How to Be A Good Tourist on Florida’s Space Coast

Woman sits at the beach with heart floaty

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints

Florida’s Space Coast is unlike any other place in the world. From our rocket launches to the 72 miles of shoreline, 2 national wildlife refuges, and one of the most diverse estuaries in the world,  we’ve got a lot going for us. Keeping our natural spaces natural and healthy is extremely important. Local businesses, organizations, and non-profits help to protect and conserve our wildlife every day, but there’s something we can all do to have a positive impact on this amazing environment so it can be enjoyed for years and years to come! 

From our wetlands to our lagoons and beaches, here’s how you can be a good tourist on the Space Coast.


Pick Up Your Trash

Litter is a major problem all over the world, even on the Space Coast. All our drains lead to the lagoon and all the trash that is left on the beach washes straight out into the ocean. Water bottles, snack wrappers, empty sunscreen bottles, and forgotten beach toys are all traps for sea turtle hatchlings. Plastic bags, tags, and balloons end up in the stomachs of sea animals and shorebirds. If you’re going to be a good tourist, you need to place your garbage in designated receptacles located at the entrances of each Space Coast beach park.

Did You Know

Along with garbage cans, there are tubes filled with grocery bags at the entrances of Space Coast beach parks. You may take one of these bags to keep your trash contained while you are on the beach, and easily collect and carry your trash to the closest garbage can when you’re ready to head home. If you brought it to the beach, you need to bring it home too!

box of sand toys at beach entrance
Image by @z_e_photography

Properly Dispose of Fishing Gear Waste

Fishing is a way of life here on the Space Coast. From our freshwater lakes and rivers to our brackish lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, there are tons of fish to be reeled in. However, improperly discarded fishing line, tackle, and bait is extremely dangerous and harmful to the fish and wildlife that also inhabit these waterways. Make sure that you are very aware of any waste you generate while fishing and dispose of it properly when you’re ready to reel in that last cast.

Couple fishing from the pier
Image by @madischeenstra

A special note: Fish carcasses are often thrown to lazy pelicans, but this is a very dangerous practice. If you’re filleting your catch of the day, make sure you properly dispose of the remains so sharp bones can not tear pelican pouches, harm other scavengers, and disrupt dietary behaviors.

Did you know?

There are tubes located at popular fishing spots, including piers, specifically to dispose of trashed and tangled monofilament. Learn how to ‘Stash the Trash’ with the FWC.

Straws on the Space Coast

You’ll notice we’ve got a very interesting relationship with straws and other single-use plastics here on the Space Coast. Many beachside restaurants only provide straws upon request, some have switched to paper or another, more sustainable straw option. The Rikki Tiki Tavern, located at the end of the Cocoa Beach Pier only uses straws made from pasta! It’s all in an effort to quell the stream of single-use plastics into our landfills and waterways. Consider bringing your own straw or refusing single-use plastics if you have access to reusable alternatives while you are on vacation.

tiki drinks on the cocoa beach pier with pasta straws
Pasta straws in Tiki Drinks at the Cocoa Beach Pier. Image by @theluvaviatrix

Eco-Activism on Vacation!

Join a Beach Clean Up

Local organizations host beach clean-ups to keep the beaches of the Space Coast, clean and safe for everyone. Join one, meet a local, and do a good deed on your vacation!

Woman with umbrella at the beach
Image by @champs11

Keep Brevard Beautiful
Keep Brevard Beautiful has a whole calendar of beach clean ups through out the Space Coast. Check out their calendar of events to find  the closet clean-up near you.

Surfrider Foundation Space Coast Chapter
Join the Space Coast Chapter of Surfrider Foundation for 2 twice-monthly beach cleanups and other fun, eco-conscious events.

Carib Brewery USA
Cleaning the beach pairs well with a crisp Pineapple Cider! Carib Brewery USA in The City of Cape Canaveral regularly heads to the beach with buckets and pincers to remove trash from the shoreline with its patrons. Check out their website to find the next clean up and wash your good deed down with a Space Coast craft beer or ciders.

Dine At Eco-Conscious Restaurants

Restaurants on the Space Coast are also very interested in keeping our destination as healthy and happy as possible. Businesses that are Lagoon Loyal and Ocean-Friendly have adopted practices that help to curb the use of single-use plastics and otherwise harmful materials like styrofoam and plastic bags. They may also be part of larger restoration projects like Victorio’s Oyster Bar in Titusville who donates over 1 million pounds of oyster shells to the Brevard Zoo’s “Restore Our Shores” Oyster Mat project to help clean the Indian River Lagoon. Check out these local restaurants to fill your belly and support conservation and habitat restoration next time you’re on the Space Coast.

Grilled Oysters from Victorio's
At Victorio’s in Titusville, these grilled oyster shells will be sent to the Brevard Zoo where they are turned into oyster mats, and placed in the lagoon to Restore Our Shores.
Surfrider Ocean-Friendly Restaurants:
Lagoon Loyal Restaurants
lagoon loyal logo
Look for the Lagoon Loyal Logo while you’re on the Space Coast

Support Eco-Friendly Attractions and Businesses

By experiencing the Space Coast you can also help conserve and restore the health of the Space Coast’s ecosystems. The Brevard Zoo is a beacon of our community and works extremely hard every day to keep not only the animals in their care healthy but also to keep the wild animals and habitats of the Space Coast healthy too! When you visit the zoo, you are actively contributing to the health of the Space Coast’s natural spaces! Check out these other eco-conscious attractions and businesses while you’re here on the Space Coast!

Couple kayaking in the Indian river Lagoon
Image by @cocoakayaking
Lagoon Loyal Businesses

Smart Souvenirs

On the Space Coast, your souvenirs can also have a positive impact on the environment! These gift shops are stocked with some great gifts and mementos for visitors of every age, and the proceeds help to support the organizations that protect and conserve our natural spaces and the wildlife that lives here!

Turtle House – Indialantic
109 S Miramar Ave
Indialantic, FL 32903
Gift shop proceeds benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society

Books at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society's Gift Shop
Image by Sea Turtle Preservation Society 

Turtle Nest  – Port Canaveral
9086 Flounder Street
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
Gift shop proceeds benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society

Titusville Welcome Center – Titusville
419 S Hopkins Ave
Titusville, FL 32780
Gift Shop proceeds benefit the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Alligator Decorations at the Titusville Welcome Center

Brevard Zoo Gift Shop – Viera
8225 N Wickham Rd,
Melbourne, FL 32940
Gift shop proceeds benefit the Brevard Zoo’s operation and conservation efforts

Mang Gear – Brevard Zoo Restore Our Shores
Mang is an apparel company that plants mangroves along the shores of Florida for each purchase. They partnered with the Brevard Zoo for the Restore Our Shores program and created an awesome shirt, with an awesome cause. Shop their online store here.

kid in Mang apparrel
Image by @manggear

It’s easy and fun to be a good tourist here on the Space Coast. Share your good-tourist experiences with us using #SpaceCoast, no good deed goes unrewarded!

Recommended Articles