Rocket science, surfing and plenty of sunshine top the list for this popular Florida vacation hot spot.
Since the opening of the Kennedy Space Center 50 years ago, Florida’s Space Coast has exploded in terms of population and economic growth.The region’s celebrated claim to fame brings thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. With the recent expansion of Port Canaveral as an active cruise center, Space Coast tourism has literally sky-rocketed; Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International now depart from the port on a regular basis.
Add in pristine beaches, the coastal waters of the Atlantic and the area’s nature and wildlife parks and you have all the elements for creating an extraordinary escape.
But I must admit, my true motivation to visit Florida’s Space Coast was the 1960’s hit television sitcom,“I Dream of Jeannie”. The show starred Barbara Eden as a 2,000-year-old bottled genie and Larry Hagman as Major Nelson, the Astronaut who reluctantly becomes her Master. The location setting of this comedic fantasy is Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral at the height of NASA’s space program. Every episode is a magical tale of Jeannie’s antics and aspirations for lasting love. The envy of every young girl! Jeannie was certainly the fashionista in her pastel pink crop top and harem pants… and was always just one nod and a blink away from domestic bliss.
And, honestly, who didn’t have a crush on Major Nelson?
Happy to report, I did find “I Dream of Jeannie” Lane, but little else connected to the actual series. Scenes were generally filmed in-studio on the West Coast.
Despite some momentary sadness, Florida’s Space Coast did not disappoint.
I am certain that Jeannie’s mystical powers were at work when I found my own little stretch of paradise at the Ron Jon Cape Caribe Resort. The property is oceanfront and just minutes from Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
It doesn’t get any better. Whether you are a cruiser, space buff or avid surfer, the Ron Jon Cape Caribe Resort is a celestial match.
The resort is also a family-friendly favorite given it is a full service beach property that is less than an hour away from Orlando attractions. The best of both worlds! Close enough to Mickey mayhem and far enough to build sandcastles and enjoy quiet moments.
The over-sized accommodations are villa-condo style units equipped with full kitchens, whirlpool tubs and separate living areas. The decór and color palette are beachy and bright.
Rooms and Rates: The resort property has two distinctive areas housing accommodations, the main and oceanfront buildings. Both offer villas with kitchens, balconies and views. The Ocean building, featuring only 2 bedroom villas, is steps from the beach and only a 5 minute walk from the main resort entrance and all the amenities. Rates are seasonal and vary based on villa size/type: $129- $300. During peak seasons, summer and spring, advanced reservations are highly recommended.
Total Rooms: 206
For special offers and promotional packages, contact reservations at 888-933-3030.
Delightful Day-Trip Distractions:
Brevard Zoo & Tree Trek Adventure; Melbourne, Florida: Located just 20 minutes south of Cocoa Beach, is a wildlife adventure for nature lovers of all ages. Most visitors come for the thrill of the Treetop Zipline Challenge but are soon drawn in by the total experience. It is hard to resist all that the Brevard Zoo, a Trip Advisor top pick, has to offer. The Zoo focuses on active learning/ full immersion rather than passive participation. Visitors can kayak along the African plains for a unique glimpse of resident giraffes, monkeys and majestic birds. Hand feed the Lorikeets and Cockatiels in the Aviary, meet a baby gator, paddle boat through the wetlands or opt for a Rhino Encounter. An Amazing Adventure Awaits! Open daily: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cool Eats & Entertainment:
The Cove is Port Canaveral’s epicenter of entertainment. You will find outdoor dining, bars and a marina. Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill is a top favorite offering a casual and comfortable dining experience. The restaurant features a covered patio, sports bar, and sun deck with Tiki bar.
Fishlips is the perfect spot to catch a close up of the cruise ships and a killer sunset! The menu is a tasty mix… from burgers and cold beer to fresh fish and fine wine. The Monday dinner special – All-U-Can-Eat Snow Crab Legs – is not to be missed.
No visit to Cocoa Beach is complete without a stop at the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. The four-level surf emporium features a vast selection of surf gear, beach apparel, surfboards and water sports equipment. Ron DiMenna, a passionate surfer and entrepreneur, opened the first Ron Jon Surf Shop in 1961 in New Jersey. Two years later, he expanded to Florida and currently has 12 retail stores. The flagship store in Cocoa Beach, covering nearly two acres and showcasing one of the world’s largest surfboards, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
For all your vacation planning needs, visit the official Florida’s Space Coast Tourism Website.