Things To Do in Port Canaveral Near the Cruise Port


Port Canaveral is a major cruise port on the east coast of Florida, USA. It is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world and serves as a gateway to various popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean and beyond. Today, we will share some of the many Things To Do In Port Canaveral to make the most of your time in port pre or post-cruise.

The port is home to numerous cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Disney Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line. These cruise lines offer various itineraries, from short weekend getaways to longer voyages to the Caribbean and other destinations.

Port Canaveral Cruise Port Guide

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How To Get Into Town From Port Canaveral Cruise Port

Getting from Port Canaveral Cruise Port to the nearby town or Florida attractions is relatively easy, as the port is well-connected to the surrounding area. There are six terminals; three are within walking distance of local shops and bars. Three are a little further. However, cruise lines and local transportation companies offer dedicated shuttle services that connect the cruise port directly to Port Canaveral. 

Alternatively, taxis and services like Uber, Lyft, and rental cars are readily available. If you want to head farther afield to Kennedy Space Center or Cocoa Beach. Or if you staying in a port hotel.

How Far Is the Airport From Port Canaveral

The distance between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Port Canaveral is approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) via the most common route. This involves taking FL-528 E (also known as the Beachline Expressway or the Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway). The drive typically takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.

Keep in mind that travel times can vary. It’s a good idea to allow some extra time for potential traffic delays, especially during peak travel times or rush hours.

Additionally, consider your specific cruise departure time when planning your transportation from the airport to Port Canaveral to ensure a smooth embarkation or disembarkation process. We also advise arriving a day before and having an overnight stay, just in case of delays.

Things To Do in Port Canaveral Near the Cruise Port

Kennedy Space Center

A short journey from Port Canaveral, the Kennedy Space Center stands as a beacon of human innovation and exploration. This iconic spaceport is one of the most popular attractions and offers an immersive experience that delves into the history and future of space travel. 

From awe-inspiring rocket displays to interactive exhibits. Visitors can learn about the achievements of space missions and view actual spacecraft. Plus, you can even witness rocket launches if the timing is right. 

Step into the shoes of an astronaut with the Space Shuttle Launch Experience, an exhilarating simulation that offers a taste of the intensity of a shuttle launch. Additionally, you can stroll through the Rocket Garden which features an impressive collection of historic rockets and spacecraft. Thus providing insight into the evolution of space exploration and the vehicles that made it possible.

What to do at Port Canaveral Cruise Port
Image by parkineer from Pixabay

Air Force Space & Missile Museum

The Air Force Space & Missile Museum, situated within the Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex, is a captivating testament to the evolution of space exploration and missile technology. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of artefacts, exhibits, and historic sites that chronicle the United States Air Force’s pioneering space and missile development efforts. 

Visitors can explore launch complexes. View preserved rockets and missiles, and learn about the pivotal role that Cape Canaveral played in the space race. The museum offers insights into the complex history of space exploration, from early satellite launches to modern-day advancements. 

What to do at Port Canaveral Cruise Port
Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Wizard of Oz Museum

The Wizard of Oz Museum immerses visitors in the enchanting world of the beloved film “The Wizard of Oz.” This museum is a treasure trove of memorabilia, exhibits, and interactive displays that celebrate the timeless magic of the movie.

As you enter the museum, you’ll encounter a rich collection of original costumes, props, and artefacts used in the film. This gives you an up-close look at the movie’s iconic characters, from Dorothy to the Wizard and famous scenes. 

Interactive exhibits allow you to experience the journey along the yellow brick road. With opportunities to try on ruby slippers, explore the Emerald City, and even meet life-sized character displays.

What to do in Port Canaveral Cruise Port
Credit Wizard of Oz Museum

Beaches In Port Canaveral

Visit Jetty Park is a Short Walk From Terminal 3 of Port Canaveral

Jetty Park, is a popular coastal destination known for its pristine beach, fishing pier, campground, picnic areas, and recreational amenities. It is Located in Port Canaveral and offers stunning views of cruise ships and the Atlantic Ocean. The park is a family-friendly spot with lifeguarded swimming areas and provides opportunities for fishing, wildlife viewing, and outdoor events.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, nestled along Florida’s Space Coast near Port Canaveral, is a captivating seaside getaway renowned for its pristine sandy beaches and vibrant surf culture. Visitors can bask in the sun, ride the waves, take surf lessons, and take leisurely strolls along the shore. 

The iconic Cocoa Beach Pier offers a lively atmosphere with restaurants, shops, and picturesque ocean views. Whilst the nearby Ron Jon Surf Shop is a mecca for surf enthusiasts. 

Nature lovers can explore tranquil waterways on kayaks or paddle boards, catch glimpses of marine life, and relish breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. With its mix of outdoor adventures, local cuisine, and laid-back charm, Cocoa Beach promises an inviting retreat for beach lovers and travellers seeking relaxation and excitement alike.

What to do at Port Canaveral Cruise Port
Image by Kenny Holmes from Pixabay

Alan Shepard Beachfront Park

Alan Shepard Beachfront Park pays tribute to the legacy of the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard. This inviting oceanfront destination offers a blend of natural beauty and historical significance. With its pristine sandy shores and gentle waves, the park is a haven for sun-seekers, swimmers, and beachcombers alike.

The park features amenities like picnic areas, shaded spots, and showers, enhancing the comfort of visitors. The real highlight, however, is the monument dedicated to Alan Shepard’s pioneering spaceflight. This monument reminds us of humanity’s quest for exploration beyond our planet. Allowing visitors to reflect on Shepard’s incredible journey while enjoying the serene ambience of the beach.

