Visitors who drive the ocean side road that stretches along the 72 miles (110 km) of Florida’s Space Coast’s untamed beaches quickly realize that this destination is different from any other Florida destination. Located just 35 miles east (56 km) of Orlando – making it Orlando’s closest beach – the Space Coast is a nature-lover’s paradise; home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center; the East Coast surfing capital of the United States; a burgeoning center for the arts and much more!
|Port Canaveral is a bustling cruise line port.
Priceline Last-Minute Cruises
up to 75% off from $60/ night!
As the only place in the country where visitors witnessed the 135 space shuttle launches, the countdown to a memorable vacation begins with a trip to the Space Coast, where the end of the shuttle program ushered in a new era in tourism. The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the center of America’s space program. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the KSC Visitor Complex each year to see everything from the Rocket Garden, which displays NASA’s early space crafts, to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which houses the rockets and equipment from the Apollo missions to the moon. At the KSC Visitor Center, there are two IMAX theaters; a life-size replica of a space shuttle that guests can tour and the Shuttle Launch Experience, an attraction designed by astronauts which gives guests the feeling they are actually taking off in a shuttle. Additionally, each day, guests get the rare opportunity to meet veteran astronauts from NASA’s Astronaut Corps. Beginning 2013, guests can get a first-hand look at the retired Atlantis shuttle, which will be on permanent display at the KSC Visitor Complex.
Guests continue to flock to Kennedy Space Center to witness rocket launches, as private companies with NASA contracts now take to the sky with commercial launches throughout the year.
The destination’s diversity continues to blossom with something for virtually every traveler to enjoy:
Canaveral National Seashore is the northernmost beach. As one of the last undeveloped beaches on the East Coast, visitors can experience a unique undisturbed ocean side park.
| The Inn on Cocoa Beach is one of the
TOP-RATED BEACH HOTELS
ALONG THE SPACE COAST.
Photo Courtesy of TripAdvisor.
Port Canaveral is the region’s popular home to Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. One of the busiest ports in the world, it’s the site where guests from all over the world come to embark on 3-, 4- and 7-day voyages to the Bahamas, eastern Caribbean or Mexico’s Gulf resorts. The port also provides scenic views and great seafood restaurants such as: Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, Grill’s Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar, Milliken’s Reef and Baja Tavern and Eats. The area’s Snooze & Cruise program offers convenient parking and transportation for cruise passengers staying over at local hotels.
Cocoa Beach is recognized as the East Coast surfing capital of the U.S. The beach’s steady waves, warm weather and world-class surf shops attract all levels of surfers year round. Eleven-time world-champion surfer Kelly Slater, who was born and raised in Cocoa Beach, learned his craft on these beaches. It also is home to the famed Ron Jon Surf Shop as well as Cocoa Beach Surf Co., the world’s largest surfing complex. At the Cocoa Beach Pier, where numerous world-renowned surf competitions take place, visitors can visit a variety of restaurants, shops and bars.
Cocoa Village, an 1860s landmark, is a quaint district where shoppers can find everything from antique stores to eclectic clothing. Those who want a culinary treat can sample great restaurants, ranging from upscale to casual.
Art lovers can’t miss the Eau Gallie Arts District. A cozy downtown area anchored by the Brevard Art Museum. The district is the place to find great art, art supplies and adorable antiques.
Trendy boutiques and a cool nightlife define Historic Downtown Melbourne. Since the 1900s, it has been where the young as well as young-at-heart come to have a great time. Pubs and night spots line the downtown, and restaurants are aplenty!
Downtown Titusville, established in 1850, has a range of restaurants and interesting historic markers. One of the oldest communities on the Indian River, this nostalgic area features arts and crafts shops, clothing boutiques and nearby riverside parks. It also features the North Brevard Historical Museum, where visitors can learn about the remarkable first families that settled Titusville and take a unique look into the industries that supported the early Florida pioneers. Within one mile of downtown is the Titusville Municipal Marina, featuring a ships store and a large seawall for viewing manatees and other marine life. Visitors can enjoy a walking tour which reveals the area’s history on descriptive panels located along public walkways.
Families will enjoy an array of activities for the kids, from the expansive “Paws On” exhibit at the Brevard Zoo to hands-on discovery at The Dinosaur Store, complete with an Egyptian-themed dig site. Local museums, including a planetarium, are also favorite stops for those with little ones in tow.
And for nature enthusiasts, the Space Coast is one of the largest intact eco-systems in Florida, with more than 250 square miles of wildlife refuge as well as bird and sea turtle nesting areas and manatee and dolphin habitats.
Foodies can choose from 1,450 restaurants on the Space Coast, offering a range of options from upscale dining on the ocean to cozy hometown eateries.
Because the Space Coast has so much to see, visitors can visit the new website www.spacecoasthiddengems.com to pick out self-guided adventure tours complete with an itinerary, map and descriptions of some unique and often undiscovered destination treasures. Taking the expertise and insights of local residents, historians and other experts, the Hidden Gems initiative was created so visitors can discover highlights they may have otherwise overlooked. The current adventures are focused on wildlife, space or history, but many more will be added over time.
Including hotels, motels, beach rentals and condominiums, the destination boasts more than 10,000 guest rooms.
And don’t forget the weather! Visitors love the year-round Florida sunshine, which makes the destination an ideal respite from not-too-ideal temperatures at home. No matter where you turn, there’s something for everyone along Florida’s Space Coast!
Located 35 miles (56 km) east of Orlando, Florida’s Space Coast is home to Orlando’s closest beaches. Encompassing Cocoa Beach, Melbourne Beach, Palm Bay and Titusville, this family-friendly destination offers more than 10,000 guest rooms, and is an ideal, value getaway. With 72 miles (110 km) of beaches, the longest stretch in the state, and 250 square miles of wildlife refuge, the Space Coast is one of the largest intact eco-systems in Florida. It is home to one of the nation’s busiest cruise ports; is the nation’s East Coast surfing capital and the location of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where all 135 shuttle missions launched and unmanned rockets continue to launch. The Space Coast will be home to the retired Atlantis shuttle in 2013, and is one of only four destinations nationwide where visitors will be able to view an orbiter. For more information, contact the Space Coast Office of Tourism at (877) 572-3224 or visit www.visitspacecoast.com. Visitwww.spacecoastlaunches.com to learn about upcoming rocket launches. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Florida-Space-Coast. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/flaspacecoast.
Where is Florida’s Space Coast?
View Florida’s Space Coast in a larger map
Chance of a Thunderstorm86°/75°
Chance of a Thunderstorm86°/75°
Articles about Florida’s Space Coast:
- Fireworks at sea: Disney Fantasy and Dream ships light up the skies
- From ship to space to shore, Florida's Space Coast boasts an exciting variety of vacation options
- Mariah Carey christens Disney Fantasy cruise ship during star-studded New York City ceremony
Have you been to Florida’s Space Coast? Share your story and photos below. (Clicking in the comment box will bring up an image uploading link.)