Florida—home of oranges, delicious key lime anything, and the part of the American spirit that reaches for the stars. Generally-speaking, most tourists visit Florida in the summer and winter and there’s a bit of a lull in traffic in the spring and fall, except for the spring break crowds. Cocoa Beach can be busy any time due to the traffic from cruise lines and, accordingly, there are festivals and special events every month of the year. Summers are hot and humid with highs in the 90s and 80s and lows in the upper-70s. Winters are mild with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s and 50s.
Any place with “beach” in its name will provide a host of water activities: surfing, fishing, sunbathing, paddling, etc. If it happens on the beach, you can find it. Florida has especially beautiful, soft beaches, and Cocoa Beach offers more than that.
Cocoa Beach came to living rooms of Americans with “I Dream of Jeannie”. The show wasn’t filmed there, but it was set there. The town has embraced this quirky claim to fame and you’ll see subtle references throughout the town.
Merritt Island Park is a must-see destination for anyone who wants to explore nature. It’s 160,000 acres and open from sunrise to sunset.
Black Point Wildlife Drive provides ample opportunities to view 357 different species of wildlife. The animals are most active during the early morning and late afternoon. Peak season for viewing most of the wildlife is October to March, but the best time for birding is November to April.
If you want to taste some wildlife as well as view it, Merritt Island has places where you can go fishing, crabbing, shrimping, and try your hand at gathering oysters and clams. You’ll need a FL fishing license and those are available at most retail outlets.
Paddlers will be interested in knowing that Banana River is a no motor zone. It’s 10,600 acres for your paddling and fishing enjoyment.
Merritt Park offers seven hiking trails comprised of six loops and one there-and-back. The hikes range from 15 minutes to a few hours and there are maps and interpretive signs at each trailhead. The boardwalk trail is wheelchair accessible. Stop by the Visitor Information Center to get more information.
Merritt Island isn’t the only park in Cocoa Beach. Canaveral National Seashore offers camping, canoeing, paddling, fishing, swimming, boating, bird-watching, and space launches to inspire the next generation. Launches may happen during park hours and incoming traffic might close if there are capacity or safety concerns. NASA has the authority to close parts of the seashore for launches.
Canaveral National Seashore also has a Jr. Ranger program for kids. You can grab an activity book on their website for your young ranger.
When you arrive at Canaveral National Seashore, you should check out the Air Force Space & Missile Museum. This should be a morning activity because the museum closes early. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the park before sunset.
If you need a break from outdoor activities, you can take your Jr. Ranger to the Dinosaur Adventure Zone at the Dinosaur Store. It’s a one-stop shop for encouraging a good night’s rest for children. Dinosaurs? Check. Activity zones? Check. Arcade games? Check. Reptiles? Absolutely!
Finally, no visit to Cocoa Beach would be complete without visiting the Cocoa Beach Pier. It’s a popular destination for a reason. You have 800’ of shopping, drinking, dining, and live entertainment. You can also take in some of the best surfing available.
No matter your interests, there’s something for everyone in Cocoa Beach, FL. Book your Florida vacation today, and check out the Vacation Planning Resource Center for information to guide you on your next trip!
- MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa
- United State Southern Command, Doral
- Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Jacksonville