a National Seashore?

A brief explanation of the federal designation


Canaveral National Seashore

A National Seashore is an oceanfront coastal area recognized and protected by the federal government for its natural, historical or recreational importance. There are currently 10 National Seashores in the U.S., nine of which line the Atlantic Ocean and all of which are overseen by the National Park Service (NPS).

Each addition of a National Seashore to the register needs to be approved by Congress. The very first, Cape Hatteras, was recognized in 1953. Cape Hatteras in North Carolina remains a popular spot for getting a look at wildlife, kayaking and exploring the lighthouse.

The most recently added seashore, Canaveral, was added in 1975. The barrier island is the longest undeveloped stretch of beach on the east coast of Florida at 24 miles long and provides refuge to a wide array of animals and plants. According to NPS, sea turtles nest on the shore and Canaveral was once home to Native Americans and early settlers.

Combined, the 10 National Seashores protect almost 600,000 acres of land.

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