Outdoor adventures offer out-of-this-world fun on Florida’s Space Coast

When winter cold and snow force you indoors, you might dream of getting away to somewhere warm and sunny that offers plenty of energizing fun and a much-needed change in the weather. Planning for your spring and summer vacations is a great way to score some budget-friendly deals. It also helps you beat the winter blues by giving you something to look forward to.

But where to go, you might ask. One great option is Florida’s Space Coast, a destination that, while renowned for its ties to the U.S. space program, also offers an astonishing abundance of adventure-filled, outdoor vacation activities.

The Space Coast

If you’re starting to explore your spring or summer vacation possibilities, here are some can’t-miss things to do that make the Space Coast an out-of-this-world destination:

* Take a nighttime “bioluminescence” kayak tour along the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge or Cocoa Beach. These tours allow you to get up close and personal with some of the glowing creatures who magnificently inhabit the waters along Florida’s Space Coast.

* With so many great beaches, the area is an ideal destination for surfers and other water sports enthusiasts. Here, you can visit the flagship Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach – a 52,000-square-foot, multilevel store offering a huge selection of surf boards, swimming attire and other surf-brand apparel. Meanwhile, at the nearby Ron Jon Surf School, you can arrange a surfing lesson or even rent a paddleboard.

* Immerse yourself in nature at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a 140,000-acre park that is home to at least 1,500 species of vivid plants and animals, including alligators, manatees and a wide variety of birds. If the time of year is right, you can also take a guided nighttime Turtle Walk to observe sea turtles as they lay their eggs.

* The region is a paradise for birds, making it the perfect place to host the annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, normally held early in the year. Bird-watching, or “birding,” is just part of the fun at the festival, which also offers entertainment, unique dining experiences, special events and more.

* In Titusville, sign up for a Coast-to-Coast Bike Tour and get an up-close view of the region’s vibrant wildlife areas and historic sites. Or, for an epic ride, venture out on your own along the Coast-to-Coast Connector Bike Trail.

* Get your adrenaline pumping with a zip line aerial tour. Brevard Zoo’s Treetop Trek allows you to zip line, crawl or climb your way through acre after acre of lush Florida landscape.

* The Space Coast is one of the few places you can personally witness a rocket launching into space, and it is breathtaking. Rockets carrying satellites into orbit or transporting cargo to the International Space Station launch periodically throughout the year. You can find the launch schedule at SpaceCoastLaunches.com.

Florida has always been one of our favorite family vacation spots, but as a geek family who loves sun and science, the Space Coast is definitely on our bucket list of one of our next big trips!

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