Road trip planning guide with day trip ideas by car, motorcycle, bicycle, or RV, highlighting vacation stays at beautiful Bluegreen Resorts.

"A man who couldn't make things go right could at least go." - W. Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways

Shuttle Launch Vacations: Your Final Countdown has Begun

Time's fast running out if you want to see a live Shuttle Launch from Kennedy Space Center.   It's a sight you will not forget, and one you'll never be able to fully describe to the friends you left back home.  To give you an idea of the visual impact, it's been called "one of the most stunning and dramatic events on earth."

My first launch experience was a night one.  Call it luck. 

We'd taken my husband's company Harley for a ride south from Daytona Beach towards Cape Canaveral, then realized a launch had been scheduled for that night.  As it turned out, we rode up in time to catch one of the most spectacular sites I've ever seen, and all without a camera in hand.

Early in the evening as the sun set, heat lightning crackled over the Atlantic Ocean beyond the tips of the launch pad and there was a good chance the liftoff was going to be cancelled.  Knowing NASA would try to make their window if it was at all possible, we stuck it out and were rewarded when the biggest roman candle ever made lit up the entire night sky.  Night suddenly became dusk.  And as the shuttle rose higher and higher, we began to hear the roar of massive engines as the sound rolled right over us, setting off car alarms for miles around.  Amazing is not a cliche in this instance.  Our mouths literally hung open as we craned our necks to catch the view.

To tell you there's a lot of traffic to negotiate is not an understatement by any stretch of the imagination, but it's easy to make an experience out of the entire trip.  To make the trip part of your beach vacation, start off with a stay at Casa Del Mar, a Oceanside Bluegreen Resort in Ormond Beach.  It's your best bet for catching a launch right from your room, or directly on the beach outside your door.

If you decide to get up close, Bluegreen's Casa Del Mar is on A1A, and will give you easy access to one of the most scenic routes for your drive south to Kennedy Space Center.   Take in the ocean towns of Daytona, Port Orange, and New Smyrna, and enjoy the view.   You'll find your Google Maps route options here.

I'd recommend you make a day of it if you're actually planning to catch the launch, but there is plenty of fascination to be had just by visiting the Space Center on any given day.  Attractions include interactive flight simulators, an IMAX theatre, full guided tours of the entire space center grounds, and visiting astronauts.  You will not be disappointed.

Photo credits:  Bluegreen Colorfulplaces
NASA Launch Schedule
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
NASA on Twitter
KSC Visitor Center on Twitter


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