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Space may be the final frontier but you won’t have to cross too many borders to explore it on Florida’s Space Coast. It is home to the Kennedy Space Center and several small museums dedicated to the history, iconic heroes and the science that lies behind America’s space programme. Yet, this 75-mile stretch of barrier-island Atlantic coastline actually offers a lot more than rockets and ray-guns. It encompasses undeveloped stretches of endless white sand, a lively surfing community and some romantic pockets of Old Florida at its most appealing. There is the tourist hub of Cocoa Beach for sand and sports, but there are also untouched areas of wildlife. Indeed, there’s no need to take a spaceship to the moon to get away from it all here – you can kayak with manatees on isolated rivers, take a trip to an uninhabited island or simply stroll for miles along uninterrupted pristine white beaches.
Cocoa Beach – Since 1919, when the first of three bridges connected Cocoa Village to the beach on the nearby barrier island, day trippers have flocked to this idyllic spot. This is party beach by day and party beach by night. Enjoy the fun.
Vero Beach – if you prefer a little more tranquillity to your Florida beach then you can find it here. The revellers at Cocoa Beach may call it 'zero beach' but this immaculately planned coastal town offers delightful, grassy parks, wide family-friendly beaches and a centre that is easy to stroll through as you choose your evening restaurant.
Merritt Island – In an incongruous juxtaposition you can find the futuristic Kennedy Space Center resting back-to-back with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which contains one of the most diverse natural habitats in America. There’s no need to take your pick – get the best of both worlds by visiting each of them!
Sebastian Inlet – Just south of Melbourne Beach you'll be able to find a beach of your own. There is plenty of access from the roads to isolated beaches, stunning hiking opportunities and wonderful birdwatching sites that line the Atlantic Coast and the Indian River. Welcome to Sebastian Inlet State Park.
This is the place to combine space-age sightseeing at the Kennedy Space Center with wildlife watching: you can kayak with manatees, enjoy spotting the birds in Sebastian Inlet State Park or be overwhelmed by the primordial fauna that exists just minutes from the futuristic displays of the NASA scientists. For lovers of romantic stretches of coast it is easy to get away from it all along the miles of white sand that line the azure Atlantic waters, but, if people watching is your thing, you’ll find plenty to amuse you in the party atmosphere of Cocoa Beach.
Water activities of all kinds, from parasailing above the waves to scuba diving beneath them, are always available on the coast. You may not be able to make that rocket trip but you can watch the sun set on a luxury boat any night of the week. Space-enthusiasts can start their day breakfasting with an astronaut and others may wish to enjoy a brews cruise that takes you round local craft brewers and lets you sample their wares. The romantics out there may wish to do nothing more than walk arm-in-arm along the isolated stretches of coast – the endless sands here seem to never meet the final frontier!