There is no comparison to seeing a live rocket launch from Space Canaveral. The cost of viewing from the Space Center main visitor complex is included in the daily admission price, but the ticket is valid only good for the day, even if the launch is canceled. There are however, many good viewing areas in the local vicinity to watch it for free.
The location of the main Space Launch Complexes are shown on the map for reference:
The following is a list of a few free public places to watch a rocket launch.
Otherwise, Playalinda Beach is excellent location for viewing launches from most of the launch complexes. It is closed for safety reasos to launches that occur at Complex 39A because of its proximity. It located on a 24 mile stretch of a National Park, with about 9 parking areas with restrooms along the stretch.
Sand Point Park is located along the shoreline on the north side of the Max Brewer bridge. It is a great viewing location for most launches and excellent one for viewing launches from Complex 39A. Parking is free and there are facilities for grilling with several large pavilions, picnic tables and restrooms. Launches can be viewed from the pavillions but cross over to the south side of the bridge, or go on the bridge, for unobstructed views of the launch sites.
Space View Park is an ideal location for viewing launches from Launch Complex 39A and most launches from other complexes. It has unencumbered views across the water. Parking is free and facilities include picnic areas, shelters and restrooms.The Park has a walk that honors America’s astronauts as well as the people behind the scenes in space exploration.
Jetty Park is located to the southside of the launch complexes one of the closer spots for visitors to view launchesn especially from Launch Complex 46. There is paid parking for about 1,000 cars, beach access, outdoor showers, restrooms, covered pavilions and picnic tables and a campsite. There is a 1,200ft fishing pier with cleaning stations and a bait shop.
An historic landmark, Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier, a 1960s pier stretching 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, is home to restaurants, bars, gift shops and live musical entertainment. It is a popular viewing location for rocket launches, so it does get crowded. Launches can be viewed from the pier or from Cocoa beach. Beach rentals are available for a cost and parking fees are $15 per vehicle, which includes entry to the Pier for all vehicle occupants.
Shepard Park is a 5-acre, ocean-front park, providing picnic, shower, and restroom facilities. The park provides a great view of space launches. Facilities include 10 large picnic pavilions, several smaller covered picnic tables and a bathhouse. More than 300 parking spaces are available for automobiles and recreational vehicles. The parking fee for Shepard Park is $15.