10 Best Attractions in Cape Canaveral, Florida

Cape Canaveral, Fla., is the main city just south of the bustling Port Canaveral, one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. With this much action in this small, water-surrounded area, it's no surprise that there's plenty to see and do in and near the Cape. 

That makes Cape Canaveral a tourist favorite when visiting the Space Coast

The closest and most popular attraction to Cape Canaveral is the port itself. Even if you don't have plans to climb aboard a cruise ship, it's entertaining watching the ships sail by, scanning the water for dolphins and other water critters or chartering a boat to go fishing. 

Cape Canaveral is home to several longstanding, reputable, locally run fishing charter companies. Two of our favorites are Sea Leveler and Canaveral Offshore Adventures. 

If you're looking to experience a cruise ship, the Victory Casino Cruises are a fun nightlife alternative. Gamble aboard a cruise ship at night, and the return to solid ground when you're done. 

The Exploration Tower is a must-visit, especially at night, when the star-watching will remind you of the Space Coast's rich history in space exploration. Along those lines, a visit to the Kennedy Space Center and the various astronaut and space museums in the area are a given.

These are 10 of our favorite things to do in Cape Canaveral. 


Canaveral Offshore Adventures
Photo courtesy of Canaveral Offshore Adventures

Canaveral Offshore Adventures is a fishing charter based in Cape Canaveral, offering all kinds of fishing for people of all backgrounds. This company is run by a Florida native who has been fishing the state's waters for almost 30 years. He's a U.S. Coast Guard certified captain and an expert about the Canaveral area and knows just where to go to find mahi mahi, tuna, snapper, cobia, wahoo and more. The adventure takes place aboard a fully outfitted 26-foot Formula with an extra quiet engine. To have the best chances of catching the big one, Canaveral Offshore Adventures uses all kinds of fishing tactics, from trolling live bait to fishing near the shore.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: Canaveral Offshore Adventures is run by a Florida native who is a certified captain through the U.S. Coast Guard.

Aimee's expert tip: Pack lunch (the boat has a cooler) and drinks. Wear a swimsuit, sunscreen and pack a cooler for your car if you plan on catching something and bringing it home.

Read more about Canaveral Offshore Adventures →

Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters
Photo courtesy of Sea Leveler

For one of the best fish experiences on the Space Coast, Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters is a longstanding, locally run company with a solid reputation. The 15-year-old Sea Leveler organizes fishing charters, deep sea fishing and even shark fishing. Yes, shark fishing, every night for four hours after dark. The captains on these boats are highly experienced and trained to work with fishers of all levels, from beginners to experts to families with kids. The captains are full-time fishers, who also do commercial fishing as a supplemental income. But what that means for visitors is they truly know where to cast out a line every day. Sign up for a full day or half day private fishing experience, and your line may snag a grouper, amberjack, snapper or shark, while you watch jumping sailfish and dolphins.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: Sea Leveler is a 15-year-old fishing charter company with highly experienced captains.

Aimee's expert tip: Pack a lunch, snacks and don't forget your sunscreen.

Read more about Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters →

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 (and even try out the exercise stations, if you want to get in an outdoor workout); walk the riverside boardwalk; pack lunch and eat it under the covered pavilion; challenge your friends to a game of horseshoes; and best of all, watch for manatees, dolphins, osprey, waterfowl, fish and more. Tip: For nearly guaranteed manatee sightings, locals head to the corner of Berkley and St. Patrick streets. The canal under the bridge is a manatee superhighway!

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: Watch for manatees, dolphins, osprey, waterfowl and more at this peaceful park.

Aimee's expert tip: Come here for lunch on the river. You can grill out and enjoy a peaceful picnic on the waterfront.

Read more about Manatee Sanctuary Park →

U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum
Photo courtesy of Jim Hale

Deepen your connection and understanding of space on the Space Coast, when you visit the U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum on the Patrick Air Force Base, just about seven minutes away from Cape Canaveral, Fla. This museum spans two launch complexes. On one, Launch Complex 26, visitors can see the site of the first successful launch of an American satellite into space. The other site, Launch Complex 5/6, was the launch site for the first Project Mercury missions, as well as the pad from which the first two American astronauts went into space in the '60s. Learn all about this and more on guided bus tours and at the history museum. The space and missile museum opened to the public in the late '60s.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: The space and missile museum is where visitors can see two important launch complexes in American space exploration history.

Aimee's expert tip: If you can't make it to the museum in person, you can take a virtual tour online.

Read more about U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum →

Victory Casino Cruises
Photo courtesy of Victory Casino Cruises

Gamble on the water, near Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Victory Casino Cruises are special ships stocked with slots, tables and live entertainment to bring your gambling and entertainment to the water. Find two cruises every day, seven days a week, including special evening cruises that last until midnight or later. On these cruise ships, you can find more than 600 slots, 30 tables, live entertainment, food and free drinks � all while floating on the water. The cruises depart from Port Canaveral in Florida's Space Coast claims to be "America's biggest and best casino cruise ship." They are a popular tourist destination and an attraction worth checking out.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: These casino cruises are a popular way to enjoy your evening on the Space Coast – and maybe win some money.

Aimee's expert tip: Take your Dramamine and keep hydrated. Alcohol and seasickness is a combo that can ruin any night out.

Read more about Victory Casino Cruises →

US Astronaut Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

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.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: This is the world's largest collection of astronaut artifacts.

Aimee's expert tip: Entrance into the hall of fame is included with your admission to the Kennedy Space Center, so don't miss it.

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Port Canaveral
Exploration Tower
Photo courtesy of Exploration Tower

One of the best views in Florida is from the new Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral, on the Space Coast. This seven-story tower, which opened late 2013, boasts stellar views of the stunning ocean and port. The Observation Tower features two decks with unique, panoramic views of the coast and the famous Kennedy Space Center. For a romantic date, enjoy food in the cafe and then plan on staying late. Use high-end telescopes to watch the stars. Spend your evening on the seventh-floor outdoor deck surrounded nearly on all sides by water in this unique, glowing tower. Don't forget your camera.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: This seven-story tower offers panoramic views of the coast and star-watching.

Aimee's expert tip: Try to schedule your visit so you can watch a rocket blast into space from the deck.

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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 hook-ups, a playground, a small beach bar and a small shop, Jetty Park is an outdoor adventure destination – the perfect vacation within a vacation, if you're looking for a relaxing experience in Florida's natural habitat. The beach here is pristine, accented by the Jetty Park pier – a fishing hub. This is an ideal area for families, because it even offers security and lifeguards at the beach. The water is calmer than some of the other Space Coast beaches, so children enjoy playing here. Watch for dolphins and manatees.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: This is one of the region's best beaches and places to go camping.

Aimee's expert tip: Consider renting a cabin, and ask about the specials. Sometimes you can get the fourth night free.

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Kennedy Space Center
Photo courtesy of Kennedy Space Center

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.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: The space center is what the region is named for. It's NASA's former headquarters.

Aimee's expert tip: Have lunch with an astronaut and have a chance to ask a real space explorer all the questions your imagination can dream up.

Read more about Kennedy Space Center →

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, 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.

Recommended for Cape Canaveral's Best Attractions because: The port is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.

Aimee's expert tip: You don't have to go on a cruise to enjoy the port. Go deep sea fishing or charter a boat.

Read more about Port Canaveral →


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