10 Top Things To Do Around Port Canaveral, Florida

10 Top Things To Do Around Port Canaveral, Florida
Located on Florida's Atlantic coast, Port Canaveral is one of America's most popular cruise ports. Situated about 45 miles east of Orlando, Port Canaveral is a favorite cruise embarkation port for vacationers spending time at Florida's popular theme parks. It's also a convenient drive-to homeport for travelers living in the southeast region of the United States.

Short cruises and week-long sailings from Port Canaveral are offered by a number of cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Cruises departing from Port Canaveral generally visit the Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean. Disney Cruise Line features Land and Sea vacation packages that combine a Disney cruise with a multi-day Walt Disney World experience. Royal Caribbean has teamed with Universal Orlando Resort to offer cruise and theme park packages as well.

Experts often advise cruise guests to arrive at their embarkation port a day in advance to avoid potential travel delays. The greater Port Canaveral region offers a wealth of activities and attractions for all ages and interests, so it makes sense to spend some extra time here.

Here are ten great to do around Port Canaveral, Florida during your visit:

1. Visit The Kennedy Space Center. Vacationers can easily spend days exploring the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and taking tours of its additional museums and attractions. Located less than 20 miles from Port Canaveral, the Kennedy Space Center is home to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Space Shuttle Atlantis and other highlights. If your timing is good, you may be able to watch a live rocket launch at the center. Make sure to check out Kennedy Space Center's great souvenir shop as well. Guests can also take a multi-hour tour of the Air Force Space and Missile Museum as well as historic sites at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Opened in the 1960's, the museum contains a wide variety of exhibits.

2. Explore The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is one of the most photographed sites in the Port Canaveral area. A lighthouse was first built in this area more than 150 years ago and it has been rebuilt multiple times. Standing 151 feet tall, the current lighthouse was relit in 1894. The lighthouse’s powerful beacon reaches 22 miles out to sea.

3. Get Close To Nature. Located near the Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge provides a home for a wide variety of animals including alligators, tortoises, birds, river otters, manatees, white-tailed deer, armadillos, bobcats and other wildlife. The 140,000 acre preserve is lovely to tour, with a range of habitats accommodating more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. Nearby Manatee Sanctuary Park is another great place to spot manatees. Situated on ten acres along the Banana River in Cape Canaveral, this park offers exercise stations, picnic tables and a fitness trail as well. Nature lovers who want to spend time out on the water should check out Cape Canaveral's Time and Tide Tours, providing scenic boat tours of the Banana River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. These tours can be a great way to see dolphins, turtles, and sometimes even whales.

4. Chill Out The Beach. Cape Canaveral's Jetty Park contains over four acres of beautiful beaches perfect for sun and fun. The park provides an ideal place to relax before or after your cruise. Chairs and beach umbrellas are available from vendors for vacationers who wish to spend the day here. The thirty five-acre park also features a fishing pier, pavilions and a playground for the kids.

5. Sample Florida's Key Lime Pie. The state of Florida is known for its world famous key lime pie. While in the greater Port Canaveral area, sample a slice as well as other treats at the Florida Key Lime Pie Company store. The shop offers a number of other Florida treats as well including coconut patties, Florida craft beers, Florida wines, hot sauces, ice creams and more. The Florida Key Lime Pie Company store is located near other great Cape Canaveral area attractions as well.

6. Fly Through The Air. If you're looking for a major adrenaline rush and some flying of your own, check out the Skydive Space Center in nearby Titusville. The center offers the world's highest tandem jump at 18,000 feet, plus an aerial tour of the NASA Space Center and beautiful views of Florida's Space Coast on the way down. The Skydive Space Center offers options for both experienced and first-time jumpers. Solo flyers can enjoy Florida's highest jump at 15,000 feet. Complete video and photo services are available as well. If you'd like to get up in the air for a few thrills, but stay a bit closer to the ground, check out the exciting aerial adventure courses Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures.

7. Go Shopping . Often called the world's most famous surf shop, Ron Jon Surf Shop's massive flagship store features surfing styles and swimwear for every member of the family. With 52,000 square feet of retail space, the store is the world’s largest surf shop as well. The store has been located in nearby Cocoa Beach for more than 50 years. Ron Jon Surf Shop is an excellent place to visit for vacationers seeking new swimwear, surfing gear or beach essentials. Travelers also like to purchase iconic Ron Jon souvenir t-shirts as well.

8. Check Out Exploration Tower. Located next to Port Canaveral, Exploration Tower is a great place to learn about the history, culture and wildlife found in the region. The popular landmarks contains a wide variety of exhibits, a state-of-the-art theater and interactive play features focusing on the port's origins, Central Florida's history and the region's importance in the nation's exploration of space. Guests can also learn how harbor pilots work with cruise ships to navigate the area as well. The seven-story tower's observation decks also provide spectacular views of Port Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center and surrounding beaches.

9. Tour The Air Force Space and Missile History Center. Vacationers can take a multi-hour tour of the Air Force Space and Missile History Center as well as other interesting sites at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Opened to the public in the 1960's, the center contains a wide variety of exhibits on missile and rocket technological developments, manned and unmanned space excursions, the contributions of women scientists and astronauts, and much more. Visitors enjoy strolling through the displays of old rockets and equipment in the center’s outdoor garden area, too.

10. Play Mini-Golf And Hold Gators. Offering loads of family fun, Cape Canaveral's Golf N Gator is home to more than 30 alligators as well as two 18-hole mini-golf courses - Gator Mountain or Swamp Cave. The attraction's mini-golf courses meander through landscapes filled with streams, ponds and waterfalls. Guests can also get up close and personal with alligators here by holding a young alligator or feeding the larger gators hanging out in the swamp. In addition, Golf N Gator features gem mining experiences, educational talks and hands-on interactions with birds, spiders, snakes, lizards and other creatures.

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