By Jeanette Scott

Did you know that Florida has more cruise ship ports than anywhere else in the United States? That's right, Florida has five different cities from which you can take a cruise – including ships that leave from both the Atlantic and Gulf sides of the state – and each port city has plenty of attractions of its own that you'll want to experience while you're in the area. 

I recently took a cruise out of Cape Canaveral. The port is located only 45 minutes from Orlando, and had plenty to do besides cruising. I scoped out the Port Canaveral shopping options. Here are my suggestions.

In & Around Cape Canaveral Shopping

  1. Kennedy Space Center - Located approximately 30 minutes from the port, the Kennedy Space Center Gift Shop is not to be missed for visitors and locals alike. Take home some freeze dried ice cream, a NASA mug, a space model kit and much more.
  2. The Avenue Viera - Located approximately 30 minutes from the port, this upscale retail, dining and entertainment center is open-air and includes a full movie theater plus retailers such as Kohl's, Belk, Talbots, Old Navy and Ann Taylor Loft.
  3. Merritt Square Mall - This mall, approximately 15 minutes from the port, is one of the many things to do in Cocoa Beach. It offers several shopping options, including department stores JcPenney and Sears and lots of speciality stores.
  4. Melbourne Square Mall - Located in Melbourne, approximately 45 minutes from the port, this mall is a bit farther but is slightly larger. Department stores include Macy's, JcPenney, Sears along with favorites like Gap and Dick's Sporting Goods.

places to remember