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Your Inviting Guide to Visiting Melbourne, FL

Your Inviting Guide to Visiting Melbourne, FL

Close your eyes and imagine a land kissed by the sun, where waves whisper secrets and breezes carry the scent of saltwater. Now open them to the vibrant picture of Melbourne, Florida – an oasis nestled in the heart of the Sunshine State, just waiting to unveil its treasures to curious travelers like you. And for you, I’ve prepared an ultimate guide to visiting Melbourne to help navigate your adventures.

visiting-melbourne-fl-space-coast-beach

Situated along the stunning stretch of the Space Coast, along with Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, and Titusville, Melbourne is more than just a name on a map; it’s a tapestry of history, nature, and the unassuming charm of coastal living.

Having lived in Vero Beach, an hour south, for ten years, Melbourne was my preferred town to visit regularly.

melbourne-beach-and-seagrass

Entering the Jewel of the Space Coast

Melbourne’s allure is no secret to those seeking an unfiltered Florida experience. With an ambiance that blends the renowned friendliness of Southern hospitality and the laidback vibe of coastal life, it’s a destination that feels like home from the moment you arrive.

Bordered by the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, Melbourne’s seemingly endless horizon is your new favorite canvas where the days all feel like “it’s 5:00 somewhere”. It begins near I-95 on the west, crosses the Intracoastal, and goes on for what seems like an eternity.

With bigger cities like Daytona Beach in one direction and West Palm Beach in the other, Melbourne might get overlooked, but it should not. I am confident you will feel the same. 

wickham-park-trees-and-route

Old Florida’s Mixtape: The Sights and Sounds of Melbourne

From the dusty roads of Historic Downtown Melbourne, resonating with echoes of the past, to the trendy beat of the Eau Gallie Arts District, where art and creativity converge, Melbourne is a mixtape of experiences waiting for you to press play.

Here are just a few of the city’s various adventures.

eau-gallie-district-bird-mural

Eau Gallie District

This downtown gem is a touchstone for both history buffs and art enthusiasts. Stroll the quaint streets lined with historic buildings and discover local artisans and eclectic galleries brimming with one-of-a-kind pieces.

You will love the Eau Gallie District’s outstanding art installments and events. 

eau-gallie-arts-district

Greyhound Park

While the name might be misleading since no active dogs are running at the Melbourne Greyhound Park, you can still place your simulcast wagers on Thoroughbred, Harness, and Greyhound racing from tracks around the country. 

At the Melbourne Greyhound Park, you can play poker and Las Vegas-style games. There are two floors of gaming and a restaurant. I say order the Bada Bing Shrimp Bowl. 

melbourne greyhound park simulcast racing center

The King Center

Concerts, musicians, comedians, dramas, and much more perform at the 100,000+ square-foot King Center for the Performing Arts, the Space Coast’s premier live entertainment venue. 

Regardless of your seat, the view is good at this performance hall, where you can see Ringo Starr, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Hall & Oates, and much more. King Center’s Classic Albums Live series is a popular event that premieres every month.

the king center melbourne music venue

Historic Downtown Melbourne

One of my favorite things to do is explore a historic downtown area, and Melbourne has one of the best. East New Haven is a long street with several offshoots that up the ante for even more things to see and do and places to eat and drink.

art-installment-in-melbourne

The murals are divine in this part of town, and parking is relatively easy to find. A few shops I recommend seeing are Coastal Cloth Baby & Co., Meehan’s Office & Art Supplies, and Sendala’s for amazing + big names in bath and body products.

downtown-melbourne-east-new-haven
historic downtown Melbourne east new haven

Andretti Thrill Park

Looking to add a surge of adrenaline to your Florida escape? The Andretti Thrill Park offers excitement for all ages, including go-kart racing (up to 30 mph on the Andretti Challenge course, ages 16 and up), arcade games, rides, and even a ropes course for high-flying fun. Other points of interest are laser tag, mini-golf, and bowling.

ride-at-andretti-thrill-park

Jim Morrison House

A lesser-known stop in Melbourne, but a potent one is where “The Doors” lead singer spent some of his formative years. Music lovers are entranced by this creative genius who was a musician, poet and songwriter. You’ll find his previous homes at 2100 Vernon Place and 1310 US 1, which is where the Brevard Hospital sat when he was born.

It is now turned “Riders on the Storm” motel.

birthplace-of-jim-morrison

Beaches and Beyond: Nature’s Playground

The sea has sculpted Melbourne into a haven for nature enthusiasts. The city’s sanctuaries are postcards come to life, where manatees glide beneath the waters, and rare birds fly across clear blue skies. The beautiful beaches are where surfers from around the world flock to catch the perfect wave, or take lessons.

Many world-famous surfing competitions are held here.

indiatlantic-beach-with-colorful-umbrellas

Stop by one of the proper beach shops, like Longboard House, for well-known beachwear labels, or the cheesy touristy traps for beach needs, souvenir t-shirts, and darling hermit crabs.

surf-style-shop-in-melbourne

Brevard Zoo

A 75-acre haven for animal lovers, this non-profit sanctuary is often ranked one of the top zoos in the nation. Encounter more than 900 animals representing 195 species at the Brevard Zoo and feel the heartbeat of conservation efforts around the globe, like South America, Africa, and Australia.

Do not miss spots at the zoo are the alpaca and sloth exhibits, and the giraffe and lorikeet feedings. For an additional ticket or fee, try the ropes course or go kayaking.

Nature Parks

Melbourne hosts a wealth of natural sanctuaries, such as the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, Wickham Park, Riverview Park, James H. Nance Park, and Ocean Park, whose untamed landscapes promise serenity, solace, and a front-row seat to Mother Nature’s grandeur.

riverview-park-florida-playground

You can also get your adventure on there, all are excellent for jogging, walking, biking, and family-friendly events. Bring a picnic and stay awhile in this year-round good weather locale. Birdwatching is another popular activity.

Wickham Park is one of Melbourne’s most popular parks, with plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors and even camping opportunities. Disc golf, an archery range, and equestrian facilities make this park a standout from its peers.

At Christmas, it used to become a drive-through holiday wonderland. But, the Wickham Park Christmas Lights has moved to Fred Poppe Regional Park in Palm Bay, and is now called the Space Coast Light Festival.

ocean-park-melbourne-beach

My new favorite Melbourne park is James H. Nance Park, which has an incredible adaptive playground and a beach volleyball stadium. There are also bathroom facilities and picnic pavilions. During the holidays, this one gets decked out with inflatables.

james-h-nance-adaptive-playground-melbourne

Feeding the Soul and the Senses: Melbourne’s Eateries

Culinary voyagers, your ship has come in. Melbourne’s dining scene is a smorgasbord of flavors, from seafood and fine-dining to the best hotdogs in America and impressive chef-inspired plates.

For a listing of all the places you might want to consider eating while in Melbourne, check out this 20+ restaurants post. I like to eat…it’s my specialty.

backwater-breakfast-skillet-with-eggs-and-sausage
Backwater

Grimaldi Candies

Since 1969, Grimaldi’s has been the sweet staple of Melbourne, crafting confections with meticulous care and the love that only a family-owned business can provide. From homemade fudge to saltwater taffy, here, you don’t just taste the treats; you taste a tradition.

My top pick are the chocolate covered potato chips, available in milk, white, and dark chocolate. Another original item is the chocolate dipped citrus strips.

chocolate-dipped-potato-chips-grimaldis
Photo from Grimaldi’s FB page.

Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company

For those seeking local libations, look no further than Hell ‘n Blazes , stationed in a 120-year-old farm supply store, on E. New Haven Avenue. Sip on handcrafted brews and feel the camaraderie of a Florida evening, where each drink is steeped in the spirit of the Space Coast.

You’ll also find a full menu. (try the signature candied bacon and cajun gator bites!) and wine here. Try the Sunday brunch from 11 AM till 2 PM.

beer-from-hell-n-blue-blazes

The Avenue Viera

Shop ’til you drop, then refuel at The Avenue Viera. This hotspot for shopping also caters to a variety of dining preferences and boasts a selection of eateries ranging from casual café fare to upscale dining experiences.

