5 Free Things to Do Before Your Port Canaveral Cruise

5 Free Things to Do Before Your Port Canaveral Cruise

Port Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast may be home to the world’s busiest cruise port, but it is also a charming beach town with authentic Florida and family-friendly charm. Nearby cities such as Cocoa Beach and Titusville offer a wealth of activities for you, and there’s something for everyone here that’s easy on the budget. 

From culture to exploring nature and hanging beachside, you’ll find that no matter what time of year you visit, these 5 free things to do before your Port Canaveral cruise will set the tone for your cruise vacation. You’ll be glad you arrived early and enjoyed all the area offers.

The top 5 free things to do in and around Port Canaveral:

1. Discover Historic Cocoa Village

This 150-year-old area about 15 minutes from Port Canaveral is full of character and charm. During the day, visitors can check out historic buildings, one-of-a-kind storefronts, and local eats such as River Road Coffee & Popsicles, Ossorio, and Ryan’s Pizza & Pub. Not to mention, Cocoa Village’s Riverfront Park is home to a splash pad and playground for kids to enjoy. You may even see some locals walking their dogs as Cocoa Village is very pet friendly.

At night, this quaint district comes to life. From painting a masterpiece at Painting with a Twist and theatre shows at Cocoa Village Playhouse to trivia and karaoke nights at the Village Idiot Pub, there’s something for just about everyone. The Village Biergarten serves authentic German food with live music most nights while Villa Palma serves authentic Italian and craft cocktails with live music. There’s no charge to walk around the area, and there is complimentary parking available. Swing by and discover why strolling the streets of Cocoa Village is an enjoyable experience. 

600 Florida Ave #104, Cocoa, FL 32922 | VisitCocoaVillage.com

2. Play at the Beach

Kick off your shoes and walk the sunny shores of Florida’s Space Coast. Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach are the closest beaches to the port. 

There are four locations in Cape Canaveral that provide Mobi-Mats for those who need assistance getting on the beach. What’s a Mobi-mat® you may ask? Mobi-mat® is a portable and durable mat system that is designed to provide accessibility to beaches, parks, and other outdoor locations for individuals with limited abilities. These beaches are free to peruse, and there is no charge for parking at Cape Canaveral beaches (except Jetty Park.)

Cocoa Beach is home to the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. It’s centrally located and provides all the amenities you need for a great day at the beach including volleyball courts, lifeguards, onsite showers, and dining options. Some amenities at the pier are complimentary to use; however, there is a charge for parking.  Lori Wilson Park is one of the few public beach access points left in Cocoa Beach that provides complimentary parking. There are free showers and restrooms on-site, too.

Not up for the beach but want to explore the beach culture? Check out the Kelly Slater Statue at the entrance of Downtown Cocoa Beach. Who is Kelly? He is an 11-time world champion surfer who grew up in Cocoa Beach. Or check out the Florida Surf Museum for $3 per person. Cocoa Beach Surf Company is also a great spot to grab some last-minute cruise essentials or take a look at their 5,600-gallon fish tank, which is complimentary and part of the store’s ambiance.

3. Take a Sip at Carib Brewery

Located just a mile from Port Canaveral, Carib Brewery produces 28 different styles of ales, lagers, and ciders. The tap room, also known as the 321 Lime house, overlooks the production area and is a great place to unwind before your cruise vacation. They have daily events such as Run Club on Monday (free beer if you participate!), Trivia on Thursdays, Open Mic on Fridays, and live music on Saturdays. Happy Hour takes place Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Admission is free. 

Brewery Tours are available Monday through Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. Let their team walk you through the process and see how they make grain into a brew. The tour also includes an immersive tasting with six beers of your choice. 

200 Imperial Blvd, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 | CaribBreweryUsa.com

4. Go Out of this World at Space View Park

Florida’s Space Coast is home to Kennedy Space Center, where rockets are being launched on the regular. There were 57 rocket launches in 2022, and in 2023, there are 80+ rockets projected to launch from here. If you can’t make it for a launch, there are other ways to explore Space history on the Space Coast. 

Space View Park in Titusville is north of Port Canaveral and close to Downtown Titusville. This is the first and only park in America that honors astronauts and those who helped America lead the world in space exploration. Throughout the park, you can walk through the history of space and compare your handprints to those of Mercury astronauts. This park is free to visit and will help whet your appetite when it comes to all things space. 

8 Broad Street, Titusville, FL 32796 | Space View Park

5. Take a Swim and Splash Around

Guests staying at one of the area’s hotels that offer Stay & Cruise Packages will love the option of taking a dip in the pool before they set sail. The Radisson Resort at the Port has an expansive pool with a waterfall. Plus, a smaller, kid-friendly pool, hot tub, and poolside restaurant. There’s really no better way to start a vacation than to take it easy poolside.

The city of Cape Canaveral offers a complimentary splash pad to both residents and visitors. Cape Canaveral City Park splash pad is open Monday – Saturday at 10 a.m. Closed Sunday. Additional splash pads are located in Cocoa Village, Sand Point Park in Titusville (close to Space View Park), and Avenue Viera.

With all the fun and free things to explore before your Port Canaveral cruise vacation, consider arriving early and taking part in one of the area’s many Stay & Cruise Packages. Kick off vacation early and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Booking your pre-cruise stay on Florida’s Space Coast doesn’t have to be a hassle. Trust our team at Sail Port Canaveral to find the best price and accommodations for you.

CALL US TODAY!  321.783.8655

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10 Reasons to Arrive Early For Your Port Canaveral Cruise

10 Reasons to Arrive Early For Your Port Canaveral Cruise

There are many reasons why cruisers love sailing from Port Canaveral. It’s easy to access, it’s modern, and it’s home to some of the world’s best cruise ships that sail the Caribbean. 

However, most people arriving for their Port Canaveral cruise arrive early to take part in the area’s many amenities, attractions, and sub-tropical climate. As you prepare to set sail from Port Canaveral, take a look at some of the top reasons why you should arrive early for your Port Canaveral cruise.

1. Easy Access to Port Canaveral

For those arriving early and taking part in a Stay & Cruise Package, Port Canaveral is just 10 miles from Interstate 95 and provides access to those traveling from the south or from the north. State Road 528, also known as the Beachline Expressway, runs directly from Orlando to Port Canaveral. It also connects to I-4 and the Florida Turnpike, a gateway to Orlando’s theme parks.

International passengers have a choice of airports within easy reach of the cruise terminals. Cruisers can book a shuttle bus or utilize a car rental with cruise parking at nearby parking options. Airports to consider include:

  • Orlando International (MCO) 45 miles west
  • Melbourne Orlando International (MLB) 34 miles south
  • Sanford International Airport (SFB) 61 miles north
  • Daytona International Airport (DAB) 75 miles north

2. Gateway to Space

Did you know that Port Canaveral is only 13 miles from Kennedy Space Center? Make plans to tour the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for an out-of-this-world experience where you’ll be inspired to dive into the past, present, and future of space travel. Get up close to the space shuttle Atlantis, view launch pads, and get a hands-on feel for the story of humans in space including the Apollo Era’s Saturn V rocket. 

Plus, in 2022 there were 57 rocket launches that took place here, and in 2023, there are 80+ launches scheduled. Be sure to check the Kennedy Space Center events calendar to see when the next launch will take place. It could take place while you’re setting sail, or if it launches before or after your cruise vacation, take in the launch at the beach. Jetty Park, Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier, and any public beach in Cape Canaveral are all great viewing venues.

3. Discover Natural Florida

The area surrounding Port Canaveral is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the western hemisphere. From flowing waterways and amazing wildlife to the Canaveral National Seashore, there’s no shortage of nature to explore. 

