Welcome to Melbourne & Cape Canaveral, Florida
Named “Melbourne” in 1888 after a round of drawing straws, this flourishing city doesn’t leave fun to chance. You’ll find everything from sunny beach expanses along the Atlantic Ocean to quiet, oak-lined streets dotted with historic homes, boutiques, restaurants and hotels.
Just north of Melbourne, Cape Canaveral boasts a fascinating history that is forever tied to the innovation and exploration launched at Kennedy Space Center. But the cape’s beautiful undeveloped beaches at Canaveral National Seashore and bustling tourist areas at Port Canaveral prove you don’t have to be a NASA fan to love this city.
Reasons to Visit Melbourne & Cape Canaveral
- Beaches: With 24 miles of surf and sand at your feet, don’t miss your chance to relax on the coast at Melbourne Beach, Jetty Park or Cocoa Beach. From December to March, you may catch a glimpse of the migration of endangered right whales.
- Space Exploration: You can’t visit Cape Canaveral without including a space-age adventure. Cape Canaveral Radisson Hotel guests should tour Kennedy Space Center to learn about space missions, meet astronauts and admire the Astronaut Memorial.
- Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge: After NASA acquired 140,000 acres for Kennedy Space Center, unused portions of land were given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create this magnificent refuge. Radisson hotel guests can hike the pristine trails, bird watch and travel down the seven-mile Black Point Wildlife Drive to check out the Manatee Observation Deck.
- Cape Canaveral Lighthouse: Book a tour to climb part of this 151-foot-tall lighthouse, built in 1868. Your tour ticket also includes a visit to the Air Force Space and Missile History Center, a drive by two historic launch complexes and admission to Port Canaveral’s Exploration Tower.
- Port Canaveral: One of the busiest ports in the world, Port Canaveral offers more than cruise ship sightings. Head to Exploration Tower—a combined lookout point, cafe and museum—for breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views and interactive exhibits about local culture, space flight and maritime history.
- First Friday Art Walks: Hosted by the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD), this outdoor event on the first Friday of every month is the perfect time to stroll through Highland Avenue’s shops and galleries. Stop by the various craft and artisan good vendors, sample beer and food, and listen to live music.
When to Visit Melbourne & Cape Canaveral
Melbourne and Cape Canaveral experience two main seasons: warm and dry from November to April and hot and wet from May to October. Because of the cooler ocean breezes in the evening, it’s wise to pack an additional light layer year-round.
Melbourne also hosts a variety of exciting annual events that welcome 30,000 or more celebrants. Highlights include the Eau Gallie Founders’ Day in February, the Melbourne Art Festival in April and the Melbourne Main Street Fall Festival in October.
Melbourne/Cape Canaveral Travel Tips
- Orlando-area attractions and theme parks are approximately 1.5 hours away if you’re interested in a day trip. But be sure to bring cash for the toll on Highway 528 (the Beachline Expressway).
- Private companies continue to launch rockets from Cape Canaveral. If you don’t get a launch viewing ticket, try the multitude of free public viewing spaces, such as Jetty Park, Cocoa Beach parks, the Indian River shore and roadside spots along State Road 528 and Highway 1 in Titusville. Plan to claim a spot hours in advance, and be mindful of law enforcement who often direct traffic in these areas on launch days.