Looking for the Best Things to do in Cocoa Beach, FL?
Cocoa Beach, Florida is located on the central eastern coast of Florida. The city is south of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. There is a population of over 11,000 and although it’s small, don’t think the city won’t be filled with vacationers interested in relaxing on the beach.
The nearest airport is Melbourne, which is about 15 miles away, but the Orlando airports can be useful as well although they are about 50 miles away.
The weather in Cocoa Beach can vary between hot and cool, but even in the winter months the water averages to be in the 70s which is still perfect to swim in. Listed below are 23 best things to do around Cocoa Beach, FL.
23 Best Things to do in Cocoa Beach, FL
Beaches and Parks
Bake in the sun at Playalinda Beach
Playalinda Beach is located in the Canaveral National Seashore. The shoreline is 24 miles with crystal blue water all throughout.
Throughout the beach you may spot wildlife such as birds, dolphins, and sea turtles. Playalinda beach is also a great place to see rockets as they launch since it surrounds Kennedy Space Center. The beach is a great place to go surfing, take walks on the sand or enjoy a picnic at the picnic tables on the boardwalks.
There is a $20 vehicle fee to get into the beach, but only a $10 fee to go in if walking or biking into the establishment. Boardwalks are the only way to get onto the beach and each has a ramp so they are wheelchair accessible.
Enjoy time with family at Lori Wilson Park
Lori Wilson Park is 32.43 acres of beach that is perfect for family get togethers.
On the north side of the beach are grills for families to cook up a perfect lunch or dinner and picnic tables on the south side to enjoy the food.
There is also a playground for the kids to run and climb around. Also located on the south side is a dog park where owners can take their dogs off their leashes and let them run around. Some other things you can do throughout your time on the beach include safely swimming with lifeguards at bay, surfing, playing volleyball in the public courts or taking a nature walk along the shore.
Parking on the beach is free for all. The park has restrooms, outdoor showers, and water fountains for public use. One of the best free things to do in Cocoa Beach Florida for sure.
Gaze into space at Alan Shepard Park
Alan Shepard Park is located on the east end of State Road 520. The beach is named after Alan Shepard, the astronaut who was the first American to travel into space.
The park is 5 acres and is perfect to see rocket launches or looking into space through your own telescope. Make sure to catch some waves through surfing or swimming.
Throughout the beach are restrooms, showers, pavilions, grills, picnic tables and playgrounds. The beach is within walking distance to the pier where there are plenty of retail shops and restaurants. There are more than 300 parking spots available at $15 or $2.50 per hour.
Enjoy the view at Manatee Sanctuary Park
Manatee Sanctuary Park is the flagship park for Cape Canaveral. The park is 10 acres and is located on the Banana River.
The park is able to host private events, but you could also come just to relax and enjoy the view. There is a half mile trail and exercise stations if you would like to enjoy an outdoor exercise or you could walk the boardwalk.
There is also a pavilion to sit under and a place to play a few rounds of horseshoe with friends and family. If you want to sit and look out at the water, be on the lookout for manatees, osprey, dolphins, and fish. A great place to go kayaking with manatees in Florida.
Food, Drink and Shopping
Walk along the Cocoa Beach Pier
The Cocoa Beach Pier is a historic landmark on Florida’s Space Coast that expands 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. Along the pier are tons of restaurants, shops, resorts and live entertainment. On the pier you can rent surfing gear to step off into the beach and surf along the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the best surfing takes place by the Cocoa Beach Pier. The Pier Shop is a great place to shop for homemade items and souvenirs to take home and remember all the memories of Cocoa Beach.
There’s also an area on the pier where you can bring or rent fishing equipment and fish. This part of the pier costs $5. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
Shop at Ron Jon Surf Shop
Ron Jon Surf Shop is the largest surf shop in the world. The shop is 52,000 square feet and has everything for beach life. Ron Jon has been open for over 50 years and along with selling clothes, souvenirs, and beach supplies you can rent surfing gear, beach bikes and paddleboards.
Don’t forget to pick up your own “One of a Kind” Ron Jon t-shirt before you leave. You can find everything that you may need for the beach at Ron Jon’s.
Watch out for the beach store and waterfront store. The waterfront store is located ½ a block north of the beach store and is where you can get the rentable items.
Shop and walk around at Historic Cocoa Village
Walk around Cocoa Village, located on Main Street, to shop and learn about the history of Cocoa Beach. Here you can even see S.F. Travis Hardware store which opened in 1885 and is still opened today. The town became the shopping district that we know and love in 1985.
The village has shops, restaurants, and music for all to enjoy. Sit down at a fine dining restaurant for date night or go out shopping with some friends and end the night with a casual dinner. It is a great place for all visitors of Cocoa Beach to gather.
Throughout the year there are different themed events that take place with partners of Historic Cocoa Village Main Street (HCVMS) who’s job is to support the growth of Historic Cocoa Village.
Eat at Coconuts on the Beach
Coconuts on the Beach is a popular restaurant in Cocoa Beach that strives to give the best service. The restaurant is right on the beach and offers outdoor seating to enjoy the view. The building is bright and colorful with a teal exterior to welcome all.
Inside the restaurant is decor to make you feel as though you are under the sea with turtle lights on the ceiling, coral reef relic plants and teal tables. The restaurant does offer gluten free and vegan options for those with dietary restrictions.
For soup and seafood lovers they offer a corn and crawfish chowder that is award winning. Their key lime pie is also listed as a Florida favorite for those that enjoy dessert.
Pick up a baked good at Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery
Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery offers breakfast and lunch sandwiches for everyone to give a try. When leaving don’t forget to pick up a baked good.
They offer cookies, muffins, brownies, cakes and more. The bakery offers seating inside and outside of the establishment. This is also a great place to get a little ways away from the busy areas of Cocoa Beach. The atmosphere is known for being laid back at the bakery.
You can come stop in for a treat between your beach and shopping travels. Or stop by in the morning to pick up some breakfast and start your day right before a busy day of swimming and tanning at the beach. The bakery also offers online pickup orders.
Drink and grab a bite at Coaster’s Taphouse
Coaster’s Taphouse is a full service restaurant with specialization in craft beer, wines and cocktails. Each weekend the restaurant has new specials to offer a variety to their menu and new options for their guests to try.
The restaurant is located inside a strip mall so it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner after getting done shopping for the day.
There are vegan options offered. This is also the perfect place to get away from the beach view and relax inside with some friends while sitting at the bar or one of the tables inside. Coaster’s is a great place for all adults to enjoy their time on vacation.
- See more: Best restaurants in Cocoa Beach
Taste the Aloha’ at Fat Kahuna’s
Fat Kahuna’s is a fine dining restaurant with a casual atmosphere. They offer seafood, steak, chicken and vegetarian meals.
The owner grew up in Cocoa Beach and dreamed of going to Hawaii. After creating a life in Hawaii he came back with his wife and the two made Fat Kahuna’s. The restaurant strives to create unique and homemade dishes for all. Get a taste of Hawaii and Florida while eating here.
Although small, the restaurant is said to be a favorite among locals, they were even noticed by Food Network’s Steak Shapiro of Dish Worth the Drive. The restaurant is in the plaza of Minutemen Causeway and has an ocean view.
Sip on a drink at Rikki Tiki Tavern
Rikki Tiki Tavern is a cocktail lounge on a pier that offers a full bar and tropical drinks. It is at the end of the 800 foot pier and is directly over the water. Watch as the waves crash onto the legs of the pier while sipping on a tropical drink.
The lounge offers limited food options, but is a perfect spot to sit in the shade and take a break from the water. Rikki Tiki Tavern can sit around 100 people with their table and bar seating. The lounge is in its own section on the pier with nothing directly next to it.
Sports and Activities
Climb around at Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures
Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures has been listed in USA Today’s 10 Best Aerial Adventure Courses since 2019. The establishment has seven trails for participants to try out that are categorized by three levels of difficulty. To get through the courses participants are held up by 45 feet poles while going through up to 49 challenges.
Going through the park you can go at whatever pace is comfortable to you. There is also a new zipdrop for anyone that is interested in trying.
This involves climbing up to the treehouse, going over the guard rail and taking a step off to drop down. Everyone of any age is welcome to try the adventures and challenges given. Reserving a time online is available.
Climb the Exploration Tower
The Exploration Tower is a part of Port Canaveral. The tower opened on November 4, 2013 and provides an experience that is oriented towards families.
From the tower you can see rockets launch and cruise ships come into the port on the seventh floor which is the observation floor. The first floor is where the gift shop is located, don’t forget to grab a souvenir. The tower has seven floors of exhibits with interactive play that is geared towards being fun and educational.
The tower has an inside and outside observation deck, an auditorium, cafe, gift shop and 5500 feet of exhibition. Hosting events is also possible at this establishment.
Explore Space at Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center is not on Cocoa Beach, but it is near. The center is located in Central Florida and there are directions listed on their website.
This is the perfect place to go when rockets launch as the center is only 6.7 miles away from the launchpad and can be seen once clearing the tree line. The park is organized with mission zones so attractions can be explored in chronological order.
You can explore current missions currently happening in space and past missions that have brought space exploration to what it is today. The attractions include: Heroes & Legends, Behind the Gates, Race to the Moon, Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other and Nasa Now and Next.
Throughout the park are many restaurants to try throughout the day. Vegetarian and gluten free choices are available at each one. Everything is also biodegradable and plastic free. Don’t forget to stop at the Space Shop, “world’s largest space shop,” to pick up a souvenir before you go.
