Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour Review

We have the perfect shore excursion for your next stop at Port Canaveral with our Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour review.

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour Review

The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse has stood the test of time. This beacon has guided sailors home for over 150 years. This historic landmark now resides on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. If you are looking to learn more about the local area, and the U.S. history of space exploration, then an organized tour is your best bet. See why you should consider this excursion on your next cruise with our Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour Review.

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour Review

Before visiting Port Canaveral, we pre-booked this tour with Canaveral Tours. In fact, the only way to see the lighthouse is on a guided tour.

The entire tour takes place on an active military base. So, visitors need security pre-clearance before being allowed to view the museums and landmarks. With Canaveral Tours doing most of the leg work for you, the process is easy and effortless.

Although, this means you do need to book your tour at least a few days in advance to get approved to enter the base. Further, this tour has a maximum of 10 people, so booking early will ensure your spot.

Also, make sure to bring your ID with you. The tour provider will need to confirm your identity at the start of the tour.

Conveniently, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse tour meets at the Exploration Tower. This well know locale is right next to the Port Canaveral cruise terminal.

We were staying at a nearby hotel, so it was a quick transport. Cruisers disembarking nearby ships should have no issues finding the meeting point either.

A History of Space

Here, we met our tour guide, and company owner, Shelly. She, and a second guide, were our knowledgeable hosts for this approximately 4-hour tour. Throughout the day, they escorted us to the various sites while providing a wealth of information about the different exhibits and launch centers.

With everyone checked in, the luxury Mercedes coach began its journey towards the base.

Our first stop on this Cape Canaveral Lighthouse tour review was the Sands Space History Center. Here, we had about an hour to explore this carefully crafted museum. Along with space capsules and jet engines, travelers can learn the history of the space program. The exhibits are organized around the different launch centers found on Cape Canaveral.

Starting with military testing of rockets, to satellite launches, through the civilian space program, you can track the development of the U.S. program.

Like many of the stops on this tour, there are volunteers available to provide some background and overview; though, you are able to explore on your own as well.

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Still An Active Base

Leaving the Sands Space Center, we headed out further into the base. Many of the launch areas and museums are “abandoned in place”. This means they are no longer active and not maintained.

However, the area is also home to active rocket launch centers. Companies like Space X and Blue Origin have claimed some of these centers for their private rockets.

So, one rule of thumb is that if it looks new, you are not allowed to take a picture of it.

At our next stop, launch center 9/10, we were able to get out and climb onto the launch pad. This pad was built for the Navajo missiles. From atop the platform, you could see across the station to view active and decommissioned areas. Along with great narration from the guides, we were able to get a better understanding of the early space program.

On to the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse

Traveling further into the base, we finally caught a glimpse of the tour’s namesake. Standing just over 150 feet tall, the black and white Cape Canaveral Lighthouse was beckoning us.

As we were the only tour group of the day, a docent met the tour bus at the entrance. From there, we had close to 90 minutes to soak in the attractions.

It started with a roughly 45-minute semi-guided tour of the lighthouse. The first docent began with an overall history outside of the complex. Then, there is a docent at each level to provide further information about the different aspects of this impressive structure.

From the sleeping quarters, to initial construction, and modern day updates, you get a thorough history of the lighthouse, along with some time to walkaround and grab photos.

Unfortunately, you are not able to climb all the way to the top. But, you are able to access the fifth floor and gaze up at the spiraling staircase and ladder that led the watchmen to the top.

Do note that you need closed-toe shoes to climb the lighthouse. Travelers must be 48″ tall to climb the lighthouse as well.

Following the tour, we had some spare time to peruse the gift shop and surrounding area.

On select days, you can book the Open House to view the artifacts in the nearby Hanger C. This building houses several rockets, missiles, and more that are part of the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. It just so happened that this area was open for another tour group while we were there. Luckily, our group was also allowed to checkout this impressive collection.

Get Ready for Launch

Given we had the rare chance to peak into Hangar C, Shelly gave the tour group an extra 20 minutes at this stop. After all, there were still several stops left in the tour.

Next up, we were on to Launch Center 26. This is where the first rocket launched to send a satellite into space. Nearby, an additional storage building is home to further artifacts and history about satellites and manned space missions. Here, we had about 45 minutes, which was plenty of time.

One of the wife’s favorite displays detailed the history of animal space flights. These early testers were crucial to understanding the impacts of space travel on behavior and cognition. There is also a complete control room, where you can reenact the launching of a rocket.

Let’s just hope your simulation goes better than mine did!

While there are a few volunteers manning these buildings, most were self-guided. Good thing we had our own tour guides!

Now, it was on to the last stop, Launch Center 5/6. Here, you can see the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle and walk where the U.S. first sent Alan Shephard and Gus Grissom into space.

How many people can say that they have stood at the location where the U.S. space program truly began?

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Recap of Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour Review

The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and Spaceflight Tour is a fun, informative, and well executed tour.

Shelly and the team at Canaveral Tours did a fabulous job of organizing the tour. Each stop along the way was perfectly timed. We were able to see the sites, as well as have plenty of time for pictures and Q&A.

Recap of Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Tour Review

While many presumably book this tour to see the lighthouse, we were pleasantly surprised with the Museum exhibits. Many of these buildings and related technology have been on the Cape for 50-70 years.

Shelly and the volunteers at the museums and lighthouse have a real passion for this area and its space history.

Many individuals vacationing in Port Canaveral will head out to the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. While we do recommend that as well, this tour gives you a unique, first hand experience.

So, even those mildly interested in history or the space program will enjoy this “blast from the past!”

As of the writing of this post, Canaveral Tours offers this tour on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for a cost of $55.95 per adult. However, you can contact the company for possible private tour scheduling as well.


Have you visited the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse on a tour? What do you like to do in Port Canaveral? Drop us an anchor below with your tour suggestions at this popular cruise destination.

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don Bucolo
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  1. I would love you to cover The Wizard of Oz Museum in Cape Canaveral. https://www.