A Travel Guide For Cocoa Beach, Florida

What to do in Cocoa Beach: The best stretch of beach

I have visited Cocoa Beach, Florida many times and have some helpful hints on where to stay, what to do, and where to go in Cocoa Beach.

My family began visiting Cocoa Beach, Florida when my grandparents retired there. We visited nearly every year since I was a child and now, my parents have retired there. So with experience as my guide, I have prepared a travel guide for you.

The city of Cocoa Beach is six miles long and its beach is the best for running, walking, and biking. Toss on your sneakers and go for a jog because the sand along the water line feels as though you’re running on a track surface. You may also rent bikes at numerous stores along the beach, including EZ Ridin Rentals for $25 a day.

Cocoa Beach is known for its surfing, after all, it’s home to the world-famous Ron Jon Surf Shop and ten-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater. You will find many surfers showing off their skills at the Cocoa Beach Pier. Feel free to rent a surfboard and take some lessons as the waves in Cocoa Beach are perfect to learn on.

Family activity in Cocoa Beach: Fishing and Crabbing

As a young boy, my favorite thing to do in Cocoa Beach was to fish with my grandfather. We would set cast into the ocean and reel in dinner. Fishing pole rentals are available throughout the area, but you may want to stop at the Fishing and Diving Center on your way into Cocoa Beach on State Road A1A in Cape Canaveral. There are also numerous fishing charters and deep-sea fishing trips available that leave from Port Canaveral.

As a family, my sister, parents, and I would walk the shoreline, catching buckets of crabs for a homemade crab salad. Here’s a hint on how to go crabbing: as the waves descend back into the ocean, look for little bubbles coming out of the sand. That is where a crab is. Just dig and toss the crab in the bucket. The crabs are not as plentiful as they were when I was a child, but you still may be able to catch a few. Just don’t expect to make a crab salad.

Where to stay in Cocoa Beach

Wakulla Suites

My family has always stayed at the Wakulla Suites when we make our visits to Cocoa Beach. This is a perfect hotel for families. It is very affordable and the suites have two bedrooms, a living room area, and a kitchen.

It has a beautiful courtyard area with rich vegetation and a heated pool. There are also numerous grills throughout the courtyard for a family barbecue, along with shuffleboard courts and a kids pool. It is located on the beach and is just a short walking distance to Ron Jon Surf Shop and the Cocoa Beach Pier.

While this is not a five-star hotel (it’s listed as a three-star), it is well kept, has many amenities, and is a great value for the money. Some people have posted a few negative reviews about it on TripAdvisor.com, but quite frankly there will always be negative reviews about anyplace. I can honestly say its been perfect for my family during all of our many visits. And, I am generally very particular about where I stay.

Ron Jon Cap Caribe Resort

If you are looking for a Disney World-style resort in the Cocoa Beach area, then the Ron Jon Cap Caribe Resort is your place. While I have not stayed at the resort, I have walked through it. I was impressed by its many amenities. It has a water park, poolside bars, beachfront access, athletic courts for basketball and tennis, and even a movie theater.

According to a 2006 article in the Palm Beach Post, rates start at $140 for a studio room, while a one-bedroom villa costs $175. Two-bedroom villas are also available.

Restaurants in Cocoa Beach

Coconuts on the Beach

A point of note for surfing fans, you may get lucky and catch Kelly Slater here. This is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. It provides a great beachfront atmosphere, along with terrific food. The nightlife here is also worth a look, as Coconuts on the Beach often hosts live music and events. Check out their menu.

Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar

If seafood is what you crave, dine at Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. I love raw oysters on the half-shell, but they also have steamed oysters and clams. They have great entrees like seared ahi tuna for $17.99. Here is a link to their menu.

Beef O Brady’s in Cocoa Beach

If you happen to be in Cocoa Beach on a Sunday during the NFL season and need to see your favorite team play, then head to Beef O Brady’s. But, get there early on an NFL Sunday because tables are taken fast. Here is their menu.

Cocoa Beach, Florida is a great place to visit

When I go on vacation, I like to enjoy what the beach has to offer during the day. When happy hour rolls around, I like to enjoy a drink at a restaurant with a good waterfront view. And, for dinner, I may want to dine at a seafood restaurant or even be able to save a few bucks by grilling some burgers or steak. If this sounds appealing to you, then my suggestions should help make your stay in Cocoa Beach a great one.

How to Get to Cocoa Beach, Florida

From the Central Florida area, get on the Beeline Expressway going east. The Beeline (or Beachline as it is sometimes called) turns into A1A (Atlantic Ave) in Cocoa. To get to Shepard Park, continue through Cocoa to Cocoa Beach and turn left on the Cocoa Beach Causeway (Cswy). The Cocoa Beach Cswy terminates 2 blocks hence at the park. If one drives past Ron Jon Surf Shop, the beach is overshot by about one city block.

The Beeline Expressway is a toll road with manned toll plazas. The drive from the Central Florida attractions takes approximately 1 hour.

Shepard Park Amenities and Fee

Named for astronaut Alan Shepard, this park has a killer view of the space shuttle launches. Admission is free. Parking costs $7 – no re-entry access. The park has numerous outdoor showers located at both the main entrance and at each walkway from the parking lot to the beach.

There are men’s and women’s restrooms with private changing areas. The restrooms start out the day quite clean, a situation that deteriorates as the day progresses.

There are 10 large picnic pavilions, many smaller covered picnic tables, and barbeque grills. There is no regular lifeguard coverage and the park is open dawn to dusk.

Ron Jon Surf Shop

A short walk from Shepard Park is the legendary Ron Jon Surf Shop. Ron Jon is located at the corner of State Roads 520 & A1A, one block from Shepard Park. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, one can purchase or rent everything needed for a pleasant day at the beach. Beginner surfing lessons are also available.

Ron Jon’s prices range from inexpensive $5 flip flops to designer $6,000 surfboards. However, most of the clothing and accessory items available for sale and rent are priced in the moderate range – under $100.

Also, check out Ron Jon’s calendar of events, which at different times during the year includes autograph sessions and demonstrations by top surfers. Many days and evenings the shop has live music. Occasionally, surf legends such as Pete Pan conduct free clinics at Shepard Park sponsored by Ron Jon’s.

Where to Eat at Shepard Park

If one is not down for picnic baskets check out Captain J’s, the best beachside sit-down restaurant at Shepard Park. It has two levels with a rooftop deck and both inside and outdoor covered seating on the main level. Try to get seated in Jacqueline’s section.

Captain J’s is located right at the entrance to Shepard Park at 211 E Cocoa Beach Cswy. Prices are in the moderate range. Expect to pay $11 – $20 for an entree and under $10 for appetizers. The hours of operation are from 11:00am – midnight.

Want to buy some chips, soda, and a deli sandwich? There’s a 7-11 quick shop one block from the park at 109 E Cocoa Beach Cswy. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, food prices are inexpensive. Bags of chips and bottles of soda are priced under $2. Most deli sandwiches can be purchased for less than $5. Note: this 7-11 doesn’t have gas pumps.

Shark Attacks

Since 1998, there are no reported shark encounters at Shepard Park. The epi-center for Florida Atlantic coast shark encounters is New Smyrna Beach, located north of Cocoa Beach.

Have fun in the water, try to schedule a surfing lesson, and make a safe return drive to the Central Florida area!

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