We just recently took our family to Florida’s Space Coast and we had such a great time. Florida’s Space Coast is on the East Coast of Florida and includes 14 cities in the area, including the popular Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, and Melbourne. There’s about 72 miles of total coastline on the Florida Space Coast and all of it packed with great things to do with family. Read along to find out where we spent our time, what we liked the most, and all you need to know about exploring the best of the Space Coast with families.
 
Thank you to the Space Coast Office of Tourism and its partners for hosting us on this trip. This visit was sponsored, but the post contains our honest opinions of the experiences. The post also contains links to affiliate websites and we may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.
 

What’s the Florida’s Space Coast Known For?

While it’s most known for the Kennedy Space Center, NASA, SpaceX, and other space programs, there is so much more to the area. The beaches are absolutely beautiful and home to some amazing wildlife, like manatee and sea turtles that they work very hard to protect. There are endless parks and trails to explore throughout the coastline, all with their own charm and adventure. The Space Coast also has its fair share of great dining and fun area attractions, like art shows, museums, and plenty of great events all year round. Check out the Space Coast Events Page.
 
Best of Space Coast Florida

 

Best places to stay on the Space Coast 

Best Western Cocoa Beach

Best Western Cocoa Beach is conveniently located next to the Cocoa Beach Pier, which you can easily walk to by taking any of the beach access ramps on property. The Best Western is also right near tons of great restaurants and area attractions that we will touch on later in the post. It’s only 20 minutes from Kennedy Space Center and even less to the Sail Cocoa Beach docks, where we took an awesome sailing from on our trip. Just know it’s in a prime location!

Their Beachside Tower building has some amazing views of Cocoa Beach and the Cocoa Beach Pier, as I mentioned earlier. Our room had a private balcony that overlooked the ocean and it was such a nice way to relax and unwind. All of their rooms feature a kitchen, including a microwave and a refrigerator, which is perfect for preparing meals or snacks on days that you do not want to eat out. 

The Best Western also offers Family Suites. They have large one-bedroom suites and extra-large private balconies, and two-bedroom suites with a full-size kitchenettes. The best thing about the family suites, is that they are located in the same building as the complimentary breakfast buffet, fitness center, and outdoor heated pool. Very convenient!

We really enjoyed our stay at the Best Western Cocoa Beach and will definitely stay again on our next trip to the Space Coast. With such easy access to the beach and close proximity to area food and attractions, the location couldn’t be much better. For us, their great complimentary breakfast and exceptional staff made it such a family friendly experience. 

Random side note: the chef at the restaurant makes her own banana bread and we got to try some…it was amazing!!   

Here’s some other notable benefits:

  • Stay and Cruise Promotional Rate: The opportunity to leave your vehicle free of charge for the duration of your cruise.
  • Meeting facilities, available for corporate events & social gatherings that can accommodate up to 60 people.
  • There are 6 electric vehicle charging stations that all registered guests can use FREE of charge!
 
 

Other great places to stay in Cocoa Beach:

 

 

 

 
Cosmos Ice Cream Cocoa Beach Florida
 

Best things to do on the Space Coast 

Twister Airboat Rides

On our way into the Space Coast from Tampa and Orlando, we stopped at Lone Cabbage Fish Camp on the banks of the St. Johns River in Cocoa. Lone Cabbage is the home of the Twister Airboat Rides, and we were ready! We took an action-packed 30 min ride on the Twister Airboat and saw dozens and dozens of alligators. That wasn’t all, as we saw even more cows wading in the water, some that were right in our path. There were hundreds of birds: Blue heron, pelican, bald eagle, and many other indigenous species.
 
The airboat ride was so much fun. Yes it’s fast and a little loud under the ear protection, but the ride is so smooth that it wins you over right away. After a few minutes, the hum of the large fan is actually very relaxing and enjoyable. Our captain stopped several times to watch the floating alligators and to point out the other wildlife. The girls really enjoyed the ride and asked to go back again on our next trip.
 
