Central East around Space Coast, Florida Attractions
This area contains the so-called "Space Coast," named for its role as the eastern headquarters of the country's space program. It is home to Cape Canaveral, the site of the first rocket launches.The region first gained recognition for the fertile citrus groves of Captain Douglas Dummitt who settled here in the early 1840's. His Indian River oranges are still today, one of the most popular and sought after varieties.Another tourist destination in central east Florida is Cocoa Beach, one of the major surfing beaches in the region.
Palm Coast - Washington Oaks State Gardens
Washington Oaks Gardens is found between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River. With over 400 acres of costal scenery, visitors can enjoy picnicking, fishing, and walking through the ornamental gardens and along the river.The land was originally owned by Gen. Jose Mariano Hernandez, a Brigadier General who organized and commanded militia before and during the Second Seminole War (1835-42).The formal gardens contain exotic and native plants, everything from azaleas and camellias to the exotic bird of paradise.Several endangered and threatened species find homes in and around Washington Oaks, these include the scrub jay, Gopher tortoise, and Florida manatee.
Address: 6400 North Oceanshore Boulevard, Palm Coast, FL 32173, United States
Opening hours: 8am-Sunset
Entrance fee in USD: Vehicle plus all occupants $5.00
Florida Agricultural Museum
The Florida Agricultural Museum explores farming and horticulture. The displays of 19th century farm machinery, turpentine and forestry tools, historic saddles, and wagons are presented in five recreated historical settings.
Bunnell - Bulow Plantation Ruins and State Historic Site
In 1821, Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow acquired 4,675 acres of wilderness. Using slave labor, he cleared 2,200 acres and planted sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo. In 1836, a band of raiding Seminole Indians looted and burned the plantation. The history of the Bulow Plantation is presented through a scenic trail that leads to the ruins of the sugar mill and an interpretive center. The coquina walls and chimneys of the sugar mill remain standing as a testament to the rise and fall of the plantation.
Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts, Barberville, Florida
The Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts in Barberville is the site of buildings from the early 1900s - part of the settlement including houses, stores and barns. Many of the historically significant original Florida buildings were relocated to the Pioneer Settlement. Various historical trades and lifestyles are highlighted: Print Shop, Wheelwright Shop/Carriage House, Woodwright Shop, Blacksmith Shop, and Timucuan-Myacca and Seminole Villages.
During a hurricane, in July 1715, several ships were lost in Sebastian Inlet during a hurricane. 1,500 survivors formed a camp to recover the gold and silver that was lost at sea for the Spanish Crown. The Ais Indians aided in their efforts.Visitors to Sebastian are almost guaranteed a view of the numerous pelicans along the riverfront, opportunity for watersports or a host of other nature-based activities.
Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum
Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum is an undersea archaeology museum founded by Mel Fisher, the man who searched for treasure along the Florida coast for 16 years before striking it rich. His motto was "Today's the day", and his dream came true on July 20th, 1985 when his team found the remains of the Spanish Galleon "Nuestra Senora de Atocha" which sank off of Key West in 1622. In 1992 the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum opened the The Last Slave Ships exhibit to tell the story of three slave ships brought to Key West in 1860. The museum displays some of the many valuable gold, silver and jeweled pieces from the Nuestra Senora and others discovered by Fisher and his family.
Address: 1322 US Highway 1, Sebastian, FL 32958-3889, United States
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $6.50, Senior over 55 $5.00, Child 12 & under $2.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: Military and Student discounts available.
Guides: Interpretive sessions sometimes available.
Facilities: Gift shop
Typical Visit: 1 hour 50 minutes
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
New Smyrna Beach was named after the hometown of the founder's wife - Smyrna, Turkey. There are numerous cultural and historical sites such as Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site, which is the ruins of a large plantation's sugar mill.The Atlantic Center for Arts is an educational facility and an art gallery that features performances and exhibits by resident artists.
Enjoy a wonderful 2 hour narrated scenic cruise along our stunning local rivers aboard The Manatee. See the Ponce DeLeon lighthouse, beautiful riverfront homes and boats and gently cruise through the protected wetland and mangroves looking for Dolphin and Manatee (seasonal) and all manner of aquatic birds.
Port Orange, Florida
After the Civil War, John Milton Hawks teamed with a couple of other officers to colonize in Florida with black freedmen. Due to faulty planning and harsh living conditions, of the nearly 1600 settlers recruited in 1865 - only 9 remained on the land in 1868.Port Orange was incorporated into a town in 1913 and named a city in 1925.
Gamble Place (Spruce Creek Preserve)
Gamble Place/ Spruce Creek Preserve has 150-acres of native flora and fauna, including beautiful cypress trees, alligators, pileated woodpeckers and osprey. Historic buildings such as a "cracker-style" house built in 1907 by James Gamble (of Proctor and Gamble), the Snow White House, modeled after the Walt Disney animated film, and a citrus packing house are located on the grounds.
Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens
Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens is 12 acres featuring a reconstructed sugar mill, audubon trail, greenhouse, statues of dinosaurs, as well as flora and fauna native to Florida. The Flower Circle with brass sundial is an ideal location for a wedding. The gazebo and library, with hundreds of books on plants, are worth a visit when touring Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens.
Okeechobee was originally called Tantie after the local schoolteacher. The name was changed to Okeechobee in 1912. Today visitors enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, and air boat rides. The town is also a commercial center for cattle, making it an ideal location for several rodeos each year.
Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake in the continental U.S. A lighted pier allows for day and night fishing. A hiking and biking trail wind around the lake.
Orange City, Florida
Orange City was home to Timucuan Indians, who lived along the St. John River. They ate the snails that were found along the sandbars and the mound that was created from centuries of snail shells was used as a foundation for the first permanent home - Thursby House (1872).
Blue Spring State Park
A spring that is contained within Blue Spring State Park maintains a temperature of 73 degrees attracting manatees for their winter home. Manatee season is November through March but sometimes more often when they come for the warmer water of the spring. Diving, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and boating are popular activities. However swimming or diving with manatees is not permitted and is strictly enforced.
Grant Historical House, Grant, Florida
Grant House was built in 1916 and has been completely restored. It houses a collection of antiques and furniture, some original to the home, that capture that period in time.
Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area, Melbourne Beach, Florida
Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area is located on both sides of the bridge crossing the Indian River. Wading birds such as great blue, little blue and tri-colored herons, and great and snowy egrets can be found on both sides of the inlet.
McLarty Treasure Museum
McLarty Treasure Museum is located on the survivors' campsite, over 700 people lost their lives when the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet shipwrecked. The historical displays include artifacts and a diorama of the Spanish Plate Fleet. An observation deck overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
Ponce Inlet, Florida
The area now known as Ponce Inlet was explored by Ponce De Leon in 1513. The name of Mosquito Inlet changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet in 1928. The town itself was incorporated in 1963.
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
This 175 ft restored brick structure, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, was the guiding light for mariners from 1887-1970. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and view the Daytona Beach area. The lightkeepers cottages are now museums.
Cassadaga is a spiritualist community that was established in 1894. Services include psychics, palm and card readers, tarot readings, and handwriting analysis.
Ormond Beach, Florida
Well-known as the birthplace of speed as a result of Charles and Frank Duryea, Barney Oldfield and Alexander Winton racing along the sands of Ormond Beach.
Casements Cultural Center and Museum
The former winter home of John D. Rockefeller, the Casements was built in 1912. As the cultural center and museum for the City of Ormond Beach, monthly art exhibits feature artists from around the country, the Hungarian Historic room, Scouting memorabilia and the new historic Rockefeller period room.
Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens
The Ormond Memorial Art Museum is home to a collection religious paintings by Malcolm Fraser as well as other changing exhibits of contemporary art. It is located within a botanical garden, complete with waterfall, nature trails and turtle ponds.
The city of Cocoa is a good base when exploring Florida's space coast.
Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science
Brevard Museum of History & Natural Science contains historic artifacts and scientific specimens discovered in Brevard County. Some of the permanent exhibits include "The Life and Times of Early Brevard", with Seminole and Pioneer artifacts etc and "Brevard Habitats," with dioramas of a hardwood hammock, mangrove swamp, saltwater marsh and the ocean, beach and reef. The museum is located on a tract of land, most of which has ben designated as a nature preserve featuring three different nature trails - a Pine Sand Hill, a Fresh Water Marsh, and a Hardwood Hammock.
Address: 2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa, FL 32926-5618, United States
Opening hours: May 1 to Aug 31: 10am-4pm; Closed: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed
Sep 1 to Apr 30: 10am-4pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Sep 1 to Apr 30: 10am-4pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $6.00, Senior over 60 $5.50, Military discount $5.50, Child 16 & under $4.50, Child 4 & under FREE
Useful tips: Price increases slightly for special exhibitions
BCC Planetarium and Obersvatory (formerly Astronaut Memorial Hall)
The BCC Observatory and Planetarium contains astronaut memorabilia, hands-on science and historical artifacts from human space flight, star and laser shows on a 360 degree domed ceiling, and a 24-inch telescope that gives visitors a chance to see into deep space. The IWERKS theatre presents regular screenings of large format films.
Address: 1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922-6503, United States
Opening hours: Wed: 1:30pm-4:30pm; Fri: 6:30pm-10:30pm; Sat: 6:30pm-10:30pm; Closed: Sun, Mon, Tue, Thu
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $7.00, Students $6.00, Senior $6.00, Child 12 & under $4.00
Useful tips: Price is for one film or one planetarium show. Planetraium is open Friday and Saturday from dusk until 10pm.
Guides: Interpretive sessions sometimes available.
Facilities: Gift shop
The Cocoa Beach Pier, originally built in 1962, extends out into the ocean and features restaurants, shops, bars and fishing equipment rental. This is a popular beach with the locals and a premier surfing destination.