Take an airboat ride through the St. Johns River where you may see alligators, snakes, and other wildlife. Hop on a Space Coast Eco Tour along the Intracoastal Waterway to see manatees, dolphins, and wading birds. Canaveral National Seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida and is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, including nesting sea turtles from May 1 through October 31.

4. Take Part in Recreation

There’s a wide variety of activities for visitors to enjoy before or after their cruise. We’ll cover all the beach activities at another point below, so here are a few options close to Port Canaveral:

  • Golf: The Cocoa Beach Country Club is a public facility that welcomes residents and guests to the area alike. Located about 9 miles from Port Canaveral, the course boasts three courses – Dolphin, Lakes, and River – featuring 27 holes and 41-50 sand bunkers per course.
  • Fishing: Cast your line from the shores of Cocoa Beach or rent your gear at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier and fish off the pier. Or if you’re up for a bigger adventure, check out a fishing charter from Port Canaveral. Most charters offer full and half-day fishing experiences
  • Rent Bicycles: Head to Cocoa Beach Surf Company and check out their selection of beach cruisers and E-bikes. Rentals start at $10 for four hours. Make sure you ask about locks, baskets, child carriers, and other accessories you might need on your adventure!
  • Aerial Adventures: Test your skills on Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventure’s seven different trails, separated by three levels of difficulty. The all-new ZIPDROP takes you over 40 feet up, climbs over the guard railing, and takes a step off! It’s the ultimate leap of faith and will make for one unforgettable memory.
  • Parasailing: Before you set sail, see one of Florida’s most exquisite shorelines as you soar above the Atlantic Ocean with Cocoa Beach Parasail.

5. Hit Up the Beach

Nearby Cocoa Beach is an authentic beach town, home to small waves and endless activities. The sunny shores are perfect for sunbathing, building sand castles, or playing beach volleyball at locations such as the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier

For those looking to splash around in the water, there’s a reason why Cocoa Beach is the Small Wave Capital of the World. This is your chance to learn how to surf, or at least try boogie boarding. Don’t have a board? No worries! Places like Cocoa Beach Surf Company have board rentals starting at $15 for four hours. They also offer rentals for wetsuits, beach chairs, and umbrellas, in case you don’t want to travel with your beach gear. 

Lastly, there are four Cocoa Beach access points guarded with lifeguards: Alan Shepard Park, Lori Wilson Park, Minutemen Causeway, and Cocoa Beach Pier.

6. Top Dining with Florida Flavors

The Cove at Port Canaveral is home to some of the best dining on Florida’s Space Coast. Most restaurants there overlook the water where you can see cruise ships departing and fishermen bringing in their fresh catch. While the menus vary from place to place, most menus focus on seafood or feature local cuisine you can’t miss. Restaurants like Grills, Fishlips, and Rusty’s have live music on select nights, helping you set the tone for your upcoming travels.

7. Make Room for Art & Culture

Art galleries, museums, and antique shops are sprinkled throughout the area close to Port Canaveral. Cocoa Village, about 20 minutes away, is home to murals, art galleries, and Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse. Downtown Cocoa Beach is home to the Kelly Slater Statue by Cocoa Beach artist Tasha Drazich. Plus, there are Instagram-worthy murals and an art gallery, Studios of Cocoa Beach, where you can view art and take a workshop

The Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures in Cocoa Beach contains two floors of exhibits on dinosaurs and ancient human cultures. Perfect for kids and adults alike. Close to there is the Florida Surf Museum. The museum produces exhibits exploring the history and evolution of surfing and is only $3 per person to visit.

8. Year-Round Events

There are many family-friendly and cultural events that take place throughout the year. Check out the official Space Coast Events page often to see what’s happening during your stay. In the meantime, keep these events that take place every year on your radar.


9. Orlando Attractions

Port Canaveral is just under an hour from Orlando and its many theme park attractions. Many cruisers love to stay beachside, where they can have a slower start to their day before they make their way to Sea World, Universal, or Disney.

