Space Coast, Florida

Location: Space Coast

Brevard County, Florida is widely known as the Space Coast. Home to around 597,000 people and located on the east coast of central Florida, it has 72 miles of beachline, as well
as freshwater tributaries. Away from the shore, you will find a variety of ecosystems and sites that are unlike anything in other parts of the Sunshine State. I chose to write about the
Space Coast because I have grown up here, but only in the last few years have I begun to appreciate how it is able to pull in so many tourists every year with so many things to do that I took for granted having so close. I believe that the things we offer are unable to found anywhere else in the state or even the country.


Brevard County was established in early 1844 from Mosquito County. There are several historically significant events that took place here, some before it was founded. Juan Ponce
de Leon first landed here back in 1513. Off the coast of Cape Canaveral, the last naval battle of the American Revolutionary War was fought in 1783. However, it is most famous for
being the home of America’s Manned Space Program. It began in 1950 when the Air Force launched a rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is now famously known
as Kennedy Space Center. Every important milestone of the space program happened here.


Florida has the warmest weather of any American state. On the Space Coast, it is a humid subtropical climate. It ranges from about 49 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 91 degrees in
July. Being on the coast, the water acts as a regulator of heat, so the temperature does not vary too much daily. The wet season runs from May to October and on average, Brevard
County gets 54 inches of rain a year. However, there are typically 236 days of sunshine as the storms do not stay for long. People visit year-round. Summer is popular for being cruise
season, as well as being the best time to enjoy the miles of beachline that is offered here. However, late summer and into fall is hurricane season. This can easily shut down cities and
attractions, so visitors may not plan to stay here in this time of uncertainty.


Guests who visit Florida for the theme parks of Orlando also like to visit the other thing Florida is famous for- beaches. Brevard County has the closest beaches to Orlando, being only an hour drive from there. Many of the tourists that visit here come to enjoy the warmth of the sun and beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. Also being named the Space Coast for the obvious reason, space fanatics come to visit the Kennedy Space Center, where they can emerge themselves in all there is to learn about the history of the space program. They can walk around the rocket gardens, meet an astronaut, and even ride a simulator that shows what it is like to be launched into the stratosphere. Another type of tourist that enjoys visiting here are the ones who love nature. They can see unique creatures like sea turtles who nest here about half a year, or manatees who reside in the Indian River Lagoon. There is also the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, home to countless bird, mammal, and reptile species, and where one can certainly spot an alligator. Lastly, people come here to sail out of Port Canaveral, which was recently named the best cruise homeport in the nation. About 4.5 million passengers pass through there each year. People stay here for about 4 days and typically rent a car to visit all their destinations in min



If you plan on flying into the Space Coast, there is the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport mainly served by Delta Airlines, as well as US Airways, Elite Air, Porter Airlines and Baer Air. Another option is Orlando International Airport, which is served by 37 major airlines including Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue, just to name a few. Orlando International Airport is on the eastern outskirts of Orlando, only 35 miles from the Space Coast. A third option is the Orlando-Sanford International Airport which is north of Brevard County and is served by Allegiant Airlines and other international airlines, as well as charters.


Port Canaveral is a cruise, cargo and naval port located in the Northern part of the Space Coast in Cape Canaveral. Over 45 million cruise passengers sail through here every year. Cruise line options include Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International. All of these cruise lines are based in the United States and offer cruises ranging from 3 to 14 days. A popular destination of the cruises out of Port Canaveral sail to the Caribbean Islands.


Ground travel is the most common way to get around the Space Coast. Interstate 95 runs completely through the county from the north to the south. With 1,557 square miles to cover, a rental car is the best means of transport. Near the Orlando- Melbourne International Airport, you can rent from Hertz, Enterprise,Rent-A-Car, or Budget Car Rental.

