Spanning over 115 km (72 miles) of coastline, Florida’s Space Coast boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems in the western hemisphere as well as the top nation’s getaway to exploring the universe! Here are three activities you have to do if you are around the area.
1. Explore the coast’s unmatched biodiversity
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then the Space Coast won’t disappoint you! With more than 20,000 acres of rivers and lakes and 170,000 acres of wetland, there are plenty of things to do there. The coast is situated where the temperate and the subtropical climate zones meet. There, you’ll find unique animals and plants that can’t be seen anywhere else on Earth. The coast is home of the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America. The Indian River is an estuary and a lagoon where saltwater and freshwater meet to form brackish water. The mangrove wetlands and salt marshes located on the Indian River lagoon serve as an important breeding and feeding area for a large number of organisms. The lagoon has 2,100 plant species and 2,200 animal species, including 685 species of fish and 370 species of birds. The Space Coast is also Florida’s largest manatee habitat. Manatees (also called sea cows) are aquatic mammals that can be easily seen during warm weather months. They can be spotted in specific viewing areas during daylights. As the night approaches, the likelihood to see them decreases. During cold months, the manatees mainly stay in different areas of the Indian River Lagoon and are not as likely to be seen. The Space Coast is also home to the largest sea turtle nesting grounds in the U.S. There is even a not-for-profit organization (The Sea Turtle Preservation Society) that organizes turtle walks with trained volunteers. The organization offers walks several nights a week typically during the months of June and July.
2. Take a surf trip on one of the Space Coast beaches
When it comes to surfing, Florida’s Space Coast is the place to be. The area has produced some of the best surfers in the world and is home of the Ron Jon Surf Shop, the world’s largest surf shop and an icon of the surf and beach lifestyle. In the 52,000 square feet store, you’ll find a large selection of surf, skate, swim and beach essentials. No wonder why the Space Coast is also referred to as the East Coast surf capital of the United States! One of the top surf spots is Cocoa Beach. This area is very popular among tourists and offers various amenities. If you are looking for more secluded surf spots, then check out The Indialantic Boardwalk, The Spanish House, the Shark Pit, R.C., and Sebastian Inlet. Besides surfing, the Space Coast beaches offer fun and entertainment for families and couples. For instance, Sebastian Inlet State Park is not just one of the best surfing breaks along the East Coast, but also a great family recreational site. Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, and Melbourne Beach are also popular shopping and family areas with a wide variety of parks and access points. Most beach parks include amenities such as covered pavilions, public restrooms, playgrounds, beach volleyball courts, showers, picnic tables, and beach clubhouses.
3. Catch a glimpse of a rocket launch
You can’t leave Florida’s Space Coast without witnessing one live rocket launch. For a long time, the Space Coast has served as the nation’s gateway to exploring the universe. The first rocket was launched into space from Port Canaveral in July 1950. Since then, the Space Coast has become home to all NASA-launched spaceflights. Each year, thousands of visitors come to the area to witness these launches. The best spot to catch the perfect glimpse of rocket launches is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which is also home to exhibits, memorabilia, and simulated space rides. Another popular spot is Port Canaveral, one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. Alan Sheppard Park, Sidney Fischer Park, and Lori Wilson Park situated on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean all offer spectacular views of the launches. They all have playgrounds for kids and picnic tables. Finally, Playalinda Beach is one the few places on Earth where you’ll be able to enjoy the beach while catching a glimpse of a rocket launch.