This blog post was updated on September 24, 2014.

Kennedy Space Center Entrance


If necessity is the mother of invention, Florida seems to have taken this motto to heart — at least when it comes to ecotourism.

A case in point is Brevard County, located along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and also affectionately known as the “Space Coast” because of the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Now with the end of the Shuttle Era, the county’s emphasis is leaning towards showcasing the coast’s rich natural treasures, from kayaking on Mosquito Lagoon to other outdoor adventures.

One of the nearby cities to Brevard County is Orlando (Orlando Flights), which is around 53 miles away. Visitors can also fly into Kissimmee Municipal Airport, which is around 59 miles away.

According to the World Trade Organization, global ecotourism continues to grow at impressive levels, and at a rate of 20-34% growth each year beginning in the 1990s. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have released several reports over the years that corroborate the rise of and need for ecotourism. For counties like Brevard, the strategy of embracing this niche trend has led to implementation of more outdoor activities where the focus is on learning about the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge spoonbills or plankton in the Mosquito Lagoon.

Of course, the area is not all about eco tourism. Here are some of the activities visitors can enjoy on their visit to the Space Coast:

1)    Visit the beach: Cocoa Beach is an ideal spot for a vacation and leisure family vacations. There are some value hotel accommodations in the vicinity .

2)    Visit the Kennedy Space Center: From Star Trek Live gazing at giant rockets, the Kennedy Space Center is a haven for all geeks — kids and adults alike.

3)    Kayaking: You don’t have to do ecotourism activities such as kayaking to bioluminescent hot spots to enjoy the outdoors, but you do have the option to. Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon are popular spots to go kayaking.

4)    Take in a Birding or Wildlife Festival: Rich in both flora and fauna, Florida is also home to several birding, wildlife and nature festivals, and one annual event is the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival that occurs in Titusville in January. This festival has more than 200 activities, and is considered by many to be the premier wildlife festival in the country.

The Space Shuttle program was a gift to Brevard, Titusville and other counties on the Space Coast, but its demise may not mean dwindling tourists. The area still draws in many visitors because of its natural beaches like the famous Cocoa Beach, and now it may attract a completely different type of tourist.

How Florida’s Space Coast adapts to these creative changes will be interesting to see a year from now. But since many of these eco tours are booked to capacity far in advance, it does seem as though the demand is outweighing the supply, at least for now.

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