pre-cruise fun

Make the most of your cruise getaway

One Day in Port Canaveral: 10 Things You Have to Do!

Explore the Port before your depart

One of the many reasons why people travel from all over the world to the Space Coast is to take a cruise with one of the five cruise lines setting sail from Port Canaveral. But did you know that Port Canaveral has a lot more to offer visitors than cruises? Whether this stop is a port of call on your itinerary or this is where you are setting sail from, you’ll definitely want to make sure you do at least one of these things before you set sail.

Be sure to arrive prior to your cruise departure and kick off that cruise vacation worry-free! Many accommodations on Florida’s Space Coast offer snooze ‘n cruise packages.

The Beach

When you want to get some beach time with amenities like the ones you’ll experience at your Caribbean port of calls, you’ll want to head over to Jetty Park where there are amenities galore. If you’re looking forward to a more low-key experience before boarding the ship, head down the road to Cheri Down Park where you can experience the pristine beaches of Florida’s Space Coast without all the hustle and bustle of the Jetty or Cocoa Beach Pier environment.

Exploration Tower

This more-than-meets-the-eye Space Coast landmark will be hard to miss as you start cruising, but instead of wondering what this building is, stop by before your cruise to see and explore the seven stories of fun and education. You may even get a glimpse of your ship before you board! This is also a great excursion when Port Canaveral is one of your stops as it’s located nearby.

The Cove

As you head out of Port Canaveral, you’ll notice people waving to you from the boardwalk below, part of The Cove. This is an entertainment and dining venue in Port Canaveral that is the perfect spot to send other cruisers off to their Caribbean paradise before you do the same.

Parker Brothers

If you are looking for a unique experience, consider taking a tour at the Parker Brothers Concepts Facility, where outrageous custom-built vehicles are on display. And if you’re a movie fan, you’ll want to tour the Hollywood Auto Museum where you’ll see Optimus Prime, the Batmobile, and Ecto-1 up close. This is another great excursion whether Port Canaveral is one of your port of calls, or if you are starting your cruise here.

Deep-Sea Fishing

Depending on how much time you’ve given yourself before you cruise out, you may be able to board another kind of boat for an off-the-coast adventure to see if you can get the biggest catch of the day. Not wanting to do a deep-sea trip and prefer more inland because of time? Check out another guided tour here that may include Space Coast waterways, nature paths, and wildlife that make this area home; perfect for those of you who are on a trip where this area is one of your port of calls.

Cocoa Beach Surf Co.

You’ve arrived for your cruise and you realized you forgot a few things for your Caribbean getaway. No problem! Head over to the Cocoa Beach Surf Company where there’s apparel, sunscreen, hats, and pretty much anything else you would need to enjoy your time in the tropics.

Florida Beer Company

Get a taste of Florida at the Florida Beer Company Tap Room. Whether you’re kicking off your cruise vacation the night before you sail or you’re ending your port of call with a round or two, you’ll vibe to live music while sipping on freshly brewed lagers, ales, and ciders.

Cocoa Beach Pier

If you’ve chosen to arrive to the Space Coast the day before you set sail, consider arriving early enough for happy hour at the Cocoa Beach Pier. Not only are there food and drink specials, but you’ll also get one of the best views of a Space Coast sunset when you venture out to the deck extending 800-feet over the Atlantic Ocean. No better way to gear up for your time at sea.

Cocoa Village

Take in boutique shopping and souvenir collecting with a quick trip over to Cocoa Village. This quaint area features unique shops and dining spots like Ryan’s Pizza & Pub, Thai Thai, and Ossorio Bakery & Café.  Walk the historic streets and get a sense of that authentic downtown vibe as you listen to live music throughout, and if you time it right, you may be able to experience one of the many events that take place on the regular.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

You can’t say you’ve been to the Space Coast if you haven’t spent a day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. And though this isn’t technically in Port Canaveral, it’s not too far away and definitely worth getting there early so you can experience this area attraction. And if you time your trip right, you may get to see a rocket launch!

These are just some of the many things you HAVE to do either for your port of call adventures or before setting sail. Plan to spend an extra night to your cruise getaway to take it all in! Not only will it give you a chance to explore the Space Coast, but it will make arriving and boarding your ship easier since you’ll already be in town. Check out the Space Coast Vacation Planner for more of what the Space Coast has to offer or check out the links below for accommodations with transportation to the Port, dining options in the area, and even more things to do should you want to spend a few more days on the Space coast either before or after your cruise.

Rest Here

Eat Here

Play Here


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