For many vacationers, sun, sand and surf are what florida’s all about, and nowhere is this truer than cocoa Beach, the surfing capital of the east coast. a classic florida beach town, cocoa Beach welcomes all water and nature lovers (fishing, kayaking and boating are all popular local pastimes), but there’s no question that here, surfing is king.
Among the surf shops and surf schools lining the streets of cocoa Beach stands the granddaddy of them all, Ron Jon Surf Shop. opened in 1963, it’s grown from a small beach-shack-style shop to a full-fledged “water world” that’s open 24 hours a day. at the heart of the oceanfront action is the Cocoa Beach Pier. Jutting some 800 feet into the atlantic, the pier offers a fantastic vantage point for watching all the happenings along the shore: surfers catching waves, fishermen catching dinner, families frolicking in the surf.
Although cocoa Beach is famous for its aquatic appeal, landlubbers aren’t left out of the fun. Historic Cocoa Village recalls the bygone era of florida’s earlier days with restored buildings dating to the 1880s that now house charming shops, cozy cafés and gourmet restaurants. December’s Holiday craft fair is a big draw, as are similar shows in spring and fall, and special events delight locals and visitors alike year-round.
Also popular is the “Broadway” of Brevard, The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse. Housed in a stately 1924 brick building originally dubbed the aladdin theater, the playhouse now entertains more than 55,000 cultureseekers every year with performances ranging from musical blockbusters to shows staged especially for kids.
There’s certainly no shortage of great places to stay in cocoa Beach. the Best Western Ocean Beach Hotel & Suites occupies seven acres of prime beachfront property and offers guests a host of amenities, including two outdoor heated pools, a new fitness center, two restaurants, a poolside bar and a complimentary continental breakfast buffet. bestwesterncocoabeach.com, 321-783-7621
At the Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach-Cape Canaveral, you’ll find plenty of pleasant surprises, from free Wi-fi throughout the property to the heated mineral pool to the healthy fare at the hotel’s full-service restaurant, the Bistro. eat. Drink. connect.
If you’ve brought the family pet along, the Days Inn Cocoa Beach at the Pier provides a warm welcome along with free high-speed internet access in all rooms, complimentary Daybreak breakfast, two restaurants, a heated pool and a fitness center.
The Doubletree Hotel Cocoa Beach Oceanfront boasts a location directly on the beach as well as recently renovated rooms, all with Sweet Dreams beds and most with private balconies. indulge in a meal on the beach at 3 Wishes restaurant; then work it off in the state-of-the art fitness center.
It’s impossible to miss the Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach — the brightly colored building is part of the World’s largest Surf complex. inside, you’ll find the cocoa Beach Surf company, the Shark pit Bar & Grill with its 5,600-gallon shark and tropical-fish aquarium, and of course, comfy rooms, all in a smokefree facility.
Smartly appointed rooms and a relaxing pool deck offer a peaceful respite from the vacation bustle at the Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach. fuel up for a day of fun in the sun with the complimentary breakfast bar, and then recharge throughout the day with free coffee in the lobby.
The upscale Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront presides over a stunning stretch of whitesand beach, offering luxury and relaxation in equal measure. Soak up the sun on the 10,000-square-foot pool deck, take advantage of the on-site water sports or savor a delicious meal in one of three restaurants.
At the full-service International Palms Resort & Conference Center Cocoa Beach, families take center stage. in addition to special Kid Suites outfitted with bunk beds, there’s a children’s pool shaped like a pirate ship, an arcade and three eateries. internationalpalms.com, 321-783-2271
It’s easy being green at Quality Suites Cocoa Beach — the hotel is a member of the florida Green lodging program. With your eco-conscience eased, take a dip in the hot tub, enjoy complimentary coffee in the lobby or just relax in your two-room suite.
Ron Jon Cape Caribe Resort is a sprawling complex right on the beach that’s got every amenity a family could want, from a meandering pool and a water park with a lazy river to miniature golf to a colorful children’s play area. Generously sized accommodations range from studios to two-bedroom villas, all decorated in vibrant colors that capture the spirit of florida.
Wakulla Suites is perfect for families seeking spacious accommodations — all rooms are twobedroom suites. add in a full kitchen, a heated outdoor pool and kids pool, a deck overlooking the ocean and tiki-themed touches throughout, and you’ve got a great tropical family getaway.
Prefer to stay closer to port canaveral? Radisson Resort at the Port is ideally located nearby, plus it offers free shuttle service to both the port and the Kennedy Space center. lush landscaping and caribbean décor transport you to the tropics, while Sleep number beds help melt away stress.
The Residence Inn Cape Canaveral also offers quick access to port canaveral, plus it’s the closest all-suite hotel to the Kennedy Space center. it’s also Green lodging certified and smoke-free, so you can breathe easy and enjoy your stay.