Without boat tours, the only way to feel a sea breeze is by pouring buckets of saltwater through a ceiling fan. Capture a watery gust the natural way with today's Groupon: for $14, you get a two-hour river tour from Space Coast River Tours in Merritt Island (up to a $29 value).
Space Coast River Tours escorts castaways on water-bound safaris around the Banana River. Shipmates set out from Kelly Park toward the Barge Canal on a 44-foot pontoon boat, which affords a mobile front-row seat on a tour through the homes of the local great blue heron and osprey. At the entrance, peek toward Port Canaveral for a possible view of shuttle booster rockets being returned to Kennedy Space Center, or earn extra money as a judge of limbo competitions on a cruise ship that idles in the nearby harbor. Leaving the locks, the boat is often accompanied by bottlenose dolphins and manatees into the Banana River, which takes tourists past the Gum Drop Forest before safely delivering them to Candy Land Castle.
Tours set out Monday–Saturday at 1 p.m., and at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. Cruise captains are happy to regale participants with a complimentary beverage of their choice, as well as a light snack and nautical bedtime story.
Space Coast River Tours
The entire sky along Florida's Space Coast is like one giant movie screen, regularly showing the story of rockets—some manned, some unmanned, others guided entirely by dreams. They launch gracefully towards the heavens, where they break through Earth's atmosphere and float out beyond it. It's a mesmerizing display, one that serves as the focal point for Space Coast River Tours's Rocket Tour. The Blue Dolphin, the company's 44-foot USCG-certified pontoon river boat, serves as the tour's mode of transportation. Its retractable roof pulls back to reveal unobstructed views of the sky above for all of its 49 passengers.
Captains Mark and Michele Anderson, who are both certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, have plenty to explore even when rockets aren't taking flight. Specialty tours are available at an additional cost. During the holidays, they show passengers the lights and decorations along residential canals in Sykes Creek, handing out some egg nog or hot cocoa to complete the experience. The Banana River Lagoon Tour, meanwhile, remains a daily feature. For two hours, the boat tours the Banana River and floats into the habitats of the area's many birds, dolphins, manatees, and gators.