Sea Turtle Nesting Season in South Florida

Author: Rich Barnhart

Author: Rich Barnhart

Help Us Protect Our Sea Turtles

Updated April 2023

Review 2022 Survey Highlights

Every Spring, like clockwork, several species of sea turtles return to South Florida to share our beautiful beaches. If you’ve spent any time here during the spring and summer months then you have certainly seen the special fences that warn us of these very vulnerable nesting zones. Please do your part and keep your distance from these fenced off areas. Each of these nests contains on average 100 eggs, which sounds like a lot, but when we consider that only one in a thousand turtles will reach adulthood, each and every egg is vitally important.

Sea Turtle Nest in Florida
Baby sea turtles leaving their nest shortly after hatching

Officially turtle season in South Florida starts March 1st and runs through October 31st. Sea turtle nests can be seen all throughout South Florida with Palm Beach County boasting more sea turtle nests per mile (~2,000,000 hatchlings) than anywhere in the United States. The Leatherbacks are the first turtles to arrive in March, followed by our most common species the Loggerhead Turtle. Loggerheads start making their way to our beaches during the month of April. Then the Green Sea Turtles start arriving in May and June. Ridley and Hawksbill turtles have also been known to visit our beaches in much smaller numbers. The sea turtle nesting season continues through the end of the September with peak season for Loggerheads being late June into early July.

Sea Turtle Hatchlings
If they are lucky the hatchlings will make their way to the ocean where they have a one in a thousand chance of reaching adulthood

2022 Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Survey Highlights:

Overall 2022 was a good year for sea turtles in Florida with all three types reporting an increase in nests. Here are the highlights from the 2022 sea turtle nesting survey.

  • Loggerhead turtles had another successful nesting season with almost 62,500 nests documented on Florida’s 27 core index beaches bringing loggerhead nest counts to levels more commonly observed in the 1990s
  • In 2022, green turtle nest counts on the 27 core index beaches reached more than 28,000 nests recorded. This is the third year in a row that nests have increased. Green turtle nest counts have increased eightyfold since standardized nest counts began in 1989.
  • Leatherback nests increased slightly over last year to 514 total nests. Nests have steadily increased since reaching a decade low of 200 nests in 2017.
  • View more survey results here:

FUN FACT: Loggerhead Sea Turtles are the most common to nest on South Florida beaches with almost 66,000 nests counted during their peak in the 2016 season.

FUN FAMILY TIP: Would you like to learn more about South Florida’s sea turtle population? Please visit the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, located in the heart of Florida’s sea turtle nesting zone. Gumbo Limbo, a local non-profit organization, monitors more than 600 nests a year and releases over 6,000 stranded hatchlings each season.

Your Sea Turtle
Young sea turtle chilling on a coral reef

Adopt a sea turtle and learn more about local conservation efforts at the National Save the Turtle Foundation in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Learn more about sea turtles at Wikipedia:

Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management (see current nesting totals):

Blog Author:

Rich Barnhart

Rich is the broker and owner of By The Sea Realty and a frequent contributor to the company's real estate blog.

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