With a picture-perfect location beside the Indian River Lagoon along Florida's Space Coast, Melbourne offers a ton of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you're into art galleries, beaches, golfing, shopping, thrill parks, or museums, you'll find something that suits the brief. Take a sunset stroll along the promenade, ring the Liberty Bell replica at the Liberty Bell Museum, explore the historic downtown, or make the kid's day with a visit to Andretti Thrill Park - regardless of what you do, you're guaranteed a great time while you do it. If you're lucky, your visit might even coincide with one of the town's frequent festivals like the Aviation Day, Independent Filmmaker's Festival, Arts Festival, or Oktoberfest. Whether you're a long-time resident or a first-time visitor, there are the 20 best things to do in Melbourne, FL.
20. Escape the heat at Wickham Park
When the sun is at its peak, escape the streets and head for Wickham Park for some shade, relaxation, and top-notch recreation. A local favorite thanks to its immense assortment of facilities and amenities (which extend to include an archery range, an equestrian center, a disc golf course, campgrounds, nature trails, exercise trails, ball fields, picnic pavilions, swimming lakes, ponds, and a whole lot more besides), it's a great place to enjoy some family-friendly fun.
19. Buy souvenirs at Rehab Vintage Market
As Trip 101 says, if you're interested in antiques, Rehab Vintage Market is the place for you. A one-stop shop for vintage goods, décor, antiques, and one-of-a-kind finds, there's always a huge assortment of fascinating antiques and curiosities to browse. The prices are reasonable, and the stock changes so often you're always guaranteed to find something new to lose your heart to, no matter how often you visit. The market is open every Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30 am to 6 pm, and from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm on Sundays.
18. Enjoy a stroll at Joy & Gordon Patterson Botanical Garden
If the hustle and bustle of the city are starting to wear on your nerves, beat a hasty retreat to the Joy & Gordon Patterson Botanical Garden. Spanning over 15 acres of perfectly manicured grounds, it's the perfect place to take a relaxing walk in nature or enjoy a picnic under the trees. Relax in a hammock amongst the palm trees, admire the fountains, or take a stroll along the walking paths - regardless of what you choose to do, you're guaranteed to leave feeling restored, revived, and ready for another day of sightseeing.
17. Take a hike at Turkey Creek
Fancy escaping the city and enjoying some time in nature? Then head for Turkey Creek, a 130-acre sanctuary with stunning views and a boardwalk nature trail that takes you through some of the most gorgeous scenery in the area. If you're feeling particularly active, you could try exploring the creek by canoe or kayak instead. Whichever option you choose, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the huge assortment of wildlife (including box turtles, woodpeckers, alligators, and the endangered Florida mouse) that call the sanctuary home. Before you leave, pop by the visitor center to pick up a souvenir or two from the gift shop.
16. Visit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society
If you love turtles and want to learn more about them, be sure to include a visit to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society on your itinerary. Dedicated to preserving the rapidly declining sea turtle population, it's a fascinating place to learn more about Melbourne Beach’s sea turtles. The staff are incredibly passionate about their work and are always happy to fill visitors in on the center's activities. If you're lucky, you might even be able to participate in a turtle release.
15. Visit the animals at Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo isn't huge, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. It's home to more than 900 animals in total, with 195 species from Australia, Asia, Africa, South America, and Florida. Guests can participate in the animal feedings, take a behind-the-scenes tour, enjoy a train ride, or check out the prehistoric monsters at the "Dinosaurs are Back" exhibit. For adrenaline junkies, zip-lining and kayak tours are available. If all the activity gets too much, take the weight off your feet with a glass of something refreshing at the cafe.
14. Watch a sunrise at Melbourne Beach Pier
Melbourne Beach Pier was built in 1889. In the years since, its survived storms and hurricanes. It's taken a few knocks along the way, but it's still largely intact. Today, it serves as the best place in town to enjoy a sunset stroll along the shoreline. It's dreamy at any time of the year, but between April and November, it becomes a prime spot for turtle watching.
13. Enjoy an evening at Brevard County Movie in the Park
Florida boasts glorious weather, so be sure to milk it for all its worth by spending an evening at Brevard County Movie in the Park. If the weather takes a turn, you might be out of luck, but providing it stays clement, you'll be treated to a range of classic and modern movies. If you get peckish, you'll find plenty of food trucks offering a range of tasty local and international fare scattered around the park.
12. Shop 'til you drop on Melbourne Square
If you want to indulge in some first-rate retail therapy while you're in Melbourne, there's only one place to head - Melbourne Square. The mall has it all, from chain stores like Bath & Bodyworks, Dillards, and H&M to unique little boutiques that are perfect for finding the perfect memento from your visit. If that wasn't enough, there's also a bowling arcade and a food court packed with restaurants, coffee shops, and fast-food joints. Whether you browse, buy, or simply grab a coffee and watch the crowds go by, it's a great place to while away a few hours.
