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An Introduction to the Space Coast
This is not an area that immediately springs to mind when visiting the Orlando area yet it is only 35 miles away on the Atlantic coast. Thousands upon thousands of tourist get within touching distance as they drive out to the Kennedy Space Center attraction but very few sample the delights of what is available just a matter of minutes away.
This article is written with a view to give the reader an overview the Space Coast that encompasses the communities of Melbourne, Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral and is reached by driving east along the SR528.
Of course, the Kennedy Space Center is a must for the first time visitor with its superb two hour guided bus tour, which takes you out to the Shuttle launch pads, and the several fascinating exhibits around the Visitor Complex such as the IMAX film theatres and Rocket Garden.
But this area has so much more to offer
Cocoa Beach is probably the most well known resort, if only for the world famous ‘Ron Jon Surf Shop’ and its legendary T-shirts. It’s worth stopping by, even if it’s just for curiosity. The shop is immense and is open 24 hours a day.
Visitors can take a relaxing stroll along the beach and watch the surfers ride the Atlantic rollers or enjoy the delights of the pier, which entices the visitor with a wide range of shops and restaurants. Make sure you call in at Ricky’s Ice Cream Parlor for a scoop or two of your favourite flavours. The pier also has a schedule of live entertainment and Friday’s ‘Boardwalk Bash’ isn’t to be missed.
Cocoa Village, not be confused with Cocoa Beach, is located on the mainland adjacent to Merritt Island. It is very quaint and highly photogenic. Here you will find brightly coloured shops to browse around, an assortment of brilliantly painted wall murals to admire and even statutes sitting on the municipal benches, which provide plenty of amusement to the vacationer or day visitor.
A little further south, the City of Melbourne is the Space Coast’s administrative center and does not have too many natural attractions. Even so, it’s worth a visit and boasts numerous parks and recreational facilities including two golf courses, tennis courts, and much more. If you do visit, don’t miss the creative menu at the Island Pasta Co.
We hope this brief introduction may prompt you to visit the Space Coast. It is such a diverse area that there is plenty do, over and above what has been mentioned here, such as airboat rides and Sea Turtle sightings.
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