Centrally located 45-minutes east of Orlando, this is a place where sandy beaches meet rocket launches. In this article, I list the top 5 things to do on Florida’s Space Coast. It is a place where nature provides the ultimate backdrop for visitors to enjoy idyllic year-round temperatures.
Water, Water Everywhere
It is the Space COAST, right? With over 72 miles of coastline, there are many amazing beaches to enjoy including Cape Canaveral National Seashore, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, and Sebastian Inlet State Park just to name a few.
If you like your water a little calmer, look no farther than Indian River Lagoon or the Banana River. The Space Coast boasts over 20,000 acres of freshwater rivers and lakes bordered by approximately 170,000 acres of wetlands to explore by foot or boat.
Kennedy Space Center
It is called the SPACE coast for a reason! If you have never been, I highly recommend a visit. And if you haven’t been since they opened the Space Shuttle Atlantis Building, you really need to go back to experience it. This place is so amazing that I have an entire article dedicated just to it. You can read it here. Finally, don’t forget that if you are staying anywhere on the Space Coast, keep an eye on the rocket launch schedule.
As Air Force veterans, if there is an air or space museum around, you’d best believe its on our radar! The Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum has a continually growing collection of over 45 historic warbirds from the beginnings of aviation to the present day. Included in the price of admission is a guided tour from one the volunteer docents.
This small zoo has such a thoughtful layout and many additional activities. There is so much shade, I didn’t really mind the heat when I visited in August. The zoo is a 75 acres not-for-profit facility and is home to more than 650 animals representing more than 165 species from Florida, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
In addition to traditional zoo admission, you can purchase an Adventure Package to take your visit to the next level. It includes a tree top course over the zoo, zip lines, animal feedings, a train ride, and a kayak tour. Obviously, I purchased the full package. I’m out here for adventure, and I’m doing all the activities I was too afraid to try when I was younger.
I know I already talked about water, but this activity deserves its own entry. It was the HIGHLIGHT of my trip. In the warm and dark lagoon waters on the Space Coast of Florida lies a natural phenomenon called bioluminescence. During the summer, billions of plankton called dinoflagellates emit a blueish-white glow underwater when they are disturbed. That means that every paddle of a kayak creates a wave of glowing light. You can also drag your hand through the water and it will glow for a few seconds after. We kayaked over to the mangrove marshes to see the chain reaction caused by the mullet as they provided their own light show. I wish I had pictures or video. Unfortunately, our camera could only capture the light of our glow bracelets that we affixed to the kayaks. If you want to take a guided tour we highly recommend Cocoa Kayaking. They provided everything from dry bags and cell phone dry cases to bug spray and water.