11. Visit the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts
Regardless of whether you make your own textile arts or are fascinated by those that do, be sure to make time for a visit to the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. The museum features an immense assortment of clothing, lace, historical and contemporary textiles, and accessories from all over Europe, Africa, India, Central Asia, and Japan. It's an inspiring place to visit, and one where you're sure to pick up some hints and tips for your next craft project.
10. Take a tour of Lagoon House
If you want to learn more about environmental conservation, a tour of Lagoon House shouldn't be missed. An education center for the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway, it's one part museum and one part visitor's center, boasting a huge array of exhibits and information on the history of the town. It also features a pleasant boardwalk that offers gorgeous views over the shoreline, along with a fishing pier and a lovely family picnicking area. If you're lucky, you might even spot some dolphins.
9. Enjoy a performance from the Melbourne Community Orchestra
As VisitSpaceCoast.com explains, the Melbourne Community Orchestra is an all-volunteer orchestra made up of retired, professional, amateur, college, and high school musicians, all of whom are united in their love of music and their desire to inspire the same passion in others. They perform regularly at the Melbourne Auditorium from September through June, offering a variety of classical, pop, show tunes, motion picture music, and opera. Tickets are free and all ages are welcome to come together and enjoy a celebratory evening of community, music, and fun.
8. Say hello to the manatees at Manatee Cove Observation Park
As thebrokebackpacker.com says, if you're in Florida, you should take the opportunity to see the manatees, the state's most famous indigenous creatures. You could take a boat ride out for a few hours, or you could visit Manatee Cove Observation Park, an amazing place to watch these amazing animals in their natural habitat. When you're not counting the manatees, there's a lagoon to practice a bit of fishing, along with picnic areas and a grill for a spot of al fresco dining.
7. Explore the Eau Gallie Arts District
if you've got even the vaguest interest in art, you won't want to miss the Eau Gallie Arts District. As thefloridatravelgirl.com explains, the entire area is dedicated to the arts, with everything from street murals and graffiti portraits to art galleries and antique stores. There's also a great selection of bars, bakeries, cafes, and restaurants - be sure to check out Intracoastal Brewing Company and FM Pizza Oven in particular. The district hosts regular community events throughout the month, so regardless of when you visit, you're almost guaranteed to find something fun to join in with.
6. Step back in time at the Rossetter House Museum
As The Crazy Tourist notes, Florida is home to some of the oldest settlements in the country; with histories dating back nearly 350 years. The 19th century Rossetter House Museum ranks as one of the oldest and most well-preserved homes of its kind. Stuffed with antiques and exhibits, it offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past, and an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the city. Guided tours are available Wednesday through Saturday from 11 to 3 p.m for a very reasonable $8 a head.
5. Take the kids to Andretti Thrill Park
If you're looking for some straight-up, family-friendly fun, Andretti Thrill Park is unmissable. It's got a huge assortment of rides, games, and activities to enjoy, including mini-golf, batting cages, rock climbing, laser tag, and mini bowling. The chief highlight is the go-kart racing - boasting several tracks suitable for all ages (including a Junior Indy track, an F1 style track, and an Andretti challenge), it promises houses of fun for the whole gang.
4. Visit the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum
Melbourne has a great selection of museums, with the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum standing out as one of its finest. The museum is based in the church in which the Liberty Bell was hidden during the American Revolutionary War. Today, it's home to a vast array of exhibits relating to the bell and themes of patriotism, liberty, and local history. It also boasts one of the 55 full-size replicas of the Liberty Bell commissioned in France in 1950 for a United States Department of the Treasury savings bond promotion - ask nicely, and you might even be allowed to ring it. Best of all, the museum is completely free of charge to visit.
3. Explore Downtown
Downtown Melbourne is the place to go for shopping, dining, bar hopping, and soaking up the local culture. There's always something going on, whether it's a farmers market or a street performance. There's a ton of shops to browse, from thrift stores to high-end boutiques. It's also a great place to check out some local art at the quirky little art galleries. If your feet get tired, simply grab a coffee at one of the numerous cafes and watch the crowds go by.
2. Discover the beaches
Melbourne's beaches tend to be quieter than those in many other parts of Florida, with the result that they also rank amongst the most pristine. If you're looking for a serenely quiet, blissfully crowd-free beach, Spessard Holland comes highly recommended. Paradise Beach and Park is also unmissable, with a gorgeously quiet stretch of sand, wooden walkways, and a playground for kids.
1. Visit Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center is one of the most inspiring attractions in the entire state. The center has been the primary launching center for manned spaceflight missions since 1968, with the Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs all getting their start here. The center is divided into mission zones, with each area offering visitors the chance to learn more about the center's activities via exhibitions, talks, and visits to the launch sites. If you've always had a fascination with space travel, seeing the actual rockets that were used to launch people into space is an unforgettable experience.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn