Wickham Park is our favorite, off-the-beaten-path, non-touristy attraction on the Space Coast. This is a hotspot for college students, located adjacent to the Eastern Florida State College Melbourne campus, which means plenty of events, from a medieval festival to multicultural celebrations. Friday night is food truck night. Grab a meal to go and head for the beach, where you can spot dolphins. Wickham Park offers a ton of fun features, including but not limited to: camping (with electrical hookups), a plethora of trails, swimming, a pavilion, horse stables, multiple lakes, disc golf, volleyball, soccer fields, a dog park, amphitheater and more.
The Sky Dive Space Center in Titusville is one of the Space Coast's most thrilling activities. It's the world's highest jump, at 18,000 feet. It also is the only drop zone in the world that overlooks the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral. Sky Dive Space Center has special permission from NASA to fly right above the shuttle launch pads and runway on the way to altitude, so you can see a unique, one-of-a-kind aerial tour of the space center that you cannot experience any other way. If you're on a budget, the Sky Dive Space Center also boasts the "world's cheapest jump," for just $99 – although we recommend upgrading to the biggest packages that include video and photographic evidence of your experience.
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. NASA owns and maintains this treasure and offers the public many ways to experience it. Join in a guided tour or explore four different hiking trails that range from 0.25 mile to five miles long. Boating, canoeing, a manatee observation deck (with informational panels about this endangered species), coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries, fishing and nature photography make this a complete wildlife experience.
Located midway down the Florida east coast between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, the 24 miles of park is home to over 1,000 species of plants and 300 species of birds, including 14 threatened or endangered species. Sea turtles nest here. This is Florida, in nature. Wild and untouched. Visitors enjoy camping (with permit), ocean beaches, surfing, fishing, boating and hunting. Rangers facilitate programs year-round on such topics as canoeing and sea turtle nesting. Take a self-guided tour along Black Point Wildlife Drive, through the marsh. Restrooms and a small bookstore also available, but don't expect picnic benches, phones, drinking fountains or stores. This is an escape from all of that.
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, commercial and luxury transportation hub by connecting land, sea, air and space travel. In addition to its daily import/export schedule, seven of the finest cruise terminals in the world are located here. Deep sea fishing and boat rental are also available. The Cove at Port Canaveral is a waterfront recreational area that's home to several restaurants, shops, charter boats and attractions.
Ron Jon Surf Shop is the world's most famous surf shop, with a location in Cocoa Beach. You can find Ron Jon stores along the coast, from New Jersey to Maryland, but it's popular tourist attraction in the Space Coast, too. In fact, Ron Jon's Cocoa Beach location is the largest surfing shop in the world. Pick up souvenirs here, as well as some sunscreen, a new swimming suit and, of course, a surfboard. At Ron Jon's, you can find everything you need for a day at the beach. And whether you life chain stores or not, it is a Cocoa Beach landmark.
The world's largest collection of astronaut artifacts, this museum offers a tribute to America's first forty-four astronauts. View historical mission items from every flight and personal astronaut memorabilia. Many of the artifacts here are rare and fascinating, and the displays are inspiring; don't miss the glass etchings that line the Hall of Heroes. Take control of your very own space craft with the 3D-360 Simulator! Build and launch your own rocket. Experience the feel of walking on the moon. The third floor is a great place for a panoramic view of the Kennedy Space Center and the Indian River Lagoon. The Hall of Fame is also associated with The US Space Camp.
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 above the Atlantic Ocean at Oh Shucks. Or walk down to the end of the pier for classic seafood at Marlins. The Boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean Grille offer great selections, as well. There are also gift shops, volleyball courts and fishing sites. This historical, 800-foot-long landmark is excellent for fishing, as well as playing beach volleyball and some of the best surfing in the area.
The only zoo in the U.S. to offer onsite kayaking tours, Brevard Zoo features over 880 animals from around the world. Get up close and personal with a white rhino during a Rhino Encounter from noon to 1 p.m., ride the Cape to Cairo express train, feed cockatiels and lorikeets in a free flight aviary, visit with the residents at the petting zoo and splash around in the Paws On Play lagoon. Free parking, on-site cafe and gift shop, educational programs, overnight adventures, camps and the option to rent the Nyami Nyami River Lodge for special events are all offered. So if you've never seen a meerkat, tapir, siamang, jaguar, cassowary or come face to face with a giraffe, check out Brevard Zoo open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admission is 4:15 p.m.
The Space Coast is named for its unique history with NASA, centered around the Kennedy Space Center. Although NASA's last shuttle launch was a few years ago, you can still catch the occasional private rocket launch here. The Kennedy Space Center is the definitive place to visit for an exciting education in America's legendary space program, and to get a glimpse into the working environment of a real space exploration facility. Take a tour, check out exhibits of historic space events, see 3-D IMAX films that bring you face to face with missions of the past, present and future, and even go vertical in the Shuttle Launch Experience. General admission includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, featuring astronaut memorabilia, simulators and displays.