10. Hotels Near Port Canaveral with Parking and Shuttles

Most hotels within two miles of Port Canaveral (and beyond!) offer a shuttle service to the port. Whether you book a Stay and Cruise Package or you just need a shuttle service, here’s a look at some hotels offering this service:

Booking your pre-cruise stay on Florida’s Space Coast doesn’t have to be a hassle. Trust our team at Sail Port Canaveral to find the best price and accommodations for you.

CALL US TODAY!  321.783.8655

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3 Fun Things to Do Near Port Canaveral Before Your Cruise

3 Fun Things to Do Near Port Canaveral Before Your Cruise

You’re setting sail from the world’s busiest cruise port—Port Canaveral. With thousands of passengers coming and going from the port on any given day, it would be wise to arrive prior to your cruise to avoid missing the boat. Waking up in Port Canaveral on the morning of your cruise departure will ease your mind. 

But if you’re arriving early on a Stay and Cruise Package, what fun things are there to do near Port Canaveral? Well, let’s take a look at three fun things to do.

1. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

For an out-of-this-world experience, look no further than the Kenedy Space Center. Here you’ll be inspired to dive into the past, present, and future of space travel. The complex is divided into Mission Zones where you can get an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of the humans in space including the Apollo Era’s Saturn V rocket and Space Shuttle Atlantis. Plus, the newest exhibit, Gateway Now, invites you to see the visionary designs paving the way for human deep space travel while discovering the current cutting-edge space exploration innovations from NASA and commercial partners.

Opening at 9 a.m., it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring the Kenedy Space Center.

2. Find Your New Favorite Beach

Florida’s Space Coast is made up of 72 miles of beaches. Close to the port, you have pristine beaches to the north at the Canaveral National Seashore, and to the south, you have the bustling surf culture of Cocoa Beach. Not to mention, Jetty Park is a great place to relax and wave to cruises departing from Port Canaveral. 

Many cruise travelers love visiting the historic Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. From fishing and beach rentals to gift shops and live entertainment, the pier has it all. Enjoy views from 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean as you drink and dine at any of the four bars and restaurants on location. 

Don’t want to travel with your beach gear? We don’t blame you. Cocoa Beach Surf Company offers rentals including beach chairs and umbrellas, surfboards and wetsuits, and much more.

3. Explore Your Wild Side

About 25 miles south of Port Canaveral is the Brevard Zoo. Voted as the No. 3 zoo in North America by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards, you simply can’t skip this zoo while you’re in town. It is home to more than 900 animals representing more than 195 species from Florida, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Plus, the Paws On Splash Pad area for kids is a hit. 

The Museum of Dinosaurs & Ancient Cultures in Cocoa Beach showcases hundreds of artifacts and fossils from around the world. Explore authentic artifacts from Egypt, China, Mesoamerica, and Tribal Africa. This museum is indoors and provides relief from Florida’s heat. 

And if animals and artifacts aren’t your things, you can explore your wild side at Port Canaveral’s Cove. This dining and entertainment district in Port Canaveral has oceanfront dining where you can sample some Florida flavors at places like Grills and Rising Tide Tap & Table, and if you’re feeling adventurous, deep sea fishing will provide you with an unforgettable experience.

So what are you waiting for? Make sure you arrive early for your Port Canaveral cruise, book a Stay and Cruise package, and enjoy one of the many activities Florida’s Space Coast has to offer.

Booking your pre-cruise stay on Florida’s Space Coast doesn’t have to be a hassle. Trust our team at Sail Port Canaveral to find the best price and accommodations for you.

CALL US TODAY!  321.783.8655

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Explore The Cove at Port Canaveral

Explore The Cove at Port Canaveral

Maybe you have heard the term “The Cove at Port Canaveral” and wondered what it was. To put it simply, it is the entertainment district of Port Canaveral that is home to several waterfront restaurants and family-friendly activities. It is conveniently located next to Cruise Terminal 1.

This area will provide you with a great time before you disembark on your cruise. Plan to arrive early, partake in a stay and cruise package and enjoy all that the area has to offer. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on these experiences at Port Canaveral because they are unlike any other port’s offerings.

