Here, you can buy dinosaur eggs and teeth, meteorites, dig for fossils and hang out with snakes and gaters. It's the biggest in-stock selection of minerals and fossils in the world, and it has put the Space Coast on the map for dinosaur fanatics, curious kids, history buffs and shoppers looking for score a truly one-of-a-kind gift or splurge. The Dinosaur Store, in the Cocoa Beach area, is a unique, state-of-the-art interactive museum that you can explore and then take a piece home with you. The store claims to feature the "most elaborate" array of fossils in the world. See for yourself sabercat fossils, fossil skin and the fossils of ancient dragonflies.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This has to be one of the world's most unusual stores. Get your own dinosaur fossils.
Aimee's expert tip: Plan to visit the Adventure Zone, where you can see more than 25 different animals, from alligators to snakes.
Indialantic is a sleepy beach town with a handful of great boutiques, as well as thrift stores. Stroll down Fifth Avenue, grab lunch as a small cafe or take a slice of pizza to the beach. Here, you can find the ubiquitous beachwear (Florida's state uniform, it seems), cigars, kites, home decor, sunglasses and art. Two favorite shops are the Longboard House – with the "most comprehensive collection of surfboards and stand-up paddleboards on the planet" – and the Shops On Fifth Avenue shopping center, not far from the beach. Also, don't miss the other local surf shops here: Spectrum Surf Shop and the Surf Gallery, which is part art gallery, part surf shop.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This sleepy beach town has top-notch surf shops and fun, local shops along Fifth Avenue.
Aimee's expert tip: One of Indialantic's biggest charms is its long boardwalk, so grab a cone at the Coldstone Creamery and plan a walk down the boardwalk at sunset.
This massive, multi-level surf shop claims to be the world's largest surf complex. It boasts everything you could need under one roof for a surf and beach adventure. Here, you can browse more than 1,500 surfboards, a variety of unique clothes, swimming suits and beach gear, as well as rent a surfboard, get a skateboard and pick up lunch and a latte. Relax near the 40-foot water wall and 5,600-gallon shark and exotic fish tank located right inside the facility, where you can watch the sharks, morays and eels be hand-fed. Whereas other area surf shops may be more famous, the Cocoa Beach Surf Company also makes huge waves.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: The Cocoa Beach Surf Company claims to be the world's largest surf complex.
Aimee's expert tip: Sharks are fed twice a week. Check the website for the schedule because it's one scene you don't want to miss.
After spending several millions dollars on a massive facelift, Melbourne Square now features a unique children's play area, an inviting food court, new lighting in all common areas and lush landscaped gardens. The 1,500-square-foot Kidgets Play Area is a fun place to come with kids to cool down, refuel and get some shopping down. The revamp also brought in some exciting new stores, including Coach, Francesca's and Express. But one thing that hasn't changed: This still a great indoor place to shop, thanks to its collection of major department stores (Macy's, Dillard's and JCPenney), and more than 125 popular specialty shops.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: After a multi-million-dollar renovation, Melbourne's indoor mall now offers exciting new shops and a large kids' play area.
Aimee's expert tip: Download the Simon Mobile app to connect you with news and special deals about the Melbourne 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 specialty shops have outposts here, from Sephora to Champs and Aeropostale, you're sure to find all the items on your list. Anchor stores include Dillards, Macy's, JCPenney and Sears, and Merritt Square also features a 16-screen cinema. This mall is not entirely different than a standard, chain mall in another city, but it's a solid shopping bet, if you need reliability, a staple, some new clothes or just a relaxing afternoon in the cool indoors. Here, you can also get a tattoo, massage, new sunglasses, dinner, frozen yogurt and jewelry.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: If you're looking for many of the best chain shops, as well as a few local businesses, Merritt Square is the mall to visit.
Aimee's expert tip: Travelers: Bring proof of your vacation (a cruise boarding pass or your room key) to Guest Services, and they'll give you a special coupon book that can save you big money.
One of the Space Coast's newer shopping destinations, The Avenue Viera is an enormous open air center that has a pedestrian-friendly look and layout – one that entices shoppers to linger in the attractive commons and take their time as they meander into and out of shops. Larger stores include Kohl's, Belk, Old Navy, Kirklands, Bed Bath & Beyond. In addition, specialty merchants like Francesca's and Lane Bryant also occupy space here. There's also a 16-screen movie theatre and a handful of excellent dining options, ranging from the Melting Pot to Mimi's Cafe to the Bonefish Grill. There are also several cell phone stops, an Office Depot and a Michaels, so travelers can find whatever they're looking for in one stop.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This mall is enormous and has a legit number of chain stores and top-notch restaurants.
Aimee's expert tip: Get your tootsies polished up for those flip-flops at Elegant Nail Spa in the mall's sister center, the Viera Market Center.
Small town hospitality exudes from the shops and restaurants that make up Melbourne's charming downtown area. Tree-lined streets (palms, of course) and quaint little sitting areas give downtown plenty of character, making it a great place to spend an afternoon. As for shopping, look to East New Haven Avenue, the main commercial drag, which features everything from antique shops to ladies boutiques. Downtown Melbourne is a great choice if you want something handmade, such as soaps or lotions, or you are shopping for the antique, vintage, repurposed or quirky. Fashionistas: Don't miss Downtown Divas and the metro-inspired Swanky Sole for hot shoes and accessories.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Walk through this charming downtown and find a great selection of vintage, homemade and fashionable treasures.
Aimee's expert tip: Check out the discounted and gently used designer clothes at Re-Creations Consignment.
Actually part of Melbourne (the two cities merged in the 1960s), the area known as Eau Gallie retains a personality – an identity – that's all its own. Located right on the Indian River, Eau Gallie boasts a pleasant, slow-paced attitude that makes it a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon hunting for antiques or pieces of original art. Within walking distance of its many shops are a handful of worthwhile sights, including the Brevard Museum of Art and Science and Pineapple Park River Front. You'll find plenty of local shops here with funky, quirky, locally made goodies that you will be eager to pack into your suitcase – especially in the Eau Gallie Arts District.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Antiques, art, aromatherapy and local crafts – you'll find plenty of heart in Eau Gallie.
Aimee's expert tip: Visit the Eau Gallie Farmer's Market every Saturday year-round in the square.
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.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Ron Jon's is the world's most famous surf shop and the largest in the world.
Aimee's expert tip: Beyond great surfboards and swimwear, you can pick up GoPro clamp cameras here to capture your surfing adventures – or misadventures – on film.
On the Indian River, this quaint, historic, little town is rich with old-fashioned charm. Cocoa Village is easily the best place to shop on the Space Coast, and one of the region's most popular destinations for visitors, too. Stroll down beautifully landscaped streets and experience the history of the village or listen to the live music pouring out of the local gazebo regularly. Cocoa Village is where you go to score local, unique finds and crafty goods at speciality stores. The shops here are charming and personal – not big-box chains. The Cocoa Village Playhouse also sponsors many Broadway musicals and local performance events monthly. There are plenty of craft and antique shops, bookstores, clothing and gift boutiques, galleries and restaurants to visit as well.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: With an eclectic variety of crafty, local stores, Cocoa Village is the best place to shop on the Space Coast.
Aimee's expert tip: For a unique, locally made souvenir or gift, shop Cocoa Village's regular arts and crafts fairs. The annual holiday bazaar in December is like visiting Santa's workshop – on the beach.