23 things to do in 2023 on Florida’s Space Coast – jam-packed with educational experiences, adventures and affordable activities (some of which can only be found in this area!). From IRL rocket launches, to unique cruise ports and bioluminescent adventures, it’s the ultimate place for bucket list travel.
See a rocket launch:
57 rockets were launched from the Space Coast in 2022, and we’re not slowing down anytime soon. This year 80+ rockets are projected to launch from Florida’s Space Coast! Some exciting launches planned are SpaceX Crew-6, and the ULA Vulcan – which is currently stacked at the ULA Assembly Building waiting for its pre-launch tests. Plan a trip to the Space Coast this year, and you’ll likely witness a rocket heading to the stars.
Sail on a New Cruise Ship:
Port Canaveral is now the home port for 13 amazing cruise ships. Take your pick of several ships from Royal Caribbean (including Wonder of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship), Disney Cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival, MSC Cruises, and soon-to-include Marella Cruises. Port Canaveral recently celebrated its 3rd year running as Best Cruise Port in the US for CruiseHive’s Cruise Ship Awards. From here, it’s easy and exciting to find a new cruise adventure.
Fly Direct to Melbourne International Airport:
The Melbourne Orlando International Airport has been BUSY and there are more direct flights than ever to deliver you straight to Florida’s Space Coast. Now if you’re in Minneapolis, Nashville, or Pittsburgh you’re one non-stop flight away from paradise! Learn more about flights from Sun Country Airlines, Allegiant, Delta, and American Airlines, and get here sooner!
Meet the New Arrivals at the Brevard Zoo:
The Brevard Zoo has been doing what they always do and providing amazing homes to amazing animals. This year there are many new faces to smile at. See the 3 lion brothers roam their habitat, watch a brand new back bear named Betty as she plays with her den mates Brody and Cheyenne in Wild Florida, and say Hello to Dr. Roolittle, the baby kangaroo who was recently welcomed to the mob in Lands of Change. It’s always a wild time at the Brevard Zoo, don’t miss a visit this year!
Visit Gateway at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:
Gateway is the newest attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This stunning exhibit showcases spaceflight as we experience it now and a sneak peek at what the future holds. Walk amongst space-flown vehicles, explore extraterrestrial habitats, and take a flight from Spaceport KSC, the immersive ride that launches you into the furthest reaches of our known universe. It’s the next giant leap and an excellent new addition to an already excellent attraction.
Fly with an Astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:
Have you ever wanted to hang out with an astronaut all day? Now you can! Fly With An Astronaut is an incredible add-on experience at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Join fellow explorers as an astronaut takes you on a guided tour of the Visitor Complex and behind the gates of the Kennedy Space Center where you’ll learn all about that astronaut’s unique journey from the Space Coast to the stars. Daily admission is included with this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Learn more here
Learn to Wakeboard:
The Space Coast’s newest charter adventure is Launch Wake Charters. This incredible tour operator offers lessons for wakeboarding, wake surfing & even wake surfing in bioluminescence during the season! It’s a high-octane way to experience the Indian River Lagoon and have some fun with your family.
Party on a Pedal Pub on the Indian River Lagoon:
Sail Cocoa Beach offers one of the most fun boat tours you’ll take on the Space Coast, but this year they’ve introduced a new way to get together with your crew. Take your special party to the lagoon this year with the Sail Cocoa Beach Pedal Pub. It’s a pedal pontoon that you stock with fun and is great fun for reunions or bridal parties looking for an exciting outing.
See Film History at the Wizard of Oz Museum:
The Wizard of Oz Museum is an incredible hidden gem in the City of Cape Canaveral, and a must-see for anyone who’s loved the Wizard of Oz. Inside, you’ll find the 1st print 1st edition of the first book from this beloved series, original movie props & costumes including Dorothy’s dress, and other nostalgic memorabilia. Step into the immersive experience to take a walk down the yellow brick road you’ve never seen before. But that’s not all, The James Webb Telescope Experience transports you to the galaxies captured by the most powerful telescope in existence, and the Van Gogh Immersive Experience is an awe-inspiring journey through the postimpressionist’s most well-known pieces. After a visit here you’ll see there’s truly no place like Florida’s Space Coast.
Finally Experience Bioluminescence:
By now you’ve heard about Bioluminescence season. And how from June – September the Indian River Lagoon is one of the few places on the planet where organic organisms illuminate like stars from the slightest disturbance. Make 2023 the year you finally experience this for yourself. From clear bottom kayaks and paddle boards, to tour boats and wake surfing, there are so many ways you and your family can enjoy this natural phenomenon that has our waterways looking like the Milky Way.
