How to Spend a Weekend on the Space Coast

Looking for a unique and affordable destination to visit in Florida? It might be time to blast off to the Space Coast! Just an hour from Orlando, this picturesque beach town makes for an amazing Florida getaway.

Though you could easily spend a week here, I wanted to share my ideal Space Coast weekend itinerary for anyone interested in checking it out! This guide covers my favorite highlights from Cocoa Beach to Melbourne and everything in between.  

This is a guest post is written by Amy from The Florida Travel Girl! Amy is a former Space Coast local and knows the best things to do around this popular Florida destination, including tips on how to spend an amazing weekend on the Space Coast!

Where to Stay on the Space Coast

First up, you will want to figure out which area you want to spend the weekend in. The best options are by the beach or near the charming downtowns. If your goal is to relax by the water, then I would stay somewhere in Cocoa Beach, Indian Harbor Beach, or Melbourne Beach.

For a hotel at the center of it all, I recommend Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach. This is right near the Famous Ron Jon Surf Shop and within walking distance of a bunch of restaurants. Further South, the Doubletree Suites Melbourne Beach offers a less touristy but still oceanfront vibe.

Exterior of Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Cocoa Beach
Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Cocoa Beach

If you are looking for a romantic getaway, the Port D’Hiver Bed and Breakfast is my absolute favorite. It is a bit of a splurge, but the atmosphere and service are unmatched.However, for those who want to experience the Space Coast nightlife, don’t overlook Downtown Melbourne! Hotel Melby is one of the best places to stay and provides a chic experience that is cheaper than beachfront hotels.

"The Landing Rooftop" bar at Hotel Melby
“The Landing Rooftop” bar at Hotel Melby

Getting Around the Space Coast

For a weekend trip to the Space Coast, you will undoubtedly want to have a car. Though some areas are walkable, it will limit what you can experience.

There is very little public transportation in the area (only a small bus network) and relying on that would be way too time-consuming. This itinerary assumes you have a car to get around, although you can rely on rideshares, if needed.

When to Visit the Space Coast

The Space Coast is a beautiful place to visit year-round; however, some months are better than others. If you want to avoid frequent rainstorms and high humidity, October through April tends to have better weather.

A view of the beach

Though very hot, the summer months can be a more affordable time to visit. May and June can have excellent beach weather and often have fewer crowds than during the spring break season. The only time I would advise against visiting is August and September, when the chance of a hurricane is higher.

Long Weekend Itinerary for the Space Coast

Once you have decided when to go and where to stay, it’s time to put together an itinerary for your visit. I have laid out this one for someone arriving midday Friday and leaving Sunday evening, but it can be modified to fit your needs.

This itinerary could be used for families or adult-only trips and I will provide options for each. This is a fun destination for all ages and you will rarely be at a loss for things to do!

Day 1: Getting the Lay of the Land

Begin your Space Coast journey with lunch by the water, where you can enjoy the scenic views and fresh seafood that the area is renowned for. Choose from one of these waterfront restaurants that offer an authentic beachy experience:

Shrimp Ceviche from Frigates
Shrimp Ceviche from Frigates

After lunch, check into your accommodation and take some time to explore the surrounding area. Whether that be perusing Downtown Melbourne or taking a walk on the beach, this is a great time to get acquainted with the local vibe.

For an enjoyable evening, I recommend heading to the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD), a vibrant area known for its eclectic mix of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Foodwise, there is something for everyone here! Check out one of these options:

If you have kids to entertain, head to the nearby Arcade Monsters for some retro fun. Honestly, this is fun for adults too! However, it’s nice out, you may just want to end the night with some live music by the water at Squid Lips.

Day 2: Blast Off into Fun

You’ll want to get an early start for your full day on the Space Coast. Start with breakfast at Cafe Surfinista (in Cocoa Beach and Indialantic) or Apocalypse Coffee Roasters. Both have excellent coffee and a variety of food options.

NASA Sign at Kennedy Space Center
NASA Sign at Kennedy Space Center

Next head to one of the Space Coast’s popular attractions. If you have never been to the Kennedy Space Center, this is a must-visit experience to see and learn so much about space! However, if you are more of a nature person, the Brevard Zoo is a unique destination where you can kayak around animal exhibits and feed giraffes. 

Either attraction will take at least four hours, so plan for a late lunch afterward. My pick is Playalinda Brewing with locations near KSC and closer to the zoo on US 1. This local brewery offers not just innovative beers but also a tasty menu that caters to all palates, all in a relaxed atmosphere.

If you are ready for a nap, why not spend it by the beach or pool? Head back to your hotel and take some time to relax outside in the sun.

To finish off the day, head to Cocoa Beach for a fun night out. Here, you can find a wide range of dining options, from casual beachfront eateries to upscale restaurants. Here are some of my favorites: 

Cocoa Beach Main Street Mural
Cocoa Beach Main Street Mural

No matter where you go for dinner, be sure to get an ice cream cone from The Fat Donkey! It’s a local institution. 

Day 3: Get on The Water

For your last day on the Space Coast, plan for an adventure on the water! You’ll want to start early in the day again, but first, grab a bite at Salty Bagel at one of their three locations.

Then I recommend booking an activity that you haven’t tried before! Some of my favorites include:

Stand-up Paddleboarding Tour
Stand-up Paddleboarding Tour

After your morning adventure, enjoy a casual lunch at a chill local spot, like Longdogger’s. Then spend your afternoon lounging on the beach until your time to check out. Alternatively, If you have had enough of the water, head to Lighthouse Cove and play a round of mini-golf, offering fun for all ages!

If you have time for dinner, be sure to check out one of the places mentioned previously or try something new at Cocoa Village. This itinerary makes for a full weekend that will be as fun as it is memorable. 

Space Coast: Know Before You Go

This 3-day itinerary is just a snapshot of what the Space Coast has to offer! From the tranquil beaches to the excitement of space exploration, there’s something for everyone to discover. Keep these tips in mind for your travels to Cocoa Beach and beyond:

  • Always bring a raincoat or umbrella in case of inclement weather.
  • Don’t underestimate the sun either! Hats and sunscreen are essential for not getting burned. 
  • The closest airport is the Melbourne Orlando Airport (MLB), but it only has a few flights per day. The Orlando Airport (MCO) is the next closest option. 
  • Check the launch schedule ahead of time to see if you might get to see a rocket launch during your visit! These often get “scrubbed” (i.e. delayed or canceled), so I don’t advise planning a trip around one, but if you happen to be there at the right time, it’s an amazing experience!
  • The Space Coast is home to diverse ecosystems, with all sorts of creatures from alligators to blue herons. Keep a respectful distance away from animals and never feed them. 

About the Guest Blogger: Amy is the creater of Florida Travel Girl, where she shares her experiences traveling around the Sunshine State. Follow along on her blog and Instagram for insider tips and unique things to do in Florida! Looking for more Florida Travel Tips? Be sure to sign up for Amy’s email newsletter for a free Florida Bucket List and weekly tips!

Florida offers plenty of things to see and do, no matter whether your a first-time visitor or a local! Ready to plan your trip? Here are some things to do around Florida:

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