Destination Space Coast Florida
Stretching along 72 miles of Florida's east coast, the Space Coast is best known as the home of the Kennedy Space Center. Located one short hour from Orlando, the Space Coast also provides numerous opportunities to visit cultural, natural, historic and recreational sites. The trip may start in Orlando, but the discovery begins on America's public lands and waters.
The Kennedy Space Center, or KSC for short, is NASA's launch headquarters - geared up to be the spaceport of the future for both government and commercial spacecraft. KSC's visitor complex is the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, see giant rockets, train in spaceflight simulators, take special behind-the-scenes tours or view the retired Space Shuttle Atlantis. KSC also sponsors tours of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, launch site for many historical launches. Visit the Kennedy Space Center website to get more information about tours and visits. Located 45 miles/60 minutes east of Orlando
The Canaveral National Seashore is home to the longest expanse of pristine shoreline in Florida, as well as to threatened animals such as nesting sea turtles. Visitors can swim in the ocean, fish in the lagoon or stroll down a wooded trail. Visit the Canaveral National Seashore’s Outdoor Activities page for additional information on camping, boating, scenic driving and more. Located 62 miles/70 minutes east of Orlando.
The Ocala is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world's largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest. Home to more than 600 lakes, rivers and springs, this National Forest contains some of the most pristine springs in the United States. Visitors can swim, snorkel and dive in these crystalline waters year-round. Camping is available throughout the forest. Located 70 miles/90 minutes north of Orlando.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station preserves both the hardware and the spirit of the United States' venture into space. Visitors have the opportunity to view displays of numerous missiles, rockets and related space equipment. The Air Force Space and Missile Museum highlights the Air Force as a major participant in America's space program and emphasizes activities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station beginning in the early 1950s and continuing today. Located 60 miles/60 minutes east of Orlando.
The refuge was established in 1963 on 140,000 acres surrounding NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Merritt Island contains a wide variety of habitats including coastal dunes, freshwater impoundments, saltwater estuaries and marshes, all of which provide habitat for more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. Many recreational activities such as bird and wildlife observation, the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, manatee observation deck, fishing and hunting, boating and paddling are available. Participate in the annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the United States. Visit the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge website to plan your visit. Located 46 miles/55 minutes from Orlando.
Making history relevant, interesting and fun are the goals of the Orange Country Regional History Center. Showcasing vast collections of the Historical Society of Central Florida Inc., the museum features three floors of permanent exhibitions and also presents nationally important limited-run exhibitions. The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and was accredited by the American Association of Museums, which is the highest honor a museum can receive. Located in Orlando.
The Mennello Museum collects, preserves, exhibits and elucidates the art of the United States from a variety of time periods and genres. With a collection that emphasizes national and local culture, the museum is situated on a beautiful lake in the cultural Loch Haven Park in Orlando. The museum grounds are also home to a beautiful biking and hiking trail that surround Lake Formosa and lets visitors view the extensive sculpture garden as they pass. Located in Orlando.
Best known for its definitive collection of Cuban art--the largest of its kind outside of Cuba--it was acquired in 1956 when Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista donated his private collection to the city. The permanent collection also includes American fine and decorative art from 1640-1920, Chinese art, African cultural objects and prehistory of Florida which includes the skeleton of a 13-foot-tall, 130,000-year-old giant ground sloth. Visit the the Museum of Arts and Sciences website for more information. Located 55 miles/53 minutes northeast of Orlando.
This engaging museum strives to create excitement, curiosity and an appreciation for the arts by looking, listening and doing. The museum's collections span five continents, including European and American decorative arts, Pre-Columbian, Asian, African and folk art. A sculpture garden provides an additional sensory experience. Visit the Polk Museum of Art website to plan your visit. Located 55 miles/52 minutes southeast of Orlando.
Located on the St. Lucie Canal portion of the Okeechobee Water, St. Lucie South is the perfect camping location with its tropical atmosphere and lush vegetation. Aside from camping, other activities here include fishing, picnicking, boating and enjoyment of the quiet surroundings. The campground offers nine RV/tent sites and eight boat campsites. Make sure to read our Spotlight article on St. Lucie South to learn even more. Located 140 miles/70 minutes southeast of Orlando.
Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge stretches across 20.5 miles between Melbourne Beach and Wabasso Beach. The refuge was established in 1991 and was named after the late Dr. Archie Carr, Jr., in honor of his extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation. Refuge highlights include the Barrier Island Sanctuary Management and Education Center, sea turtle watch programs, hiking trails, beach access and saltwater fishing. Located 88 miles/100 minutes southeast of Orlando.
The Castillo De San Marcos is the oldest existing permanent seacoast fortification in the continental United States. The present star-shaped fort, surrounding moat and earthworks were constructed from 1672 to 1756 to protect Spanish territory in Florida and shipping routes along the coast. Located 105 miles/110 minutes northeast of Orlando.