The Space Coast
The space theme is omnipresent in Florida´s Brevard County
with approximately 80 rocket launches taking place this year and the advance of
the Artemis space programme with Artemis II scheduled to
orbit the moon with a crewed test flight in November 2024.
Meanwhile on the Space Coast visitors can sample life as an
astronaut by partaking on an astronaut-themed itinerary. The Mercury Astronauts
each purchased a Corvette for US$1 from a local dealer to drive around Cocoa
Beach. Today Space
Coast Slingshots rents Polaris Slingshot vehicles with pre-programmed
itineraries for exploring the area; visitors can choose between half-day,
full-day and overnight rental.
In 1965 astronaut John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich
into space on the Gemini 3 mission causing a scandal with NASA at the time,
this was commemorated when corned beef returned on the first space-shuttle
flight in 1981 in more suitable bite-size cubes. Nowadays a Mahi Ruben sandwich
can be enjoyed all along the Space Coast, such as at Crackers Island Grille in
Cape Canaveral and Rusty´s Seafood and Oyster Bar at Port Canaveral. Typical
astronaut dessert is the freeze dried ice cream to be found at the Kennedy
Space Center, while the mobile Cosmos Ice Cream Truck
is a double decker bus serving cold, creamy, nitrogen-infused ice cream around
One of the final remnants of the 1960s space race is the
Mouse Trap Bar at the Cocoa
Beach Fish Camp Grill, which astronauts frequented at that time; the bar is
still home to some space-race memorabilia. Another popular spot with the
astronauts in those days is The
Alibi in Cocoa Beach, which nowadays offers handcrafted cocktails, fine
wines, craft beer and small plates. The original astronauts hung out at the old
Canaveral Pier; today visitors can enjoy a tropical cocktail at the Riki Tiki
Tavern at the end of the Cocoa
Beach Pier watching surfers carve the waves below. Another popular spot is
Alan Shepard Park, named after “America´s First Astronaut” located behind Ron
Jon Surf Shop on State Road 520.
Ultimate space enthusiasts cannot forgo a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
with the rocket garden, Space Shuttle Atlantis, a launch simulator, the bus
tour across the NASA grounds past the launch pads to the Apollo/Saturn V Center
as well as the IMAX movies. Visitors can enhance their stay by adding the Astronaut
Training Experience or even engage with a Chat
with an Astronaut.
A hidden space gem can be found in Titusville in the American Space Museum and Space Walk of
Fame curated with artifacts and memorabilia donated by astronauts and their
families as well as the space workers themselves.
Finally, the ultimate experience for visitors is witnessing
a rocket launch; there have been 53 so far this year!
Florida's Space Coast
Office of Tourism website features the next launch, the best viewing sites and
the Space Coast Launches
app with 24-hour and T minus 5-minute notifications, a compass and a live feed
to the countdown.