ABOVE PHOTO: Kennedy Space Center (Photo: NaughtyNut / shutterstock)
Step outside. Is it cold, windy and gray? Snowy even? Yep, those are sure signs winter is upon us. The bright leaves of autumn have faded, the pumpkin-flavored beverages are starting to wane, and the kids already are developing a serious case of cabin fever. But there’s a remedy for all this gloom. Winter’s bitter cold is the perfect excuse to head south with the family for a quick vacation getaway.
Florida’s Space Coast, where it’s decidedly warmer, has something for everyone. From rockets launching into outer space to unforgettable seafood and more, the Space Coast is an affordable and worthwhile escape, even for just a weekend. So, if the onset of winter isn’t sitting well with you, take next Friday off, book your tickets or gas up the car, and get ready to experience these Space Coast attractions and activities. They’ll turn up the heat!
- Explore the final frontier. As you might have guessed, the Space Coast got its name because it is home to both the Cape Canaveral launch complex and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Here, rockets operated by SpaceX and others still regularly blast into the heavens. A day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will bring you up close to one of the legendary Apollo command modules that orbited the moon, as well as the last Space Shuttle orbiter to fly. You’ll learn about the history of the NASA program and maybe even see a rocket launch! It’s an interactive journey that will inspire the entire family.
- Hang loose at Ron Jon Surf Shop. You’ve seen the iconic shirts and the ubiquitous roadside billboards, but nothing can really prepare you for a visit inside Ron Jon’s flagship store in Cocoa Beach. With more than 52,000 square feet of merchandise space, it’s like nothing you’ve experienced at the shore before. You’ll find everything to outfit your beach-bum vacation lifestyle, and maybe a few items that will fit in back home, too.
- Get into vacation mode with a “pre-cruise” outing. In the heart of the Space Coast is Port Canaveral, the busiest passenger cruise port in the world. Because this is the spot where millions of people begin their cruise vacations each year, numerous entertainment venues, spas, restaurants and more are located in the area, to help all the “pre-cruisers” get ready for life at sea. You don’t need to actually have a cruise booked to enjoy all that’s offered in this bustling port – just an appetite, a sense of adventure and maybe some extra energy.
- Embark on a zoo adventure like no other. At the Brevard Zoo, you can kayak past exotic animals, feed a giraffe, zip line over the treetops and get an eyeful of hulking rhinoceros. With a wide array of animal species on hand and a variety of fun activities and educational opportunities available, this unique facility is set up to be more of an adventure than a walk-through.
- Enjoy the fresh air. Its sunshine and mild temperatures make the Space Coast perfect to visit at this time of year. For those who like to be outside, there is a healthy range of options. You can spend an afternoon bird watching in nearby wetlands, walking along the beach (and enjoying the ocean breeze), or even fishing along the shore or on one of the many inland bodies of water.
Visiting the Space Coast is an affordable, easy way for you and the family to escape the cold for a weekend and, with so much to do, you’ll probably decide you need to book a longer stay the next time around.