After Nicole, Coast Is Clear Again for Tourism on Florida’s Space Coast
The area’s tourism industry started coming back to life almost immediately after Hurricane Nicole passed.
COCOA BEACH, Fla. — Within hours after Hurricane Nicole swept past Florida’s Space Coast, the area’s tourism industry started coming back to life.
Nicole’s tropical storm-force winds and tidal surge had relatively minor effects on the Space Coast and its 72 miles of beautiful, well-nourished beaches. After Nicole, local businesses started opening up shop as soon as the morning of Nov. 10. By Nov. 11, six large cruise ships had arrived at the reopened Port Canaveral, one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. And on Nov. 16, tens of thousands of visitors converged on the Space Coast for NASA’s historic Artemis I launch.
“We have early estimates that beach erosion from the storm will cost upward of $20 million to repair,” said Peter Cranis, executive director of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism. “But, because we have such a good beach renourishment program, there were less negative impacts on structures. Overall, we are open and ready for guests.”
One big reason this vacation destination is bouncing back so rapidly is Brevard County’s historically ambitious beach restoration efforts. The county goes to great lengths to continually renourish and protect its beaches – especially after hurricanes – using a portion of local tourist tax revenues earmarked for beach improvement. In fact, no resident taxes are used to renourish the beaches due to the leveraging of these tourist tax funds with state and federal matching dollars. Area beach renourishment includes the addition of beach-quality sand and the occasional planting of sea oats on coastal dunes. The dune preservation also helps protect inland property and structures.
On the special events front, the local calendar is now back to normal in Nicole’s wake with fall and holiday events scheduled to take place as planned. Surfing Santas of Cocoa Beach, the popular Christmas Eve event since 2009 that draws thousands of costumed surfers and spectators, returns the morning of Dec. 24.
Anyone with questions about existing hotel reservations, scheduled cruises from Florida’s Space Coast, or individual attractions in the area should contact those locations directly or visit their websites. Visitors should always watch for posted signs regarding any damaged beach crossovers, but the beach parks in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are open and ready for guests. In addition, travelers needing future reservations can visit the tourism office’s booking engine at visitspacecoast.com/hotels.
PR Manager – Space Coast Office of Tourism