Cape Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida, sits on the Atlantic Coast and was briefly known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The region has been nicknamed the Space Coast as it is the site of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and has seen many space launches during its time. The area is also the home of NASA, officially formed in 1958.
The first spacecraft to depart from Cape Canaveral was in 1961. Due to its connections to space flight, technology and, of course, the military, Cape Canaveral has seen many special projects. Since 1950, Cape Canaveral has tested missiles, rockets and more to push science and technology forward.
So, if you’re a fan of anything to do with space travel, this is the place to visit. But there’s more to this Florida area than space travel, however. Cape Canaveral has many beautiful beaches, wildlife preserves and water-based activities. Here are 20 things to do in Cape Canaveral to help you plan your adventure there.
- Cape Canaveral, Florida
- Top 3 Cape Canaveral Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Cape Canaveral
- 1- Marvel At Nature On A Cocoa Beach Nighttime Bioluminescence Kayak Tour
- 2- Get An Adrenalin Rush On A Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventure
- 3- Go On A Guided Kayaking Backwater Manatee and Dolphin Tour
- 4- Book A Pavilion At Jetty Park
- 5- Watch A Rocket Launching From Exploration Tower
- 6- Visit The U.S. Airforce Space and Missile Museum
- 7- Relax At Cherie Down Park
- 8- See Space Shuttle Displays At Kennedy Space Center
- 9- Enjoy The Wizard of Oz Immersive Experience
- 10- Book An Astronaut Training Experience
- 11- Drink A Southern-style Beer At Florida Beer Company
- 12- Visit Manatee Sanctuary Park
- 13- Visit The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
- 14- Admire The View From Canaveral Lock
- 15- Have A Delicious Meal At Cafe Monte Carlo
- 16- Eat Ice Cream At Tropic Ice Cream
- 17- Look For Wildlife At Banana River Aquatic Preserve
- 18- Go Deep Sea Fishing
- 19- Go On A Sunset Cruise
- 20- Learn to Surf
- Kennedy Space Center: Admission ticket with Explore Tour – explore the world’s best space attraction.
- Kennedy Space Center: Astronaut Training Experience – learn to be an astronaut by participating in simulations.
- Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures – get your ticket to fun and adventure.
1- Marvel At Nature On A Cocoa Beach Nighttime Bioluminescence Kayak Tour
Kayaking is a favourite pastime of Cape Canaveral’s residents, and many visitors make the most of this water sport while on vacation here.
For a more memorable and truly unusual experience, head out for a nighttime kayaking experience.
Kayak down the Indian River Lagoon to discover the natural phenomena of bioluminescence.
These tiny organisms emit light naturally, which causes the waters to glow, creating a truly magical sight across the lagoon.
On a guided tour, you will explore the waters with a knowledgeable guide who will help you learn about bioluminescence.
You can choose a single-person kayak or two-person kayak when booking, and the best kayaking tours include a tour guide and all kayaking equipment.
Cocoa Beach Nighttime Bioluminescence Kayak Tour is at Banana River Park. 901 Puerto Del Rio Drive, Cape Canaveral. Fin Expeditions is at 5000 Tom Warriner Blvd, Cocoa Beach.
2- Get An Adrenalin Rush On A Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventure
Brave new heights with a Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventure pass.
Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventure is an aerial adventure park with a wide range of obstacles and challenges, all high above the ground.
The experience includes a safety briefing on the ground to help you understand proper form and technique.
Following the briefing, you will head off to the ropes to climb rope ladders, brave swaying suspension bridges, tunnels, balancing logs, zip lines, monkey bars and more during your two or three-hour slot.
There are three levels to the course, with each increasing in difficulty.
As the aerial adventure is self-guided, you can go at your own pace, so skip the line and book your tickets before you travel here.
Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventure is at 6419 North Atlantic Avenue, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.
3- Go On A Guided Kayaking Backwater Manatee and Dolphin Tour
Cape Canaveral is well-known for its manatee population, which are large aquatic mammals affectionately known as sea cows.
On a backwater manatee and dolphin tour, you can expect to see these incredible creatures and otters and birds native to the area.
Accompanied by a professional guide, groups kayak in the morning or afternoon through the mangrove forests and tidal flats.
The experience is suitable for experienced kayakers and those new to the sport.
The tours take two hours and explore the calm waters of the Cocoa Beach Thousand Islands Marine Sanctuary. Find out more here.
The tour starts from A1A Beach Rentals and Outdoor Centre, 6811 North Atlantic Avenue, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.
4- Book A Pavilion At Jetty Park
Jetty Park is a pristine, tropical and secluded paradise beach and parkland loved by locals and visitors.
The park stretches across 30 acres (12 ha) and is perfect for a relaxing day out.
You’ll find lovely spots to have a picnic, long stretches of soft white sands to explore and bookable pavilions to give you a relaxing base for the day.
Venture out to sea on the Malcolm E. McLouth Fishing Pier that extends out into the ocean from the park.
The pier is 1200ft (365.76m) long and is an ideal location for fishing.
There are regular fish cleaning stations with running water and plenty of lights for night fishing.
Jetty Park is at 9035 Campground Cir, Cape Canaveral, Fl 32920.
5- Watch A Rocket Launching From Exploration Tower
Exploration Tower is a stunning architectural landmark in Cape Canaveral and a must-visit location.
The tower has seven floors packed with exhibitions and interactive play areas for children.
There are indoor and outdoor viewing areas offering incredible views.
Exploration Tower has 5550ft (1691.64m) of exhibition space, a cafe and a gift shop.
One of the unique experiences at Exploration Tower is to book onto the 7th-floor outdoor observation deck during a rocket launch, where you will have one of the best seats in Florida to see this incredible sight.
Exploration Tower is at 670 Dave Nesbet Drive, Cape Canaveral, Fl 329020-4514.
- 20 Landmarks In Florida
- 20 Landmarks In Miami
- 20 Things To Do In Miami At Night
- 20 Florida Keys Beaches
- 20 Ways To Spend Christmas In Florida
- 11 Florida National Parks
- 20 Things To Do In Fort Myers
- Swimming With Manatees In Florida
- 20 Things To Do In Ruskin
- 20 Day Trips From Miami
- 20 Day Trips From Orlando
- 20 Things To Do In Treasure Island Florida
- 20 Things To Do In Cape Canaveral
- 20 Places To Go Glamping In Florida
6- Visit The U.S. Airforce Space and Missile Museum
The U.S. Airforce Space and Missile Museum has been educating visitors on rocketry and space flight history since 1966.
The museum collects, restores and displays various items linked to the USA’s space flight history.
Exhibits displayed at the museum include Navaho Aircraft, Thor Missile, V2 Rocket Engine, Gemini Capsule, and more.
Visits to the museum are always via a guided tour, and visitors are not permitted to explore the museum themselves.
U.S. Airforce Space and Missile Museum is at 191 Museum Cir Launch Complex 26, Cape Canaveral, 32925-2535.
7- Relax At Cherie Down Park
Explore the beautiful sand dunes and spectacular ocean views at Cherie Down Park.
The park covers 6.99 acres of beach, dunes and seagrasses, all of which are preserved.
It’s the ideal place to spend the day as it has restrooms, drinking water, shower facilities, picnic shelters and grill areas.
Cherie Down is a popular spot for those wanting to boogie board or surf. The beach is accessible from 7 am till 7 pm every day.
Cherie Down Park is at 8330 Ridgewood Avenue, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920-2122.
8- See Space Shuttle Displays At Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit attraction in Cape Canaveral and is perfect for families, couples and solo travellers.
The space centre displays the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Saturn V rocket, and plenty of space and astronaut memorabilia.
Be sure to explore the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, presented by Boeing, to discover more about the famous astronauts who ventured beyond Earth in the name of science.
There are plenty of activities for children to get involved with, including a chat with an astronaut, interactive displays and 3D space films.
The centre is extremely popular, so get a skip-the-line pass here to make the most of your time.
Kennedy Space Center is at Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953.
9- Enjoy The Wizard of Oz Immersive Experience
One of Cape Canaveral’s newest attractions is the Wizard of Oz Museum.
Fred Trust, a Wizard of Oz collector and scholar, opened the museum in early 2022.
The museum focuses on the Oz series by L. Frank Braum, including writings from other Oz authors and plenty of pop culture.
For those who love the books and, of course, the portrayal of the central character Dorothy by Judy Garland, an immersive experience is available at the museum.
3D laser projections from the film and works of art are projected onto the museum’s floors, walls and ceilings.
There are more than 2000 artefacts relating to the Wizard of Oz, including some movie memorabilia.
Your ticket allows you to explore the Wonderful World of Oz, as well as the works of Van Gogh, through an equally immersive experience.
Wizard of Oz Immersive Experience is at 7191 North Atlantic Avenue, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.
10- Book An Astronaut Training Experience
For a truly unique and memorable experience and day out, book an Astronaut Training Experience at the Kennedy Space Centre.
During your training day, experienced crew members will train you for a mission to Mars using authentic training techniques.
Missions are simulated to include launching, landing and exploring Mars.
Using microgravity technology, you can even perform a spacewalk on the surface of the red planet.
Throughout the entire training experience, videos are taken to give you a unique souvenir of your day.
Tickets must be booked in advance separately from your entry ticket and tour of the Kennedy Space Center.
Astronaut Training Experience is at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953.
11- Drink A Southern-style Beer At Florida Beer Company
The Florida Beer Company cannot be missed when visiting Cape Canaveral if you enjoy a cold beer.
The brewery brews Southern-style beers in small batches creating a refreshing range of craft beers in 28 different styles, many with a Florida touch of citrus.
Florida Beer Company allows the public to see parts of the brewing process from its visitor centre.
The visitor centre has a 100ft (30.48m) long glass window for visitors to see a range of stages in the brewing process.
Book a guided tour on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for a closer look at the process. Your $10 ticket also includes four tastings.
Florida Beer Company is at 200 Imperial Blvd, Cape Canaveral, FL.
