Located just inland of Florida’s central Atlantic coast in Brevard County, West Melbourne was officially incorporated as a village in the 1960s and had a population of about 16,000 residents at the time of the last census.
In the past decade, West Melbourne has experienced the highest population growth of any city in the region, but despite that, it has retained much of its small-town charm in an era when other Florida cities are becoming more commercialized.
West Melbourne’s location between the Indian River and Interstate 95 gives guests easy access to both amazing beaches and transportation to other parts of the state.
Below are 14 things to do in and around West Melbourne.
1. Dripperz Vape & Coffee
Located on West New Haven Avenue in West Melbourne, Dripperz Vape and Coffee has recently made a splash in the area’s coffee scene that’s dominated by large national chain brands like Starbucks.
Dripperz is known for its comfortable and trendy interior, strong, high-quality coffee, and attentive service.
It’s even been described as a hipster’s paradise, which means skinny jeans, man-buns, and Buddy Holly glasses are not only welcome but encouraged. Though it’s not the cheapest coffee shop in town, previous guests have noted that they got a good bang for their hard-earned buck.
In addition to coffee, they offer tea, smoothies, and baked goods.
2. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Spending lots of time on your feet in the sun or swimming through the Florida surf can cause quite a hunger. For those who prefer fresh food, hearty portions, and reasonable prices, there’s no better place to fill your stomach than Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen on West New Haven Road in West Melbourne.
Their specialty is comfort food like southern fried chicken, barbecued baby back ribs, and hearty burgers, but for those counting calories, they’ve got healthier items as well, like soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Everything is made onsite from scratch daily, and in addition to their comfy restaurant, they do a hefty carry-out business as well.
3. Rossetter House Museum and Gardens
The Rossetter House Museum and Gardens are comprised of a number of historically significant attractions that together give visitors a unique and thorough insight into the lives of those who lived in the area in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Rossetter House was built in 1908, and the grounds also include the Houston Cemetery from the 1860s and the Roesch House from the 1890s.
Inexpensive guided tours of all three sites are available, and for those who’d rather see things at their own speed, each area of the grounds is connected via well-marked paths.
The house and garden’s entrance are on Highland Avenue in Melbourne.
4. Sebastian Inlet State Park
Located along Highway A1A in nearby Melbourne Beach, Sebastian Inlet State Park is a favorite destination for beach lovers, shell collectors, and especially surf fishermen, who flock to the park’s jetties to tangle with some of Florida’s game fish like bluefish, snook, and mackerel.
The park features nearly three miles of scenic beaches as well as a fishing museum, shipwreck and treasure museum, and a mile-long trail that leads through the inland side.
Sebastian Inlet State Park is about a 20-minute drive south of West Melbourne and is comprised of land on both the Atlantic and inland sides of the inlet.
5. The Liberty Bell Memorial Museum
Dedicated students of history will likely recall that the Liberty Bell took up permanent residence in Philadelphia many years ago. But for those who’d like to get a good look at an impressive replica while in the Sunshine State, a trip to the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum would be a great way to spend an hour.
The museum is located on Oak Street in Melbourne and is the perfect midday break from the often oppressive Florida sun.
The museum’s centerpiece is the bell, but its Rotunda of American History highlights the country’s historic milestones dating back to the period before the Revolutionary War.
6. Florida Tech Botanical Gardens
No matter where they find themselves, Florida visitors are never far from at least one stunning botanical garden.
Located on West University Boulevard in Melbourne, the Florida Tech Botanical Gardens are located on the university’s campus; though they’re not the largest gardens in the Sunshine State, what they lack in size, they more than make up for in splendor.
Featuring a number of distinct cultivated areas, the gardens include a variety of native Florida species like palm and bamboo. There is an array of other species from abroad that seem to do quite well in the subtropical climate around Melbourne.
7. El Ambia
Florida is home to lots of Cuban immigrants, and the Cuban community is known for its vibrant music, arts and food scene.
In Spanish, El Ambia loosely means, ‘the buddy,” and the Cuban-style restaurant is known for its hip and laid-back atmosphere, delicious food, and reasonable prices.
