Within Walking Distance
Enjoy a beach picnic, a stroll on a long fishing pier, and views of the ships coming in from Jetty Park, just a short walk from where cruises from Port Canaveral depart.
Beyond the Port Area
Near your cruise from Port Canaveral is Cape Canaveral’s main attraction, the Kennedy Space Center. If you’re extremely lucky, your departure will coincide with a rocket launch. If not, you’ll still have plenty to experience otherwise: examine the innards of a decommissioned rocket, meet a real astronaut, and explore all the NASA paraphernalia on display. At the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, you can get a feel for space travel by stepping in the boots of an astronaut on a G-force simulator or take a “Walk on the Moon.” If ground speed is more your thing, head to the Daytona International Speedway for a race or to take a tour. Drive a stock car in a race simulator, play a role in a pit crew, or, for the daring, ride shotgun in a professionally-driven car at the Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride-Along Program.
Closer to where Carnival cruises depart from Port Canaveral, historic Cocoa Village is a revitalized stretch of red-brick buildings, shops, and the Cocoa Village Playhouse, where you can catch a Broadway-style musical in a charming 1924 theater. Rare birds and alligators thrive in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, while the Manatee Observation Deck provides a chance to spot the massive and rare creatures swimming in the water.
Just an hour west of Port Canaveral, Florida, the theme parks of Orlando provide hours—or even days—of entertainment and excitement. Walt Disney World’s four theme parks include the around-the-world exhibits of Epcot, the fairy tale world of the Magic Kingdom, the moviemaking mystique of Disney Hollywood Studios, and acres of wildlife habitat in the Animal Kingdom. For bigger and badder thrills, set out for Universal Orlando, full of hair-raising rides like the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Dueling Dragons of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. With a day at SeaWorld, you’ll meet penguins, manta rays, dolphins, and dozens of tropical fish. Its sister park, Discovery Cove, has opportunities for swimming with dolphins and snorkeling in a coral reef.
Beaches in Port Canaveral
One of the best local beaches for catching rays before your cruise from Port Canaveral is Cocoa Beach. Orient yourself at the Cocoa Beach Pier, then plan your next move: Fishing off the docks? Surfing in the crystal blue waters? Sipping a cocktail at the tiki bar and watching the sunset? Cocoa Village has you covered. For more seclusion, the 23-mile-stretch of the Canaveral National Seashore is totally undeveloped.
Shopping in Port Canaveral
In Cocoa Beach, stock up on colorful beach and surfwear for your cruise from Florida at the flagship store of the legendary Ron Jon Surf Shop. Browse artwork and souvenirs made by local artisans at the Cove Marketplace, conveniently placed right by the cruise terminals.