An All-Ages Adventure at Daytona Beach and the Space Coast

Merritt Island Fl. -- The best place to see wildlife is along the Black Point Wildlife Drive. The 7-mile, one-way drive follows a dike road around several shallow marsh impoundments and through pine flatwoods. This provides an excellent place to see waterfowl (in season), wading birds, shorebirds and raptors. Alligators, river otters, bobcats, various species of snakes, and other wildlife may be visible as well. A self-guiding brochure (available near the drive entrance) will provide information on things to look for. Driving time is approximately 40 minutes.

There is a $10 fee (cash or check) per vehicle for a day pass or you can purchase a yearly pass for $25 at the Visitor Information Center. Duck Stamps, America the Beautiful Passes (annual, senior, and access), and Canaveral National Seashore passes may be substituted for the refuge pass. Photo by Peter W. Cross


Peter W Cross

Grab the kids and the young-at-heart and head to Florida’s “Space Coast” where you’ll find plenty to fill your days during six days in Daytona Beach, Titusville, and Cocoa Beach. Time your trip to watch a SpaceX rocket launch. Visit the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge during the day and have the chance to spot otters, manatees, and alligators. Visit the area at night for a kayak tour in the bioluminescence where your oars will create magical explosions of light in the water. Finally, head to Cocoa Beach and spend a day by the water enjoying family-friendly restaurants, watching surfers from the Pier, and visiting the Dinosaur Store.

Trip Designer


VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation, serves as Florida's official source for travel planning to visitors across the globe. Discover how the distinctive regions of the state, filled with natural beauty, fascinating culture and history, and delicious cuisine, offer destinations for all types of travelers.

Trip Highlight

The Kennedy Space Center

With planet-themed playgrounds and a shuttle launch experience, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is undeniably the highlight of any visit to the Space Coast. See the Space Shuttle Atlantis, discover what life is like on the International Space Stations, and try your hand at the astronaut training simulator.
Nascar Racing Experience - NASCAR RACING EXPERIENCE IS AS REAL AS IT GETS!  DRIVE a NASCAR Race Car by yourself!  Following drivers meeting with crew chief, training and instruction, get behind the wheel and drive a NASCAR Race Car for timed racing sessions on the Nation’s Premier Speedways. There’s no lead car to follow and no instructor rides with you as you drive 5 to 48 minutes of Track Time. Get one-on-one instruction from a spotter over 2-way In-Car Radio.


DAY 1Daytona Beach

Begin the good times on the Space Coast by checking into the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. The Hard Rock takes the guesswork out of making sure parents and kids alike will enjoy their stay; kids ages 5-15 can enjoy music-inspired activities at the Roxity Kids Club while adults relax by the pool or at the Hard Rock Spa.

In just 15 minutes by car, you can reach the Daytona International Speedway. If you can’t catch a race, you can still tour the speedway to get behind the scenes into the world of racing. From pit row to the finish line, you’ll get a comprehensive tour of the track and an up-close look at race cars in the museum. Live out your racing fantasies right next door at Speedway Indoor Karting (SIK) Daytona.

Grab dinner tonight at Caribbean Jack’s Restaurant and Marina, across the river from your hotel, where everyone will love the outdoor swinging tables on the waterfront. And you can have your tropical cocktails (virgin or otherwise) served in Caribbean Jack’s hand-carved coconut pirates’ heads. Enjoy nightly live music while you munch on gator bites, mac n’ cheese, and crabby patties.
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DAY 2The Boardwalk

Today, it’s time for fun and games. After breakfast at the Hard Rock, head to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier. Walk south along the water from the hotel and the first place you’ll reach is Daytona Lagoon, a waterpark, arcade, laser tag, and go-karting facility. Across the street, you’ll find the Daytona Beach Bandshell and the Oceanwalk Shoppes. Wander through the colorful Oceanwalk Village and take your pick of restaurants for lunch.

Continue exploring the Boardwalk after lunch to enjoy shopping or the classic arcade, complete with Skee Ball. If you’re brave enough, anyone 44 inches or taller can try the Slingshot – which is exactly what it sounds like. Aptly located in Screamer’s Park at the far end of the Boardwalk, the Slingshot launches riders 365 feet in the air at 75 mph.

To keep the thrills going at dinner time, check out Iron Axe Bar and Grill where children over the age of 13 can try their hand at axe throwing. In addition, free cornhole is available to all customers ordering from their extensive menu, which features a variety of salads, burgers, naan pizzas, sandwiches, and wraps.
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DAY 3Head to Cocoa Beach

Hit the highway southbound to Cocoa Beach where you’ll check into the Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort for the rest of your stay on the Space Coast. With multi-bedroom suites, a kid’s splash pad, and one of the longest lazy rivers in Florida, the Westgate is great for taking it easy when you’re not exploring.

Check out Rikki Tiki Tavern at the end of the 800-foot pier for lunch over the water. Twenty minutes away, you can stop in the Dinosaur Store and Museum to discover the authentic fossils, hands-on adventure area, arcade, live reptiles, and movie cave.

Next door to the Dinosaur Store is the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. Cocoa is the Surfing Capital of the East Coast and the birthplace of Kelly Slater, 11-time world champion. The waves are great for beginners and a surf lesson together as a family is a great bonding afternoon. Or simply watch the locals ride the waves from the boardwalk. Crabby’s Oceanside, a great place to feast on fresh local seafood, is steps away from Cocoa Beach. And offers dishes including fish fingers and cheeseburgers off the “Little Crab Menu.”
Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex


Day 4The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

This is the Space Coast, the world’s launchpad. If you’re lucky enough to catch a launch, there are multiple viewing locations. At the Kennedy Space Center, you can walk in the Rocket Garden. Visit the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame to learn about our space pioneers. Kids 2-12 will love playing in the multi-story, interactive Planet Play area where they can climb a wormhole or walk around Saturn’s rings.

Make time for Valiant Air Command, just across the NASA Causeway bridge, where more than 50 vintage warplanes are permanently housed, some dating to the very start of aviation.
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DAY 5Cape Canaveral

Start the day with an “In Search of Wildlife’’ ecotour through Cocoa Beach’s Thousand Islands. Learn about the region’s ecosystem and spot bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and different bird species. Journey across to Cape Canaveral afterward to hit up Grill’s Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar for lunch with views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Finish the day in Cape Canaveral with a visit to Golf N’ Gator where you can choose between two 18-hole mini-golf courses. Keep your eyes peeled for the tortoises, fish, lizards, and parrots that call Golf N’ Gator home. Visitors can also hold baby alligators or feed the adults in the swamp. Once you’re done putting and petting gators, check out the mining experience. Choose your fossil bag size and then start digging, panning, and learning more about the fossils, arrowheads, and rocks you discover.
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Journeys: United States
Journeys: United States
Journeys: United States