Airboat Twister Space Coast

Sail Cocoa Beach

Sail Cocoa Beach was such a great experience. We were aboard with captain Kris and first mate Julie, along with another 10 people. There was plenty of room to move about the 40 foot sailing catamaran, while we headed out to see some sights. Right away, we saw a pod of dolphins swimming just ahead of the boat. They followed us for a bit and then off to play. We sighted a manatee, the NASA VAB, and lots of seabirds along the way.
 
We took a nice 2 hour cruise along the InterCoastal Waterway toward the Indian River Lagoon. It was a beautiful ride and the girls and I enjoyed every minute. They each got their own time to drive the ship and then all of them participated in hoisting the sails. All of us enjoyed sitting up front with our hair in the wind, and I was in heaven. The captain and his mate were very knowledgeable on the area and shared lots of great tidbits about nature and their experiences. It was such a nice day, highly recommended for anyone.
 
Sail Cocoa Beach Space Coast

 

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Witnessing our first Live Shuttle Launch

Arrived at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as they were boarding shuttles to the Saturn V building for the day’s launch. We made it on the bus and were one of the last groups over to the launch viewing area. Just it in time to grab a seat and witness the incredible launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Despite the sweltering heat, the girls really enjoyed it and the experience was very special.
 

The Apollo/ Saturn V Center

Immediately following the launch we entered the Apollo/Saturn V building to do some exploring. There was so much to do there. We started with learning about the Apollo missions, taking a stroll through several exhibits dedicated to the astronauts and the individual missions. One in particular that the girls really enjoyed, was walking up the launch pad and across the bridge just like the crew did to Apollo.
 
We took some time to engage in more of the exhibits, watching short videos presented by holograms of the actual astronauts and peering at artifacts from their missions. There was even an opportunity to touch a piece of moon rock!
Another highlight of the Saturn V building was the first moon landing presentation in the theater. It was a very emotional and beautiful homage to the first moon landing, and one of our favorite shows of the day.
 
Kennedy Space Center Florida

Space Shuttle Atlantis Experience

After some lunch, we headed back to the main campus to explore some of the newer additions to the Space Center. First, we headed to Atlantis to see their amazing 12 min presentation and play in the interactive area. The presentation was pretty amazing!  Using some new technology and artistry, the show left me in tears of joy. Without spoiling the ending, just know it was definitely not what I expected. The story of Atlantis is certainly one to remember.
 
Took some time to take in the rest of the Atlantis exhibits and the girls played in some of the 30 different interactive activities they had to offer. One of the most memorable was the launch simulator ride. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like being in a rocket during a launch, you must try this one out. It was very cool and VERY realistic!
 
Atlantis Space Shuttle Florida

ALL NEW Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex

Though we only had about an hour to spend at the brand new Gateway building, we were very impressed with everything that we saw. There were an abundance of things to do for everyone. Games, videos, simulators, and a super cool rides. We did get a chance to hop on the newest ride, which takes you on a journey to space to explore one of 4 different places. Our journey took us to the Red Planet of Mars, and it was both exciting and educational. 
 
Deep Space Center Florida

More to do at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

There was so much more to do at the center, that we just didn’t get a chance to experience it all. The good news is that we live close and can come back anytime. I feel like you could spend half a day alone, at each of the buildings we experienced. Overall, we were so impressed with what they’ve done at the Kennedy Space Center to make it such a family friendly destination. Learning about our space program is such an important part of our foundation for the future.

More attractions:

  • Race to the Moon
  • Walk Among Giants
  • Planet Play
  • Exploring the Red Planet
  • Train like an Astronaut
  • Interactive Gaming 

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Booking

Walk Among Giants Kennedy Space Center Florida
 
 

The Brevard Zoo – Space Coast

The Brevard Zoo is great. It is well kept and has plenty of shade, which is nice during the summer heat. There were lots of volunteers and plenty of activities for the girls to join and learn from. The highlight of our trip to the zoo had to be the kayaking adventure. This special trip allowed us to take a guided kayak tour around the park and see close up and unique views of the animals in their habitats. We saw camels, zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, and many bird species along the way. Highly recommend this for the family with little ones 5 and up. The girls did not stop talking about it the rest of the trip.
 
