Recently, my husband ran the inaugural Space Force T-Minus 10 Miler on Cape Canaveral. Because of the logistics of the race and packet pickup, we made it into a weekend, so we rented a cute AirBnB by the beach for two nights. Here is what we did for the weekend on Cape Canaveral and what we will do the next time we go!

We left Orlando after our oldest got out of school on Friday and hit the road. We set out on the 70 minute drive time to the museum hosting the race packet pickup and hit little traffic on the way. Because of bathroom stops, packet pickup and dinner, we explored very little of Cape Canaveral on Friday night.

Saturday morning while my husband was running, the girls and I walked to the beach to check out the ocean.

Prepping myself for their shock and awe of the ocean
Prepping myself for their shock and awe of the ocean

Both of my girls hadn’t seen the ocean before this moment, I was prepared for shock and awe at the amount of water and the vastness of the ocean. Instead this was their reaction:

“Where is Nemo?”

“Why aren’t there any boats here?”

“Why aren’t there any people here?”

“Why does it smell gross?”

Not what I was expecting, but that’s a lesson in motherhood I suppose.

Cape Canaveral Beach
Cape Canaveral Beach

We spent some time watching the waves, waiting for Nemo and running around before we headed home. We met my husband post run and headed out to lunch. I had reached out to my fellow contributors for their suggestions for places to go in Cape Canaveral and Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar was suggested more than once, so that’s where we headed. Right on Port Canaveral, Rusty’s provides quite the atmosphere.

Rusty's Seafood and Oyster Bar
Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar

We sat outside on the back porch so that we could watch cruise ships and other small vessels leave the port. My girls could have watched the boats for hours. We thought about going to Jetty Park to see more cruise ships go by, but we did not get passes from ahead of time, so we abandoned this plan and went onto our next activity. You can purchase a pass ahead of time and I have heard nothing but positives about the beach at Jetty Park. It is on our list for our next trip to Cape Canaveral!

I will dream of these blackened shrimp tacos for quite some time.
I will dream of these blackened shrimp tacos for quite some time.

Other restaurant recommendations for the area include Gator’s Dockside in Port Canaveral, Milpa Tacos y Tortillas in Cocoa and Stumpy’s Hatchet House also in Cocoa. Cocoa Village is a cute little place to walk around and shop in as well. Some of the businesses in our Local Business Guide are in Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral!

After lunch we headed to Manatee Sanctuary Park. Despite the name, there is not manatee sanctuary at the park and no guarantee you will see manatees here. However, the park has a nice walkway along the Banana River and I have no doubt that it is a place manatees may stop by to rest. The park has a nice walking path and a playground, so we hung out for a while and ran off some energy. We may not have seen any manatees, but we did see osprey, egrets and turtles on our walk around the park!

We even got to see Santa on a Cape Canaveral fire truck drive by the park!


Next, we headed to Ron Jon Surf Shop and the Cocoa Beach Surf Company stores, just a short drive south from Cape Canaveral. None of us surf, but the four of us had a fun time walking around the stores and even got ourselves a couple souvenirs.

My husband and I collect coffee mugs from all of our adventures, so this cute sea turtle had to come home with us!
My husband and I collect coffee mugs from all of our adventures, so this cute sea turtle had to come home with us!

We then headed back to the ocean, armed with sand castle building supplies and some beach chairs. After a mixed reaction to the beach that morning, our girls could have stayed at the beach all evening. We decided to have food back at our rental that I had packed with us instead of going out again, but any of the other places I recommended earlier would have been great options.

We had a Christmas party to attend on Sunday morning, so we did not do any more exploring of Cape Canaveral the following morning. There was so much on our list of things to do that we didn’t get to, mostly Kennedy Space Center. Our family loves space so an annual pass to the Space Center may be the most beneficial for us. If we went back, I think we would stay at least one night, spend the day at the Space Center and a morning at the beach before checking out a new restaurant and heading home.

The possibilities of a weekend in Cape Canaveral are endless.

What is your favorite thing to do on Cape Canaveral?!

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