Kayaking at the Brevard Zoo

Your Sand-free Space Coast Itinerary

Leave the sand where it belongs. On the beach! 

One of the many reasons why the Florida’s Space Coast attracts visitors from all over the world is the beautiful 72-mile stretch of shoreline. But we do have to admit, sand isn’t for everyone. Instead of avoiding the beach to keep unwanted sand from filling your sandals, swimsuit, or suitcase, check out some of these  sand-free hot spots and waterfront restaurants on your next visit to the Space Coast.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Hubble Telescope Display

Spend a day or two at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and you’ll quickly discover how the Space Coast got its name. You’ll stroll along paved walkways leading you through decades of space memorabilia, current projects, and where the space industry is headed. Former astronauts provide photo ops along with stories of their experiences beyond earth’s atmosphere and plenty of indoor interactive exhibits makes this attraction one of the best sand-free activities for space-lovers of every age.

The Brevard Zoo

Ray Lagoon at Brevard Zoo

The Brevard Zoo has been providing a shady, sand-free refuge for animals for more than 25 years and is another favorite attraction to locals and visitors alike. The zoo includes immersive exhibits with native and exotic animals from all over the world, a splash pad lagoon for the little ones to cool off in, and educational opportunities for summer campers and teens! On top of all that, the Brevard Zoo has crafted several Adventure Packages including the Treetop Trek, a high flying zip line and ropes course over the alligators, or a kayak paddle thorough the giraffe enclosure. There’s something for everyone, the Brevard Zoo is a zoo unlike any other and an experience you can have without trudging through the sand.

Airboat Rides on the St. Johns River

Air Boat Ride on Florida's Space Coast

One of the many sand-free, true-Florida adventures you can have when visiting the Space Coast is taking an exhilarating ride on an airboat. Fly across the top of the St. Johns River and see the Space Coast like you’ve never seen it before. Prepare to laugh as your heart races from the excitement immersing yourself in the natural habitat of the Florida alligator and other native wildlife. But don’t worry, the captains keep the airboats at a distance for your and the animal's safety. You will get you close enough to be able to snap an Instagram-worthy photo.

Water Adventures on the Indian River Lagoon

Family Canoe Trip on the Indian River lagoon

Florida is known for its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, but it’s also next to the Indian River and Banana River Lagoons. On these waterways there are plenty of ways to stay active without getting knee-deep into the sand. Enjoy a nice paddle board or kayak session whether you opt for your own adventure or reserve a spot for an evening bioluminescence or daytime eco-tour. Not interested in doing the paddling, but still want to experience nature? There are plenty of pontoon boat and catamaran tours that let you kick back and relax and stay sand-free while the captain takes you on a laid-back, informative ride.

Waterfront Dining, No Sand Allowed

Island Time | Cocoa Beach
400 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway
(321) 613-4852

Island Time offers a little bit of everything from tacos and other handhelds, soups and salads, surf and turf entrees, and a nice selection of appetizers with views of the Banana River. Enjoy either indoor or outdoor seating, a family-friendly atmosphere, and the sounds of people laughing and talking after a day out on the water.

SquidLips | Cocoa Beach & Melbourne
2200 S. Orlando Avenue – Cocoa Beach
(321) 783-1350

1477 Pineapple Avenue – Melbourne
(321) 259-3101

At SquidLips, you get more than a beautiful view of either the Indian or Banana River; you get great food, a great atmosphere, and great entertainment. Both locations offer indoor and outdoor seating, so you can choose based on your preference. The eclectic design matches the menu offerings where you get your fill of Florida fresh seafood from appetizers to entrees along with classic options like burgers, salads, grilled chicken and steak entrees, and finish your meal off with Mike’s Key Lime Pie for a true Floridian treat.

Café Coconut Cove | Melbourne Beach
4210 S. State Road A1A
(321) 727-3133

Don’t be fooled by the name of this eatery. Café Coconut Cove is not your typical café. Although it offers a Floridian look directly on the Indian River Lagoon, the menu is straight from Europe. Plan to have your taste buds cultured as you dine on delicious and authentic German fare like Bratwurst, Goulash, or Schnitzels and pair your meal with a beautiful Space Coast sunset on the Indian River Lagoon. Stay a while to top off your meal with either a glass of Riesling or a German bier and enjoy a nice evening out away from all the sand.  

