*Disclaimer* Due to COVID-19 hours and operations of the attractions listed in this blog may be inaccurate. Please check with restaurants, attractions, and other businesses prior to your arrival for the most accurate information. For an update on the Space Coast’s guidelines and regulations check here.
Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are some of the best spots on Florida’s Space Coast to view a rocket launch. Located just south of the launch complexes, you can’t get much closer. No matter if you’re planning your trip to the Cocoa Beach area to see a rocket launch into orbit or if you just happen to be here when one blasts off (an extremely likely scenario), check out some of these great places to get a front-row seat to history in the making!
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
You can’t get much closer than viewing a launch at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. With several areas to watch the launches from the grounds, it’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss. Call ahead to check availability and buy your tickets. Options include an extremely up-close seat at the LC-39 Observatory Gantry for an extra $49 in addition to daily admission, or at the Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area for an extra $20. All visitors to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will enjoy some of the best seats in the house just by being there on launch day! You’re able to see all launches perfectly from the main complex next to Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at no extra cost to your daily admission. Check the launch schedule, book your tickets, and add this to your itinerary today!
Cocoa Beach Pier
While all the entire shoreline of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are prime viewing locations for rocket launches, you won’t find a more memorable experience than watching a launch from the end of the Cocoa Beach Pier. You’ll want to get to the area early, definitely rideshare or rent a bike to get there because parking can be an issue. If you’re not eating at the restaurant or having a tiki drink at the Rikki Tiki Tavern, you’ll need to pay two dollars to access the pier. Get there early, find your barstool, order a pina colada, and wait for that 3,2,1 blast off.
Kayak Tours in the Lagoon
Kayaking is one unique way to watch a rocket launch in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Rental operators like Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach, Wildlife Watersports, and Cocoa Beach Kayaking Guided Nature Tours enable you to rent a kayak and take to the water to watch day launches and encounter manatees, dolphins, alligators and a variety of birds as you paddle through waterways. Nowhere in the world but the Space Coast can you have an experience like this.
Seven stories above the ground, on an open promenade you’ll get one of the best views of a rocket launch in Port Canaveral. Bring your binoculars or use high-end telescopes to get a spectacular up-close and uninhibited view of the rocket before and during launch. Stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts will want to stick around for the best view in town. Further, the Exploration Tower is more than just an observatory. The six floors leading to the promenade serve as a museum that chronicles the native and natural history of Florida, the beginning of the Space Race and the history and future of space exploration out of Cape Canaveral. Admission to the Exploration Tower to view a rocket launch is $50 and well worth it!
The Cove at Port Canaveral
The Cove at Port Canaveral is the collection of wonderful eateries that line Port Canaveral. Every day, tourists and locals head to this area for a great meal and waterfront views. On a normal day, you’ll see cruise ships, commercial and charter fishing boats, and dolphins making their way in and out of the calm waters. On special days, SpaceX rockets make their way back to The Port and if you look to the sky you can see them, and other rockets, heading into orbit. Check out the restaurants and decide what you’d like to eat. Then make sure you get there early or make a reservation, if possible, to get a table. The beauty of choosing The Cove at Port Canaveral is you’ll be able to launch and lunch without having to fight too many crowds or stand for long periods of time.
You can’t get much closer to a rocket launch than Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Take these ideas into consideration next time you book your trip. Of course, one of the best places to see a launch can be right from the balcony of your Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral Hotel. Take a look at your hotel options and book your stay today.