Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
Florida Lighthouse Trail // Along the Buccaneer Trail
The original lighthouse was first established in 1848, spurred by complaints from mariners about the dangerous shoals off the coast. But it was built to only 65 feet tall and was inadequate to warn mariners, so in 1868, the 151-foot lighthouse that now stands over the Cape was erected. It is owned by the United States Space Force and maintained as an active aid to navigation by the United States Coast Guard and is the oldest structure on Cape Canaveral. It is made out of cast iron and built in a foundry in New York.
Of course, the Cape has so much more to offer. As its tourism website notes, “Where else can you dine with astronauts, learn how to surf, and explore native wildlife? It’s no wonder that Port Canaveral is affectionately nicknamed ‘Florida’s Fun Port.’”
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a huge draw. Highlights include a “Behind the Gates” bus tour that gives you access to launch sites and teaches visitors about the Apollo Era at Race to the Moon, featuring a Saturn V rocket. You can also check out The Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into space.
The complex also provides the closest public viewing of rocket launches with live launch commentary from space experts.
You can also fly high at Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures, an aerial park where participants are suspended in the air on 45-foot poles as they navigate their way through 49 unique challenges along a canopy of beautiful live oak trees. There are seven different trails separated by three levels of difficulty.
If the ocean has more appeal than the skies, check out Victory Casino Cruises, where you can gamble, drink and dance on cruises that leave Port Canaveral twice daily, six days a week.
A more relaxing time can be had at Jetty Park, which spans 45 acres and features beaches, rentable pavilions, a campground and exploration tower. However, no pets are allowed in the park.
Another cool outdoor space is Cherie Down Park. Visitors will be drawn in by a wooded walkway that leads to a great family beach. Activities include boogie boarding, surfing, and fishing. A bonus: Free parking.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson is rated #1 for best value among 15 places to stay in Cape Canaveral according to Tripadvisor. It’s also the closest hotel to the port terminal should you be taking a cruise. Visitors give high marks for the hotel’s breakfast bar | radissonhotelsamericas.com
If you are looking for a local ambiance, check out the Southern Charm Cafe, which features local cuisine, vegetarian and vegan options (hence, you can order a Porky Pig or a Veggie omelet). Open for breakfast and lunch, it prides itself on Southern cooking and hospitality | southerncharmcafefl.com
herie Down Park is a great spot to catch the rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center. The park is located south of the launch pads closest to Space Launch Complex 37B.