After our kayaking adventure, we explored the rest of the zoo. There were lots of great things to see, like the mere cats and black bear. The most recent additions to the zoo were the 3 lions that were actually housed in the Wild Florida area of the zoo. These 3 lions will be actually be moving to their permanent habitat in Expedition Africa in 2023. Also very cool that we got to see the new baby zebra just born about a month before our trip, so cute!

Because it was so hot, we spent the rest of our time at the splash park. It was a very cool setup, with lots to do for the littles. The best part about the splash area, is that there is a great pizza place called the Slice, that also serves snacks and cold drinks. This is the perfect place to cool off and take a break before, after or for occasional breaks when exploring the rest of the zoo.

 

Kayak Brevard Zoo Space Coast Florida

 

Best Places to eat on Florida’s Space Coast

4th Street Fillin Station

4th Street Fillin Station was such a cool place! They have a really great menu and such a fun atmosphere for the kids. The girls played giant Jenga and ran around the courtyard while waiting for the food. We tried several of their best appetizers; smoked wings, bbq poutine, and crispy cauliflower, all amazing! Note on the poutine… It is VERY Fillin’, so be sure to go easy if you’re going to order another meal. We ended up ordering some handhelds, more chicken wings (very good), and of course their signature milkshakes. The milkshake bar is separate from the main bar and restaurant, but you can order them to your table. We tried the Chocolate Carmel and the Pink Unicorn and were very satisfied!! Great place for families and will definitely be back for some wings and a milkshake.

4th Street Fillin Station Space Coast

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

Once we finished our awesome airboat tour, we decided to stick around for lunch at the Lone Cabbage. We’re so glad that we did, because it was really good. We all started off with some famous gator bites, that were very tasty. To my surprise, all of the girls tried them and liked them. We then ordered some of the local favorites to share; hush puppies, fried okra, corn dogs, and their fish sandwiches. The favorite of the day had to be the Fish Reuben, which came with catch of the day, homemade slaw and their own thousand island dressing. For dessert, the girls picked out a popsicle, while my husband and I shared the key lime pie. We had such a nice lunch and the staff was very accommodating. Definitely worth the stop on your way in or out of town.

Lone Cabbage Florida Coast

Coconuts on the Beach

After an exciting day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, we decided to take a short drive to Coconuts on the Beach in Cocoa. We parked in a nearby parking garage, as there was a street festival going on with live music and artists. The area was very lively, especially because it was a Friday evening. Lots of people still at the beach, many coming in for dinner or starting to pack up for the day. The 5 of us decided to put our toes in the sand for a bit until we were ready to sit down for dinner.
 
Coconuts on the Beach has 2 main dining areas, one out on their large deck and another on inside. We first chose the patio, but the live band was a bit too loud for the littles so we headed inside. The inside was great, it had a very cool atmosphere and really fun decor. The food was great, we all had something different and it was all very tasty. I recommend the seafood, as it was fresh and cooked perfectly. There were many islands cocktails to choose from, but my favorite had to be the creamy coconut margarita. This is a perfect place to take the family, as there’s something for everyone.
 
Coconuts on the Beach Space Coast
 

Take the Space Coast Bucket List Challenge

Here’s a fun thing to do when you’re planning your trip to the Florida Space Coast. Take a look at the Space Coast Bucket List and see how many things you can check off while you’re there. We did pretty good on this trip, but still need to go back to check some more things off. Let us know how you did? Follow us on [Instagram + TikTok Links]

 

Thank you again to the Space Coast Office of Tourism

A Special Thanks to the Space Coast Office of Tourism and their awesome partners for hosting us on this trip to Florida’s Space Coast and making our trip out of this world!!
 
 

If you liked the post, check out more of our travels here:

Guide to Visiting Discovery Cove

Visiting New Orleans with Kids

Swimming with the Manatees