A Visit to Florida's Space Coast

At this point we can all agree that Disney, as a multi-million entertainment company with defined family-friendly values, has an enormous amount of impact in pretty much anything it touches, be it media, or otherwise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it can become extremely overwhelming for those involved.

For instance, a city such as Orlando is going to be inevitably associated with Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park regardless of any other thing this city may be able to offer.

This goes to an extent to which you cannot search the term 'Orlando' without having to sort out through tons and tons of advertisements for Disney's amusement parks. Now I'm not saying that the parks are to avoid at any cost, not at all, in fact, I think it’s part of the experience, after all, if you're coming to Orlando for your vacations then it's just logical that you visit them.

All I'm saying is that Orlando has much more to offer than being a hub for the parks... it can be a hub for other interesting places!

So, if you get tired of the parks and need a day to see things other than Mickey Mouse's realm of enchantment, then I got your back as there are many other things to see around Orlando.

But before we start let me give you some advice: just as with the parks themselves, some of the places I'm going to talk to you about, require a little bit of driving to get there as they are a bit away from Orlando proper, (It seems that Orlando is just one of those cities that simply forces you to drive through and around it).

A good way to deal with distances is to rent a car with Viajemos.com as they provide you with thousands of options for renting a car with the most popular car rental dealerships such as Enterprise, Alamo, Avis and many more, thus you have thousands of options to choose from, you can find everything, from the most economic car to the most luxurious one and everything in between.

Now let's get started!

The so-called Space Coast is a strip of land near Orlando that encompasses small cities such as Cocoa Beach and Titusville, It's just a one-hour drive away from Orlando so it's not that far away. It's here that we'll have our non-Disney-related adventure. Beginning with:

1. Kennedy Space Center

Don't let the park's magic distract you from the fact that Orlando is right next to some of the most interesting scientific places to see on the state. So, if the Sci-fi themed attractions at the parks seem a bit too fake for your taste then maybe you’d like to see a place dedicated to actual real-life space exploration, I'm talking about Kennedy Space Center.

This place offers exhibits about NASA's rich and proud history of space exploration, from the stories of the legendary man who embarked rocket-ships to get to the stars, to the science behind it all. There are also fun activities to do such as astronaut training simulators and even a shuttle launch experience that simulates being blasted off into space on the space shuttle.

If you're lucky you might even see a real-life rocket being launched into space! Have in mind, though, that it's a rather rare experience since weather conditions have to be perfect so they don't launch a rocket every day (this is real life, after all, not a Disney parade) but if you get to see a launch then, in my opinion, it's exponentially more memorable than having seen all that parks have to offer. I would say that it would be an out of this world experience (pun absolutely intended).

Note that there are currently no public transportation options to get to Kennedy Space Center, so have that in mind when planning your trip, again, rental sites such as Viajemos.com can often be the simplest way to solve these transportation issues. The parking fees are collected at the entrance and cost as follows: 5$ for motorcycles, 10 $ for cars and 15 $ for oversized vehicles.

So that's Kennedy Space Center, but notice I talked about Space Coast in Florida, not only the Space center, so there’s more, and now that we've talked about space let’s take a look to the coast. Cocoa Beach is a quaint little city with a lot to offer and if you manage to organize yourself well enough.

You can see most of its attractions in just one day or two so you can use this destination as a palate cleanser from all the hustle of the parks.

Interesting Reads: Things to Do in Florida this Weekend

Now let's see what's there to do in Cocoa Beach

2. Bioluminescent Kayaking

Maybe you've heard of it, the water in certain parts of the world reacts to the touch with a ghostly blue glow, product of many microscopic lifeforms that glow as a mechanism of defense. It sounds like one of those natural wonders that only happens in remote areas of the world where only National Geographic photographers dare to go, but there is such a place around the Space Coast!

The place where the bioluminescence happen is called 'Indian river lagoon' (which by the way has been considered as a National treasure due to its rich wildlife and unique biome) there are awesome tours that let you go rafting on a see-through Kayak through the bioluminescent waters at night so you can see both the stars in the sky and the glow down below!

3. The Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures

What reportedly used to be a small tourist trap-like attraction grew into a full-blown museum, with great exhibits of all kinds, ranging from dinosaur fossils and replicas, taxidermized bats, and ancient artifacts from Mayan and Egyptian cultures, and that’s not all.

This museum/store offers a little bit of everything for everyone, having things such as an arcade with fun games and activities for the kids and even a live reptile exhibit featuring everything from pygmy alligators to tortoises!

This is a great destination for those traveling with kids as it offers them an almost absurd number of interesting things to see and do. On rainy days or perhaps on days that are too hot for going outside for too long this is a great option.

4. Cocoa Beach

And last but not least we got the titular beach that shares the name with the city. This one is perhaps the simplest and yet nicest destinations of the list. This one is concrete proof that you don’t need any of the complex lines and regulations of the parks to have a good time in your vacations. This is just an all-around good beach to swim, surf, play volleyball or any other beach activity.

The beach is described as very clean and not too crowded, excellent for any beach activity. In addition to that, the pier offers numerous options of food and drinks for costumers. Costumers describe the food and drinks as just what you'd find in any tiki bar but with surprisingly good quality. The service at the pier is also described as top-notch.

And there you go, in case you're in desperate need of a palate cleanser after visiting the parks you can always count on Florida's Space Coast, come visit, who knows, maybe you'll find more to see here than in all those amusement packs combined.
Kalyan Panja