Go on a Sea Turtle Walk:
In 2022 Florida’s Space Coast counted record numbers of sea turtles during nesting season (May – October). This year, book a guided sea turtle walk with some of our amazing sea turtle-saving organizations like the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, Stella Maris Environmental Research or the Friends of the Carr Refuge to learn about this important season and safely see a sea turtle lay her eggs. Then enjoy sunrise strolls to count the tracks in the sand!
Explore Samsons Island:
Samsons Island is a nature park complete with trails & campsites and is only accessible by boat. Not only is it a gorgeous nature preserve in the Indian River Lagoon, but it’s also one of the sites for the Space Coast’s seagrass restoration projects and oyster & clam nurseries that aim to improve the health of this important estuary. Hop on the free monthly tour led by the City of Satellite Beach to learn more about these important projects, and explore the island.
Camp at the Sebastian Inlet State Park:
Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the most incredible state parks in Florida. This unique spot is great for beach days, surfing, pier fishing, camping, hiking, biking, boating, and kayaking. Take your getaway off the beaten path and into adventure when you camp and play at the Sebastian Inlet.
Discover the Flavors of the Space Coast:
The Culinary Scene on the Space Coast just keeps growing. 80 restaurants opened last year and the specials that continue to be cooked up by some of our favorite chefs are still stunning our tastebuds. Check out this list of culinary surprises, or head over to our dining guide to get a taste of what’s on the menu!
Take a Dinner Cruise on the Indian River Lagoon:
Forget waterfront seating this year and hop on the Indian River Queen for a lunch or dinner cruise that will take you back in time. This historic 3 story paddle boat takes guests on a calm scenic route up and down the Lagoon while serving up some incredible local barbeque from Crydermans. Enjoy drinks, and live music as you dine and watch the wildlife swim and fly by. Play your cards right, and you may even be treated to a rocket launch during your river cruise.
Check out the New Hotels:
Check out our new digs! This year 3 incredible properties opened on Florida’s Space Coast. Each with its own unique vibe. See a launch from the rooftop Space Bar at the Courtyard Titusville Kennedy Space Center, hop from your room to the cruise terminal when you stay at the TownePlace Suites Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach, or stop by the Comfort Suites West Melbourne for the perfect break in a long road trip. See you soon!
Find Your New Favorite Beach:
The Space Coast is made up of 72 miles of beaches. From the pristine beaches of the Canaveral National Seashore, to the bustling surf culture of Cocoa Beach, and the small-town vibes of Melbourne Beach, this year is your year to discover the beach you’ll always come back to.
Check out what’s new at the Cocoa Beach Pier:
In 2023 the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier will be undergoing a 3.5 million dollar renovation. Look forward to an upscale dining experience over the waves, 2 casual food stops where you can load up on made-to-order beach snacks like sandwiches, or loaded potato chips, a frozen daiquiri bar, an upgraded gift shop, and 5 more family-style changing rooms/showers!
Earn a Launches & Lagers Mission Patch:
On the Space Coast, we love our launches just as much as we love our local breweries. Experience them both together when you embark on the Launches & Lagers beer trail. It’s a fun, purely Space Coast way to pair our local brews with rocket launches. Simply enjoy local brews at each of our local breweries & distillery, then #LookUp to see a launch. Once you’ve sampled & seen it all, head to our visitor information center to pick up your mission patch!
See a Show:
Florida’s Space Coast is home to several theaters and playhouses that perform broadway-quality shows, original plays, and nationally touring acts. Add some drama to your trip this year and see what’s coming to town.
Run a Marathon:
Florida’s Space Coast is a runner’s dream. Idyllic temperatures and breathtaking courses set you up for the run of a lifetime. Check out the Florida Marathon which features live music and causeway crossings, or the Cocoa Beach Marathon where you’re surrounded by hundreds of I Dream of Jeannies. Runs like the Space Force 10 Miler and Gateway to Space Race will have you running around launch pads and shuttle landing zones. Find your fun and register today!
Meet Surfing Santa:
Surfing Santas is THE holiday event you must experience in your lifetime. Every Christmas Eve hundreds of Santas hit the waves while thousands of spectators cheer them on. Take your holiday to Florida’s Space Coast this year and see what new traditions your family makes.