(BPT) - It’s said life is a journey, not a destination. That should especially be true when you and your family are planning your next cruise vacation.
Often overlooked as a key part of that journey is the original port you’ll be sailing from — the real beginning of your adventure. When planning a family cruise, remember that the home port area can be a fun getaway unto itself.
Consider starting your vacation a little earlier and arriving at the port a day or two before your cruise, so you can explore everything the vicinity has to offer. Since you’ll already be near your ship’s departure site, you’ll also feel less rushed and ready for recreation.
Favorite port of call
Port Canaveral, on Florida’s Space Coast, has been voted “Best North American Home Port” by Cruise Critic, and for good reason. Many of the top cruise lines call Port Canaveral home, and 4 million passengers a year sail out to sea from that sunny location.
The surrounding area offers tons of activities for all ages, making Port Canaveral the perfect one-stop spot for kicking off your cruise vacation. From its laid-back, beachy atmosphere to the thrills of its indoor and outdoor recreational offerings and its proximity to U.S. space program facilities, Port Canaveral truly has something for every member of the family. Here are just a few of the elements that make it everyone’s favorite port of call.
Sun, sand and surf
With more than 72 miles of coastline, Florida’s Space Coast has beaches galore. Let the kids build sandcastles and hunt for seashells while you soak up the sun at any of the dozen-plus beaches near Port Canaveral. You can find secluded beaches at Canaveral National Seashore or enjoy a recreational beach such as Sebastian Inlet State Park, which is popular for fishing, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and more.
Feeling adventurous? Get your gear at Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach and take a surf lesson or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. You also can rent a boat and take advantage of the excellent saltwater and freshwater fishing the area is known for.
The final frontier
For the space geeks and sci-fi aficionados in the family, a visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must. Learn all about space exploration from the myriad exhibits, then take the “Behind the Gates” bus tour to see the launch sites. You can even eyeball the historic Space Shuttle Atlantis and dine with an actual astronaut.
There are opportunities to attend a rocket launch at the space center for an additional cost, or you can check out the latest rocket launch schedule and catch a liftoff from a greater distance at a nearby beach or park.
Fun for the grownups
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the adults. Port Canaveral and Florida’s Space Coast boast excellent shopping, relaxing spas, spirited nightlife, top-notch golfing and some of the best seafood dining anywhere.
So, when you’re thinking about cruising with the family, factor in the where and when of your home port embarkation. You can make the most out of your trip to Port Canaveral by checking out VisitSpaceCoast.com.