Courtesy of NASA

Beyond the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

Travel + Leisure
August 13, 2012

Spark dreams of being an astronaut with a weekend on Florida’s future-looking Space Coast. The Kennedy Space Center is its capstone, and you’ll need to set aside at least an entire day to explore NASA’s primary space launch facility and all of the artifacts it houses. Tip: Get there early and take a behind-the-scenes tour.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Some of humankind’s greatest adventures began here at NASA’s launch headquarters, an easy hour east of Orlando on the Atlantic coast. Time your visit right, and you may see a space shuttle streak into the sky on liftoff (visible all around the state but much better from up close). Attractions include Q&A’s with astronauts, plain-speaking technical explanations, and a launch-simulation ride.

 

Tip: Getting around the center requires taking on-site buses, and the last one sets out around the property between 2 and 3 p.m. Arrive early in the morning to give yourself plenty of time.

Sunset Waterfront Cafe & Bar

The restaurant is rightfully famous for its oysters and superb St. Johns River views. Deep-fried treats come in paper wrapping like an Old Florida pioneer outpost.

Luna Sea

The 44-unit motel has brightly colored rooms, an on-site heated pool, and free cooked-to-order breakfasts for guests at one of two local diners.

Jetty Park

The nearly five-acre beach is speckled with picnic tables, and has bike paths and a fishing pier. Families will especially appreciate its amenities, which include lifeguards, parking, showers, and water sports.

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