Top 5 Things to do in Cocoa Beach
“I don’t ever want to get to the end and say I could’ve done this or that…“
~ Kelly Slater, professional surfer from Cocoa Beach
About Cocoa Beach
This first picture embodies everything I love about living on the Florida coast. This is my son when he was 12, so eager to hit the waves by dawn that he walked to the beach in the dark with his buddies and their surfboards.
I met my husband in the 1980s in Winter Park, Florida where he was in the Navy. But he was from Merritt Island and took me to Cocoa Beach on the weekends where we sailed off the beach in his Laser and spent endless days in the sun with friends. I remember going to Ron Jon Surf Shop back in 1988 before it became the monolith that now resides in Cocoa Beach. From the dawn of the Space Program to the television show I Dream of Jeanie, Cocoa Beach has quite a colorful history.
Cocoa Beach was settled in 1925, but the big boom came in the ’50s when NASA came to Cape Canaveral with the Kennedy Space Center. My husband’s family came along with the NASA boom and settled in Satellite Beach, about 8 miles south of Cocoa Beach, where we now live.
Patrick Air Force Base is between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach and keeps us on our toes with giant planes circling above and an occasional visit from the Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds.
I collect most of my shells for Soul Shells on a beach near Patrick on the north side of Cocoa Beach. I like it because the slope of the sand is gradual so the surf is a little more gentle.
We hope that you all are able to visit our beautiful little corner of paradise one day. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. For tourist information in the area, go to visitcocoabeach.com
1. The Cocoa Beach Westgate Pier
Everyone should visit the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier. It has everything from volleyball tournaments, to surf contest, to chairs and umbrellas to rent so you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere. It is certainly the most crowded beach in our area. If you’re looking for a more low-key experience, drive on down to Satellite Beach where you can have a little more space. There are also some very nice restaurants at the pier, including an open-air bar that is all the way at the end. It’s quite spectacular to sit out there and enjoy the breeze and ocean while sipping on a Rum Runner. You can also rent fishing poles there to fish off of the pier. You do have to pay for parking.
Also in this part of Cocoa Beach is the Surf Museum. It’s located near Ron Jon Surf Shop and is definitely worth a trip.
2. Kennedy Space Center
A visit to the Space Coast wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the famous Kennedy Space Center. There is a lot for kids and adults there. You can either tour just the facility, or take an additional tour of the launch pad area.
3. Airboat Tours
Not too far inland, near the Cocoa, FL, you can take an airboat tour and see all of Florida’s natural beauty, including some wild alligators! We recommend Instagator Airboat Rides because Mike is just a good guy, who will give you a great ride. He has a top-notch boat and headsets to communicate on during your ride, so you can learn something about the area. He has private tours, as well as group tours. His boat only seats 6, so it’s never a giant crowd of people. Make sure to call for reservations!
4. Historic Cocoa Village
Many people think they are abbreviating the name “Cocoa Beach” by saying “Cocoa.” However, the City of Cocoa is a different city, and is found on the mainland, whereas Cocoa Beach is “beachside.” Historic Cocoa Village is a delightful way to spend the day. There are many shops and restaurants to visit. There is plenty of parking and the shady sidewalks make it not too hot. If you want to take a break from the beach, there is something for the whole family in downtown Cocoa.
5. Kayak Rentals and Tours
There is so much to see on the “river side” of Cocoa Beach. The Indian River and Banana River (divided by Merritt Island) are full of wildlife like dolphins, manatees, and birds. There are hidden canals and sand bars to chill out on. We recommend A1A Beach Rentals in Cape Canaveral for any outdoor activities. They deliver some of their rental gear, plus they offer kayak tours and surf lessons!