Even at a time of the year when it seems impossible to find a campground, sometimes it pays to persevere. We thought we wouldn’t find a spot to camp near NASA for the 50th-anniversary celebration of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, but we did.
With only six days to go on our planned trip, I took a chance and got lucky to find 2 spots available at Manatee Hammock County park on the Indian River right across the bridge to Kennedy Space Center.
After taking care of some last-minute business on Friday morning, got a later than usual start on our way. It was a typical Mid-Florida summer day, hot humid and overcast with a good chance of rain.
Our route took us there using almost all parkways. The trip wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be except for one substantial rain storm along route 528, and the GPS kept telling us to stay to the right instead of telling us to make a right. It also said the park was on A1A when it actually on Route 1. Well after about two and a half hours of driving, we arrived at our destination.
Tom went to the new office, which replaced the original one flooded in a hurricane, and registered for our stay. He walked to find our campsite and figure the best way to approach it since it was a little tight and in between two palm trees. Our site was close to the road and we were lucky to get any at the last minute.
I was slightly disappointed with our campsite( #27), aside from being so close to each other, I think it was not kept up between uses. There were a couple of cigarette butts and small plastics on the ground that I had to clean up. Campsites were not concrete or blacktop just grass and dirt which was not a big deal for us. We set up the campsite pretty quickly, and put a couple tarps on the ground to control the amount of dirt that would otherwise come into the RV.
The good things about the campground were the existence of trees to most sites for good shade, we were close to the trash dumpsters (I’m a clean freak and cannot allow trash inside or around our RV), and the bathrooms were pretty near to us. The pool, bathrooms, and common areas were very clean most of the time during our stay.
Indian River was just down the road by the large fenced-in dog park and we could see NASA just across the water, a big plus for rocket launch viewing. We simply enjoyed the breeze at the riverside as we were watching some campers with their kids fishing at the pier while others were launching their kayaks in the launch area.
Saturday, Tom got up early to walk the dogs and get some photos. The sky to the east was cloudy due to storms still in the area. I think this just added some drama to his sunrise photos. He was able to get a video of a Dolphin near the fishing pier…pretty awesome!
After a good breakfast, we all hopped into the truck and headed to KSC. We were making good time till we got to the other side of the bridge over the Indian River. It took about 1+1/2 hours to get to the main gate from NASA Parkway due to heavy traffic, then about another half hour to drop off the dogs at their free air-conditioned kennel, and then park the car. It was 11:30 in the morning by the time we got in and started exploring the exhibits there.
Since it was already getting hot out, we figured we’d take the bus tour to get out of the sun. Well, we were not alone with that idea. The line wound up being over an hour long. Then once we got on the bus, the driver informed the passengers that vice-president Mike Pence was there for the Apollo 11 anniversary festivities. The exhibit was well worth the trip, we learned a lot of interesting facts and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
For those who are planning to visit Kennedy Space Center and avail of their free pet kennel make sure your pet’s vaccination is up to date. Please go to https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/info/kennel for more information.
Explore Manatee Hammock Campground through www.nbbd.com/godo/prec/ManateeCamp/ or https://www.brevardfl.gov/ParksRecreation/Campgrounds/ManateeHammock/Features
In the future, we plan to explore other Brevard County Campgrounds and see what their parks and recreation has to offer.