Looking for the Best Things to Do in Melbourne Florida?
While often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Melbourne is an east coast Florida city that is not to be missed. As you will see, Melbourne has no shortage of things to do and is a vibrant city with entertainment and adventure to fit a variety of interests.
Let’s go exploring through nineteen of the best activities and attractions in Melbourne.
19 Best & Fun Things to Do in Melbourne Fl
First up -the beach, of course!
The first thing on many visitors’ lists when visiting a coastal town is the beach. While perhaps not as well known as Daytona or Cocoa, Melbourne Beach is a bit of a hidden gem with miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean coastline to enjoy. Separated from the mainland by the Indian River, a quick trip across the bridge will soon have you surrounded by the salt air and your toes in the sand.
Multiple access points and plenty of parking allow easy access to the beach, but be prepared that parking is only free for residents.
The beaches in Melbourne cater to a wide variety of interests, appealing to those looking for waves to surf, access to fishing, miles for leisurely strolls, or simply a place for blissful relaxation under the Florida sun. At the end of the day, be sure to head over to the pier for a breathtaking sunset view. On of the best free things to do in Melbourne fl.
The Brevard Zoo
If you have seen one zoo, you have seen them all, right? Not in Melbourne! While visitors will certainly find the expected zoo residents, the Brevard Zoo has so much more to offer. One of the best things to do in Brevard County for sure.
Does zip lining over crocodiles sound interesting? The Treetop Trek Aerial Adventure consists of ropes courses for all ability levels, zip lines, obstacles, and an aerial view of some of the animals. If the water is more your style, take a guided kayak tour through the African exhibit.
If you prefer your feet firmly on the ground, feeding a giraffe or lorikeet may be your choice of adventure. For the younger visitors, goats, alpacas, and a tortoise are ready to meet them in the barnyard.
And, finally, if the afternoon gets too hot, taking a dip in the Indian River Play Lagoon is the perfect way to cool off. This is so much more than your typical zoo! One of the best Melbourne fl things to do.
Get your creative juices flowing
Downtown Melbourne has plenty to offer for all sorts of creative outlets. If you want to add your touch to an existing piece, head to getting Fired Up Pottery to pick your project and spend the afternoon painting according to your own unique style or create a special memento to remember your visit.
For the more ambitious types, sign up for a class to create your own clay or fused glass masterpiece at Art Abilities or Mimi’s Crafts, appealing to artists of all experience levels.
Other creative options include pouring candles at This Little Light of Mine and a wide variety of project ideas and inspiration at crafting studios such as Create DIY or Pinspiration. If your creative juices need some encouragement or you are looking for a girls night out, Painting with a Twist and Board and Brush are where you can enjoy a glass of wine (or two!) while you create.
Andretti Thrill Park
Calling all thrill seekers! To avoid taking home a speeding ticket as your souvenir, head to Andretti Thrill Park to fill your need for speed. You can test out your driving abilities or claim the family champion trophy on the F1 Speed Track, Super Speedway, Jr Indy Track, or Rookie Track.
There are single and double seater carts, ready for team and individual racing or allowing younger visitors to enjoy the thrilling ride. The park also offers so much more than just go karts (as if that weren’t enough!).
Also included are amusement rides for all ages, mini golf, laser tag, batting cages, climbing wall, bumper boats, and the Andretti Express – a train ride throughout the park.
To take a break from the heat, head indoors to the 7000 sq ft arcade where you can collect tickets to exchange for prizes or experience virtual reality. There is something for everyone to enjoy!
American Muscle Car Museum
If the car enthusiast in you still wants more after the racing around the Andretti Thrill Park, then the American Muscle Car Museum should be the next stop on your list.
The museum is the home of the private collection of over 300 cars owned by pet pharmaceutical entrepreneur Mark Pieloch. On display you will find an amazing collection of Cobras, Vipers, Camaros, Corvettes, Firebirds, and Porsches, just to name a few.
While the museum is not open to the public on a daily schedule, it is frequently used as an event space to host fundraisers for local charities. Typically multiple events are scheduled each month and there is a long waiting list of organizations waiting to get on the schedule, so the opportunities are plentiful.
A small donation to the hosting charity will open the door to your chance to take in this extensive museum.
Take in the rich history
Melbourne is great for history lovers, too. There are two historic homes in Melbourne that date back to the turn of the twentieth century and preserve the memory of some of the city’s most impactful families.
Guests are invited to visit the Green Gables House, taking a step into the life of William and Nora Wells in the late 1800s and learning about the impact they made on the community.
The home is open for public tours every Saturday from 10am-2pm for a suggested $10 donation. Less than five miles north of Green Gables, the Rossetter House Museum also invites visitors to tour the home and gardens of the Rossetter and Roesch families as they lived in the early 1900s.
All of the furnishings of the Rossetter House are original and it has claimed a spot on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available Wednesday-Saturday for $15.
Ride through the swamp
Airboat rides should be on every Florida visitor’s list, and Melbourne is a great place to catch one.
With its proximity to the St. John’s and Indian Rivers, the area boasts an abundance of wetlands and the wildlife that inhabit them – birds, fish, snakes, turtles, and alligators to name a few. The design of the airboat allows it to skim across shallow and marshy waters where other boats are unable to travel.
Airboats offer a front row seat adventure to view the natural habitat that is uniquely Florida.
The tour is fully narrated by an expert guide with knowledge of the area and where to catch a glimpse of the wetland’s inhabitants. No two adventures are the same due to variables such as weather, season, and water temperature, but you are sure to have an unforgettable experience that is suitable for all ages.
Schedule an eco tour
If the airboat is not quite your style, or you would like a different type of wildlife encounter, a more well-mannered eco tour may be just the thing. Rather than gliding over the marshy waters and swampy areas looking for gators, an eco tour takes passengers on a chartered boat in the Indian River.
Floating down the river is sure to include views of the beautiful natural landscape and large estates along the riverbank, accompanied by educational commentary on the area’s history and unique ecology.
As for encounters with water dwelling friends, keen observers may find manatees enjoying the warmer waters during winter months and dolphins often swim right up to the boats to play.
For a romantic evening, some companies such as Good Natured River Tours even offer a sunset cruise for a relaxing time spent with your loved one or to celebrate a special occasion.
Rent a Kayak or SUP
Visitors who would rather spend time on the water under their own power may be interested in renting a kayak or stand up paddleboard to explore the Indian River Lagoon or Eau Gallie Harbor.
Single or double kayaks are available from a variety of agencies, and a quick paddleboard lesson will have even a novice ready to head out on the water. Adventurers have the option to head out on their own or join a group for a guided tour, either of which is likely to result in encounters with manatees, dolphins, or turtles.
In the summer months (May-September), wait until the sun is setting to embark on a bioluminescence tour and take in the extraordinary sight of marine plankton that light up the water as you paddle through the lagoon.
Typically considered to be reserved for exotic locations like Puerto Rico, this experience is one of many surprises awaiting you in Melbourne. Certainly one of the best things to do in Melbourne fl.
While a beachfront town in Florida may not be where you would expect to find local wine, you will be pleasantly surprised to find East Coast Winery and RiverHouse Vineyard in Melbourne.
East Coast Winery in downtown Melbourne offers a wide variety of Florida wines as well as an array of gifts. Specializing in citrus and berry flavors that parallel Florida’s tropical vibe, there are many unique options to sample as you browse the store and decide what to take home with you.
For a more hands-on experience, head just a few miles out of town to the RiverHouse Vineyard during grape picking season in August.
There you will find a variety of muscadine grapes, available u-pick or pre-picked and perfect for eating or wine making. If you would rather skip to the finished product, wine and jelly made with the grapes grown in the vineyard are available for sampling and purchase.
When visiting a new town, it goes without saying that local eateries are a must. While you may see a few chain restaurants that are familiar to home, a town’s true culture is reflected in the food created by locals and Melbourne offers a wide variety of local fare.
For seafood fans, there is nothing better than fresh seafood right out of the water and there are several options throughout downtown Melbourne and across the river in Melbourne Beach.
Residents and visitors alike frequent Melbourne Seafood Station, Bonefish Willy’s, and Frigate Waterfront Bar & Grill among others – many with waterfront outdoor seating for the full experience.
If your palate is craving variety, you can also find Latin flavors at El Ambia Cubano, German cuisine at Melbourne Biergarten, or a little bit of everything at Matt’s Casbah. After dinner, a walk down to Sue Anne’s Bakery or Melbourne Sweets for dessert will be well worth the trip.
Enjoy the Nightlife
If something sweet isn’t what you are looking for to top off your night, perhaps a drink while enjoying live music would be a better fit. Just as local restaurants are in abundance, there are plenty of places to enjoy a drink and experience Melbourne’s thriving culture that comes alive as the sun goes down.
Mugsy’s offers two bars – Bonnie’s or Clyde’s – with an array of drink options (or request something original) as well as a full menu.
At Mainstreet Pub you will find your typical American-style pub with a variety of music genres throughout the week. For those looking to line dance, County Line Saloon is your country hotspot.
If an Irish pub is more your style, Meg O’Malleys is exactly what you are looking for and will not disappoint with all the traditional fare you would expect.
Experience The Mansion
Though this could be grouped in with restaurants, nightlife, or even a historical tour, The Mansion deserves its own individual mention.
Built in a similar era as the Green Gables and Rosetter Houses, The Mansion is not a museum or historical landmark but has instead been restored to a vibrant entertainment space on the river in downtown Melbourne. Beyond just a restaurant, it is a full experience.
The restaurant has freshly made offerings with high quality ingredients to appease everyone’s taste buds. In addition to the vast menu options, you will choose where to dine – in the main restaurant area, the tavern, the terrace, or the garden – each with a different atmosphere to enjoy.
