If you’re going to Cape Canaveral for the first time, what should you know? A few things, really.

First, if you’re coming to Cape Canaveral for the day, say from your vacation in Orlando, the drive is an easy distance down the highway to Cape Canaveral.

Once in Cape Canaveral, there are two primary destinations for visitors: The Kennedy Space Center and Merritt Island. You’ll want to allow many hours for your visit to Kenney Space Center, and a few hours to visit Merritt Island. You certainly can do both in the same day – if you’re planning to return to Orlando at night – but if you do plan to make a day of it, start your day early.

At the Kennedy Space Center, most locals say it’s best to park your car and let the tour buses at KSC handle the driving for you. Be sure to pick up a map and tour guide… you don’t want to miss a thing. You can eat here – in fact, you can have lunch with an astronaut – and do a little shopping in the gift shop.

Merritt Island can be accessed daily (it opens at 8 a.m.) and features a wide array of hiking and nature opportunities. The nature preserve is adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center