12- Visit Manatee Sanctuary Park
Manatee Sanctuary Park is a must-visit for animal lovers.
While manatee sightings cannot be guaranteed, there is a good chance to spot these incredible creatures from the boardwalk as Manatees like to eat sea grass which grows freely along the boardwalk.
The park was named Manatee Sanctuary because it is located next to a section of the Banana River, a protected habitat for manatees.
Manatee Sanctuary Park is a great place to relax away from the city.
There is a covered riverside boardwalk, plenty of picnic and BBQ spots, and a covered pavilion with a serving kitchen.
Manatee Sanctuary Park is at 701 Thurm Blvd, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.
For more than 150 years, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse has stood proud on the coast, protecting ships coming into the port area.
Today the lighthouse is owned by the United States Space Force and is fully working.
The lighthouse is an active navigational aid to the U.S. Coast Guard.
As the lighthouse is owned and operated by the military and is on military land, the only way to experience this incredible feat of engineering is on a pre-booked tour.
Book a guided tour of the lighthouse, its museum and its gift shop.
Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is at 670 Dave Nesbet Drive, Cape Canaveral, Fl 32920-4514.
US Army Corps of Engineers built Canaveral Lock in 1965 to allow the safe passage of vessels travelling from Banana River and out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The lock is the largest navigation lock in Florida.
The size of the lock was increased from its original plans to allow the passage of the Saturn rocket’s first stage.
The Saturn rocket was used to put the Apollo rockets into space during the space race of the 1960s.
Head to the lock to spot some of Florida’s native marine life and enjoy the views out across the ocean.
One of the best times is sunset for the most spectacular views.
Canaveral Lock is at 998 Mullet Road, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920-4505.
15- Have A Delicious Meal At Cafe Monte Carlo
Cafe Monte Carlo is a Cape Canaveral institution, a cafe in a small plaza, and despite its low-key vibes, it is incredibly popular and a foodie’s paradise.
The meals are delicious and served with high service standards in homely surroundings.
There are outdoor seats available for warmer days too.
A favourite dish on the menu is the Cafe Monte Carlo croissant breakfast sandwich and their traditional apple pie.
Cafe Monte Carlo is at 7090 North Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, Cape Canaveral, FL32920-3714.
16- Eat Ice Cream At Tropic Ice Cream
Tropic Ice Cream is a must-visit sweet spot in Cape Canaveral, with a range of flavours.
They even cater to allergies and dietary requirements meaning there is something for everyone.
The ice cream comes in a range of styles as well as flavours, including soft serve and Italian ice.
Tropic Ice Cream specialises in hard top ice cream, a soft serve dipped in a coating that will set hard on contact with the coldness of the ice cream.
One of their best sellers is Hershey’s ice cream, and they also have chocolate malts, shakes and banana fosters.
Tropic Ice Cream is at 6200 North Atlantic Avenue, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.
17- Look For Wildlife At Banana River Aquatic Preserve
Take to the water and discover underwater worlds at Banana River Aquatic Preserve.
The preserve is the ideal location to kayak while looking for wildlife and is accessible through several boat ramps that provide direct access to the water and is surrounded by parkland.
Banana River Aquatic Preserve is an important habitat during spring for the east coast population of manatees, with as many as 500 manatees a day using the river.
Look out for alligators and diamondback terrapin turtles during your visit.
Banana River Aquatic Preserve is at 401 Ramp Road, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931.
18- Go Deep Sea Fishing
Cape Canaveral lies on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, making it the ideal spot for deep-sea fishing.
On a deep sea fishing excursion, expect a wide range of fish available to catch, such as sailfish, dolphins, kingfish and tuna.
Bottom fishing is available to catch grouper, snapper or amberjack and inshore fishing in the backwaters for mangrove snapper, red drum and spotted sea trout.
Local experts will help you navigate to the best spot to find your catch.
Deep sea fishing adventures are perfect for the whole family. Vessels include fishing and safety equipment and Florida fishing licences.
19- Go On A Sunset Cruise
Head out on a cruise for sightings of Florida’s native wildlife, led by knowledgeable and experienced guides eager to help you learn more about the ecological history of Cape Canaveral’s waters and its residents.
Expect to see turtles and stingrays, as well as dolphins and whales.
Tours run throughout the day with specialised sunset cruises in the evening, opening up a new world of marine life.
Boats have a customised aquarium on board for your tour guide to place small fish and crabs inside as you sail along.
Time and Tide Tour is at 505 Glen Cheek Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.
20- Learn to Surf
Cape Canaveral’s waterside location means water sports are highly popular, and you don’t have to be an expert to brave the waves.
A private surfing lesson with experienced instructors will get you on your feet.
Some of the best surfing instructors in Florida will guide you through surfing basics before helping you into the water.
The team of instructors are so sure that you will leave loving surfing, they even offer a money-back guarantee if you did not have a fantastic time.
Your instructor provides everything to prepare you for the waves, including wetsuits, boards and even video equipment for a unique souvenir. Check it out here.
Learn to Surf is at Buchanan Avenue, Cape Canaveral. FL 32920.