Does your ideal vacation include adventure activities for the whole family? If so, then your next adventure vacation awaits at Florida’s Space Coast.
We are lucky because Florida’s Space Coast is just a short drive from us here in Central Florida, so we have taken advantage of everything the coast has to offer several times over the last few months. During our visits to the coast we have checked out a number of adventure opportunities and made a ton of lasting memories with the kids.
Whether you are looking for a Florida destination for a long vacation or a short weekend getaway from Central Florida, put Florida’s Space Coast on your list for family adventure.
Florida’s Space Coast Adventures Not To Be Missed
Out of this world adventure – A trip to Florida’s Space Coast isn’t complete without a visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex. In one afternoon you can lunch with an astronaut, touch a moon rock and come face to face with real rockets. Mini astronauts will also have a blast in the Angry Birds in Space exhibit. But the real wow factor belongs to the newest addition to the Visitor’s Complex, the Space Shuttle Atlantis. I get chills each time the doors open to reveal the 122-foot space craft. Space exploration is truly one of mankind’s most amazing endeavors, and you can experience it all with your kids.
Foodie adventures – After a full day of adventure, the family is sure to work up an appetite. With more than 1,450 mouthwatering dinning options along the Space Coast there are flavors for everyone. And the fresh catch is always on the menu. My personal recommendation for unique fare is Crush Eleven. Crush Eleven is a foodie’s dream. Pairing specialty wines, craft beers and quality hand-crafted cocktails with an ever evolving menu the Crush Eleven chefs prepare delectable dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
Take a walk on the wild side – It’s one thing to walk through a zoo looking at animals in their exhibits, it is a completely different experience when you get to interact with the animals. At the Brevard Zoo guests are welcome to take part in feeding giraffe, the lorikeet and the cockatiels — and it is just so cool. One can’t help but giggle at the giraffe’s long purple tongue grabbing for snacks and lorikeets perched all over mom and dad begging for a bite.
On our most recent visit we took adventure to another level when K embarked on her very first kayak trip on a guided tour around the zoo. It was the highlight of her weekend. I promised that next time we would experience the zoo from a new perspective, high up in the tree tops. The zoo’s Tree Top Trek offers a bird’s eye view of the animals (and people below).
Surf’s Up – Grab your longboard and hit the waves at the surf capital of the world — Cocoa Beach. Take lessons from the experts and learn how to hang ten with the pros for a big adventure. For something a bit more low-key, join the herds of body boarders riding the waves. Whatever your speed, enjoy some fun in the sun at Orlando’s closest beach. Our favorite spot is Jetty Park, which has public facilities and life guards on duty.
A need for speed – For Florida-style adventure the whole family can enjoy, take a high-speed airboat ride. Midway Airboat Rides takes passengers out into the marshy St. Johns river for a ride like no other. Along the way your guide will point out animal sightings such as gators, bald eagles, herons and even cow. After the ride get up close and personal with a baby alligator, snakes and a pot bellied pig inside the Midway office.
Shop ’til ya drop – Cocoa Beach is the home of World Famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, and it truly is “One of a Kind.” With rows and rows of surfboards and more beach apparel then you have ever seen under one roof, this surf shop has become an attraction all on its own. If shopping is your sport, Cocoa Village and Downtown Melbourne also offer great shopping. But the adventure in shopping still goes to Ron Jon.
Cruisin’ – Perhaps one of the most well-know attractions along the Space Coast is Port Canaveral — home to Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. With everything there is to see and do along the Space Coast, taking on a few extra days before or after a cruise to experience the local adventure is a must. Even if you aren’t cruising, you will find several restaurants along the water way from which you can watch the ships coming in and out of port. You can also see the ships from the beach at Jetty Park.
Meet the locals – The Space Coast is home to more than 250 square miles of wildlife refuge that can be explored with guided and unguided tours by foot, automobile, kayak or bicycle. There are plenty of opportunities for nature lovers to check out the local wildlife from manatee and dolphin habitats to sea turtle nesting areas. We also saw gators, dolphin and manatee at dusk on our night kayak tour (see below). If you want to explore Florida’s natural beauty and it’s beautiful creatures, you’ll find plenty of opportunities along the Space Coast.
Blast off – Even if you have seen them on TV dozens of times, there is nothing like experiencing a rocket launch in person at Cape Canaveral. It took 35 years for me to finally experience my first rocket launch, and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. It is thrilling, remarkable and inspiring. I was lucky enough to catch a night rocket launch on a recent visit, and it was very exciting.
Glow in the dark water – For an adventure that will really amaze, nothing tops bioluminescent night kayaking. In the dark of the night, the water of Mosquito Lagoon comes alive with a beautiful glow as you paddle through the water. It is like magic as you paddle through the calm water leaving a glowing wake behind you. And it is mesmerizing to watch the glowing trail of fish as they dart beneath your kayak. It is impossible for a photograph of this nighttime phenomenon, it is truly one of those things you have to see to believe. And it is absolutely something you don’t want to miss.