Canadians have been flocking to Florida over winter months for decades to exchange the crisp cold for southern sunshine. There’s an unplucked gem about 100 km southeast of Orlando that’s on the verge of becoming a very popular alternative for visitors north of the 49th parallel.
Melbourne, Florida, aka the Space Coast, is quaint and charming, serving up over 72 miles of Atlantic-side of beachfront, which are the closest to the Orlando area at only an hour away.
I experienced the family-friendly Sebastian Inlet State Park, which is home to over 3,000 species of wildlife. Whether you’re camping, RV-ing or spending the day, it’s a must-visit site. I spent over three hours kayaking and experienced a pod of dolphins that were frolicking 15 feet away, jumping fish and the sense of serenity on the water rivals that of Northern Ontario.
Disney is 80 minutes away if you’re looking to don your Mickey Ears and experience one of the world’s most famous attractions. A big plus is that you can avoid the hustle and bustle of Orlando via Melbourne, yet be close enough to keep your family’s needs and wants met.
Of course, with their moniker being “The Space Coast” you’ll have to spend a few hours at the majestic, seven-storey Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. Enjoy gorgeous coastal views over two observation decks and learn about their history and engage in interactive displays.
For lodging, I highly recommend taking a load off at the Windemere Inn By the Sea. Picturesque and comfortable rooms paired with exquisite customer service and unmistakable southern charm are just a few of their highlights.
Now that I’ve sold you on the destination, let’s chat about the oh-so-easy journey.
My first experience with Porter Airlines was in October as part of this adventure. I live near YYZ and have always gone there opposed to Mr.Bishop’s joint. Surprisingly, it’s only a 30-ish minute drive to Porter from Canada’s best city and the service levels, comfort and atmosphere were absolutely astounding. From complimentary snacks and drinks, a comfortable waiting area and a breezy (yet secure) check in and boarding process, Porter certainly has this comfortable flying thing nailed down. Even the new tunnel is an engineering marvel! Flying redefined, indeed, Porter.
Once you enjoy the 3-ish hour direct flight (not a typo) from Toronto to Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) that’s offered from December to March, you’ll be greeted with short lines, which is what everyone wants after any flight, right? They’ve nearly wrapped up a multi-million dollar renovation that’ll put an exclamation mark on an already great service.
To learn more about Melbourne and plan your trip with family and/or friends (or me!) visit: