Amazing Space Coast Staycations
A Staycation For Every Space Coaster!
Staycations have never been cooler, what kinds of fun can you get into in your own backyard? Check out these Space Coast Staycation Ideas
Beach Day Staycation
The Beaches of the Space Coast are perfect for a staycation. Whether you want to book yourself a room at a beachfront hotel in Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, or Indian Harbor beach, it’s a great way to change your scenery and enjoy ocean views.
Beach Day Staycation 1: Canaveral National Seashore
Taking a staycation to the Canaveral National Seashore is an opportunity for you to not only escape your day-to-day but also experience a non-traditional beach day too! The Canaveral National Seashore is a national park that is adjacent to a national wildlife refuge. Where many Florida beaches are filled with people and ice cream carts, all you’ll find here is a few groups of guests, a couple fishermen and surfers, protected dunes, and the animals that live here. Just because the Seashore does not open until 12 due to current COVID restrictions, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time.
Here’s what you do:
Head to Titusville in the morning, stop for a hearty breakfast at one of the many breakfast spots in town, check out C’s Waffles or Downtown Diner to get you started, or for lighter fair, Pier 13 Coffee, Sunrise Bread Company and Kim’s Donuts are local favorites for a hot cup of coffee and warm, tasty pastries.
Make your way to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
While you pass the time waiting to get to the Canaveral Seashore, take a drive, hike, or paddle through the various trails of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Truth be told, you can spend an entire day in this Refuge observing the thousands of native and migratory species of animals thriving in their natural habitats. Stop by the visitor center to get a lay of the land and decide if you’d like to drive around Blackpoint Drive to see alligators and wading birds in the wetlands, hike through Scrub Jay and Roseate Spoonbill territory or watch manatees and dolphins frolic in the lagoon.
Finally, when the seashore opens up, you’ll be able to access miles of pristine shoreline where you’ll be able to sunbathe, surf fish, or just plain surf. Enjoy your time shelling and watching the shore birds make their daily catch. There are no concessions at the Canaveral National Seashore, so you’ll want to pack a picnic lunch, or if you’d rather work up an appetite, there are many wonderful dining options across the NASA causeway as you exit the Seashore and Refuge.
What’s for Dinner?
Titusville’s dining options have been expanding over the years. No matter if you’re looking for casual or upscale, there’s something for you. Try Playalinda Brewing Company’s Brix Project for a chef-inspired menu and craft beers, or Dixie Crossroads for a fresh, Florida seafood feast, and top it all off with handmade ice cream from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream or The Mad Utter. That’s a beach day staycation for the books!
Beach Day Staycation Option 2 Sebastian Inlet State Park
Heading south to the Sebastian Inlet State Park is a great way to spend a staycation weekend! With camping spots for RVs and tents to reserve in this unique state park, you can experience some of the best of everything the Space Coast has to offer.
Get the Weekend Started
Make your reservation at the Sebastian Inlet State Park Campground. There are 52 spots available at this campground, make sure you call to check availability.
What to do at the Sebastian Inlet State Park?
The real question is what can’t you do! To the west, the Indian River Lagoon is open for boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and cruising. You can easily spend a morning, afternoon, or entire day on the lagoon visiting spoil islands and enjoying the weather. To the east lies the mighty Atlantic Ocean, where surfers enjoy some of the most advanced conditions on the Space Coast and sunbathers revel on a gorgeous stretch of pristine beach that’s frequented by shorebirds and sea turtles. You’ll also find plenty of fishermen on the beach and on the pier hoping to hook into sheepshead, black drum, and pompano to take back to the campfire for dinner! If you’ve got young children, the Sebastian Inlet State Park also features easy hiking and cycling trails lush with foliage and wildlife and a man-made swimming lagoon perfect for splashing around without currents and plenty of shade.
It’s the Space Coast Camping Staycation you’ve been dreaming of and it’s only a ride on the A1A away!
The Indian River Lagoon system is one of the most unique estuaries in North America and is part of what makes the Space Coast so amazing. With the Indian River Lagoon, Banana River and Mosquito Lagoon to explore, there’s no limits to the amazing things you’ll see!
Start your Lagoon Staycation by renting some sort of vessel. You’ll want a boat, kayak or paddle board to really experience the wonder of the lagoon. Here’s a few great rental businesses in the area and make sure to use the search function on our website to find an extensive list of rental businesses based on your preferred activity.
Check out the Thousand Island Nature Preserve in Cocoa Beach to paddle through mangrove tunnels and see manatees, dolphins, fish and tons of wading birds. If you’re renting a boat, or have launched your own, motor up to Cape Canaveral where you’ll find plenty of man-made spoil islands with beaches and picnic tables for lounging and lunching. Or head south where you’ll find natural spoil islands that are prime fishing locations for flounder, sheepshead and even blue crabs!
