Watching rockets soar to space has never been easier

Quick Notes:

  • What is the Space Coast?

  • You don’t need a ticket to watch a launch

  • There are so many more space-themed things to do

Florida is home to sun, sand, and plenty of marshlands, but the thing the Sunshine State is probably most known for is its Space Coast. When NASA first moved their large rocket-launching operation to Cape Canaveral, they probably had no idea how much it would define the Florida coastline.

Now, almost 70 years after the fact, Florida has become somewhat of a destination for space enthusiasts across the world. What is there to do while visiting the Space Coast? Well, the answer is lots.

What is the Space Coast?

The Space Coast is a 72-mile long Atlantic coastal beach that stretches across Florida. There’s so much to do while visiting Florida but skipping a rocket launch would be a mistake. The rocket launches take place at Cape Canaveral, as they have done since the 50s, and NASA is sending over 30 unmanned rockets to space in 2020 alone.

Matt Benson / Unsplash

That means there’s a lot of opportunities for you to get a viewing of the majestic sight of watching a rocket fire itself into space. You don’t have to buy a ticket to the launch, either, because they can be seen from so many different places along the shoreline.

Port Canaveral launches the ships

It’s one thing to see a rocket fly into space on TV or whatever streaming site you happen to use, but it’s quite another to witness in person, almost feeling the force of the launch. There are so many spots along the shoreline for you to watch the launch without having to move from your relaxing spot on the beach.

The Indian River Lagoon has prime viewing areas, as does the Canaveral National Seashore, Cocoa Beach Pier and other beaches along the south of Port Canaveral. You might not get up close and personal as you could with front row seats from the Kennedy Space Center but these spots still offer a great view.

The fun doesn’t end when the launch is over

When you’re done watching another rocket soar to the stars, there’s more space fun to be had. The Kennedy Space Center is the perfect place to jump in headfirst into all things astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you want to have a meet and greet with a former astronaut or get up close to a spacecraft that’s actually flown through space, The Kennedy Space Center has it all.

For a more VIP experience, there are tickets that you can purchase to have lunch with a real-life astronaut, take a private tour of restricted areas or go on one of their many Special Access tours. They offer a ton of special interactive exhibits that will throw you into the life of an astronomer.

You can immerse yourself in all things space

When all is said and done at The Kennedy Space Center, you can take all that newfound knowledge and put it to practical use. At the Astronaut Training Experience, you can get down to business and learn what it really takes to be an astronaut.

They’ll take you through the actual training intergalactic travelers go through and put you in a simulator to test your abilities.

When all is said and done, you’ll want to get a good night’s rest. Where should you stay on the Space Coast? Along the coast, of course. There are plenty of hotels to choose from but the Radisson and Holiday Inn Club Resort are close enough and offer luxury amenities any budding astronaut would love.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101: