Moving to Melbourne, FL? Read Our Ultimate Moving Guide
Are you just beginning to consider a move to Melbourne or have you already started packing? Either way, you’re about to be in the center of Florida’s Space Coast, where you’ll find everything from high-tech aerospace companies to some of the state’s most beautiful beaches. Our moving guide can help you be ready to launch your new lifestyle, while our Melbourne residential movers can help make your move easy.
The Sky, the Sea and Everything in Between
Your first impression of Melbourne may be how diverse your choices are when it comes to places to go and things to see. It’s impossible to miss the influence of America’s space program throughout the Melbourne area, especially when you can feel the rumble of a rocket launch right in your own backyard. But you’ll also realize how many recreational and tourism business ties there are to the ocean and beaches along the more than 70 miles of Brevard County coastline.
There’s much more to Melbourne (which gets its name from Melbourne, Australia), as you’ll see in this guide. Find out what awaits you as you plan your move to Melbourne!
Getting Around Melbourne and the Space Coast
Transportation in and around Melbourne isn’t likely to be a daily challenge. You may run into a few slowdowns on I-95 during weekday rush hours, but Melbourne isn’t known for big-city traffic problems. There aren’t many designated bike lanes or sidewalks, so you may not want to make biking or walking your primary mode of transportation around town.
As for traveling to nearby cities, it’s an easy drive along U.S. 1 to Palm Shores to the north and Palm Bay to the south, and several bridges take you on a short ride over the Indian River to points east, such as Satellite Beach and Melbourne Beach.
If you’re a commuter who prefers to let someone else do the driving, Space Coast Area Transit has you (and the area) covered. Regular riders can purchase money-saving passes, and reduced fares are available for seniors, veterans, students, and people with disabilities. There are also car pool and van pool options: Call Space Coast Commuter Assistance at 321-952-4563.
When it’s time to fly, three airports serve the Melbourne area:
Things to Do and See in and Around Melbourne
With a location right on miles of beaches and just 45 minutes east of Orlando, it’s easy to find something new and interesting to do. Great year-round temperatures and plenty of sunshine make outdoor activities an almost daily possibility, the attractions in the area offer something different.
You’ll want to leave the beach chair behind to check out these popular spots:
- The Henegar Center for the Arts: The center’s state-of-the-art proscenium-style theater is the place to be for full-scale musicals and plays. Spend the evening enjoying a performance, then take stroll around downtown historic Melbourne after the show.
- Foosaner Art Museum: The museum sits in the heart of the Eau Gallie Arts District and offers exhibitions, special events and art classes. Since its opening more than 40 years ago, the museum has accumulated thousands of objects in its permanent collection. Admission for adults is just $5.
- Adventure HQ: This 30,000-square-foot facility really is a “headquarters” for things to do for both kids and adults. Learn to climb on bouldering walls (with more than 100 routes), run the Ninja Warrior Course, and host kids’ parties in the Adventure Zone.
- Brevard Zoo: More than 400,000 guests trek through the zoo’s exhibits each year. In addition to its more than 650 animals from five continents, the zoo also has a 10-acre Expedition Africa exhibit that’s open to kayakers and 22 acres of restored wetlands that you can explore by paddleboat.
- Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum: This 10-acre property includes a non-profit museum with a collection of vintage Warbirds, artifacts and memorabilia. Situated at the Space Coast Executive Regional Airport, the museum hosts a Warbird airshow each year in March.
- Downtown Titusville: Art, culture, restaurants and shops are around every corner in this historic district. Tour the U.S. Space Walk of Fame, catch a play at the Historic Titusville Playhouse, or kick back with a craft brew and watch the world go by.
- Ron Jon Surf Shop: The shop bills itself as the “World’s Largest Surf Shop” for good reason—it has 52,000 square feet of clothing, equipment and more for surfing, skateboarding, and swimming. It’s such a popular destination that it’s open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Melbourne for Sports Fans
Residents can enjoy semi-professional basketball and college sports, including baseball and football right in Melbourne. The city is also convenient to watch teams such as the NBA’s Orlando Magic, NCAA’s Florida Tech Panthers, and NJCAA’s Eastern Florida State College Titans play.
We can’t mention sports without acknowledging the popularity of golf in this part of the world. Take advantage of the sunshine to play the Viera East Golf Club, just 28 minutes north of Melbourne. The lush course takes players through a peaceful, scenic setting on an 18-hole course designed by Joe Lee. Right in Melbourne is Baytree National Golf Links, awarded the “Best of Brevard” and rated with four stars by Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play. The Gary Player-designed course includes tour-quality practice facilities and instruction by PGA pros. Players of all skill levels will also enjoy the Melbourne Municipal Golf Course, an 18-hole regulation-length course with a short layout.
Endless Outdoor Options
Florida’s coastal cities offer diverse natural environments that attract both visitors and new residents. If you’re planning to relocate to Melbourne, exploring the outdoors just may already be on your list of things to do as soon as you arrive. Here are just a few outdoor activities that await you:
- Hiking: FloridaHikes.com offers detailed information on all of the hiking opportunities along barrier islands, across open pine savannas, through wildlife refuges and more.
- Biking: Hundreds of miles of trails and year-round biking weather make Melbourne a popular destination for cyclists. If you’re up for it, the Florida Coast to Coast Trail offers a 250-mile paved bike trail that connects nearby Titusville with St. Petersburg on the west Florida coast.
- Fishing: According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida’s rivers, lakes and, of course, the ocean, make Florida the fishing capital of the world. In the Melbourne area, you can fish everything from bays and tidal creeks, to inland rivers and lakes. Saltwater and freshwater fishing are available at every turn, and there are plenty of boat ramps to make getting out on the water easy.
- Kayaking and canoeing: When it comes to places to paddle, the waters around Melbourne are impossible to beat. Canaveral National Seashore, Lake Monroe Conservation Area, and inland rivers and lakes are just the beginning. Check out the Space Coast Paddlers Meetup group for insider tips on the best spots.
- Bird watching and wildlife viewing: Nearly 500 sites in Florida comprise the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of its gems. Also nearby is the Indian River Lagoon, known as the most diverse estuary in the U.S. and home to thousands of animal, bird and plant species.
- Camping: Thousands of acres of parklands and preserves will keep your camping schedule full. For an out-of-this-world camping experience, a stay at Jetty Park Campground puts you up close to rocket launches, wildlife, marine life, and even submarines.
- Hunting: There are both hunting preserves throughout the area, plus public hunting lands, such as the 120,000-acre Upper St. Johns River Marsh Wildlife Management Area.
- Surfing: Some of the best waves on America’s east coast are right here in Melbourne. The 72 miles of beaches along the Space Coast draws surfers from around the world to professional surf competitions and festivals that are held throughout the year.
Education in Melbourne, FL
Families moving to Melbourne will be glad to know that Melbourne’s public schools are considered among the best in the Brevard Public School system. There are also a number of alternative choices in the area, such as these Brevard County schools:
- Odyssey Charter School in Palm Bay
- Royal Palm Charter School in Palm Bay
- Viera Charter School in Viera
- Sculptor Charter School in Titusville
- Pineapple Cove Classical Academy in West Melbourne
Higher education opportunities in Brevard County draw students from across the country. There are nearly one dozen junior and community colleges, plus the renowned Florida Institute of Technology, which has been recognized as a “Tier 1 Best National University” by U.S. News & World Report and among the “Best U.S. Universities” by the Wall Street Journal.
Dining Out in Melbourne
For one of Florida’s less crowded coastal areas, there’s no lack of dining choices in and near Melbourne. Seafood rules, of course, and local menus are filled with the fish and shellfish caught just off shore, but there’s also global cuisine, Southern cooking, and just about everything in between. Here’s just a sampling of notable eateries:
- Asian: Fujiyama Japanese Seafood & Steak, Banzai Sushi Thai, Red Ginger Melbourne, Thai Thai House
- Seafood: Ichabod’s Dockside Bar and Grill, Island Fish Grill, Sand on the Beach, Shells of Melbourne
- Mediterranean: Skewer’s Mediterranean Grille, Grecian Garden Cafe, Cedars Cafe
- Fine dining: Djon’s Steak & Lobster House, Cafe Coconut Grove, the Chart House, Bacco’s Wine Cafe
Culture, Shopping and More
Melbourne has a unique art scene that draws visitors from afar and includes two distinct and walkable historic downtown areas. The Eau Gallie Arts District, or EGAD, is a thriving and colorful center of Melbourne’s culture where a leisurely stroll takes you along tree-lined streets and past art galleries, museums, taverns, restaurants, shops and more, all surrounded by murals. EGAD is also the site for community arts events, including art and entertainment on First Fridays, a Food Truck Bazaar once a month, and a fine arts festival held once a year. Be sure to check out the Derek Gores Gallery, Fifth Avenue Art Gallery and Erika Masterson Fine Art.
Ready to shop? Melbourne has you covered. These are just a few of your choices:
- The Wildwood Antique Mall of Melbourne has more than 150 dealers with everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to furniture and collectibles.
- Renninger’s Flea & Farmer’s Market is the largest flea market on the Space Coast. It’s open rain or shine every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Melbourne Square Mall offers all of the famous brand-name stores you expect, plus restaurants and regularly scheduled events for kids.
Melbourne: Where Spacing Out is a Good Thing
There’s a reason that rockets aren’t launched from, say, Colorado: It’s vastly safer to send them out over the open ocean. Cape Canaveral is just 25 miles north of Melbourne, and it became the main launch site in America thanks to its barrier island location and the boost in velocity that rockets get from being closer to the equator.
Once you’ve seen (and felt) the launches from Cape Canaveral from one of the dozens of public viewing sites, you’re sure to want to know more about both the public and private space programs that have allowed us to lead the world in space exploration. You’ll want to make frequent visits to the Kennedy Space Center to tour the center, including three IMAX theaters, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and other exhibits that give you an insider’s look behind the scenes.
Don’t miss the American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame in Titusville, where you and your family can participate in hands-on educational workshops, attend free astronomy events every month, and see a collection of items donated by astronauts, NASA and others who experienced the nation’s space history up close.
Important Melbourne Links
Getting ready to move to Melbourne, Florida? The following links can help you get settled quickly.
Voting: You can register to vote with the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections online or in person. Make sure you’ve gotten your new Florida Driver’s License or state ID first.
Driver’s license: The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has six service centers in Brevard County where you can take written and skill exams for your driver’s license, obtain ID cards and more. Some centers also offer motor vehicle services, such as specialty tags and disability parking permits.
Tax collector: Visit the website of the Brevard County Tax Collector’s Office for information on vehicle and vessel registration, business services, motorist services, property taxes and more.
Municipal government: The City of Melbourne’s website is where you’ll find information on city council activities, traffic advisories, animal control, building permits, rental facilities and more.
Melbourne Police Department: The Melbourne Police Department’s non-emergency number is (321) 608-6731 and its headquarters is at 650 North Apollo Boulevard. The Melbourne Fire Department’s number is (321) 608-6000.
Parks and recreation: Find out about the City of Melbourne Parks and Recreation Department’s parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, fishing piers and boat ramps, tennis and basketball courts, swimming pools, and much more on the Play Melbourne website.
Public library: There are more than one dozen branch locations of the Brevard County Public Library throughout the area.
Hurricane preparedness: Brevard County Emergency Management offers detailed information on making a plan for your personal preparedness, pet or business hurricane preparedness. Take the time to find out about area shelters and evacuation routes before hurricane season arrives June 1. If you or a member of your household has special needs, you can apply for the Brevard County Special Needs program online.
Trash and recycling: Waste Management provides solid waste and recycling services to Melbourne residents.
Our Melbourne Movers Are Ready to Help
Make your move to Melbourne easier with Suddath®‘s complete range of moving services. Whether you’re making a residential move or office move, or are an employee who’s relocating for work, we have everything you need to take the hassle and headaches out of your moving experience. We’ll be happy to provide a free moving quote on the phone, online, or even through your smartphone with a video estimate. Check out the five-star moving company reviews from our Melbourne moving customers to learn more.
Moving to Melbourne, FL: FAQ
If changing your address is on your retirement bucket list, it would be hard to do better than retiring to Melbourne. Florida, of course, continues to lead the list of states as the top destination for retirees, far outranking second-place Arizona. The absence of a state income tax, the mild winters and the beaches all make for a very retirement-friendly city.
In addition to affordable homes with a median sale price of approximately $226,000 as of 2018, there are plenty of choices in housing just for seniors. SeniorHousingNet.com lists more than two dozen senior living communities in Melbourne that provide a complete range of options, from independent living to memory care.
A note if you plan to become a “snowbird” and have a second home here: The laws require you to be able to prove that you spend a minimum of 183 days a year at your Melbourne home if you want to claim that Florida is your primary state of residence and take advantage of Florida’s favorable tax rules.
You can prove residency by taking these steps:
• Get new car registrations and a new driver’s license with your Florida address
• Get a local library card
• Register to vote in Florida
• Maintain local bank accounts
• File a Declaration of Domicile with the county
Many parts of Florida have some of the highest costs of living in the nation, but Melbourne is more affordable. With no state income tax and rent and housing costs being somewhat less than most American cities, Melbourne can be a money-saving place to reside. Free or low-cost activities are easy to find, including two municipal golf courses, four public swimming pools, and a full calendar of art and cultural events.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is the need for insurance in Florida, particularly on the coast. When you’re shopping for your new home in Melbourne, be sure to get information on the insurance costs before you decide on which home to buy. Hurricane coverage can be costly and have high deductibles, and you may also need flood insurance to bridge the gap in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Premiums and coverage can vary greatly, so it will pay to get multiple quotes on protecting your home from storm damage.