Enjoy the view on a Cocoa Beach Helicopter Tour
Go on a helicopter tour throughout beautiful Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach Helicopters has been offering aerial sightseeing services since 2010 and has given tours to over 7,500 customers.
Their pilots have thousands of flight hours and their chief pilot has been working with aircrafts for over 30 years. There are six tours for you to choose from ranging from $20-$300. On the tours you can watch cruise ships, sharks, stingrays, the pier, surfers and more.
Some upgrades also offered include: no doors, sunset and two different video packages. Up to three passengers can be brought up in the helicopter to enjoy the ride. Reservations can be made online or by phone.
Learn to kiteboard with 321 Kiteboarding and Watersports
321 Kiteboarding and Watersports is a three in one shop. The shop offers rentals and sells equipment, but also does repairs and gives lessons on how to kiteboard. The kites are specifically made for beginners during lessons to keep everyone safe.
The shop also emphasizes how the water will be low and warm which makes it easier for beginners to learn. The course is being offered for $39 although usually $225.
Wave riding lessons are also offered. If you already know how to kiteboard and just need the equipment that’s okay too because the shop has everything available to be rented. The store also sells apparel and electric longboards for purchase.
Paddle along the shore with Cocoa Beach Kayaking
Cocoa Beach Kayaking will bring you on a kayaking tour through the Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach. The tour would take place in the Indian River Lagoon which has the most biodiverse estuary in North America. There are over 4,500 plants and animals.
Along the tour you can learn about the Florida manatees, an endangered species, bottlenose dolphins, and migrating birds. No prior kayaking experience as directions are given on land before the tour and the pace will be slow and comfortable.
Each tour guide has hundreds of research hours on the topics mentioned to make sure all tours will be a fun and educational experience. The tour lasts from 1.5 to 2 hours and everything will be provided. All five years and up are welcome for $35 per person. Booking can be done online.
Glide on the water by Riding an Airboat
Riding on the water is possible with an airboat. On an airboat you can sit and look at the view while gliding around the water. On the ride you might spot gators, fish, cows, birds and more. Instigator Airboat rides can take up to ten people for an hour in the captain’s boat.
They offer headsets so everyone will be able to hear what is happening throughout the tour and ask questions. They state that words cannot do justice to the experience. The trip takes place on the St. John’s River. The one hour ride can be offered from $60-$350. Booking can be done over the phone.
If you love airboating, the Everglades is the best place to do it. Here’s a roundup of the best everglades airboats if you are heading South.
Look for fossils at The Dinosaur Store & Museum
The Dinosaur Museum shows off real life fossils and skeletons from around the world. There are 80 species displayed in the museum. 5000 years of history is shown in the museum and educational information on King Tut and Emperor Qin.
There are artifacts from Egypt, Mesoamerica, and South America, China and Tribal America. There is also an adventure zone with an arcade, science stations, movie cave and reptile run with real baby alligators. A gift shop is available with fossils, minerals, meteorites, jewelry and more.The online store is also open with fossils available for sale. You must buy your ticket for the museum in the giftshop to be used for the same day as purchase. Tickets range from $10-$14.
Skate around at Cocoa Beach Skatepark
Got a skateboard? Come skate around at the Cocoa Beach Skatepark. If you don’t and you’re still interested don’t worry, many shops around the beach sell and rent boards to customers throughout the day.
The park is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
All 18 and under must wear a helmet. Skaters of all levels are to be respected. No bmx, vaping, smoking, alcohol or graffiti allowed. All users should be aware of risks in skating as there is no attendant watching.
Watch a show at Surfside Playhouse
Surfside Playhouse is a community non profit theatre in Cocoa Beach. The program is dedicated to the performing arts and shows this through putting on productions and presentations, educating and reaching out to the community.
Surfside offers a children’s theatre group, an annual playwriting contest, three productions per season and a snack bar.
Tickets can be purchased online along with season passes. Improv classes are also offered at the theatre for adults and highschool students. The theatre can also be rented out for movie screenings, receptions, meetings, recitals and parties. If you’ve got a big group your vacation party could be there.
Try an escape room at Escape Cocoa Beach
Escape Cocoa Beach has four escape rooms that must be completed within an hour. In the rooms you will be able to solve puzzles, crack codes, find hidden items and more to exit the room. The rooms are for ages eight and up, but younger children are allowed in as well.
Most rooms are family friendly so everyone can enjoy the experience. Solving puzzles is a great way to bond with family and friends as you try to beat the timer.
Escape Cocoa Beach is a part of the popular Cocoa Beach nightlife and is a great activity for if it rains. The rates of difficulty range from 3.5-4.5/5. It costs $32 per person, but group rates have a discounted price.
Thursday 23rd of June 2022
The best tape house in cocoa village is The Dirty Oar Beer Co.
Friday 24th of June 2022
Thanks so much Mike - sounds great.