Check out this list of FWC boat ramps for information on closures and access!
There are so many water-front restaurants on the Indian River Lagoon you can access by boat. For lunch, a snack or dinner check out one of these fun and fine establishments:
If cycling is your game, Titusville is where you need to plan your next staycation. Titusville is where 3 major cycling trails converge, the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop, East Coast Greenway, and the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail. All that activity makes for a bike town for the books. If you’re not feeling up to peddling an entire section of the large loops, don’t even worry, there are plenty of scenic and urban bike trails throughout the city where you can work those wheels and get some exercise. Cool off for the day at Shiloh’s Steak & Seafood for an amazing menu and impeccable view or Sergio's Tacos for a quick bite between rides. Check out our Titusville Restaurant Guide to find exactly what you’ve worked up an appetite for.
How long has it been since you’ve been to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex? Most Space Coasters forget that we have such an out-of-this-world attraction right in our own backyard! A quick drive up to this interactive museum is the perfect place for a Space Staycation - even when some attractions are closed due to COVID restrictions.
Explore the Complex
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the Kennedy Space Center, it’s about time you see what’s new! The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex chronicles space exploration from Sputnik to the Shuttle Programs and beyond! With retired rockets to see, astronauts to meet, and history to be a part of, you can spend a whole day marveling at the wonders of American aerospace engineering and get a glimpse of what the future holds.
Plan your trip during a launch
If you’re lucky enough to live on the Space Coast, then you’re lucky enough to plan your trip to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for a launch day and not be too disappointed if the launch gets scrubbed. With commercial spaceflight taking off on the Space Coast we see more launches now than ever. When you go to the Visitor Complex for a launch you’re getting a literal front-row-seat to the action and an experience you won’t soon forget.
When you’re done at the Visitor Complex there’s plenty of other Space-related things you can do around Titusville. It is the city space made after all! Check out Space View Park for a walk through monuments made for famous missions in space exploration history. Space View Park is also a premier launch viewing location you can plan your day in Titusville around! Or check out the American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame where you’ll see space memorabilia the Smithsonian doesn't have. Their collection contains prized pieces on loan from American astronauts and their missions past.
See Space from the Sky
Sure you live on the Space Coast but have you ever really SEEN the Space Coast? To top off your staycation, why not check out your home from the sky? With an aerial tour of Cape Canaveral in a helicopter, biplane or even a parasail along the beach, you’ll see the Kennedy Space Center and the launch pads, along with the Indian River Lagoon and Space Coast shoreline from a view that most people have to become an astronaut for! Check out Florida Air Tours or Cocoa Beach Parasail for an unforgettable Space Coast experience.
Staycation for the Arts
You may already know that the Space Coast loves art. But, have you located all our hidden murals? A great Staycation idea is to explore the Eau Gallie Arts district and nearby Downtown Melbourne to hunt for these larger-than-life works of public art. Enormous Great White Sharks, Lego David Bowie, a Giant Orange, do you know where they all are? Take the day to find them all, and choose your favorite! While you’re seeking spray paint masterpieces, duck into a few local restaurant patios and breweries to feel the culture of the Space Coast and meet your neighbors.
Enjoy the food at these Eau Gallie Arts District Establishments:
Downtown Melbourne Must Stops:
A Wild and Active Staycation in Viera
Viera, Florida is a place on the Space Coast that has everything for the perfect staycation. Start your day off early at the Brevard Zoo, where you can spend a good portion of the day meeting exotic and native animals while also partaking in some wild adventures like kayaking through the giraffe habitat and zip lining over the alligators and crocodiles. Let the kids cool off in the splash pad before heading to a fantastic lunch and shopping at The Avenues. The Space Coast’s premiere outdoor mall is packed with amazing restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Needing to get out on the wild side, check out the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands for a cool walk around some natural Florida landscapes where you’ll see American alligators basking in the sun, native and migratory birds hunting for fish, and maybe even a family of otters finding their way back home.
If All Day you Dream About Sports
Viera is the Space Coast’s home for sports. With the USSSA Sports Complex featuring amature and semi-pro sports teams, and multi use fields at Viera Regional Park it’s the perfect place to bring a picnic and some sports equipment to get active with your family.
Wild Staycation in Palm Bay
If freshwater fishing and enjoying the calm of nature is your idea of a good time, heading to Palm Bay is the staycation for you. Palm Bay is the Space Coast’s place for all things hunting, fishing, and loving every day. From Stick Marsh, the St. Johns River and the highly anticipated Headwaters Lake there’s plenty of freshwater and bass fishing to go around. No matter if you’re fishing from the bank, took your boat, or hired a charter to take you where the trophies are, Palm Bay will have you reeling and dealing for hours on end. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Hammock Landing for a bite to eat, or try one of the amazing restaurants Palm Bay has to offer, like Broken Barrel Tavern, Yellow Dog Cafe, or Rib City.
