Are you looking Melbourne and Palm Bay free things to do? There is so much to do in this area that will fit within your budget! Melbourne and Palm Bay are located on the Space Coast, in the southern part of Brevard County. There are some beautiful beaches and parks in this area, and the best part of all, most of the parking for these beaches is free! Here is a list of my top Melbourne and Palm bay free and low cost things to do:0
This is a great place to visit during the cooler (and not so muggy/buggy months). There is a small nature center for kids to visit- be aware of hours, they are closed often. Visit the link above for their calendar of events. The main path is a boardwalk, which follows parts of Turkey Creek. The boardwalk will give you a nice 30 min walk to go to the end and back. This area is also popular for trail runners and walkers. Before you hit the boardwalk, you will see a couple entrances to the dirt trails. Definitely snap a photo of the map before venturing out on to the trails. It is fairly easy to get lost out there if you don’t know where you are headed.
If you enjoy kayaking, you can also launch your kayak here to paddle through the canals, but watch our for gators!
2. Paradise Beach & Park (FREE)
This beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. There are three boardwalks that lead down to the beach. Get there early on holidays and weekends, as there is usually quite a crowd! Parking is free. There is a playground for the kids, a bathroom, outdoor shower, sand volleyball court, and a food stand if you are hungry!
This is a small nature center on south A1A, close to the Sebastian inlet. There are hiking/walking trails across from the center that leads out towards the Indian River Lagoon. Inside there is loads of information about sea turtles and sea turtle conservation. The center often has program for children and adults as well. Please see the link above for their schedule and hours. The center is free and accepts donations. Public restroom on site. In the back their is a boardwalk that overlooks the ocean.
Visiting the area? Don’t miss this cool spot to let your kids wade and look for critters in the lagoon! Rotary Park in Suntree is a small park with direct access to the Indian River Lagoon. It is a popular place to come and bring a float and relax in the river, as it is one of the only easy access spots with a little beach. All along the beach area are several pavilions available to use or to rent. Also, the water here is shallow enough for kids to wade in.
On the other side of the park is a large shaded pavilion with a dock for fishing and several other access points to the river. There are restrooms and picnic tables for use. The park has a playground which is currently being redone (summer or 2022).
The downtown Melbourne area, is confined to pretty much one street – Strawbridge Ave. On that street there are so many shops and restaurants to visit, it makes for a nice afternoon or evening visit. There are often events and street festivals in Downtown as well. Stop by and get some homemade ice cream at Here’s the Scoop – which also offers traditional ice cream as well as dairy-free options. If you love delicious Irish food, or are looking for a fun bar atmosphere, don’t miss eating at the local Irish Restaurant Meg O Malley’s.
Another really nice place to take a walk in the cooler months. There is a boardwalk loop, that takes about 20 min to walk. There is a tiny nature center with some live animals for the kids. The park is open 9-5. They also host evening events occasionally at the park. Great place to escape if you are close to the highway and the mall area.
Visiting this garden is another great activity to do for free in the Palm Bay and Melbourne area. You can park and take a walk on the paved path or have a picnic at one of the picnic tables! This botanical garden is a large area of lush green with a small stream running through it. Also nearby, stop and see a free exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts.
8. Wickham Park
Next, one of the areas largest parks! There are a multitude of activities at Wickham park, including a large walking path, community center, senior center, playground, frisbee golf course, campground, bike trails and more. There are many community events hosted at the park throughout the year that are often free to the public or very low cost.
The bike trails at Wickham park are a favorite among local bikers. There are miles of trails through the scrub brush, with a few jumps and challenging obstacles. Most of the trails are packed sand and fairly flat, also suitable for trail running and hiking. It can be confusing out on the trails so be sure to take a picture of the trail map before entering!
Not quite in Melbourne, but I would hate to leave out one of the best state parks in the area. The Sebastian inlet is a favorite among fisherman, surfers, tourists, locals, and beachgoers. It has much to offer. There is an $8 entry fee per car – $4 if you are a single car rider- but if you plan on being there for the day, it is worth it. The inlet has two entrances. The main entrance will take you to the tidal pool, fishing area, or beach for surfing. The secondary entrance takes you to the campground and boat ramp. You can launch a kayak or boat there ($4 fee for the boat ramp).
At the main entrance, the beach section has excellent surf during the winter and spring seasons – just park in the paved parking lot and walk past the restaurant to the beach access. On the other side of the main entrance, in the gravel parking lot, is the tidal pool area – great for kids as it’s usually fairly shallow when the tide is out. The tidal pool is known to often have manatees and dolphins swimming in it!
View our 360 video tour of the tidal pool area. The beach by the tidal pool has plenty of room to set up a tent or picnic on the beach. On the far side of the beach is a string of rocks to stand on and fish. These rocks separate the tidal pool from the rest of the inlet. During the weekends, the inlet is PACKED so get there early or visit during the week. They are open 24 hours.
10. Brevard Zoo Linear Park Trail – FREE
The Brevard Zoo is one of the area’s most popular attractions for families and animal lovers to visit, although with a fairly expensive ticket price. However, right past the zoo’s parking lot is a 3 mile free boardwalk and paved trail. This trail is shaded, so ok for a summer or spring activity. You can ride your bike along the boardwalk or choose to walk. It has mile markers out there as well. No bathrooms or water stops though, so be prepared to bring your own fluids.
11. Field of Dreams Park
A newer park to the area, field of dreams is a popular park destination in West Melbourne. It features a large playground for all ages, including special swings for children with disabilities. The park also has a splash pad that runs during the summer months and concession stand (check hours for availability).
On the East side of the park, you’ll find a skate park open to skateboards, scooters, and bikes. The skate park has a large bowl and is not too busy during the daytime hours.
That sums it up for free things to do in Melbourne! Don’t miss our page on the rest of the space coast here!