River Rocks | Rockledge
6485 US Highway 1
(321) 757-7200

For a place that gives you breakfast or brunch on the weekends, casual lunch and dinner served daily at The Dock, an outdoor covered dining area, and early bird and evening dining every day, River Rocks does not disappoint no matter what time you decide to go. With expansive views of the Indian River Lagoon, the upscale menu featured inside the elegant restaurant uses only fresh, local ingredients. Although the menu focuses on seafood, there are mouth-watering options like Parmesan Chicken and slow-cooked Prime Rib that gives your palette a nice break if you’ve dined on too much seafood already. Choose a glass of wine or a signature drink as you enjoy your meal with a waterfront view.

Grills | Cape Canaveral & Melbourne
505 Glen Cheek Drive – Cape Canaveral
(321) 868-2226

6075 N. US Highway 1 – Melbourne
(321) 242-8999

Whether you choose the Cape Canaveral or Melbourne location, Grills promises amazing food and even better views. Grills at Port Canaveral offers a direct view of the many cruise ships that set sail from the Port and the charter boats that are tasked with providing area restaurants with fresh Florida seafood. While Grills Riverside gives you views of the Indian River and all the recreational boaters and water sports enthusiasts enjoy. Both locations provide the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the dolphins that usually put on a show. Enjoy all this while munching on some yummy food, whether you want breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Menu offerings have a great mix of American classics and an abundance of fresh seafood options.

The Island | Merritt Island
1891 E. Merritt Island Causeway
(321) 806-3661

This hidden gem located in Merritt Island is a perfect spot after a day out on the water.  If you are traveling by boat, The Island Waterfront Bar and Grill gives you easy access with a spot at the dock. With great views of the Banana River, enjoy sitting outdoors on the covered deck while you enjoy a cold one and the sounds of live music. As for food, The Island menu offers good food at a great value. And this is definitely the spot if you’re looking for a nice helping of crab legs, especially on Mondays!

Sunset Waterfront Grill |Cocoa Beach
500 W. Cocoa Beach Causeway
(321) 783-8485

If you are on the hunt for the perfect dining spot to catch a Space Coast sunset, the Sunset Waterfront Grill has you covered. This place brings great food with a great time as live music and happy hour provides the perfect environment to enjoy the orange-tinted sky while taking in the waterfront view of the Banana River as you dine.

The Mansion | Melbourne
1218 E. New Haven Avenue
(321) 345-5800

Located near Downtown Melbourne, The Mansion is a unique restaurant renovated from an early 1900s Victorian-style home. Choose the Tavern if you want to dine inside and hang with friends. The Garden offers outdoor seating under bistro lighting that gives you the just the right dose of Florida charm. And for a romantic view of the Indian River, head upstairs to The Terrace where you’ll enjoy the views of the Lagoon during the day or catch a shooting star during your evening meal. The menu has something for every palette, no matter how picky, from appetizers to classics like burgers, salads, and a deliciously grilled rib-eye steak to even a little homage to the Ragin’ Cajun South with a yummy Shrimp Po’ Boy or Muffaletta. Top it off with a delectable dessert, a glass of wine, or a pint of beer to finish out your dining experience.

Yellow Dog Café | Malabar
905 US Highway 1
(321) 956-3334

Yellow Dog Café is a casual, yet elegant restaurant offering amazing views of the Indian River whether you dine inside or out. Exquisite and well-crafted dishes are not only pleasing to the eye, but to your taste buds as well. Freshly prepared entrees like roasted duck, lamb, seafood, and hand-cut steaks and a handful of delicious appetizers only get you ready to enjoy some of the best desserts on the Space Coast so make sure you save some room.

When you know where to go and what to do, creating an itinerary that allows you to enjoy a sand-free getaway is easy when you visit the Space Coast. Now all that is left is finalizing where you’re going to rest your head. For more information on all the Space Coast has to offer, including accommodations and plenty more area attractions and restaurants, check out the Space Coast Vacation Planner or the links below.


Rest Here

Eat Here

Play Here

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Vacation Planner for Florida’s Space Coast

Dive into the Space Coast Vacation Planner then launch into an unforgettable getaway.