Take an Air Boat Tour
Locals tend to skip over “touristy” things on the Space Coast, but if you haven’t been out on an Air Boat, you’re missing out! Air Boat Rides around the swamps and freshwater lakes and marshes of the Space Coast are an amazing chance to get close to nature while catching a thrill at the same time. These huge boats are often captained by the kind of fun folks Florida is known for. They love putting the fear into tourists’ hearts and will have you laughing in excitement while they whip you around the water looking for gators, native birds, and other wildlife. It’s the ultimate Florida experience.
Use your Staycation to learn something new! The Space Coast has so many opportunities for kids and their parents to learn every day!
History Lessons of the Space Coast
The Space Coast is full of history. With museums all along the county there’s tons of new things you can learn, Start with the Dinosaur Museum and store in Cocoa Beach, or maybe the Surf Museum located in Ron Jon Surf Shop. The American Police Hall of Fame not only has an indoor shooting range where you can learn how to safely use a firearm, but also police memorabilia and history in an interactive setting. Valiant Air Command and Warbird Museum includes several hangars of historic planes and war-time history to learn from, where the American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame includes artifacts and memorials of astronauts who had their part in shaping the Space Coat’s history. Check out Field Manor in Merritt Island for a living history tour in one of the Space Coast’s historic homes to learn how the first settlers on the Space Coast grew the citrus industry, worked on the railroad and built the town we call home! Head to the Harry T. and Harriet V. Moore Memorial Museum to see where two important Civil Rights activists and teachers worked for the rights of the African American community during the 1960s. History, you say? The Space Coast has it.
Outdoor Education of the Space Coast
The Space Coast is a natural wonderland filled with some of the most diverse ecosystems in North America. Use your Staycation to get to know your own native habitat at some of these great learning centers.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to thousands of species of plants and animals throughout the lagoon, marsh, and seashore habitats it ecncompasses. Stop by their nature center to see what habitat you’d like to explore and learn more about. The Mosquito Lagoon gives you an inside look at the lives of manatees and dolphins, fish, and wading birds. The marshlands are teeming with life where amphibians, alligators, turtles, and birds of all feathers make their home. An air conditioned cruise in your car around Black Point Drive gives you comfortable a look into their lives.
Brevard County Barrier Island Center
If you want to learn about sea turtles, the Brevard County Barrier Island Center is a Staycation must-stop for you. Located on the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll learn all about the sea turtles that nest here on the Space Coast and their native coastal habitats. It’s a fascinating facility that hosts virtual (for the time being) turtle talks and is complete with winding boardwalk trails full of nature facts. It’s perfect for turtle and beach lovers of all ages!
Science Classes on the Space Coast
The Space Coast is your destination for a science-based, education-staycation. With the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at your fingertips, learning about aerospace and space science is only a car ride away. Perhaps you’re more interested in ecological science? The Brevard Zoo can teach your curious minds all about conservation and the impact we can have on our Indian River Lagoon! Virtual Zoo camps have even been set up all summer to help your kids become zoologists they were destined to be.
Take an Eco Staycation
The Space Coast is conveniently located on a few of the most diverse estuaries and habitats in the United States. Taking time to enjoy nature during your Space Coast stayacation is easy and enjoyable.
The Thousand Island Conservation area is a great place for a Space Coast Eco-Staycation because there are just about one thousand ways to experience it. You can take an eco tour from companies like Island Boat Lines or DolFun Tours where a knowledgeable guide will motor you and your group around the islands telling you all about the unique animal that live there. Want to get closer? Check out a kayak or paddle board tour from a kayak tour company like Cocoa Kayaking or Fin Expeditions, where you’ll get your own kayak to paddle to the islands and explore the mangrove tunnels. Wanting to venture off on your own? That’s cool too! Rent a kayak or paddle board from a place like Wildlife Watersports or Surf and Ski Watersports and you can tour the waters yourself! Who knows the animals of the Space Coast better than a local anyway?
The Enchanted Forest is an eco-staycation trip for the books. Located in Titusville, this sanctuary is a wild Florida habitat complete with rivers, lush greenery, and trails full of information for explorers of all ages. Take a morning to explore the trails and the nature center and head to the Titusville Chain of Lakes Park for more bike and walking trails where you can flex your new found nature knowledge.
No matter where you choose to wander, the Space Coast is not only your home but your playground! There are plenty of ways you can get out and explore without getting too far away from home. Let us know what your favorite ways to enjoy the Space Coast are!
*Disclaimer: Please call ahead to confirm the operating hours and guidelines of your favorite restaurants and attractions so you know what to expect.