Nesting Season in Ponce
The majority of Sea Turtles will nest in Florida between the months of March to October. During the night female Sea Turtles come to our shores to nest. After digging a hole in the sand and laying her eggs; she returns to the sea. The baby sea turtles hatch in about 2 months. These Hatchlings then face the challenging task of climbing out of their nest to make the journey from the dunes all the way to the ocean’s surf.
Hatchlings may run into trouble along the way. They can be confused and disoriented by lights onshore and travel in the wrong direction. Trash and other items left behind can tangle and trap them. Hatchlings can fall into holes left unfilled by a beach visitor. A predator like a crab, shorebird, or raccoon might catch and make a meal out of them.
How Does Ponce Protect Our Sea Turtles?
During nesting season, the drive-on beach is not open to the public until it has been inspected by the Sea Turtle Monitoring Team. This same team inspects the beach to the north of the drive-on section in Ponce. The team is specially trained and permitted to monitor the beach for nest sightings. Nests are marked off, identified, and monitored all along Volusia County beaches.
Another group of volunteers are known as Washback Watchers. This team is permitted and trained to find and rescue young Sea Turtles which may get washed back to shore due to a heavy storm, wind, and surf. This occurs mostly from August to November in Florida.
You Can Protect Sea Turtles Too
Some ways you can protect Sea Turtles:
The Marine Science Center of Ponce Inlet Rehabs Sea Turtles
The Marine Science Center has a rehabilitation hospital for turtles as well as birds. One of its main missions is Sea Turtle rehabilitation. Since 2002 the Sea Turtle Hospital has cared for about 1,500 juvenile and adult sea turtles and more than 20,000 hatchlings and washbacks. Its rehabilitation hospital continues to operate but the Marine Science Center has not been open to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. To learn more about the Center’s amazing rehabilitation work, click here.
Visit Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Museum, and Gift Shop
Make the most of your visit to Ponce and spend the day here! Explore the Lighthouse and Museum. Find that perfect gift and/or souvenir in our extensive gift shop.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse was first activated in 1887. It is a functioning lighthouse serving our local waterways. Visit to learn more about the light station’s historic structures and exhibits. Visit and explore the Principal Keeper’s Dwelling or the Lens Building. Experience what life was like as a Lightkeeper in the early days.
From the top of the Lighthouse balcony, you can see the Atlantic Ocean, Ponce Inlet Beach, its dunes, and the Halifax River.
The Lighthouse is open daily 10 AM to 6 PM with the last admission at 5:00 PM. We hope to see you soon!