Renting a car in Port Canaveral can be a smart decision, whether you are departing on your cruise from the area or visiting during a call on the port.
As one of the busiest cruise ports in the United States — and a popular call on cruises sailing from the East Coast — the area surrounding the port has lots to offer. From beaches to theme parks to museums and more, there is an amazing number of things to do.
The only issue? Getting around the area. Unlike many ports located in the heart of a city, there’s not much within walking distance of where the ships dock. Meanwhile, the drive to Orlando is about 45-60 minutes. Even nearby beaches will need to be reached by car for most people visiting the port.
Fortunately, there are a number of options for car rentals when visiting Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, and Cocoa Beach. Here’s what to know…
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Why Should I Rent a Car in Cape Canaveral?
You have a number of options on getting around the port area and even to Orlando. Uber, Lyft, taxis, and independent shuttles can all get you back and forth for a reasonable price. So why even bother with a rental? There are several reasons to consider…
Cost Savings: Depending on your itinerary, renting a car can save you money. For instance, say you are in the area and want to Uber from the port to the nearby Kennedy Space Center, then somewhere near the beach for lunch, and then back to the ship. The costs of individual rides can quickly add up. If the rental rate is low enough, you will likely save money on getting around.
Convenience: There’s also something to be said about the convenience of not having to wait on a ride or having to wait on the schedule of a shuttle service. While things like Uber, Lyft, and taxis are fairly convenient, you do have to wait on a ride, which can vary based on availability. If your time is valuable, you can’t beat having your own car.
Freedom: Hand-in-hand with convenience is the freedom that having your own car can provide. For instance, cruise shuttles only go from one point to another like the airport to the cruise port. Want to make a stop? Too bad.
But with a rental car you can head where you want, when you want. So if you want to head to one restaurant and then change your mind on the way there, no big deal. See a shop you want to stop? Having a rental means you can do that.
What Rental Car Companies Are Available in Port Canaveral?
While the Port Canaveral/Cape Canaveral area isn’t that big population-wise, it is huge when catering to tourism. That means you have plenty of options when it comes to a rental company. Most major car rental agencies have a branch nearby.
All of the following companies have offices in the area:
- Enterprise (Located at Port)
- National (Located at Port)
- Alamo (Located at Port)
- Budget Car Rental (1.5 miles away)
- Avis (2.5 miles away)
How Do I Get To/From The Car Rental Agency And The Ship?
First the good news is that there are several rental agencies located at the port, including large names like Enterprise, National, and Alamo. The only issue is that even with a spot at the port, it can still be a considerable distance given the size of the port and the number of terminals. A walk from Cruise Terminal 6 to Enterprise/National/Alamo is roughly two miles.
Thankfully, with the rental agencies catering to cruise passengers, they offer shuttles back and forth from the agency to the cruise ships. So you can arrive on a ship, get a ride to the rental agency, and then pick up your car. As well, you can rent a car and return it to the agency, then catch a ride over to your cruise.
For instance, a call to Enterprise told us that the shuttle to the rental agency from the cruise terminals runs about every 25 minutes.
When you depart your ship, just follow the signs pointing to the area to pick up a shuttle to the rental agency.
Can I Make a One-Way Rental to/from Orlando, Miami, or Another City?
Yes. Say you’re flying into Orlando and want to rent a car for the ride over to Port Canaveral. In that case, you can rent a ride, drive anywhere you want to go, and then head over to the rental agency nearest to the port to drop off before heading to your cruise.
On the flipside, if you finish your cruise in Port Canaveral but then want to explore Orlando and all it has to do, then you can pick up a rental at the port and then drop it off in Orlando when you’re done.
This makes it much more convenient to rent when you don’t have to drop the car off in the same location.
How Much Do Port Canaveral Car Rentals Cost?
As you’d expect, rental prices can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. This includes the type of car, length of rental, rental days, and the season.
In general, however, we’ve found rates around $60-80 per day for a car rental in the Orlando and Cape Canaveral area. That’s roughly the cost of a one-way Uber/Lyft ride between the Orlando airport and Port Canaveral, or less than the cost of a round-trip shuttle ride for two people between the airport and cruise port.
In other words, it’s not a bad value at all given the freedom and convenience having your own rental car affords.
Where Can I Search for Car Rentals?
There is no shortage of places to search for a car rental. Any number of websites can offer up a full list of your available options or you can book directly through the rental company.
One of our favorites to search is KAYAK.com. As a travel search engine, KAYAK looks through all the available agencies based on your dates. You can then all sort by price, vehicle size, and more. We’ve found it to be the easiest way to quickly search through all options.
You can search using the box below:
If you’re a Costco member, then you can also search for a car through CostcoTravel.com. While most people don’t think of the retailer when it comes to travel, they offer some solid deals, along with a well-known reputation for outstanding customer service. As well, we’ve found their rates to meet or beat what’s found elsewhere, with some perks like upgrades offered.
You can also search directly with the rental agency. We’ve included links to each earlier in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is there to see within driving distance of the port?
The Cape Canaveral area is a tourism mecca. Of course, you have Orlando about 45-60 minutes away, which offers Disney, Universal Studios, and tons of other touristy things to do and see. The Orlando airport is also a starting (or ending) point for many trips into the area.
Closer to the port you have the Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa Beach, which is a quintessential beach town that features a pier, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tourist activities. If you’re lucky enough to time your trip with a rocket launch, they can be easily seen from the port area.
Can I rent a car just for the day?
Some trips will come in and dock at Port Canaveral as a port of call instead of a departure port. In that case, you might find yourself wondering if you could rent a car to cruise around during the day.
You absolutely can. There is no rule that says you have to rent a car overnight. It’s fine to pick a car up in the morning and then return it in the afternoon before you head back to the ship.