Cherie Down Park

Cherie Down Park is a hidden gem along Florida’s Space Coast, offering a serene and scenic escape by the ocean. This waterfront park provides a tranquil environment where visitors can unwind and soak in the natural beauty of the Atlantic coastline.

With its sandy shores and panoramic views of the sea, Cherie Down Park is an ideal spot for beachgoers, picnickers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The park’s amenities include picnic tables, benches, and convenient beach access, making it a great place for family gatherings, relaxing with a book, or simply enjoying the coastal breeze.

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil escape, a picturesque spot to enjoy a meal, or a chance to connect with nature, Cherie Down Park offers a peaceful oasis where you can unwind, explore, and appreciate the natural wonders of Florida’s coastline.

Dinosaur Store and Museum

The Dinosaur Store and Museum is a popular attraction that transports visitors back in time to the era of dinosaurs. This unique establishment combines education, entertainment, and exploration. Offering diverse exhibits and interactive displays catering to dinosaur enthusiasts and curious learners.

The museum features life-sized dinosaur replicas, fossil displays, and engaging exhibits that provide insights into the prehistoric world. Visitors can marvel at the impressive size of dinosaurs, learn about their behaviours, and discover how they fit into Earth’s history.

The museum’s interactive elements allow you to engage with the exhibits in a hands-on manner, making it an ideal destination for families and individuals of all ages.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a breathtaking haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Spanning over 140,000 acres of diverse ecosystems. The refuge offers a unique opportunity to experience Florida’s natural wonders. 

From its wide variety of bird species to the presence of mammals like manatees and river otters. The refuge is a haven for wildlife observation; scenic trails wind through coastal dunes, marshes, and woodlands.

The Black Point Wildlife Drive offers a unique chance to spot animals from the comfort of your car. With its adjacency to the Kennedy Space Center, the refuge also provides a front-row seat for rocket launches. 

When And Where To See Otters On A Norwegian Cruise sea-g74ef8cb9b_1280 otter-gdd7090c2e_1280

Go Dolphin-watching or Take a Kayaking Trip

Set out on a guided dolphin-watching tour that takes you into the Atlantic Ocean or the Indian River Lagoon. As you navigate the waters, keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins as they leap and swim alongside the boat.

For a more immersive adventure, embark on a guided kayaking excursion that allows you to explore the tranquil waterways of Port Canaveral and its surroundings. Paddling through the Indian River Lagoon or the Banana River, you can quietly approach dolphins, manatees, and various bird species without disturbing their natural behaviours. Kayaking trips are suitable for beginners and experienced kayakers, and equipment is usually provided.

Golf N Gator

Golf N Gator offers a unique and entertaining blend of mini-golf and alligator attractions, making it a must-visit destination for families and visitors looking for a fun-filled outing. The attraction features two 18-hole mini-golf courses that wind through lush landscaping and creative obstacles.

Providing an enjoyable challenge for players of all ages. As you navigate the courses, you’ll encounter playful themes and engaging features that add to the excitement. One of the standout features of Golf N Gator is its live alligator exhibit. Visitors can observe live alligators, snakes, and tortoises in a natural habitat setting, providing a fascinating opportunity to learn about these impressive creatures up close. 

Manatee Sanctuary Park

Manatee Sanctuary Park is a tranquil and scenic waterfront park that offers a peaceful escape for visitors and a haven for local wildlife. With its picturesque setting along the Banana River. The park provides a serene environment for relaxation, birdwatching, and appreciating the beauty of the natural surroundings.

The park features a boardwalk and observation decks that allow visitors to observe manatees, dolphins, and various bird species. Plus, other marine life in their natural habitat. The Manatee Sanctuary Park also has picnic areas, benches, and walking paths, making it ideal for a leisurely stroll, family outings, or simply enjoying the waterfront views. 

Things to do in Port Canaveral
Image by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

Go Sea Fishing Near Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral is a playground for water sports enthusiasts and sea fishing aficionados alike. The azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean beckon adventure seekers to indulge in various thrilling water activities. 

For those passionate about angling, Port Canaveral is a renowned fishing destination. Deep-sea fishing charters offer the chance to reel in prized catches like mahi-mahi and sailfish, while inshore fishing ventures target redfish and snook. 

Take a Trip From Port Canvaeral to Orlando and Universal Studios

Head inland from Port Canaveral to Orlando and open up a world of enchantment and wonder at the Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Studios. Just an hour’s drive away, this iconic destination boasts many theme parks, each offering a unique and immersive experience. 

From meeting beloved Disney characters and taking the Hogwarts express to experiencing thrilling rides and spectacular shows, every corner of the resort is designed to transport visitors into a realm of magic and imagination. 

With various accommodations for a pre or post-cruise stay, dining options, and entertainment, Orlando and the magic of Disney provide an unforgettable escape for the whole family.

Visiting Disney When Cruising From Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral Cruise Port: A Gateway to Adventure

Like Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral Cruise Port is a dynamic gateway to exceptional cruise adventures. It offers diverse cruise options, top-notch facilities, and easy access to enticing destinations. From Caribbean getaways to exploration and relaxation, Port Canaveral promises memorable journeys that begin with a smooth embarkation process. It’s the ideal starting point for cruise lovers seeking unforgettable maritime experiences.


  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

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