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Love Blasts Off on Florida's Space Coast

Those in search of a romantic celebration could opt for a weekend getaway to one of the area's oceanfront resorts or acclaimed bed and breakfasts, such as The Inn at Cocoa Beach or the Windermere Inn by the Sea.  Spend the day pampering yourselves at one of the premier area spas such as La Bella Spa in Merritt Island, village Day Spa in Cocoa village or Kalianas Spa & Wellness Sanctuary, a new Hawaiian themed "green spa" in Indian Harbour Beach.  Your romantic evening on the Space Coast includes a sunset or moonlit stroll along one of the many picturesque beaches.  some prefer, however, the romantic magic found on a sail down the intracoastal waterway on the 47-foot catamaran run by Indian River Cruises.  The vessel's captains offer a relaxed tour of the area's turn of the century homes and breathtaking views of the spectacular sunsets as you relax on pillows spread out on the deck. A few especially romantic restaurants that always receive rave reviews are Cafe Margaux and The Black Tulip in Historic Downtown cocoa Village, The Mango Tree in cocoa Beach and The continental Flambe in historic downtown Melbourne. 

There are also plenty of establishments offering a laid back Florida atmosphere and fantastic fare.  For seafood, try Florida Seafood Bar and Grill in cocoa Beach; Pineda crossings in Palm Shores or Chowders in Rockledge.  All are local favorites.  Later, couples can spend a few hours dancing at one of the area's popular discotheques like The Red head Martini & Cigar Bar in Port Canaveral or the classy jazz club, Heidi's, located in the heart of Cocoa beach.  For those looking for a more adventurous night out on the town, a host of opportunities abound.  Especially on the weekends, the historic city centers come alive inn Cocoa village and downtown Melbourne.  Both contain assorted locations for eating, drinking, dancing and of course, bar-hopping.  some area favorites include Meg O'Malley's in downtown Melbourne, City Tropics inn Indialantic, Murdoch's Bistro and Char Bar in Cocoa village and Grill's restaurant and Tiki Bar that offers live music and dancing in Port Canaveral's Cove area.  Down the street from grill's, along a street packed with entertainment venues, is Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill and Rusty's Seafood and Oyster Bar, casual waterfront restaurants that are great for watching the cruise ships come in and out the Port.  Great nightlife can be found dotting the map across the Space Coast, from performances at the King center for the Performing Arts to Summer Saturday Nights at Brevard Zoo to great hangouts nestled everywhere between Sebastian to Titusville. 

Six Hot Spots for Romance

1. Turkey Creek Sanctuary in Palm Bay

Off Port Malabar Boulevard in Palm Bay, a stroll through this nature center will take you back to old florida.  Besides it being a romantic walk through the sand pine forests and along the creeks of the sanctuary (there are hearts on the boardwalk with loving sayings) this 22-acre oasis is ideal for couples who want alone time.  At times, it's so quiet you can hardly hear a peep.  There are lookout points where you can stop and look over the winding creek and watch the manatees.  There is a nature center where you and your date can learn about the ecosystems of florida, and you can even rent a kayak from the Palm Bay Marina and kayak along the creek to enjoy the vegetation and marine life that's unique to the Space Coast.

2. The Botanical Gardens at Florida Tech in Melbourne

The botanical Gardens at Florida Tech hosts many weddings and romantic dates.  You can walk the 35-acre oasis and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy by one of the ponds or bridges.  Secret pathways abound, and there is unique history in the area.  A self-guided tour brochure can be downloaded from the website ( and click on "Botanical Gardens").  You and your date can enjoy the adventure and rest for a picnic lunch.

3. Canaveral National Seashore

One of our most beautiful natural wonders, this seashore covers about 57,0000 acres along Florida's East Coast.  But the romantic part about this area is the beaches.  Pristine, raw and untouched, these are some of the most natural and beautiful beaches on the Space Coast. Being on Playalinda beach makes it seem like there's no one else there on Earth besides you and your date.  sometimes, these beaches can be so secluded it's hard to see another person for miles.  This unobtrusive vibe is rivaled only by the drive through the marshes on the way to the beach.  The two-lane highway to the Playalinda Beach boardwalks cuts through old marsh areas and was carved out by the old mosquito patrols of the county in the 60's.  It makes for a romantic drive, because rarely does a car pass you on the lonely road.

4. Port Canaveral

There is so much more than cruise ships at the port.  To start, there are restaurants where couples can dine on the dock and watch the ships come and go. There are events and couples can walk the boardwalk and look at the manatees frolicking inn the water below.  It's a great place to watch the shuttle and rocket launches, for camping, fishing, bird watching, swimming in the surf and none of it is really expensive.

5. Cruise the River

There are a few cruises couples can take on the Indian River, depending on your tastes.  Thee are intimate dinner cruises and loud, party ones.  The Indian River Queen, docked in Cocoa Village, offers couples a nice dinner cruise, albeit, not so secluded.  The paddleboat can hold up to 260 people.  Indian river Cruises is a more intimate option. The catamaran can hold up to six people, and will take a minimum of two.  Imagine an intimate dinner for two with your own personal chef on a sunset cruise.  You can create your own menu and then set sail away in the Indian river sunset. 

6. A Picnic in The Park

One of the nice things about this area is there is a lot of green space.  One of the oldest, more secluded and most beautiful is Ballard Park off Thomas Barbour Drive in Melbourne.  A large tributary welcomes boats, beautiful birds and one of the most spectacular views of the Indian River on the county's south side.  All of this together makes for one really romantic date -  especially during the pre-evening hours, just before the park closes.  There are little pagodas that sit close to the Indian river where you can have a picnic, and because of the slow speed manatee signs, the passing boats seem as if they're barely there.

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