Cocoa Beach, FL
Activities and Attractions and Astronauts
Cocoa Beach, known as the Small Wave Capital of the World, is one of the best surfing areas along the East Coast of Florida. Situated on a barrier island and part of the area of East Central Florida known as The Space Coast, the City of Cocoa Beach is only six miles long and one mile wide (less is many places). This small city has a great deal to offer anyone who loves the beach.
On the east side, Cocoa Beach meets the beautiful Atlantic Ocean; on the west side Cocoa Beach is bound by the Banana River, which is actually a saltwater lagoon. Offering golfing, surfing, fishing in river or ocean, safe bicycle paths, shopping, fine and casual dining, this is a truly fun city in which to live or visit.
Cocoa Beach is also one of the largest nesting areas for the huge sea turtles. Signs clearly mark the known turtle nests and it is a major crime with huge fines to disturb the nests of these endangered sea creatures. Also, don’t pick the “sea oats”! These plants look like large oats and are very attractive, but they prevent the dunes from erosion and there is a fine in the thousands of dollars for picking one of these endangered plants!
The 2000 U.S. Census indicates 12,482 permanent residents, making their home year-round on the barrier island. During “season” which begins around Thanksgiving and ends around June largely depending on the weather up north, the population swells to around 20,000. The major road passing north and south through Cocoa Beach is actually Highway A1A, but, as with most cities, has its own name in the city. The separated highway, with stores and housing in the block between the north bound and south bound 2-lane roads, is called Orlando Ave. (North or South, changing at Minuteman Causeway), and the north-bound lanes are Atlantic Avenue (again changing from north to south at Minuteman Causeway in mid-downtown Cocoa Beach).
Hotels accommodations range from medium-priced hotels to high-end oceanfront suites in large towers. There are also many seasonal rentals of small condominiums, apartments or cottages for the longer-term visitor, all near the beach. In fact, there is really no location in Cocoa Beach which is not within easy walking distance to the Atlantic Ocean.
For activities on the beach, there are shops all along the beachside, including the famous landmark, Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, where you can purchase any beachwear needs, surfboards and other water gear, or rent bicycles and surfboards, skim boards, jet skis or other water needs. Vendors on the beach have beach chair and umbrella rentals available. Many restaurants and bars have beachfront outdoor seating.
The Easter Weekend Surf Contest / Festival and the Labor Day Weekend Surf Fest, where you will almost certainly see quite a few of the famous professional surfers who make Cocoa Beach their home, are fun annual events, attracting thousands of visitors. You will also see the pro surfers from all over the world come to compete in these events. Both the Easter and Labor Day Weekend contests are do-not-miss events. Fun in the sun for everyone is to be had with live bands on the beach, concerts, and lots of food, drinks and activities.
Cocoa Beach has wonderful beach access with nearly every east-bound street ending in beach access, many with handicap ramps. Surf fishing is a popular sport and it is not unusual to see quite a few poles in the sand every day. Space launches can be viewed from Cocoa Beach’s sand.
There are high-end restaurants, some of which were the astronauts’ restaurants of choice in the Apollo days, providing some of the finest food available. You may see some of the famous astronauts, as well as the newer crew members eating alongside you. There is also very affordable, completely casual dining and everything in between.
Cocoa Beach Pier stretches out into the Atlantic and offers gift shops, beach equipment rentals, live music, several outdoor bars/restaurants, both expensive and casual indoor restaurants, fishing and fishing equipment rental. .
Cocoa Beach is only 42 miles from Orlando International Airport, 11 miles from the nearest Greyhound bus station, and five miles from Port Canaveral, where you can join a cruise, or just take a four to five hour gambling cruise. Car rental is readily available, and reasonably priced shuttle services to and from the Orlando Airport are available. Cocoa Beach also provides one of the best mass transit systems for such a small town. A diesel-powered trolley style bus goes up and down the beach roads from early morning until evening with bus stops all over town and the cost is minimal.
The Chamber of Commerce serving Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Nearby cities to check for activities and attractions: Orlando, Cocoa, Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
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