Explore the Space Coast's Exciting Attractions beyond Port Canaveral

Whether you are visiting Port Canaveral to watch the cruise ships slide by and enjoy the great shopping, or you are gearing up to take your own cruise, set aside a few extra days to explore the exciting attractions nearby. 

There's much more to the Port Canaveral area on the Space Coast than just the ships. In fact, the areas around the port provide some of the best views and wildlife watching in all of the Space Coast. 

Rent a cabin or pop up a tent in Jetty Park, where the beaches are pristine and rarely busy. Spend a day in Kelly Park, where you can experience some of the world's best windsurfing. Climb the birdwatching tower in the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary for a stunning view. And plan a picnic at the Manatee Sanctuary Park. 

Go boating at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, fishing at the Jetty Park Pier and on the Banana River, golfing at the Savannahs Sykes Creek (one of the most challenging golf courses on the Space Coast), hiking at Ulumay and shopping at the Merritt Square Mall and Cocoa Beach Pier. 

If you are traveling with your family, hit up Kelly Park and Jetty Park, where the waves tend to be calmer and more kid-friendly. 

Merritt Island
Merritt Square Mall


Located right on the Banana River, this island mall is a fun, comfortable place to spend your time – and money. More than 80 brand name and specialty shops have outposts here, from Sephora inside JCPenny to Champs Sports and Aeropostale,...  Read More

Savannahs at Sykes Creek


An extra sleeve of balls may be a wise investment on this flat course, as water is a factor on 14 of Savannahs' holes. The greens are small and hard to read at times, but this is a fun, playable course. Expect to find average sized, tree-lined...  Read More

Merritt Island
Kelly Park
Photo courtesy of Jason Crotty


Kelly Park is a fun and beautiful 15-acre destination right on the shores of the Banana River in Merritt Island, not far from the port. Spend a relaxing day at this park, grilling lunch, eating on the picnic tables, walking along the waterfront,...  Read More

Merritt Island
Banana River
Photo courtesy of Leonard J. DeFrancisci/Wikimedia Commons


The Banana River is a 31-mile-long lagoon stretching between Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island. It's the home to many marine critters, such as dolphins, manatees and stingrays, as well as plenty of waterfowl. Birdwatchers will be excited to see...  Read More

Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary
Photo courtesy of Brandon Trentler


The Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary stretches across 457 acres in Merritt Island, and it's an internationally known destination for bird-watchers. Enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities here: watching wildlife (keep your eyes peeled for endangered...  Read More

Manatee Sanctuary Park
Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey


The Manatee Sanctuary Park in Cape Canaveral is one of the best, most peaceful places near the port to enjoy the outdoors. This park spans more than 10 acres of nature on the Banana River. Plan a day excursion here. Talk the half-mile trail...  Read More

Jetty Park Beach and Campground
Photo courtesy of Bradley Buhro


Jetty Park is one of the Space Coast's best beaches, and a great place to go camping and fishing, too. With many campsites (for different types of camping, from rugged to RV), picnic tables, laundry facilities, hot showers and toilets, electric...  Read More

The Cocoa Beach Pier
Photo courtesy of Flickr user RyanCrierie


Half a mile north of 520, off A1A, you'll find The Pier, an exciting extension of the city of Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast. Take in live music (the pier has welcomed the bands such as the Beach Boys and UB40), as you dine several hundred feet...  Read More

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Photo courtesy of Flickr user cyanocorax


The refuge is 140,000 acres (or 22 square miles) of wetlands inhabited by more than 1,500 types of plants and animals, including more than 300 species of birds, ghost crabs, loggerhead and green sea turtles, reptiles, raccoons and bobcats. ...  Read More

Port Canaveral
Port Canaveral
Photo courtesy of Flickr user tomsaint


Port Canaveral is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. Even though millions of cruise passengers pass through her every year, the atmosphere remains relaxed. Located off A1A in Cape Canaveral, Port Canaveral serves as an industrial,...  Read More


Meet Aimee Heckel

Aimee Heckel’s passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the...  More About Aimee