Like most Cuban restaurants, El Ambia somehow manages to blend contemporary and vibrant with traditional and comfortable. Their menu is chockfull of classics from the island nation, like yucca frita, empanadas and puerco frito.
Instead of everyone ordering their own entrée, many guests choose to order a variety of a la carte items and share.
8. Indian River Antique Mall
For centuries, Florida has been a magnet that’s drawn people from all over the country and the world; it’s no wonder that it’s such a hotbed for antiques.
Featuring more than 20,000 square feet of vintage items, antiques, collectibles, art and jewelry, the Indian River Antique Mall is the perfect place to spend a few hours out of the elements.
The antique mall is located on South Babcock Street in Melbourne and is part flea market as well.
It’s also the perfect place to pick up a few keepsakes to remind you of your trip, and there’s always that one in a million chance of stumbling across a true rare gem.
9. King Center for the Performing Arts
Located on North Wickham Road in Melbourne, the King Center for the Performing Arts is the area’s premier arts venue, and one that’s often overlooked by visitors.
The facility’s main theater seats more than 2,000 and features state of the art sound and lighting systems that give guests a world-class experience.
The center sports a full year-round calendar that includes holiday events, youth education programs, and a variety of performances ranging from contemporary music and dramatic theater to classical music and recitals.
The center has also hosted the popular Heritage Music Festival for the last two decades that’s a perennial favorite.
10. Sea Turtle Preservation Society of Melbourne Beach
The warm waters off Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts are home to a variety of sea turtles, and many species are suffering from low populations due to loss of habitat, accidents with boats and nets, and overall pollution.
Located on South Miramar Avenue in Melbourne, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society of Melbourne Beach is dedicated to protecting turtles and preventing their numbers from declining past the point of no return.
Part of the society’s approach is to educate the public; during June and July, they offer a number of community programs that include guided beach tours to areas where turtles lay their eggs annually.
11. Eau Gallie Arts District
The cities of Melbourne and West Melbourne have experienced art renaissances in recent years, and the Eau Gallie Arts District has been its epicenter since the beginning.
In addition to community revitalization and redevelopment, the arts district has encouraged a variety of business to open in the downtown area. Now, in addition to galleries, studios, and museums, the district features restaurants, coffee shops, professional offices, and even quaint bed-and-breakfasts.
The district lies along West Eau Gallie Boulevard, which is part of the famed Indian River Scenic Byway.
There’s also an amphitheater that features live entertainment, so check out their website for a complete list of upcoming performances.
12. Andretti Thrill Park
The Andretti name is synonymous with speed and auto racing. For adrenaline junkies who need a little break from the beach and mundane historic sites, there’s no better place to spend a few afternoon hours than Andretti Thrill Park on South Babcock Street in Melbourne.
Andretti Thrill Park has been in business for nearly two decades. In addition to their premier F1 Speed Track, they feature several non-racing activities like zip-lining, rock climbing, and obstacle courses.
The park has something for those of nearly every age and interest. Though some kids won’t be able to race, they’ll still have access to mini-golf, laser tag, and other fun activities.
13. The Ruth Funk Center of Textile Arts
Located on the campus of the Florida Institute of Technology, the Ruth Funk Center of Textile Arts is one of those unique area attractions that may sound a bit boring to some, but usually ends of exceeding visitor’s expectations.
The center aims to promote and preserve the distinct nature of cultures through textiles, and their collection includes examples from nearly every continent – many of them are centuries old.
From garments and cloth to embroidery and art, the center’s pieces are fascinating, beautiful, and historically significant. The building in which it’s housed is quite impressive as well.
The center’s entrance is on West University Boulevard in Melbourne.
14. Micco Scrub Sanctuary
Comprised of more than 1,300 acres of land, the Micco Scrub Sanctuary consists of a variety of natural habitats that contain an extensive array of plant and animal species.
Hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching are popular sanctuary activities, and there are a variety of well-marked trails leading to distinct areas.
Due to its rugged and undeveloped nature, the sanctuary doesn’t get as much tourist traffic as other area attractions, so it’s the perfect place for a quiet escape.
The sanctuary is open daily from dawn until dusk, and its animal residents are most commonly seen in the lowlight morning and evening hours.