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
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 (www.facilities.fit.edu/botan.html 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.