WATCH: Cape Crossing Resort and Marina Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill Features Rich History, Geat Food
By Space Coast Daily // May 14, 2023
Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill inside Cape Crossing Resort and Marina features largest Tiki Bar on the Space Coast
WATCH: Enjoy this sunset from Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill on Florida’s Space Coast. I just enjoyed a beautifully cooked piece of fresh Mahi-Mahi. Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill, located at 310 Lagoon Way, on Merritt Island, on Florida’s Space Coast, is a hidden gem. The Mahi Mahi special was fantastic, and the service was solid, despite almost every table being full. The fish was cooked very nicely – not overly done. The green beans were also nice and crunchy, the way I love them. The rice was good. The diverse menu features lots of choices with a good drinks menu as well. The Polynesian-style tiki restaurant is a super-fun place to enjoy all that the nearby Merritt Island National Refuge has to offer – ospreys, dolphins, and manatees all frequent this area constantly, and the atmosphere of being outside is awesome. On a hot day, the breeze comes through, and the giant ceiling fans make it very pleasant, despite the hot temperatures outside. I would definitely recommend this place and will go again often myself. Www.spacecoastdaily.com.
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – If you’re looking for a Florida experience, there’s no better place than Cape Crossing Resort and Marina. From the locals here on the Space Coast to the visitor from out of town, this little slice of paradise located in Merritt Island, Florida, offers the perfect combination of atmosphere and amenities to make you feel like you’re on vacation.
Whether you’re just looking for a great dining experience and/or an escape for happy hour on the water at a Tiki Bar or want to spend a full day in nature on the waterways, it’s the ideal location right on the water where you can dine and watch the dolphins play.
Depending on when you go, you may see various birds flying to and from Bird Island nearby or marine life like manatees and a variety of fish swimming in the no-wake zone directly in front of the property. If you’re looking for a good place to watch the rocket launches, this location is a great choice.
Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill, located inside Cape Crossing Resort and Marina, is outside covered dining with a nice breeze along and huge, beautiful fans that span the largest Tiki Bar here on the Space Coast.
Located on the historic Canaveral Barge Canal, Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill’s menu is described as Florida Fresh style with a Polynesian flare and features a full Menu filled with the FRESHEST seafood you’ll find here on the Space Coast.
A full bar with beer, wine, and cocktails like your classic Island Bahama Mama or their specialty cocktail Dolphin Water Drinks – Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill. Happy Hours is 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, featuring $1 off all draft beer and wine by the glass.
Come by Boat or by Car, A 50-foot floating dock provides convenient, free tie-up space for vessels of all kinds. Cape Crossing Boat Rentals offers a variety of fun and recreation on the water. The Resort and Marina are situated on a canal connecting the Sykes Creek, Indian River & Banana River.
Historical Location and Tradition
Dolphins Waterfront Bar & Grill carries on a tradition started decades ago by Dave and Ann Tingley, who served delicious food in an old Florida setting.
Cape Canaveral has been featured on historical maps for more than 400 years. Given the Cape’s geographic advantages, it has always been a popular site to construct a safe harbor.
In 1852, the process began when President Zachary Taylor appropriated $100,000 for a Canaveral Harbor project to provide a harbor of refuge. Records show that time is also when the idea of dredging a canal across Merritt Island began.
However, the Merritt Island canal was not included in the plans when the State Legislature requested that the Federal Government appropriate $200,000 for the harbor’s construction in 1889.
It wasn’t until 1937 that Congress authorized the go-ahead through the River and Harbor Act. In 1941, the harbor project was thoroughly surveyed again, and a 12-foot deep barge canal across Merritt Island was promoted as a “short route” to the Indian River.
While Federal bureaucrats and the Army Corps of Engineers argued about the need for the expensive port project, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, thrusting the United States into World War II and halting the project.
After the war, the project resurfaced as a $1.6 million harbor proposal that included a barge canal designed to cut through Merritt Island linking the Indian River with the Banana River and proposed harbor for an important direct water connection with Central Florida’s citrus industry.
In 1947, taxpayers of the harbor district approved a bond issue, assuring $830,500 to match a government appropriation for starting work. Plans for the Merritt Island Barge Canal were then finalized for Central Florida’s economic waterway to the Atlantic Ocean.
In May 1950, a hopper dredge by the name of Ventnor arrived in the Indian River, ready to slice Merritt Island in half. The dredging of the canal generated a great deal of interest from the public.
In December of 1950, Ventnor broke through into the Banana River to complete the first phase of the Canaveral Harbor project. A new dredge took over to cut through Cape Canaveral to the Atlantic Ocean in June 1951, and Port Canaveral was dedicated in November 1953.
Today, in addition to the 4.6 million cruise passengers that the area serves each year, the Port also handles more than 3 million tons of bulk freight cargo.
The Cape Canaveral Barge Canal, with its shores lined with anhinga, herons, ospreys and manatees, was now open to provide invaluable access between the Intracoastal Waterway and Port Canaveral. Citrus transport, oil barges, and later gantry and rocket parts now had passage to the benefit of all of Central Florida.
Today, the canal is lined with marinas, dry-dock boat storage, high-end condos, private residences, wooded land, and even a cemetery. It’s a water highway for fishing, kayakers, boaters, and, yes, barges.
The Barge Canal attracted many fishermen. In 1958, a waterfront fishing camp was started by Dave and Ann Tingley just west of the Christa McAuliffe Bridge. For the next 50 years, this beloved local landmark called Tingley’s Fish Camp would create memories for generations of Merritt Islanders.
Dave Tingley was an avid fisherman and personally ran the popular fish camp, restaurant and store, and the Tingley RV Park and Marina was added. The restaurant was known for having the best hamburger in town, and their Friday Night Fish Fry became a local staple.
When Dave died in 1978, Tingley’s Fish Camp and Tingley RV Park and Marina continued for 20 more years before being sold for development as the world-class resort and marina it is today.