Getting Around the Space Coast

Like it said before, the Space Coast is over 1,500 square miles. If you were coming into PortCanaveral, many hotels have shuttles that will take you from the port to your hotel. You have BTM Transportation and Beachline Transportation, or the Cocoa Beach Shuttle. For taxi options, you may choose from 888 Taxi, Cab-To-Go, or Hollywood Taxi of Florida. If you are arriving at Orlando International Airport and are heading east to the coast, you can ride with Space Coast Shuttle, Happy Hour Shuttle, or Cortrans, to name a few. Many cruise lines will also have shuttles from the airport to the port for your cruise. If you are flying into Orlando-Melbourne International Airport, you may rent from Hertz, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, or Budget Car Rental. On average, a car rental will cost you about $40 dollars a day. Cheaper options for your visit may include Uber and Lyft rideshares, or the Space Coast Transit buses that also go around the county. Here in Brevard, locals mainly use cars to get around, though bikes are quite common to see if you are riding along A1A and taking in the beachline views. Though you can arrive here by air and sea, having a car in the county will allow you to coverany part of the area that you would like.


On the Space Coast, you will find hotels ranging motels to major resorts along the beach. As you head further inland, you can find boutique hotels in the historic areas of Cocoa or
Melbourne, or bed and breakfasts for those passing through on the interstate. Whether you are here overnight or on a week-long honeymoon enjoying the water, there is an option for. 


On the Space Coast, you will find hotels ranging motels to major resorts along the beach. As you head further inland, you can find boutique hotels in the historic areas of Cocoa or
Melbourne, or bed and breakfasts for those passing through on the interstate. Whether you are here overnight or on a week-long honeymoon enjoying the water, there is an option for


Name Category Cost Amenities Audience Stars
Holiday Inn Express and Suites
Economy/business friendly hotel
$95 a night
Business center, fitness center, pool
Business or leisure guests
Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach
Suite hotel, mid-level service
$179 a night
Airport shuttle, free breakfast, fitness center, pool, beach access
Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront
Luxury boutique hotel, luxury service
$183 a night
Outdoor pool, ocean view, beach chair and watersport rentals, free 3-mile shuttle, beach entrance

For those wanting to experience something other than a typical hotel stay, the Space Coast offers condos, RV campgrounds, or vacation rentals to check out. If you are here for a while,
condos and vacation rentals offer a stay that feels like home, where you can cook or relax in a fully furnished living room. Many of them are right on the beach, and you can blend in
with the locals. RV campgrounds are a place to unwind without having to unpack all your belongings. You can enjoy the natural beauty of Florida when you park your RV in many of
the campsites by the water or even some spots with a view of the rocket launches.

Name Category Cost Amenities Audience Stars
Jetty Park
RV Campground
$39 a night
Laundry, picnic area, showers, pier, launch viewing area
Leisure campers, outdoor types
Cocoa Beach Villas
$160 a night
Full kitchens, living rooms, private balconies
Families, leisure travelers, extended stays
Azure Estates
Vacation Rental
$550 a night
Full kitchen, pool, private entrance,beachfront, BBQ grill
Large families, leisure

Food & Beverage

You can fulfil almost every craving that you may have here on the Space Coast. However, the most popular finds here in Brevard consist of Mexican cuisine, beachside grills, and seafood galore. You can find ma and pa diners for your breakfast, or a smoothie bar if you are looking for something to fuel your day. Come lunch time, you can find burritos right on the beach or burger stands along US1. After finishing your day, you can sit down at any of the fine dining experiences overlooking the river, where you can get a hearty steak or try the seafood caught right off of our shores in the Atlantic. If you still have a sweet tooth by the end of your ventures, try one of the many homemade ice cream shops on any corner of our historic towns or across the street from the beach. From Asian fusion to Mediterranean classics, New York pizzerias to LA hipster-esque spots, you will be sure to find a place in Brevard County that you cannot wait to tell your friends and family about. The diversity of this area allows a chance for every culture or aspiring chefs to put their foods into the spotlight.

Rice Vermicelli from Pho Viet

Quick Service Restaurants:

Name Cuisine Meals Features Price
Da Kine Diego's Insane Burritos
Quick bite, Mexican
Lunch, Dinner
Takeout, outdoor seating
The Surfinista
Juice Bar, smoothies, healthy bites
Breakfast, Lunch
Takeout, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options
Burger Inn
Grill, fast food
Lunch, Dinner
Takeout, outdoor seating

Casual Restaurants:

Name Cuisine Meals Features Price
Southern style, rustic-chic
Breakfast, Lunch
Cook pancakes on your table's personal griddle, dine-in, curbside, delivery, vegetarian friendly
Pho Viet
Asian, Vietnamese
Lunch, Dinner
Dine-in, takeout, vegetarian friendly, gluten-free, vegan options
Long Doggers
Local cuisine, American, bar and grill
Lunch, Dinner
Takeout, outdoor seating, live music

Fine Dining Restaurants:

Name Cuisine Meals Features Price
Yellow Dog Cafe
Local cuisine, American
Lunch, Dinner
Dine-in, outdoor seating, valet parking, waterfront
River Rocks
Lunch, Dinner
Dine-in, reservations, outdoor seating, private dining, waterfront, live music
Ember and Oak
American, Contemporary, Wine Bar
Lunch, Dinner
Reservations, Dine-in

Recreation / Entertainment

With so many activities to choose from, you are sure to find something enjoyable for you, your family, your friends, and anyone else you bring to Brevard County. Like I have said before, the 72 miles of beachline, two large brackish rivers and countless lakes, there is a plethora of water sports that people can do almost anywhere. You can take surf lessons on the beach, or choose from many of the kayak, paddleboard, or jet ski rentals that line the Indian River, a brackish water estuary that runs down the entire county about 2 miles west of the beach. In the freshwater lakes, you can ride airboats or view the infamous American alligator that roam the southeastern region of the United States. And of course, you can go fishing in any of these waters for the wide variety of species that swim in our waters. With so many historic towns, you can also be immersed in the culture of the area and the arts offered. But of course, there is one thing that puts this area on the map and has given us the name “Space Coast”: NASA. We are home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex draws in 1.5 million visitors a year. Whether they come to learn about the rich history of the space program or to view one of the launches, visitors are amazed by what KSC has to offer.

Sea turtle hatchlings at the beach

Water Activities:

Natural Wonders:

Sports, recreation & spas:

Arts, Culture, Entertainment:


3 Days on the Space Coast: A Family Itinerary

Day 1: Get to know what gives Space Coast its name. Explore the exciting history if the nation’s space program and other historic places in the area.

Morning: Kennedy Space Center Complex, American Space Museum, Rocket Launch

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is arguably the most popular manmade attraction on Florida’s east coast. It educates you about the past, present, and future of the space program, but will also provide fun for all through interactive exhibits like the zerogravity slide and a rocket launch simulator. You can also take a bus tour to visit the launch sites or take a stroll through the rocket garden where numerous retired rockets stand towering above your head. On certain days, you can even meet with an astronaut and enjoy a meal with them! After that, you can take a short drive to the American Space Museum, which was founded to preserve space memorabilia. This is adjacent to Space View Park, which is a prime viewing spot for the rocket launch that may also take place that day.


Afternoon: Historic Cocoa Village  

Cocoa Village is quaint little town right along the Indian River. As you stroll along its pebble streets lined with painted benches, you can check out the antique stores and art galleries.
You can also take the family to watch a Broadway play at the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse which opened its doors back in 1924. It Is fully supported by local volunteers
and stuff who provide guests with one of the most spectacular fine art experiences in the country. If your kids are eager to move around after sitting for a while, you can head across
the street to the Cocoa Riverfront Park with a playground, outdoor amphitheater, and splash pad. Adults can also enjoy watching the boats pass by on the water. After all the fun, you can get a scoop of homemade gelato at the Ossorio Bakery Cafe , which also offers fresh salads, sandwiches, or pizzas from their wood-fired oven. 

Amphitheater at Cocoa Village

Day 2: Time to enjoy the water, sunshine, and sand! Check out the Indian River, our brackish water estuary, and then head out to the Atlantic coast and relax on any part of our 72-mile beachline.

Morning: Ballard Park

Tucked in a quiet neighborhood, locals know that one of the best spots on a sunny day is Ballard Park. It is one of many riverside parks in the area but boasts many amenities that
others do not offer. There are volleyball courts, tennis courts, basketballs courts, boat launches, a playground, and several pavilions available for reservation, perfect for a family
picnic. It is also a great spot to set out kayaks and paddleboards or set out some fishing rods to catch one of the dozens of fish species that swim the river’s waters. But if you are not a
catch-and-cook kind of person and would rather stop somewhere else for lunch, Downtown Melbourne is only a 5-minute drive away. A popular eatery there is Backwater. They serve
breakfast all day and lunch, but their tables with griddles built in is a great way for your kids to get creative and design their own pancakes. But if breakfast-at-noon is not your thing, they offer southern meals like shaved ribeye, shrimp and grits, or a country fried pork chop.


Kayaking at Ballard Park

Afternoon: Cocoa Beach Pier

After a morning inland, its time to cross over the bridge and get some long-awaited time in the surf. Cocoa Beach is one of our many coastal towns and has many beaches to choose
from. The can’t-miss spot here is the Cocoa Beach Pier. It is a landmark on our coast and offers surfboard rentals and lessons, live music, and many shops to grab some souvenirs.
They also have volleyball courts and host surf competitions. This is the perfect spot to relax and tan while watching your kids play in the sand, as well as finally hopping in the water and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean. After you are all done down on the beach, you can rinse off in the freshwater showers and then head back up onto the pier. There are several restaurants
to pick from, but to wrap up your day on the water, sitting down at Keith’s Oyster Bar is the best option. You can taste the freshest seafood caught just offshore like grouper, shrimp,
lobster, and oysters of course. They also have a kid’s menu, or burgers and sandwiches if seafood is not your thing. Watching the sunset and listening to their live music is the greatest way to finish off the night

Day 3: Check out the most naturally biodiverse spot in the entire county, and then head over to our world-class zoo for even more animals you can see and even interact with.

Morning: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge boasts over 1500 different species of wildlife and numerous different habitats like salt and freshwater wetlands, upland shrubland,
wetland forest, beaches, and dunes. You can also all kinds of animals like bobcats, otters, manatees, deer alligators, snakes, turtles, over 140 species of fish, and 358 species of birds.
You can choose to do the 7-mile self-guided car tour Black Point Wildlife Drive, or one of six hiking trails to get a view of the different ecosystems and animals that the refuge offers.
After your morning of wildlife viewing, head over to Sergio’s Tacos, the prime spot for authentic Mexican cuisine in town. They resource the freshest ingredients and make the
most mouth-watering burritos, tacos, and quesadillas to satisfy your taste buds.



Afternoon: Brevard Zoo and Treetop Trek 

After a morning of getting a glimpse of the Space Coast’s wild side, the Brevard Zoo is a wonderful place to learn about more animals from all over the world. This zoo was built by
the community and continues to be supported by volunteers today. There mission is “wildlife conservation through education and participation”, and they have certainly
succeeded in doing that. They have an exhibit based on African, the Amazon rainforest, the Caribbean, and wild Florida. Alongside getting to stroll through these exhibits, they offer
more interactive things, like chances to feed the giraffes and exotic birds, take a train ride behind the scenes, a petting area where you can meet goats, armadillos, and alpacas, and a
touch tank where you can hold horseshoe crabs or hermit crabs. Once you get through meeting all the critters of the zoo, you can cross the parking lot and enter Treetop Trek, the
zoos rope and zipline course where you can zip and climb through lush landscapes and take in a view of the zoo from up above. There are easy courses for the little ones, and more
thrilling routes for the adventure-seekers, like the zipline that sends you right over the alligator pit. Once your jam-packed day comes to a close, you can grab a bite at Long
Dogger’s, an American eatery with the atmosphere of a cozy surf shop and a laid back yet delicious menu with wings, burgers, seafood, and their famous Long Dogger hot dogs. They
also have outdoor games to keep everyone happy as your fresh food is prepared.