At the southern end of the Space coast are the melbourne Beaches. Situated on a barrier island lined with white-sand beaches and lapped by azure waters, this diverse area has shopping, dining, culture and recreational activities galore. a great place to start your exploration is Historic Downtown Melbourne. rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1919, this handsome district is home to chic boutiques, gourmet eateries, cigar bars and hip galleries. if you’re in town on the third friday of the month, don’t miss the evening arts & indulgences Walk. downtownmelbourne.com the Eau Gallie Arts District is another fantastic place to wile away an afternoon or evening, browsing the shops and galleries or relaxing over a meal in one of the charming cafés. eaugalliearts. com, 321-752-0463
Broaden your cultural horizons at the Brevard Art Museum, which showcases rotating exhibitions from its permanent collection, numbering almost 3,000 pieces in five categories: modern and contemporary art, american industrial design, asian art, cultural education and women artists. brevardartmuseum.org, 321-242-0737
Step back in time and see what life was like in turn-of-the-20th-century florida at the Historic Rossetter House Museum & Gardens, comprised of the 1890s roesch House, 1908 rossetter House and 1865 Houston cemetery. rossetterhousemuseum.org, 321-254-9855
Melbourne also boasts a thriving theater, music and dance scene, and at its heart is the Maxwell King Center for the Performing Arts. this noted 2,000-seat venue often hosts the Brevard Symphony orchestra and also attracts top talent in all fields, from touring Broadway shows to world-class classical musicians and dance troupes to top-name talents such as Jerry Seinfeld, B.B. King and Billy Joel. kingcenter.com, 321-242-2219
Kids and adults alike will delight in a visit to the Brevard Zoo. five natural exhibit areas house exotic animals from around the world — including the zoo’s newest residents, three sleek female cheetahs — along with some homegrown species. feed the giraffes from a special observation deck in expedition africa, marvel at vibrantly plumaged birds from the South american rainforest in la Selva, encounter kangaroos and kookaburras at austral/asia, kayak through Wild florida and rediscover your inner child at the water-play area in paws on play. brevardzoo.org, 321-254-9453
When you’re ready to get back in the water, head for Sebastian Inlet State Park. its three-mile beach is a haven for swimmers, snorkelers, surfers and sunbathers, while the jetty is the place to catch snook, Spanish mackerel and other saltwater species. ramps offer access for boats, kayaks, canoes and sailboats; keep your eyes peeled for bottlenose dolphins, manatees, right whales and sea turtles.
floridastateparks.org/sebastian inlet, 321-984-4852
At the end of a busy day well spent sightseeing or at the beach, you’ll appreciate a soft bed and welcoming accommodations, and the hotels of the melbourne Beaches area are happy to oblige. the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront Resort and Spa takes pride in offering Southern hospitality along with spacious rooms, elegant décor and plenty of amenities, from the fullservice spa to the pool and sun deck to the oceanview coquina’s Seafood Grill restaurant.
At the all-suite Doubletree Guest Suites Melbourne Beach Oceanfront, the brightly decorated rooms are the star attraction, with private balconies offering ocean views, Sweet Dreams beds, flat-screen tVs and free highspeed internet access. a pool and fitness center round out the offerings.
The stunning glass-walled atrium lounge sets the tone at the Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront, where 200 rooms ensconce guests in luxury and contentment. unwind with drinks at the poolside atlantic Blue Beach Bar, or savor new Wave floribbean cuisine at atlantic Jack’s restaurant. melbournebeach.hilton.com, 321-777-5000 the award-winning Radisson Suite Hotel Oceanfront offers the comfort of a smoke-free environment in its all-suite facility. a heated pool and water-sports rentals are available for daytime diversions, while the restaurant, poolside bar and lounge provide delicious refreshments. Sleep number beds usher you into slumber when the day is done.
If you’re looking for a taste of old florida, you’ll find it at Tuckaway Shores Resort. With a secluded setting and just 30 suites, this intimate hotel provides an opportunity to get away from it all without sacrificing welcoming comforts like a heated pool, free wireless internet service and a scenic location on the beach.
Whether your interests lie in family fun, exploring nature, experiencing the thrills of modern technology, dining in fine restaurants or simply relaxing in a tropical paradise, florida’s Space coast is the ideal place to find it all — and so much more!