Shops you can expect to find include Charming Charlie, Cost Plus World Market, Books a Million, Ethan Allen, and an AMC Theatre.

avenue-viera-map

The Melting Pot

For a culinary adventure, The Melting Pot at Avenue Viera invites you to indulge in the art of fondue with their delightful array of cheese, chocolate, and savory-sweet goodness. It’s more than a meal; it’s an interactive dining experience that’s as heartwarming as it is delicious.

My family is addicted to this amazing chain eatery where being present at the dinner table is the only option.

melting-pot-chocolate-fondue

Setting the Stage for Your Stay

Melbourne’s accommodations range from charming boutique hotels to cozy beachside cottages, each offering a unique viewpoint of the area’s personality. Here, sunsets signify more than the end of the day; they’re the beginning of an evening filled with memories.

Two places I recommend checking out are Hotel Melby and Island View Cottages in nearby Sebastian. Having lived so close, I never really had a reason to overnight, so I dont’ have much to offer in this category.

indiatlantic-beach-florida

Hotel Melby

An overnighter at the relatively recently opened Hotel Melby places you at the pinnacle of Melbourne’s revival district. Here, you can enjoy sophisticated luxury and enjoy breathtaking sunsets from their rooftop lounge before retiring to an elegant, contemporary room.

the-melby-hotel-and-rooftop-bar

Island View Cottages in Sebastian

A short drive away, the tranquility of Island View Cottages beckons with promises of a laidback escape. These rustic retreats, all custom designed by exceptional artists around the country, provide a portal from the modern world, offering a respite where you can recharge surrounded by the simple elegance of the natural Florida landscape.

Kayaks, grills, hammocks, and outdoor seating is available at no extra charge.

island-view-cottages-and-kayaks

Navigating Your Escape

Melbourne is not just a destination but a conduit to moments of pure escapism. It’s where the pavement ends and the boundless horizon of possibility begins. Whether you spend a weekend or a season here, each day is fresher, brighter, richer, more vibrant, and more reflective of what it means to truly experience Florida.

The Magic of Melbourne lies not in the vastness of its attractions, but in its diversity. It’s like dipping your hiking boots in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River. It’s like watching space shuttles zip across the sky and finding tranquility in a hammock under a palm tree.

It’s to feel the rush of a thrill park and the calm of a quiet beach, all in the same day.

indian-river-in-melbourne

Read more of our Florida posts:

A Travel Guide to Fort Pierce

A Road Trip to Sanford

50 Florida Restaurants with Outdoor Dining and Patios

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Christie Queen

Thursday 3rd of October 2019

Would like to get a visitors guise mailed to me

Taylor Hardy

Friday 4th of October 2019

You will have to contact the visitor's center--Visit Space Coast!

Beverly Bray

Monday 10th of June 2019

BTW You forgot to mention Playalinda beach. It is the best beach in Florida.

MelodyPittman

Monday 10th of June 2019

Nice! I'm not sure I've ever been there. Will have to see it on my next visit. THanks for the suggestion.

Beverly Bray

Monday 10th of June 2019

If you’re going to Meg O’Malley‘s you must try the Guinness pot roast. It is so good it’ll make you cry! I live in Melbourne and have for many many years. I I find the city diverse and an enjoyable place to live.

MelodyPittman

Monday 10th of June 2019

I think you are so right. Melbourne is very cool and marches to the beat of its own drummer, something I am particularly fond of. Thanks for the delicious suggestion. ;)

Maddy

Sunday 24th of March 2019

If you like playing escape rooms they are 3 locations in that Melbourne area escape room entertainment West Melbourne, and downtown and then 321 escape! They are super fun and good for family’s. If you use coupon code 2019JAM15 you get 15%off!!

Jennifer

Tuesday 29th of January 2019

I have read this article so many times up to me moving here and now with my sister coming to visit, I have suggested she check it out. Thank you so much for such an informative and helpful blog!

MelodyPittman

Tuesday 5th of February 2019

Thanks so much, Jennifer. I'm actually getting ready to update this article over the next month since so many things have changed. I hope you will check back and see the new and improved version. :)

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