The Space Coast, known for its spectacular launches at Kennedy Space Center and
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, also has
some of the best beaches across the globe,
where groups can take to the water or visit
a variety of diverse natural habitats.
“The Space Coast is located on the Atlantic Flyway and is in close proximity to 40
sites on the Great Florida Birding Trail, and
it is a perfect place to watch for migrating
species, which groups can explore by foot,
boat, car, kayak or bicycle,” said Bonnie
King, executive director, Visit Space Coast.
“We are a place that is ruled by nature—a
universe etched with enchanted forests,
flowing rivers and peaceful lagoons.
During warm summer months, the lagoon
is alive with bioluminescence. At night, every movement in the water produces light.
It is a truly an unbelievable experience.”
The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife
Trail, established in 1963, is a network of
510 wildlife-viewing sites across the state.
Two national parks, the Merritt Island
National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral
National Seashore (between New Smyrna
Beach and Titusville), are part of the trail
where visitors can view more than 1,500
species of plants and animals, including
manatees and more than 300 species of
birds. Recreation at Canaveral National
Seashore includes fishing, boating, canoeing and hiking on historical trails. During
the summer, the park provides guided sea
turtle nesting tours that are open to groups.
Cocoa Beach’s 338-acre Thousand
Islands is a series of islands in the Indian
River Lagoon. It’s a great place to kayak or
canoe through mangroves where hundreds
of manatees, dolphins and many bird
species like osprey make this a place to
birdwatch. There are also two hiking trails.
The Merritt Island National Wildlife
Refuge, which spans 140,000 acres and has
more than 500 species of wildlife, is situated on Florida’s largest barrier island. There
are more than 1,000 species of plants, more
than 100 species of fish, 300 bird species
and 31 mammal species of which 21 are
on the endangered species list. There are
hiking and driving trails, but as NASA
is located on the island, some areas are
restricted to the public.
Several airboat companies take guests
on rides through the St. Johns River and
Lake Poinsett. Visitors have been known to
spot alligators, bald eagles, wild hogs and
plenty of wading birds.
Some outdoor dining options in the area
include Longboards Tiki Beach Grille at
the Hilton Cocoa Beach Resort, Coconuts
From boating to bird-watching and everything in between, countless
experiences in the Space
Coast and Daytona Beach
ensure that meetings won’t
be all work and no play.
AIRBOAT ECO-TOURS, SPACE COAST
FISHING, DAYTONA BEACH
BIKING, DAYTONA BEACH
Central East Florida is a
hotbed for group adventures
BY JENNIFER JUERGENS