Jetty Park Campground is THE place to stay when visiting Florida’s Space Coast. The park is run by Port Canaveral and is set right on the tip of the cape, with direct access to sweeping white sand beaches, views of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and its launch pads, and the now quiet cruise ship terminal. We could have stayed for weeks but it’s tough to get in here. We’ve already booked for next year and could only get five days at that.
Jetty Park is a perfect jumping off point for exploring the Space Coast, named for the presence of NASA’s activities throughout the area. Our primary goal was to fully explore KSC and we are confident that we did it!
Over three days we strolled the theme park-like complex watching movies, viewing exhibits, and riding simulators. We learned about the history of the US space program, saw the Atlantis Space Shuttle, reviewed our progress on Mars exploration, and tried out various space capsules.
Due to the pandemic, the bus tours of the launch areas and vehicle assembly building were not available. We are already planning a return trip in late 2021 with hopes of experiencing these highlights at that time.
While visiting the Space Coast we also explored the Canaveral National Seashore. The land was preserved shortly after NASA began launching rockets in the area. It provides a buffer for the Space Center activities, but creates a quiet, natural environment for birds, alligators, and nudists. Yes, two of the beach areas are designated as clothing-free, and no, we didn’t participate and no, there are no photos.
During our picnic stop Bob met his first armadillo. He was ready to take the little armored guy on, but the armadillo didn’t have any interest in taking on a toy poodle.
Within the boundaries of the National Seashore there are also a few short hikes that feature the history of the area. In particular, we did the short Castle Windy Trail which led us across the peninsula to the Mosquito Lagoon where we found a couple fly fishing amidst curious dolphins. No good photos of this but it was cool.
Another trail led us to the top of ancient Indian midden, which is a huge pile of shells, seven stories tall, created by some of the original inhabitants of the area. We followed the boardwalk up, up, up which ended with sweeping views of the lagoon to the west and Atlantic ocean to the east.
One thing we try to do as often as possible is give blood. It’s our way of giving to the community, and we also get helpful health information in the process. We visited the bloodmobile in Cape Canaveral and as a result learned we are both negative for the COVID-19 antibodies.
We are extra careful with masks and hand sanitizer, avoiding large crowds as much as possible. It’s reassuring, but sometimes surprising to know we’ve avoided infection with all of our travels. While we stayed very busy on the Space Coast, we barely scratched the surface and look forward to returning.