Top-rated, fun destination you will want to visit Again and Again
Are you looking for the perfect beach getaway? Cocoa Beach Florida is a great choice, with its gorgeous white sand beaches and vibrant coastal town.
Whether you’re a thrill seeker or just looking to relax in the sun, Cocoa Beach has something for everyone.
From surfing and fishing to visiting historic sites and attractions, Cocoa Beach offers plenty of activities that will keep your vacation interesting and exciting.
Where is Cocoa Beach Florida?
Cocoa Beach is located on the Atlantic Ocean, east coast of Florida, about 45 minutes from Orlando. The closest airports are Orlando International Airport as well as Orlando Sanford airports in the center of the state.
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Melbourne International Airport is geographically the closest but don’t overlook West Palm Beach or Daytona Internation Airports as other options.
Driving from Orlando is under an hour and a bit over two hours from Jacksonville International Airport or 2.5 hours from West Palm Beach Airport.
What is Cocoa Beach best known for?
Surfing! That’s right. Cocoa Beach is best known for being one of the best places on Florida’s Space Coast for surfing. After all you will find the Florida Surf Museum here.
It is also a family friendly beach town with awesome restaurants, attractions and other fun things for not only your family, but as a romantic getaway or girl’s trip too.
When is the best time to visit Cocoa Beach Florida?
The best time to visit? In my opinion all year round, Cocoa Beach is a great place for a beach vacation.
There are so many things to do in this area from Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to Manatee Sanctuary Park to the Ron Jon Surf School. The opportunities to enjoy being outside are endless.
Exploring Cocoa Beach
Canaveral National Seashore
This portion of the state is actually the largest undeveloped Atlantic Coastline in Florida. Beautiful barrier island with plenty to explore.
Dune, hammock, and lagoon habitats provide homes to many animals including sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and birds use the estuary as their source for food, shelter, breeding and nesting shorebirds.
Ready to explore this beautiful area? Below is the ultimate list of fun things to do in Cocoa Beach on vacation.
Fish, kayak, hike, swim, fish and more. Plenty of things to do on a family vacation.
This is such a cool place! The last time I visited, I took my mom and she enjoyed every moment. You can actually see the rocket launches from several areas of the city and beach.
We were able to the actual Space Shuttle Atlantis, took a bus tour over to the launch pads for SpaceX, and learned about space exploration and the history of Port Canaveral.
Truthfully? We needed more time to see it all. You can read about our adventure learning about space travel here: Infinity And Beyond At Kennedy Space Center.
In addition to serving as home for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, this island is also home to a 140,000 acre nature sanctuary, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Coastal dunes, saltwater marshes, managed impoundments, scrub, pine flat woods, and hardwood hammocks provide homes for 1500 species of plants, animals and sea birds some of which are endangered.
When we visited and were touring the island, we were able to see the bald eagles. The nest way up in the tree, was easily visible by eye.
Hike a nature trail in the refuge or bike one of the longer trails. Prefer to kayak? You can that also in the refuge.
This is considered an easy paddle, but portions are tidal. The upper Indian River Lagoon also offers bioluminescence trips. A kayaking tour may be best to help you navigate including some areas with shallow waters.
Historic Cocoa Village
A trip to the historic Cocoa Village will take you back in time! With its charming streets, century-old buildings and unique shops. Truly a special place is an essential stop for history buffs and those that appreciate historic homes and buildings.
Ron Jon Surf Shop
This is such a cool store to explore and the perfect place not only for those that surf but those of us that love the beach.
It is also the largest surf shop with over 52,000 square feet to explore. T-shirts, surfboards, and free parking!
Want to learn how to surf? The Ron Jon Surf School offers surf lessons all year long.
Located at Port Canaveral, this is one spot you need to be sure to visit. (The tower is currently closed with estimated reopening in Spring 2023.)
The tower has 7 floors waiting for you to explore. From the gift shop and restaurant on the first floor through floor seven with an outdoor observation deck, you will be able to see the beach and more of Brevard County.
Banana River Aquatic Preserve
This preserve is located in north central Brevard County. This preserve is one of the best places in Florida to kayak in bioluminescent waters.
Kayakers love this area but if you are not experienced or prefer not to venture out alone, you can opt for a kayak tour or tour guide. The best time to see the bioluminescence is May through October.
The preserve is also an important habitat for manatees, pelicans, alligators and diamondback terrapin turtles. The ideal place for nature lovers.
Even if you don’t like dinosaurs, you will enjoy this stop. 20,000 square feet, the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures has hundreds of artifacts and fossils from around the world.
In addition to the museum, there is also a hands-on interactive exhibits Adventure Zone making this a great spot for the whole family to enjoy.
Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier
This historic Cocoa Beach landmark stretches over 800 feet into the Atlantic Ocean and is home to delicious local restaurants, bars, gift shops and live music.
You will also find volleyball courts, outdoor showers, and lifeguards on the beach. Be sure to stop in at Rikki Tiki Tavern and enjoy a beach cocktail while overlooking the water.
Perfect place to stop for happy hour after strolling down the Cocoa Beach boardwalk.
Liberty Bell Museum
Located in nearby Melbourne, is the Liberty Bell Museum. The museum is free but be sure to call first as often it is not open.
Enjoy the museum displays a timeline of milestones in American history, historic documents and other patriotic memorabilia. Don’t leave until you ring the liberty bell!
And wrapping up the must-see things to do in Cocoa Beach brings to the beaches! Some of the most beautiful beaches and shoreline in the United States.
You will enjoy visiting the many city parks right on the Atlantic Coast including:
Lori Wilson Park: South of the Cocoa Beach Pier. In addition to the sandy beach, you will be able to enjoy hiking, picnics and more.
Rent a picnic pavilion which includes picnic tables, barbecue grills, water and electricity. This is one of the best kid-friendly beaches for swimming and excellent place for a family day.
Lori Wilson Park also has a dog park where you can let the dogs off leash.
Sidney Fischer Park. Next on the beach list is Sidney Fischer park. This public park provides lifeguards, playground, outdoor showers and picnic areas.
Alan Shepard Park. This park is within walking distance of the Cocoa Beach Pier. This is a wonderful beach for a romantic getaway.
Enjoy the boardwalk or walk hand in hand on the sandy beach. You may also catch a shuttle launch if you time it right. Easy access from the large parking lot to the beach.
A few more things to visit in the Cocoa Beach area are the Florida Key Lime Pie Company. This pie company made the largest key lime pie in the world on Merritt Island in 2018.
Love to fish? Deep-sea fishing awaits you in the city. Fishing charters can be busy so book in advance.
In addition to surfing, enjoy water sports such as paddleboarding, jet skiing, or even parasailing.
Great ocean view from the sky. You may even see one of the cruise ships over in Port Canaveral.
Finally, Escape Cocoa Beach where your goal is to get out of the escape rooms in less than an hour. Perfect spot for rainy day.
One of the best things about Cocoa Beach are the amount of things to do and see. This is why I return year after year.
Where to stay in Cocoa Beach?
My choice is always a condo or cottage on the beach and there are plenty of those to choose from. Check out the options here: Cocoa Beach Vacation Rentals
There are also several hotels to choose from including the chain hotels to resorts to smaller beachside motels. Here are a few options to consider: Cocoa Beach Hotels
Where to eat?
The beachside bars and grills are my favorites. I love to see the water.
There are also some fantastic restaurants and more also on the pier as well. Seafood, steak, casual or fine dining, the choices are unlimited.
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise