Summer is knocking, and for families still mapping out their big annual vacation, it’s time to consider all that Florida’s Space Coast has to offer. This subtropical gem along the state’s Atlantic seaboard is the be-all and end-all when it comes to pleasing everyone in the family – from the adventure seekers and nature lovers, to the sun worshippers and aspiring surfers. The region is jam-packed with enough family friendly adventure and educational experiences to interest the whole gang.
How do you know which Space Coast offerings will fit your family best? Here are 10 ways to take your summer vacation to new heights as you enjoy this one-of-a-kind family vacation spot.
#1 – Relax
Once you’re here, there’s no rush. Home to 72 miles of sparkling, pristine beaches, Florida’s Space Coast provides a totally soothing atmosphere and idyllic year-round temperatures for vacationers to enjoy. Visitors can set their own pace as they gently immerse themselves in the local Space Coast culture. Take in the laid-back vibe as you meander through the diverse communities of Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and the Beaches, Port Canaveral, Titusville, Palm Bay and Viera. Whether it’s lounging along the shore, going for a leisurely sunset stroll, window shopping downtown, wandering through the museums or dining along the waterfront, you can’t beat the restful ambiance – and the views.
#2 – Surf
Brag to your friends that you learned how to ride the waves in the East Coast surfing capital. These are the closest beaches to Orlando, which is a straight shot only 45 minutes west. Cocoa Beach serves up world-class surfing opportunities for beginners and experts alike, and there are plenty more surf havens all up and down Florida’s Space Coast. For those curious about Florida’s unique surfing culture, but who might not wish to actually set foot in the water, everything you need to know is tucked inside the notable Florida Surf Museum in Cocoa Beach.
#3 – Explore
Wildlife enthusiasts can take part in a number of up-close animal experiences. Paddle alongside pelicans, ospreys, dolphins, manatees and other intriguing creatures on the Banana River, or be on the lookout for baby sea turtles being born along the coastal dunes. Florida’s Space Coast annually hosts the world’s second-largest population of nesting loggerhead sea turtles, and during the nesting season, you can spot nests by taking a guided Sea Turtle Walk with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. (Walks usually are scheduled in June and July.) Additionally, you can swing over to Melbourne to say hello to the more-than 900+ animals that call Brevard Zoo home – the only U.S. zoo to furnish guided kayak tours around the animal exhibits.
#4 – Experience
For outdoor types who just can’t get enough of Mother Nature’s magic, here’s an extraordinary experience to add to your bucket list. Take a one-of-a-kind kayak ride along the area’s bioluminescent lagoons and watch the water sparkle with luminescent organisms. It’s like viewing underwater fireworks. Truly an eye-opener.
#5 – Cruise
A world of fun and adventure awaits when your ocean voyage begins on Florida’s Space Coast. Not only is Port Canaveral the world’s second-busiest cruise passenger port, it also is Orlando’s closest port. It’s nicknamed “Florida’s Fun Port” for good reason – the place is a destination unto itself. Its entertainment district, known as The Cove, features dynamic waterfront dining, live music, an art gallery, beachside recreation, casino cruises, charter fishing, and the visually stunning Exploration Tower attraction. Guests can enjoy the best Port Canaveral has to offer before they set sail on the high seas. Just watching the ships depart is an enchanting pastime all its own.
#6 – Learn
Fans of space travel will have a field day with all the hands-on exploration waiting for them at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Visitors can have lunch with an astronaut and, through the all-new Astronaut Training Experience, learn what it will be like to live on Mars. Take your visit to the next level with the Behind the Gates Bus Tour, which gives you access to some of the restricted spaceflight areas – such as America’s historic launch sites – and also delivers you to the Apollo/Saturn V Center (featuring the gigantic rocket that helped the United States win the race to the moon). Check liftoff schedules and you might be able to watch a real-life rocket launch. They happen with surprising frequency, making Florida’s Space Coast unique for its dazzling combination of sun, sea and space.
#7 – Celebrate
Speaking of space, July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, which first landed man on the moon and is one of the single-greatest technological achievements of all time. The place to be for this summer’s celebration of Apollo 11 unquestionably is Florida’s Space Coast. Exciting commemorative events scheduled for July 12-16 include an astronaut golf tournament and astronaut parade, “Families of Apollo” and “Women in Space” discussion panels, the grand opening of the newly transformed Apollo/Saturn V Center, and much more. The five-day celebration will be one of those emotional and once-in-a-lifetime experiences people won’t want to miss and will want to share with their families.
#8 – Smile
Capture vacation memories at some of the most-photographed spots along Florida’s Space Coast. Take a selfie along the 800-foot-long Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier or on top of the jaw-dropping Exploration Tower, which affords panoramic views of the coastline and also houses interactive exhibits and a history of the region.
#9 – Eat
Vacationers on Florida’s Space Coast don’t have to venture far from their perfect beach spot to satisfy their hunger. Foodies who appreciate international cuisine can eat and drink their way around the world in Cocoa Village, where establishments specializing in European, Asian and North American fare can be found. Throughout the region, you can enjoy panoramic waterfront dining, indulge in the craft beer scene, and catch live entertainment year-round.
#10 – Play
For making playtime family time (or vice versa), Florida’s Space Coast is chock-full of fun activities that kids of all ages can enjoy together, including miniature golf, aerial adventures, and even a voyage back in time at the Museum of Dinosaurs & Ancient Cultures. Does everyone need a break from the sun? Try the action-packed indoor experiences at the Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park or the On the Edge Rock Climbing Gym.
About Florida’s Space Coast
Florida’s Space Coast is a family friendly destination located 45 minutes east of Orlando. Encompassing Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and The Beaches, Port Canaveral, Titusville, Palm Bay and Viera, it is home to the world’s second-busiest cruise port and 72 miles of beaches (the longest stretch in the state), as well as 190,000 acres of protected lands and waterways full of native habitat. Florida’s Space Coast is home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where rockets still soar into orbit. For more information, contact the Space Coast Office of Tourism at (877) 572-3224 or visit VisitSpaceCoast.com.
For more I-95 travel info, visit www.i95exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to America’s Interstate Main Street. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Maine to Florida!
Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.