To say that Florida is about being outdoors is an understatement. Some parts of the SunBelt seem to be mostly about air conditioning and a quick dash outdoors to go to the supermarket. Central Coastal Florida isn’t like that; sure it’s hot in the Summertime, but that doesn’t get in the way of things, as it does in, Texas, Arizona, or Nevada.
And this greater Melbourne area, in particular, is phenomenal. Consider, for a moment, its sheer number and variety of recreational opportunities:
200 Parks, 21 Nature Trails
28 Golf Courses, 23 Tennis Courts
37 Boat Ramps
72 miles of beaches
13 Ocean beach parks
3 Full-service campgrounds
11 Ocean Surf fishing park areas
To see a complete list fo to the site below
If you think about this for a moment, it resolves into a pretty interesting list of things to do outdoors in Melbourne and Brevard County:
Beaching, in all its variety
Fishing-saltwater and freshwater
Boating-Ocean or River Florida Fishing Guides by Lagooner
Surfing-We have some of the best surfing in the state.
Hiking, Bike riding –
most residential areas are enforced 25 mph speed limits
Birding-world class, lots of stops on the migration flyway too
Kayaking—there are good rental locations and lots of places to launch.
And besides the Beaches, which I’ve mentioned already, there are myriad and wonderful other places to visit. Among these are:
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Another place you'll want to visit is the citizen-built Brevard Zoo. This is a very well-run, clean facility with both local and African wildlife.
And for environmentally based outings consider the dolphin-watch cruises on the Indian River Lagoon.
Other outdoor wonderlands--in addition to the miles and miles of beaches (especially the pristine sands owned and monitored by the federal government)
include the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaveral National Seashore, Erna Nixon Park, the Turkey Creek Sanctuary, the Ulamay Wildlife Sanctuary, the Enchanted Forest, and the Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area. Coon's Run Wildlife Sanctuary in Rockledge offers rehabilitation for injured and orphaned wildlife at its privately operated, non-profit center.
The area on the barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean from Holland Spessard Park south of Melbourne Beach to Sebastian Inlet, at the county's southern border, is the largest sea turtle nesting area in the United States. Between May and August, Loggerheads, Greens and Leatherbacks come ashore to lay their eggs. You can walk the beach in the morning and see as many as 20 new turtles crawls from the night before, or you can sign up for one of the frequent nighttime turtle conservation tours and watch the egg-laying yourself. Hatchlings that survive--and few do in spite of serious efforts to protect them--struggle back to the sea during September and October.
Surfing is big here. Several tournaments occur annually in Cocoa Beach. Sebastian Inlet's Monster Hole and Spanish House challenge even experienced surfers. One "don't miss" spot on the surf circuit is Ron Jon's Surf Shop, a Cocoa Beach institution. Originally a small surf shop with several boards and a few T-shirts for sale, it's now a 24-hours-a-day merchandising palace complete with amenities like a fountain and a glass-encased elevator in addition to every conceivable retail item that can carry a Ron Jon logo, including thousands and thousands of T-shirts.
Especially the saltwater variety--is popular with locals and vacationers. Sports fishermen catch mackerel, sailfish, marlin, wahoo, and tuna from Brevard County waters. Marinas, boats, airboats, charter fishing boats, commercial fishing boats, and pleasure craft--ranging from one-man skulls and canoes to cabin cruisers and yachts--abound. The Cocoa Beach Pier, which stretches out 840 feet above the ocean, is a good place to cast your line if you don't have a boat--or even if you do. And then there’s that 40-mile beach-anybody can be a surf caster, and it doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment.
Other active sports fans enjoy Brevard's facilities, too. Hiking and biking entertain some. Public tennis courses exist in at least 11 parks. The 16 public and seven private golf courses located within county borders keep most golfers content. And, of course, windsurfing, surfing, swimming, diving and boating along the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean beaches keep water-friendly folks in a state of barely controlled bliss.
Baseball is big in the late winter and early spring when Big League ballplayers train and compete here on the Grapefruit Circuit. The Florida Marlins (from the Miami area) train right here in Brevard County; the Los Angeles Dodgers do their spring stint in Vero Beach (in Indian River County just south of Brevard County). For professional football, residents can travel up the coast to see the Jacksonville Jaguars play; for pro basketball, their best bet is the Orlando Magic, who play less than an hour's drive from home.
Hot Times in the City
You'll be busy for weeks visiting Brevard County's many places of interest. In the Titusville area (north), try Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Valiant Air Command Museum and especially the very reasonable and exciting NASA Kennedy Space Center, where the Astronauts Memorial is also worth a look. Don't neglect downtown Titusville's historic district and the North Brevard Historical Museum.
In the Cocoa Beach (north central) area, check out the pier and Port Canaveral--its commerce, foreign trade zone, and Jetty Park. Also, mid-county, don't miss Cocoa Village, especially the Village Playhouse and the Porcher House. On A1A in Cocoa Beach, you'll find the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. On the mainland in Cocoa, visit the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science and the Astronaut Memorial Hall and Planetarium at the Cocoa campus of Brevard Community College (BCC).