Ask a local native what it’s like to grow up near a Florida beach—especially one where rocket launches are the norm—and you’ll have your answer. Beach life is special for kids (of all ages!) and the temperate weather makes getting outdoors a year-round option. Melbourne is also far enough away from the big tourist towns to avoid the problems they have, but close enough to some of the country’s most popular vacation attractions. A drive of just over an hour puts you at the gates of Disney World, so you can avoid the cost of a hotel stay and make it an easy day trip. Closer to home is the Brevard Zoo, an internationally known zoo with nearly 200 species of animals.
Schools in the area are top-notch, with Melbourne’s schools ranked among the best in Brevard County, and there are exceptional colleges and universities both in and near Melbourne.
On the minus side—and not just for families—the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area ranked #3 on the list of deadliest areas for pedestrians, thanks to more people in passenger cars than on public transportation.
Unsurprisingly, technology, aerospace and defense companies typically offer the highest-paying jobs in and around Melbourne. International companies in this sector that have large presences in Melbourne include Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, Embraer, Rockwell Collins and General Electric. Aerospace professionals are in demand at Lockheed Martin Space Systems and, of course, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Brookings Institution ranked Brevard County’s share of STEM employment first in the state, while the area is #3 in its concentration of electrical engineers and technicians of 360 metro U.S. areas.
Healthcare, retail and manufacturing are strong employers here, as well as the tourism and hospitality companies that serve the millions of visitors that move along Florida’s east coast and in toward Orlando’s attractions.
Adjacent and nearby cities and towns include some well-known names, plus a few you may not have heard of but should definitely get to know:
• Cocoa Beach
• Palm Bay
• Melbourne Beach
• Port Canaveral
• Satellite Beach
• Indian Harbour Beach
• Cape Canaveral
• Palm Shores
If you’d like to venture a few more miles away, day trips are easy to Orlando, Kissimmee and Lakeland to the west; Vero Beach and Fort Pierce to the south; and Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and Palm Coast to the north.
Seafood and sunny beaches? Wild storms and swamps? Surfers and billionaires? Whatever comes to mind first when you think of Florida, there is, of course, a lot more to know. While Florida a one of the country’s most desirable places to live, it has its pros and cons.
Here are a few Florida facts that may be helpful if you’re moving to Melbourne from out of state:
• One of the most attractive features isn’t an amusement park: It’s the lack of a state income tax. Florida also has lower local taxes in most locations.
• The state’s tourism can be both a blessing and a curse. It makes popular destinations like Orlando a traffic nightmare, and spikes higher prices the closer you get to the major attractions. The good news is that from your new home in Melbourne, you can easily get to tourism centers during the day and be back in your own bed the same night.
• The active hurricane seasons are one of the state’s downsides. Residents must consider the costs related to homeowner’s and flood insurance, the time and money it can take to prepare for a hurricane season, and the possibility that evacuation may be not only needed when a storm is coming, but mandatory. Coastal communities on both sides of the state have taken some big hits in recent years from powerful storms.
• The economy is strong: According to U.S. News & World Report, the state’s economy just exceeded $1 trillion with approximately $2.74 billion added to Florida’s gross domestic product every day.
• Industries are going strong as well, from tech and tourism to agriculture and international trade.
• The weather does let you get outside nearly every day of the year, but unless you’re in the northernmost part of the state, there are a lot of very hot and humid days to deal with and they’re downright oppressive. Some seniors who move to Florida to escape snowy winters may find that it’s not that much more pleasant to go outdoors in August here.
• The cost of living is higher in Florida than in most other states.
• Yes, there are alligators and they’re nearly everywhere, even in the most exclusive, well-manicured communities. There’s also an incredible variety of snakes and lizards, and an always-booming pest population, thanks to the humidity and lack of critter-killing winter freezes.
• Florida is the lighting capital of the country, and the swath of the state from Tampa to Titusville has been referred to as “Lightning Alley.” Just remember: When thunder roars, go indoors! Lightning can strike from far away.
• Florida’s overall population booms every winter as part-time residents come down for the season. If you’re one of them, you won’t mind, but for some, the extra crowds at shops, restaurants, beaches and attractions isn’t a plus.