Booking your pre-cruise stay on Florida’s Space Coast doesn’t have to be a hassle. Trust our team at Sail Port Canaveral to find the best price and accommodations for you.

CALL US TODAY!  321.783.8655

Restaurants & Entertainment

With several waterfront restaurants to choose from, the options are endless. Whether you are looking for bar bites or full-course meals, you can indulge in local seafood dishes such as shrimp tacos, shark kabobs, grilled mahi-mahi, and much more. Many restaurants feature fresh catches. 

Most restaurants in The Cove offer live music on select nights. Or you can pull up a seat and watch your favorite team on TV at the bars. All the restaurants are located in a single row overlooking cruise ships heading out to sea, so if you’re looking for a place to do a bar crawl, you can walk from restaurant to restaurant in The Cove.

Here are just a few of the crowd favorites:
  • Rising Tide Tap & Table: Overlooking a calm lake with the Exploration Tower in view, their menu features familiar favorites with creative new twists. Expect burgers, fresh fish, tacos, and stone-baked pizza. They’re closed Mondays, but the Sunday brunch is something to write home about.
  • Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill: This open-air seafood restaurant serves something for everyone. From Po-boys and crab cakes to steaks, burgers, and salads, this casual waterfront restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.
  • Rusty’s Seafood & Oyster Bar: Dive into raw or steamed oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, seared ahi tuna, or snow crab legs. Rusty’s Deck and Tiki Bar is a great place to relax in a quality atmosphere with live music daily. Open for lunch and dinner.
  • Grills Seafood: Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Grills serves fresh seafood in an authentic Florida style. Their menu features fish tacos, shark kabobs (when available), pepper-seared tuna, steak, burgers, and vegetarian delights. Enjoy live music most nights in an island-like atmosphere that both you and your family will love. You may even see commercial fisherman bring in their catch, and if you’re really lucky, you may even see a rocket launch.

Exploration Tower

Although it is currently closed due to maintenance, the Exploration Tower is a captivating architectural landmark located just off the waterfront and right next to Cruise Terminal 1. 

Looking like a boat’s sail, visitors can explore seven floors of interactive exhibits about the air and space frontiers, ships and boats that pass through Port Canaveral, and nature from the surrounding area. There’s also a 72-seat state-of-the-art theater showing regular short films. 

Plus, there are indoor and outdoor observation decks providing panoramic views of Port Canaveral, the beach, and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and is a perfect spot for watching a rocket launch. It takes about an hour, maybe two to tour the facility. For the latest information on their reopening date, check their website here.

Victory Casino

Hailed as one of Florida’s most authentic Las Vegas-style gambling cruise experiences, the Victory Casino sets sail from Port Canaveral twice daily, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The five-hour cruise has four decks and 40,000 square feet of casino fun. 

This gambling cruise offers you the chance to try your luck at more than 600 slot machines and 30 gaming tables featuring your favorite games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em, Baccarat, and Craps. 

All cruises cost $20 with the option to purchase dining on board. Select cruises include access to special events.

Fishing Charters

There is a wide variety of fishing charter experiences available leaving Port Canaveral daily. Most charters offer full-day, 3/4-day, and 1/2-day options, providing you the flexibility to choose what works best for you and your party. From seasoned fishers to newcomers, these charters are great for everyone including kids.

Offshore fishing will have you looking for Florida gamefish such as king mackerel, wahoo, mahi-mahi, and sailfish. Travel to the Gulf Stream’s backside in search of yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, and white marlin. Some may wonder when is the best time of year to fish, and well anytime is really optimal. The type of fish you will catch varies from month to month. Check out this infographic here to get a better idea of what you can expect. 

If deep sea fishing isn’t for you, take a charter in the Indian River Lagoon where you can catch seatrout, snook, tarpon, and redfish.

To help you on your way, be sure to check out the Stay and Cruise packages and get planning on your pre-cruise stay in Port Canaveral.

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