After dinner, or simply as a stop in a downtown tour, visit the cellar for wine, micro brews, whisky, champagne, or even espresso. With so many choices, you are sure to find just the experience you are seeking.
Downtown Melbourne has no shortage of places to explore and things to see for residents and visitors alike. Through the revitalization efforts of the Melbourne Mural Project, local artists have been commissioned to create a collection of 16 murals on display downtown.
Also scattered throughout downtown are a host of parks offering amenities ranging from playgrounds, pavilions, and grills that create an ideal space to spend the afternoon with friends and family.
The close proximity to the water also provides boat access, fishing piers, and even manatee observation areas in select parks.
Melbourne’s downtown parks boast wide paved paths that are perfect for a biking adventure or leisurely walk with a waterfront view. After taking in local eats, these provide the perfect place for a sunset stroll along the Indian River and a front row seat to the watercolor artistry that is a Florida sunset.
Visit the Farmer’s Market
When in Melbourne on a Saturday, the Farmer’s Market must be on the agenda. Those with small businesses, side gigs, and green thumbs are all ready to meet you. The variety of goods to be found is endless – honey, jerky, jams, candles, jewelry – the list goes on and on.
To improve your health, visit booths offering juice, smoothies, teas, and all things elderberry. To satisfy your sweet tooth, there are plenty of options for cookies, muffins, candies, and more.
Food trucks arrive early with breakfast and stay with plenty of options when it’s time for a lunch break. Visit with local crafters and take home a unique piece to wear or decorate your home.
The market is scheduled weekly on Saturday from 10 am-3 pm for most of the year, but adjusts hours to 9 am-2 pm and decreases frequency to the first and third Saturday in the summer months (June through September).
Watch a launch
With its close proximity to Cape Canaveral, Melbourne is a section of Florida called the Space Coast. Just twenty-five minutes north of Melbourne is the Florida home of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
If a budding astronaut is part of your crew, a day trip to visit the Space Center is well worth your time and the price of admission. You may even get to meet a real astronaut!
However, you don’t have to leave Melbourne to experience the excitement of space travel. If your visit coincides with a NASA or SpaceX launch, relaxing on Melbourne Beach or taking a stroll downtown may be the perfect spot to witness the launch.
The only thing you will miss out on is the crowds! Florida weather can be a bit unpredictable – especially for launches scheduled in the afternoon – so be sure to keep an eye out for any updates or delays.
Explore the arts
Once an independent town, Eau Gallie merged with Melbourne in 1969. The name Eau Gallie continues on to represent the northern section of Melbourne and is the home of the vibrant art district.
In the center, Eau Gallie Square serves as the heart of the district and a showcase of the area’s very talented residents. If you are feeling artsy, or just like to appreciate the talents of others, check out the open air markets, hear local musicians, and watch the schedule for local artist showcases.
The square is surrounded by art and photography galleries to explore, a yoga garden to find your zen, and shops full of locally made products to find a one of a kind piece.
Spend the afternoon perusing Rehab or Revamp Vintage Markets, a boutique, or floral shop. Come early for breakfast at Oh Biscuit, sip coffee from Anaya’s while walking around the square, or stop by the Intracoastal Brewing Company’s food truck.
Practice your poker face
Do you enjoy Texas Hold’em? Excel at Three Card Poker? Or always follow your gut and seem to pick the winning horse?
If you have been known to keep a great poker face, or are feeling lucky, stop in to Club 52 just outside of downtown Melbourne. Club 52 houses the only live poker room in the county, with over 40 tables to choose from and tournaments hosted throughout the week.
If you need to brush up on your game rules, visit their website for a refresher to be well prepared before choosing your table. In addition to live poker, simulcast off track betting is also available for horse and greyhound racing.
Test your gut, follow a hunch, or pick randomly and cheer your racer to victory! The in-house restaurant serves everything from breakfast to seafood if you work up an appetite but can’t leave in the midst of a winning streak.
While Melbourne is bustling with plenty to see and do, a multitude of special events and festivals on the calendar add something special to the atmosphere.
Depending on your timing, you may get to experience a strawberry or blueberry festival, art and craft expo, or cultural event such as the Caribbean or Greek festival. Local cultural events are a chance to experience the art or music of another region and sample authentic foods. Melbourne, like many coastal Florida cities, hosts a festival to find all things strawberry in mid-February.
The blueberry festival is not far behind in April, and both offer plenty of family friendly activities such as petting zoos, face painting, rides/games, and all things berry eat, drink, or buy! Other annual events include a Festival of Trees and plenty of opportunities to find those special gifts during the holiday season.
Melbourne offers an abundance of sights and sounds to experience, adventures to take, activities for all ages, and local foods you will talk about when you head home. For a break from the typical tourist areas, take in the local culture that is uniquely Melbourne, Florida.