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10 Stunning Places In Florida To Add To Your Bucket List

It's all about the beaches, baby.

1. Cocoa Beach

Justin Henry (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Via Flickr: zappowbang

Cocoa Beach is a water sports enthusiast's paradise. Besides being one of the surfing capitals of the US and home to both multiple champion surfers and surfing competitions, the waters are also perfect for wind sports like kitesurfing or parasailing. You can also visit manatees, dolphins, and a plethora of bird species on kayak in Cocoa Beach's Thousand Islands.

2. Melbourne

ajmexico (CC BY 2.0) / Via Flickr: ajmexico

For hefty serving of culture, the best place to visit in Florida might be Melbourne. With its upscale restaurants, multiple theaters, and the Eau Gallie Arts District with over a dozen galleries, you'll find yourself entertained with plenty of indoor activities, not really what Florida is known for. Of course, you could also zipline through the zoo and watch turtle hatchlings make their way across the beach in the most important area for loggerhead nesting in the world.

3. Port Canaveral

Chris Gent (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Via Flickr: chrisgent

Besides being one of America's major cruise ports, Port Canaveral is also a premier fishing charter destination and a great place for some of the best seafood in Florida. Try some exotic lionfish, an invasive and (very flaky) species in Florida waters, at one of the waterfront restaurants at the Cove where you can watch cruises departing daily and rocket launches from the air base.

4. Sebastian Inlet

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This 1,000-acre state park connects the Atlantic with the Indian River. Its got three miles of beautiful beaches, jetties perfect for saltwater fishing, a campground, and even two museums. Camp out here on one of the 51 campsites and surf, dive, swim, or go shelling or boating.

5. Canaveral National Seashore

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This park is a whopping 58,000 acres of barrier island, open lagoon, coastal hammock, pine flatwoods, and offshore waters. It also includes 24 miles of stunning, undeveloped beach, the longest on the east coast of Florida. With 15 federally listed threatened and endangered species, it is also the second-most important in the National Park Service. On top of all that, it's located directly north of the launch pads, so it's a great place to view a rocket launch.

6. Historic Cocoa Village

Rusty Clark (CC BY 2.0) / Via Flickr: rusty_clark

Historic Cocoa Village's charming, tree-lined streets are dotted with inns, locally-owned shops, and cozy restaurants. This quaint and quiet riverside community is especially conducive for relaxation, whether you choose to dine on a riverboat, tour the historic downtown area, or check out a concert at Riverfront Park. Time your trip right and you could also catch one of the biannual car shows.

7. Indialantic

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Originally named Indialantic-by-the-Sea (although you'll rarely hear it called by its proper name), the town of Indialantic is sandwiched between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean, which may explain its name. This tiny, barrier island town of under 3,000 people has a fantastic boardwalk for running, strolling, or cycling, but the main activity here is just to kick back and relax in a mom-and-pop atmosphere.

8. Merritt Island

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Actually a peninsula, Merritt Island stretches from Titusville to Melbourne. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 140,000-acre birdwatcher's dream. Take a paddleboarding tour through All Water Adventures and see bioluminescence in the summer months. If you'd rather stay cool, the seven-mile Black Point Wildlife Drive, which snakes through shallow marsh impoundments and pine flatwoods, will let you cross paths with everything from waterfowl to alligators to river otters.

9. Satellite Beach

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This small town with a population just a touch over 10,000 is a family-friendly destination featuring a pristine beach at Pelican Beach Park. Take a river airboat ride to spot wildlife like alligators, go for a guided sea turtle walk to spot nesting turtles in the summer, or simply take a trip to the farmers market for fresh produce and handcrafted goods every Thursday.

10. Titusville

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Once called Sand Point, Titusville's downtown is home to 24 historic buildings on South Washington Avenue and Main Street, which are part of the National Register of Historic Places. They display a variety of architectural styles, including Beaux Arts and Mission, dating back as early as 1888. Visit the historic playhouse for a dose of culture in addition to the quintessential space museums and rocket launches.

There are so, so many more than 10. Visit these and all the best coastal towns in Florida on the Space Coast.