From moonwalks and dune overwalks to cruise ports and water sports, a galaxy of options await visitors at Florida’s Space Coast, a 72-mile stretch of sun-bronzed Atlantic shore, space-age attractions, and protected wildlife refuges flourishing along the surf — all at down-to-earth prices. Featured among Money magazine’s “Best Places to Vacation,” the Space Coast is comprised primarily of area cities Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Palm Bay, and Titusville.
Cape Canaveral is known around the world as the home of the Kennedy Space Center. Situated on Merit Island on the Atlantic Ocean, this beachside community lies near the cruise liner area of Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.
At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors can sense galactic adventures at this 140,000-acre megaplex including a replica of a space shuttle, two extraordinary IMAX movies that launch viewers into space, a Rocket Garden riddled with Mercury and Gemini era rockets and bus tours viewing breathtaking launch pads along pristine shores.
The Apollo/Saturn V Center celebrates one of humankind’s greatest achievements with an authentic Saturn V rocket – the most powerful ever built – created to transport man to the moon.
In sweeping contrast and absolutely free, surrounding the Kennedy Space Center, is the 220-square-mile Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which is home to more federally endangered species than any refuge in the United States. A six-mile driving tour with shaded boardwalks weave through lush pine and oak hammocks of the second-largest sanctuary in Florida.
Also in Cape Canaveral is the Air Force Space and Missile Museum located at the original launch facility – Launch Pad 26 – showcasing the early stages of space exploration.
At the Canaveral National Seashore nearly 20 wooden walks dive over 15-foot sand dunes scattered with dancing sea oats and prickly pear cactus to this 24-mile stretch of platinum-colored quartz sand, including the pristine Atlantic beaches of Klondike, Apollo and Playalinda, with imposing launch pads creating awe-inspiring backdrops.
Surprisingly, Space Coast accommodations provide priceless beach vacations with great family value. Whether posh or practical, more than 9,500 East Coast rooms are dotted throughout the area from popular hotels and spacious condominiums to beachside cottages and five-bedroom bungalows.