Cape Canaveral, FL
Attractions and Activities
Cape Canaveral, Florida is located on what is known as The Space Coast (East Central Florida) on a barrier island in Brevard County. Cape Canaveral includes the Port Canaveral area on the northern end and meets Cocoa Beach on the southern end. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean and the western edge is bounded by the Banana River, a saltwater lagoon. Just across the port, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station can be seen; sometimes you’ll catch a submarine coming into the Trident Turn Basin or going out to sea!
Located approximately 45 miles from Orlando International Airport, you have easy access via inexpensive airport shuttle services or you can rent a car at the airport. Leaving the airport, you simply take the exit to “The Beeline”, as US 528 is known, and go east until you arrive at Cape Canaveral. The nearest long-distance bus station is 11 miles away in Cocoa, on the mainland, and is only one block off the Brevard County Transit Service bus route. Water access is obtained through Port Canaveral where dockage is available or via the Inter-Coastal Waterway which accesses the Banana River by passing through the Barge Canal on Merritt Island. Cruise ships come and go at Port Canaveral daily. Merritt Island is the location of the nearest airport for small private aircraft, but it is only 7 miles from Cape Canaveral. Cape Canaveral is part of the beach trolley service, providing inexpensive bus service to the entire beach area as well as the Merritt Island and Cocoa. This Brevard County Transit service allows you to flag the green trolley down at most any point and ask to be dropped off at any point along the well posted routes. Bicycling is another popular form of travel in Cape Canaveral, since the entire area provides safe well-marked bike paths. Lodging in the area includes camping, mid- to up-scale hotels, short and long term condo and seasonal apartment rentals.
Housing 8,829 permanent residents as of the 2000 U.S. Census, the population increases by at least one-third during ‘snow bird season’. Cape Canaveral is a very popular location for winter residents to own small condos or vacation homes. There is still affordable small, near-the-beach housing available in Cape Canaveral but there are also some magnificent upscale housing development - and everything in between. The major industries are tourism and aerospace.
Beach access in Cape Canaveral is extremely easy. US A1A (also known as N. Atlantic Avenue) is the major road passing through the city. At any point along A1A you can select an east bound street, which may be as short as three blocks long, turn to the east on that street and almost without exception, every single street ends in beach access with free parking by the beach. Many of the beach access ramps are handicap accessible and are clearly marked.
The beach area of Cape Canaveral is a nesting ground for the endangered sea turtles and known nests are clearly marked. Do not disturb a nest in any way or you may be arrested! Also, don’t pick those beautiful ‘Sea Oats’ along the dune line; they hold the dunes together, preventing erosions and you can be fined severely for picking even one! The city motto for beach use is “Take what your brought, leave only footprints”. However, this doesn’t apply to collecting some sea shells you may find along the beach.
Cape Canaveral has some nice gift shop-style shopping but for most shopping you must make the short trip to Cocoa Beach or Merritt Island for most department store or mall shopping. Dining is another subject entirely. Cape Canaveral and the port area have a broad selection of restaurants, often having open air seating, port views and most any type of cuisine you could desire. Seafood, of course, is very popular and comes in fresh to the port, so you can obtain some of the freshest seafood available anywhere.
While enjoying the fun and sun at Cape Canaveral, you can take a tour of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and/or Kennedy Space Center. You can take bus tours of either or both locations, which actually meet forming what is known in the area simply as “the Space Center”. Bus tours of Kennedy Space Center include viewing the actual Space Station Processing Facility daily processing activities, history of Apollo demonstrations, viewing of the Vehicle Assembly Building where all the rockets and shuttles for manned space flight have been “stacked”, and a great view of a the Space Shuttle launch pads. You may be lucky and catch a Shuttle on the pad!
Other popular activities in the area include surfing, skim boarding, surf and river fishing, deep sea fishing, day cruises on the casino ships and simply relaxing in the sun on the beautiful beach. There are boat and water enjoyment equipment vendors including surf boards and bicycle rentals available along the beach or port areas.
Jetty Park, part of the Brevard County Park and Recreation Department’s parks, is located at the northern end of Cape Canaveral and provides camping, broad family beaches, RV parking, picnic areas -- many of which have barbeque pits -- play areas along the edge of the Port seawall including an equipped playground, and a long fishing pier extending into the Atlantic at the mouth of the port. Fish cleaning tables are provided, showers are available to the beach visitor as well as the camper and a snack bar provides food if you don’t want to grill out or picnic. This is a popular location to view space launches as well as have fun in the Central Florida sun!
The city webpage serving Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Nearby cities to check for activities and attractions: Orlando, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and Melbourne Beach.
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