spessard holland park
spessard holland beach park is located a mile south of the town of melbourne beach on SR A1A. in my opinion this is the best beach access in the melbourne area. the park offers restrooms and a large free parking lot. spessard holland park is usually less crowded than nearby indialantic and melbourne beaches.
indialantic beach is the closest beach from downtown melbourne. there is metered public parking at the end of 5 th ave and along ocean ave. because of it's location it is melboune's most popular beach and the most crowded. this beach is a very popular surfing location.
5 th ave. indialantic
across the bridge from downtown melbourne is the beach town of indialantic. 5 th ave. (US192) in indialantic is lined with surf shops, restaurants, and bars. at the east end of 5 th ave. is indialantic beach park. a nice part of the melbourne area to visit.
- Food and Dining
melbourne historic district
located in downtown melbourne is the new haven ave. historic district. this interesting street is lined with shops, restaurants and bars. in this part of town is an interesting collection of old florida buildings and homes. new haven ave. is a fun and safe part of town for nightlife.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Melbourne is a toilet
If you're thinking of taking the family on a vacation to Melbourne, Florida, think again. This place is gross, and overcrowded. The beaches are covered with used needles and dead sealife. The people are rude, and the food is a poor replica of something you'd find in NYC. Instead, travel about 90 minutes over to the gulf side and visit Longboat Key. As long as you're not there for Red Tide, the beaches are far more beautiful, and less populated.
The Public Beaches
Although the beaches of Indialantic are not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination, they do offer warm Atlantic waters, a fairly wide open, sandy beach front, and a few eateries and surf shops across the street.
The atmosphere is very casual and laid back. You won't see many volleyball competitions or that sort of thing. You'll most likely see a few fishermen casting a reel out into the ocean, with the usual heron perched next to them, waiting to see what the tide brings in...or the reel.
Water-skiing on the Banana River
If it's a sunny day, you'll find boats of all kinds along the Banana River...with plenty of waterskiiers testing their skills and cutting wakes all over the place.
Often times, dolphins come into the River and it's not unusual to see them swimming alongside the boats or jumping over wakes.
Can you think of a better way to spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon?!?
Antiques and Boutiques of "Downtown" Melbourne
I always laugh when referring to "downtown" Melbourne. It's not your typical downtown with high rise buildings; instead, you'll find an array of older, historical buildings along the main avenue (5th avenue), dominated by quirky antique shops, some candle shops, book stores, and other specialty shops.
You can spend a couple of hours browsing along the street...it's enjoyable.
Between May and September, leatherback and green sea turtles flock to the shores of Melbourne Beach and the surrounding area to lay their eggs. There's even a "Turtle Society" organization here, devoted to combing the beaches at night in order to protect nesting turtles from predators or curious interlopers.
Condos and homes may be situated along beachfront property, but light wattage is regulated so that there's never any high powered lighting reflecting onto the beach - if baby turtles were to hatch during the night, they'd be confused by the high powered lighting and turn toward shore instead of the sea.
Between 9:00 pm and 2:00 am, you can bring along a low bulb flash light to help spot the turtles as they emerge from the surf and plod their way up the shore to higher ground to lay their eggs. The whole process takes about 1.5 hours.
If you're a conscientious observer of nature, then you will know to keep a respectful distance from the turtle so as not to disturb her concentration or the momentum of her mission. Once she feels the slightest bit threatened, it doesn't matter how desperately she needs to lay those eggs - she will turn around and drag herself back into the sea. It's really frustrating if this should happen, because any inadvertant move on the observer's part can set off such a retreat.
You know how they say you can see tears coming from the mother turtle's eyes as she's laying her eggs? Maybe it's because she knows she'll never see her young. Once she's laid the eggs, she makes her way slowly back to shore, disappearing into the inky night sea.
Indialantic: Melbourne's main beach town
Located directly across the causeway from downtown, Indialantic attracts surfers and families alike, offering a variety of casual "come as you are" eats, oceanfront hotels and surf shops. A parking lot with ample meters combined with a wooden boardwalk make accessing the beach a breeze.
In terms of its natural characteristics, the sand here is gray and full of tiny shell fragments that tend to cling to your feet. Also, instead of traditional dunes, the backdrop features lush, green, leafy vegetation. The ocean however, takes on a pretty shade of turquoise in the sunlight. Indialantic is also a great beach for spotting sea turtles on moonlit summer nights when these creatures emerge from the sea to burrow their nests.
- Family Travel
Airboat Ride Along the St. John River
By all means, spend some 45 minutes gliding over the St. Johns River watching snapping turtles sunning, great blue herons in all their majesty - and the main attraction: alligators sunning themselves, glancing up at you as you pass by at close range (shiver!). It's a definite blast of local color in every sense of the word!!
Quick note on the mechanics of airboats: these contraptions are noisy and strange. They don't feature a "V" shape hull so they're not really like a boat - and, the engine sits above the back of the vessel and literally propels the boat over the water, so that you are kind of gliding or skimming. It's the best way to see the swamp land and get close to the wildlife without disturbing the water underneath, and the delicate ecological systems at work.
Don't worry about the noise - most airboats come equipped with ear covers so you block out the sound of the motor!
Melbourne and the surrounding areas actually have nice, wide open beaches against whose shores lap the warm Atlantic waters. People most often think of Hawaii, Australia or California when the sport of surfing comes to mind - but actually, world champion surfer Kelly Slater hails from Cocoa Beach, just minutes north of Melbourne Beach. In fact, many national surf champions come from the Florida east coast - I think it's because the waves are smaller, and it takes a lot of skill to ride smaller waves.
If you're interested in hanging ten, there are some friendly surf shops around the Indialantic and Melbourne Beach area (LongBoard House and Spectrum Surf Shops on A1A, to name a few), with instructors available to teach the novice - and when you're ready and able, there's Monster Hole in Sebastian Beach (a few minutes south of Melbourne Beach) where the waves are king.
NASA: Home of Shuttle and Rocket Launches
Those of us who have lived here for a while have become, I don't know - desensitized - to the spectacular launches at nearby Cape Canaveral.
NASA is always working on some project, whether it is a shuttle launch, a rocket, or some sort of satellite. Nevertheless, it's still a thrill to look out into the sky and see a trail of billowing white smoke signaling yet another successful take-off.
NASA makes for a fascinating and stirring visit. There are several IMAX movies to see - the last one usually ends at 4:00pm so plan your visit accordingly. If you're lucky - and chances are you will be - there might be a real live astronaut around participating in a question-answer session; you'll be moved at the Apollo Center where they have one of the Apollo rockets on display (it takes up the entire building) and a short film on the first lunar landing. Did you know an astronaut comes back to earth anywhere from one to two inches taller after spending time in space? At the Apollo Center you can learn all about the physics of weightlessness as well as exactly what it is that people do up there in Space....why are we going up there in the first place?! You can even touch a "moonrock".
Not that we don't enjoy a nice walk - but NASA is huge and takes up miles of territory on the peninsula of the Cape. Shuttle buses are provided to transport guests from one center to another. The rides usually last about five minutes, during which you're treated to a narrative video and a bus driver who's always ready to point out the wildlife (NASA is located on a wildlife sanctuary) along the way.
I've only been to NASA twice, and both times I've been really moved by what I've seen and learned each visit.
I HIGHLY recommend visiting NASA. It's great stuff.
Historic Downtown Melbourne Tour
Whether you love shopping for antiques or just a pleasant walk through a variety of different shops, the historic downtown Melbourne tour will introduce you to our local history while providing you with a scenic and memorable tour of the old downtown area. You begin the tour by following the special tour signs. Each sign explains that unique area and its place in our history. The tour takes you through Melbourne's original settled area. Because this is a tour you initiate yourself, you can follow the tour as quickly or as slowly as you like. For maps locating each of the points of interest, just stop by any the downtown stores. If they don't have one, they can usually refer you to someone who does.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Sometimes you just want to relax and read a book against a beautiful backdrop of pounding surf, seagulls calling and the smell of salt water spray in the air. It's amusing to watch the little sandpipers dart back and forth along the surf as pelicans bob up and down in the waves, with the occasional heron making a pitstop to see if anyone has any fish to share. It's a very peaceful atmosphere in which to unwind on the weekends.
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