Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida
You won’t find many places where nature exists in harmony with technology, but it does in Cape Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast. Visit the world-famous Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, or, on the same land, check out the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll also find pristine beaches, fabulous fishing and great golfing all within driving distance of Florida’s biggest attractions.
Port Canaveral is a cruise, cargo and naval port in Brevard County, Florida, in the United States of America.
Jetty Park is located at the east end of the port, near the Southside terminals. It features an oceanfront beach, snack bar, children’s playground, a bait-and-tackle shop and a fishing pier. The Cove area at Port Canaveral offers waterfront dining and shopping at Cove Marketplace.
If your cruise has an extended day or overnight stopover, the Orlando theme parks of Universal Studios Orlando, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Sea World Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort are in reach.
The Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge can be found on Merritt Island. The NASA-owned refuge is home to more endangered species than any other refuge in the United States.
The Kennedy Space Center is also on Merritt Island.
The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum is just west of the gates to the Kennedy Space Center. Here you can sit in an electric chair or check out crime scenes and exhibits of infamous crimes throughout history.
For a relaxing day, Cocoa Beach is about a 15 minute drive south from Port Canaveral.
Established in the 1800’s, historic Cocoa Village in the city of Cocoa, offers a taste of old Florida. Many of the buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A variety of boutiques and shops lines the streets and dolphins can often be seen just off the boardwalk that hangs over the river.
Canaveral National Seashore stretches for 23 miles and is completely undeveloped. There are great views of the space shuttle launch pads from here.
At Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach there are hiking and nature trails, a wide expanse of beach, fishing and swimming.
For an active option, Sebastian Inlet State Park (Melbourne Beach), has a beach, bike trails, boat tours, canoeing, fishing, kayak rentals, scuba-diving and snorkelling.
The disabled cruiser visiting Port Canaveral
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships dock at Port Canaveral, about 54 miles from the Orlando International Airport, less than an hour’s drive. There are three terminals: Disney docks at its dedicated facility (terminal 8); other ships dock at either terminal five or terminal 10.
Port facilities are contemporary but offer no services. Jetty Park is located at the east end of the port, near the Southside terminals. It has an oceanfront beach with year-round lifeguards, a snack bar, campground, children’s playground, a bait-and-tackle shop and a lighted 1,000-foot-long fishing pier. In addition, the Cove area at Port Canaveral offers waterfront dining, and Cove Marketplace offers shopping.
Good to Know
If you are lucky, you might be in town for a rocket launch. However, it’s hard to plan ahead, due to the frequency of delays because of weather and technical problems. Check with hotels or the Kennedy Space Center for a schedule of space launches.
If you’re heading to Orlando remember the summer and school holiday periods, in general, are the busiest seasons. The parks are naturally more crowded then, and lines for rides are longer, an hour or more in some cases, which can be frustrating, particularly on a first visit when you want to “see it all.”
Not all taxis in Orlando are metered. Before getting into an unmetered taxi, settle on a fare with the driver. If you request a taxi through your hotel, note that sometimes they use nonmetered, limo-service cars that may be more expensive. Clarify that you want to get a taxi, not a limo car.
The currency is the U.S. dollar. Credit cards are accepted everywhere, and ATM’s are available in major hotels and at tourist attractions. On the south side of the port on George King Boulevard is a Wachovia Bank with an ATM. In Orlando, ATM’s are available at major hotels and and at all the theme parks.
English is the primary language spoken in Port Canaveral, but you’re also very likely to encounter some Spanish.
A T-shirt from the massive Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a must. Other unique options include freeze-dried ice cream and other space food from the Kennedy Space Center gift shop.
Along A1A, near the port, are a number of typical chain restaurants for a quick lunch or snack. But, what people look for when dining in the Port Canaveral area is fresh seafood. Clam chowder and fresh seafood are popular local dishes. International options as well as the usual fast food choices are also available.
Points of Interest
- Port Canaveral – a seven-
Port Canaveral Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
Port Canaveral Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible