Since 1953, the Coast Guard–certified captains and Merchant Marines of Miss Cape Canaveral Fleet have safely taken guests out to sea in search of trophy-size mackerel, amberjack, snapper, and sharks. As Florida's largest deep-sea-fishing vessel, the 85-foot Lydia yacht hosts up to 100 passengers—just like a large horse carriage pulled by a strongman—and offers comfortable accommodations such as a temperature-controlled lounge and cushioned seats. Fishing adventures provide guests with rods, reels, bait, and tackle big enough for the predators dwelling deep beneath the surface. Guests are invited to snap their own jaws around hot meals, unlimited sodas, coffee, and, for over-21 anglers, a duo of frosty canned beers noodled from the icy depths of the ship's cooler.
Manned by a Coast Guard-certified crew, a 65-foot speedboat safely whisks passengers along the beaches of Cape Canaveral during 90-minute dolphin-watching tours. The captain pulls off wave-skirting maneuvers, pausing to point out the playful sea mammals, who enjoy swimming, jumping, and high-fiving in the wake of the boat. Flying fish may whiz by the stern, and sea turtles have been known to lazily approach the hull of the docked watercraft. The captain also discusses Port Canaveral's history as passengers snap photos of military ships and submarines in port.
A full-service dive shop captained by professional ocean-delvers, Sea Level Scuba offers a spectrum of scuba classes aimed at every experience level. The Discover Scuba Diving course is an introductory class for subaquatic rookies, set in the shallow water of an indoor pool for a stress-free primer in underwater respiration. PADI-certified divemasters and instructors outfit students with all the necessary equipment, familiarizing landlocked limbs and torsos with the feel of scuba gear both in and out of the water. Apprentices practice breathing below the surface at whatever pace is most comfortable, progressing beyond the fundamentals of inhalation and exhalation to advanced sighs and indignant gasps, ideal for last-minute objections to mermaid weddings.
Racers fly over the European-style road course, whipping past red-and-black boundaries as they maneuver in and out of the turns and straightaways. While they jockey for position and widen the gap between them and the competition, they listen to the race coverage on their radio helmets, striving to improve on their last lap time by cracking a whip over their engines until they gallop up to 40 miles per hour. This is the Andretti Challenge, one of five go-kart tracks within the six-acre Andretti Thrill Park.
The park’s attractions span amusements for nearly every age, from tyke-friendly fun on Rookie Row to single and double karts on the Super Speedway. The park also encompasses nonmotorized fun, such as the Andretti Edge climbing wall, mini bowling, and a tokenless, card-based arcade. And as expected at any family amusement park, Andretti's staff includes a team dedicated to handling parties so that parents don't have to sneak into the park at midnight and power the arcade with their car battery. This scope and quality of entertainment earned Andretti Thrill Park the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Best of Melbourne Award: Amusement Parks from the US Commerce Association.
With 10 military performers and 6 civilian air vessels, the Cocoa Beach Air Show delights and awes guests seated in the exhilarating drop zone. Against the ocean’s gentle lapping, the daredevil performers careen into the sun, writing invisible graffiti on the sky with impeccable grace, speed, and cursive. U.S. Navy Seals Leap Frogs launch from passing planes, floating ethereally to the sand just feet away from the drop-zone seating area. A B1B Lancer fighter jet screams across the blue expanse, leaving torn sound barriers and envious seagulls in its wake.
Vintage 56 has been described as a tapas and wine bar. The décor is contemporary, with indoor and outdoor dining, cloth napkins and modern art, with music that is fun but not intrusive. The bar offers 56 martinis and a good-sized wine list and the menu features a touch of Mediterranean flair with a little Asian spice!
David Lane and his business partner started their sports-rental shop inside a cramped garage filled with surfboards, kayaks, and paddleboards—items they used for sports they practiced themselves. Lane’s favorite part of his job is “helping people participate in the activities I enjoy,” and his business has grown to a full-size store that stocks paddleboards, surfboards, and bicycles and leads guided excursions. Inside, displays house surfboards adorned with sunsets, beaches, and coconut trees hand-painted by a local artist, alongside similarly painted canvases to display at home galleries or hang on monochromatic surfers. The owners also deliver rentals free of charge to customers, dropping off surfboards at the beach, taking kayaks to watery trails, or delivering bicycles to cruise ships’ port of call for passenger day trips.
Additionally, the store offers excursions and lessons, including surfing lessons, guided kayak trips, and adventurous surf-fishing trips to hook ocean creatures from tarpon to 9-foot sharks, which the store has helped tag for a research project with NOAA Apex Predators Program.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.