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How to make a road trip from Tampa to NASA to watch a rocket launch on the Space Coast

It's relatively quick and inexpensive. And it could create a memory to last a lifetime for the family.

There’s nothing like watching a NASA rocket launch all the way from the Tampa Bay area! That tiny ball of fire blasting up into the sky at more than 25,000 miles per hour can give you goosebumps. 

But what’s it like to view it up close? Like just a few miles away?

To find out, I decided to drive over there myself. Tampa to the Kennedy Space Center. 

This is something the whole family will enjoy. But today, it’s just me and my Jeep. A little rocket road trip. For most people around Tampa Bay, this is only about a 2 1/2 drive.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
Road trip from Tampa Bay to NASA on the Space Coast

I made a quick Stop to top off the gas tank. Most will get there and back on less than a full tank.

Got my favorite drink and snack, and I was ready to hit the road. 

From my little spot in the Tampa Bay area, Cape Canaveral is 153 miles away. As our own Tom Brady would say, “Let’s go!”

NASA, here we come. 

Before you know it, you’re in Orlando, passing Disney and the theme parks. In no time, you start to see the Kennedy Space Center signs. 

Suddenly, there it is. The hub of the NASA experience, the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. It’s like a theme park for space lovers. You’ll need a ticket for that. And there are not many rocket launch viewing opportunities at NASA, but there are public parks all over the Space Coast that offer great views that are completely free.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Center

Right in the middle of it all, just about 12 miles from NASA’s launch pads, is Space View Park in Titusville. The views here are right across the Indian River from NASA. Parking is free, and there’s even a public restroom.

Some launches, especially when astronauts are on board, will get busy, so get your spot early.

NASA also sits right on the beach. And while it’s likely closed during the launch, Playalinda Beach is separated from the NASA launch pads by only a fence. You should check this out before or after a launch. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
A view of NASA's launch pads from Playalinda Beach in Brevard County.

No matter what part of the Space Coast you decided to come watch a launch, once you’re settled at your viewing location, you can monitor the launch details with your smart phone. NASA, 10 Tampa Bay and other sources will typically have information and live video feeds from the launch site leading up to and during the launch.

You can also find all future launches by clicking here.

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