SPACE COAST, Fla. – Warm sunshine and glittering waves are the hallmarks of a summer beach vacation. But there's a whole different world to explore after the sun goes down and the stars come out on Florida's Space Coast.

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Check out these late-summer, after-dark adventures:

Bioluminescent Night Kayaking -- an otherworldly experience in which the waters literally light up as kayaks glide through the prettiest parts of the Indian River Lagoon. The phenomenon is caused by tiny bioluminescent plankton that produce streaks of neon-green light when gently moved by the paddles.

Sea Turtle Spotting -- catch one of nature's sweetest sights as loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles swim out of the ocean to lay their eggs in the soft, moonlit sand. Watchers can't help but be touched by these gentle creatures and their amazing journey.

Nighttime Rocket Launches -- pitch a tent and spread a picnic blanket at Jetty Park's quaint beachside campground to watch massive rockets launch from Cape Canaveral less than 10 miles away. Get a launch schedule at

Gator Gazing -- no night-vision goggles required for this exhilarating airboat swamp-romp to spot gators, snakes and other wildlife among the lush Florida landscape.

About the Space Coast:

Located 35 miles (56 km) east of Orlando, Florida’s Space Coast is home to Orlando’s closest beaches. Encompassing Cocoa Beach, Melbourne Beach, Palm Bay and Titusville, this family-friendly destination offers more than 10,000 guest rooms, and is an ideal, value getaway. Guests will discover 72 miles (110 km) of beaches, the longest stretch in the state and more than 250 square miles of wildlife refuge. It is home to one of the nation’s busiest cruise ports; is the nation’s East Coast surfing capital and the location of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where all 135 shuttle missions launched and launch activity is busier than ever before. The Space Coast is home to Space Shuttle Atlantis and is one of only four destinations nationwide where visitors can view an orbiter. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at