Visit this laid-back coastal town in Brevard County to enjoy the natural beauty and subtropical climate of Florida.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River lagoon, blessed with sunny, warm weather and offering many free and relaxing activities, Melbourne Beach is a popular destination year round.
Look for sunning alligators at the Maritime Hammock Sanctuary near Marks Landing, a dense coastal forest wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. The shaded walk isn’t long and you can cool off in the ocean afterwards without worrying about bumping into gators.
Farther to the south, visit the Barrier Island Center, a 34-acre (almost 14-hectare) sanctuary and environmental education center near Pepper Cove. There is no admission fee for the center where you can view exhibits and short nature documentaries, greet turtles in the aquarium of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge rescue program, follow a boardwalk and admire ocean views from the observation deck, then follow the short trail to the Indian River Lagoon. In June and July, you can join a guided sea turtle walk here as well.
To enjoy a relatively unspoiled Florida beach, visit Coconut Point to the north of town. Part of the beach is a sanctuary for hatching sea turtles around October each year.
Spessard Holland South Beach Park is another gem since it has clean sands with beautiful shells, fewer people and free parking. While there, step inside the Old Melbourne Beach Town Hall to see the local museum exhibits of its Old Town Hall History Center. Follow Oak Street north to the town center of Melbourne Beach to while away the afternoon in art galleries, souvenir shops, cafés and restaurants.
If the weather is too good to be inside, enjoy a family picnic in Ryckman Park. Play sports, go for a jog or head to the playground with the kids. For colorful sunset vistas, stroll along the central Melbourne Beach Pier, which juts a long way out over the Indian River lagoon. The shelter at the end of the pier provides excellent sun cover and you can come back here early in the day to go fishing.
Melbourne Beach, on a long and very narrow barrier island near Orlando, is conveniently served by the Orlando Melbourne International Airport, which is about 75 minutes’ drive to the northwest.