Last Updated on January 14, 2024

Florida’s Space Coast is a popular tourist region that’s located along the Atlantic side of Florida and stretches over 70 miles long! 

Cocoa Beach is the premier destination in this area and is known for the pier, beautiful beaches, world-class surfing, and waterfront restaurants!

Of course, the region is known for its cruises from Port Canaveral, as well as rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center!

Cocoa Beach is just an hour east and has the closest beaches to Orlando! 

A few of the cities that are near Cocoa Beach include Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, and Viera.

Many of the Cocoa area beaches are also nature parks and offer the perfect mix of relaxing and exploring!

Here’s a list of the best beaches around Cocoa, Florida, including other activities nearby, too!

 

 

 

Best Beaches And Activities In Cocoa Beach

Hanging out at the beach is one of the best things to do in the Cocoa Beach area

Cocoa Beach is a surfer’s paradise along the Atlantic ocean and the beaches here are why this city is referred to as the surfing capital of the East Coast!

While the pier is an awesome place to check out, there is also one of the best beaches in the Cocoa area right next to it!

Beach amenities include beach and fishing equipment rentals, volleyball courts, showers, and year-round lifeguards.

You can also take surf lessons while in the area!

There are beachfront hotels and resorts lined up all along the closest beach in Cocoa Beach, as well as restaurants and other attractions.

Things To Do Nearby

Play mini-golf and see the reptiles at Golf N Gator.  They have Go Karts here, too.

Lighthouse Cove Mini Golf is just south of the pier and offers 2 mini-golf courses, ice cream, and beer and wine!

Recommended Hotel Near The Cocoa Beach Pier 👉 Hampton Inn

 

 

beautiful entrance of Cocoa Beach pier with a huge wooden arc with a Cocoa Beach Pier sign

Walk the 800-foot pier and you’ll understand why the Cocoa Beach Pier is one of the most well-known attractions on Florida’s Space Coast!

This pier is also filled with bars, restaurants, and gift shops.

people and visitors strolling at the pier of cocoa Beach

Normally they do live music and fishing on the pier, but both are currently suspended due to Covid.  Stay up to date online.

The beach and pier are free and open to all people. (Most of the Cocoa beaches are free and just charge for parking).

There is plenty of parking spaces for the beach and pier and is just $5 for 2-hour parking.

 

 

The Rikki Tiki Tavern is a great bar at the end of the Cocoa Beach Pier

We went and got drinks at the Rikki Tiki Tavern at the end of the fishing pier.

Come to the tavern for food and tropical drinks, and to see the amazing views from their open-air bar!

The Rikki Tiki Tavern is a nice spot for watching the shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral.

Other bars/restaurants on the pier include Pelican’s Bar & Grill, The Boardwalk Bar, and Sea Dogs.

Cocoa Beach Pier and Beach

📌 401 Meade Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

 

 

View of Alan Shepard Park in Cocoa Beach from a tiki boat

Named after the astronaut, Alan Shepard Park is 5 acres right on the ocean!

This beach park is also a great spot to watch the shuttle launches and is about a 15-minute walk south of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

There are amenities such as beach rentals, a picnic area with shelters, fishing, a kids’ playground, showers, and bathrooms.

Parking here is $2.50 an hour.

Alan Shepard Park

📌 299 E Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Things To Do Nearby

Nearby restaurants include Sandbar Sports Grill, Rock the Guac, and Nolan’s Irish Pub.

Grab a slice of cheesecake, pie, or a glass of wine at The Florida Key Lime Pie Company!

Recommended Hotel Near Alan Shepard Park 👉 Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort

Continuing down the island is Sidney Fisher Park.

This beachfront park is 10 acres and just over 2 miles south of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

With lots of parking, this park also offers fishing, beach volleyball, picnic areas & shelters, bathrooms, and showers.  Parking is $2.50 an hour.

Sidney Fisher Park

📌 2426 N Atlantic Ave Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Things To Do Nearby

Check out Banana River Square Shopping Center just across the street from the park.

Nearby restaurants include Florida’s Fresh Grill, Paddy Cassidy’s Irish Pub, and Beachside Grill and Deli.

Recommended Hotel Near Sidney Fisher Park 👉 Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront

 

 

Photo credit – Wikimedia

2 girls in swimsuit standing in the beach of Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach

A lovely oceanfront park, Lori Wilson Park is 2.5 miles south of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

One of the beautiful Cocoa beaches, this is a great spot to take a walk and check out nature and the sand dunes along the boardwalk.

Amenities are the biking/walking trails, restrooms and showers, bbq grills, picnic area, playground, and volleyball courts.

The park also has lifeguards and parking is free.  Bring your pet to the dog-friendly section of the park if you’d like.

Looking for more places to bring your pet?  Another dog-friendly park about 20 minutes south is Canova Beach Park.

This park is almost 10 acres and has lots of amenities, as well as several restaurants and things to do nearby.

Lori Wilson Park

📌 1500 N Atlantic Avenue Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Things To Do Nearby

Come to Mambo’s Beachside Bar & Grill for Caribbean food and mixed drinks!

Gregory’s Steak and Seafood Grill is a popular establishment just south of the park, as well.

Maritime Hammock Preserve is a nearby park with hiking trails and is an ideal place for bird-watching and picnics.

 Recommended Hotel Near Lori Wilson Park 👉 International Palms Oceanfront Resort

 

 

Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park is just over 5.5 miles south of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

Along with Sidney Fisher Park, this 2.5-acre park is named after a former Cocoa Beach mayor!

Amenities at this Cocoa Beach park include free parking, fishing, restrooms and showers, picnic tables, a pavilion, and a grill.

Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park

📌 1600 S. Atlantic Ave Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Things To Do Nearby

Get a bite to eat at Squid Lips Seafood Restaurant, a 10-minute walk from the beach.

Recommended Hotel Near Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park 👉 Surf Studio Beach Resort

 

 

Best Beaches And Activities Near Cocoa Beach

 

Photo credit – Wikimedia

At 2:13pm (ET) on Sunday, December 18, 2016, United Launch Alliance would successfully launch the #EchoStarXIX advanced communications satellite atop an #AtlasV rocket. This is the view from Jetty Park Beach in Port Canaveral, Florida. (Photos by Michael Seeley)

Another awesome spot to watch the rocket launches, Jetty Park is about 10 minutes (by car) north of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

This popular park is 35 acres and has a 1500-foot pier to try some fishing and enjoy the views!

Other features of this beach and park include camping, picnic areas, pavilions, lifeguards, a playground, bathrooms, and showers.

A Day Pass to the park is $15 and you can’t pay at the park, you have to pay on their website.

Jetty Park Beach

📌 397 Jetty Park Rd, Port Canaveral, FL 32920

Things To Do Nearby

The Cove is a waterfront area with shops, bars, restaurants, a casino boat, and charters!

Recommended Hotel Near Jetty Park 👉 Holiday Inn Club Vacations

view of the Grill Tiki Bar from outside with amazing exterior and a big shark statue

While you’re in the area, check out the amazing seafood and waterfront dining options!

Our first stop of the day on the Space Coast was Grills in Cape Canaveral.

Grills is a waterfront restaurant along the Atlantic, known for its fresh-caught fish and seafood.

Try the Mahi-mahi tacos or Shark Kabobs (delicious)!

This place has some of the best food on Florida’s Space Coast.  It’s a laid-back, fun atmosphere here.

outdoor dining at Grill Tiki Bar with colorful clothe sun protection

 They play live music on their deck and also have great views for space launches.  

The restaurant is next to the cruise ship port, so when the cruise ships are running, they dock right here!

There is also a Grills restaurant nearby in Melbourne. 

Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar

📌 500 Glen Cheek Dr, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920

Things To Do Nearby

Other neighboring restaurants include Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, Gators Dockside, and Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill, and all are in close proximity to each other.

Recommended Hotel Near Grills 👉 Homewood Suites

 

 

Florida's Space Coast from Exploration Tower in Florida

The Exploration Tower in Cape Canaveral is a wonderful area attraction and just a couple blocks away from Grills Tiki Bar.

This tower has indoor and outdoor observation decks, several exhibits, a recreation theater, and a cafe.

The Exploration Tower is another place where you can typically watch the rocket launches, however, they are not hosting any launch viewings due to Covid.

Also, only the 1st-floor guest information/gift shop and 7th-floor viewing area are open to visitors right now due to limited access.  You also must wear a mask to get in.

The Exploration Tower is still worth going to, especially if you haven’t been to the area before.  Currently, there is no admission charge to get in.

Go to the top and see the stunning views of the area!

 

exterior view of Exploration Tower in Cape Canaveral from below

Things To Do Nearby

Want to see more of what Cape Canaveral has to offer? Consider booking a bike tour!

Recommended Hotel Near The Exploration Tower 👉 The Inn At Cocoa Beach

 

 

In an area filled with parks, Cherie Down Park is a 7-acre beach park, just under 2 miles north of the Cocoa Beach Pier!

Take a walk on the boardwalk past the seagrass and sandy beach dunes. 

This park has BBQ grills, pavilions, sheltered picnic areas, and outdoor showers.

Cherie Down Park

📌 8330 Ridgewood Ave, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920

Things To Do Nearby

Nearby restaurants include Ellie May’s Tiki Bar, DiLorenzo’s Pizza and Subs, and Vargas Cafe.

Or you can grab a beer at Florida Beer Company or Preacher Bar.

Recommended Rental Near Cherie Down Park 👉 Radisson Resort At The Port

 

 

Seagull Park is located in Satellite Beach, a 20-minute drive south of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

This small beach park is less than 2 acres and there’s not a lot of available parking here, either.

Still, Seagull Park is a nice spot for its appealing landscape, easy access to the beach, fishing, and surfing.  There is a small picnic area here, too.

Seagull Park

📌 285 Highway A1A Satellite Beach, FL 32937

Things To Do Nearby

A couple of beaches near Seagull Park include Pineda Beach Park to the north and Hightower Beach Park to the south.

For info on Hightower Beach and more beaches in Satellite Beach, go here!

Just a 5-minute drive from Seagull Park is Manatee Cove Golf Course where you can play golf and enjoy the tiki bar!

Get seafood or wings at Goombay’s Beachside nearby.

Recommended Hotel Near Seagull Park 👉 Double Tree Suites by Hilton Oceanfront

 

 

Just north of Indian Harbour Beach and a 25-minute drive south of the Cocoa Beach Pier, is Pelican Beach Park.

One of the most underrated Cocoa area beaches, Pelican Beach Park is a nice place for a family gathering or picnic since there are several picnic pavilions that you can rent.

The park also has BBQ grills, a playground, outdoor showers, and a sand volleyball court.

Pelican Beach Park

📌 1525 Highway A1A, Satellite Beach, FL 32937

Things To Do Nearby

While here, you’re right next to Samsons Nature Park  that’s worth exploring.

Also, a popular place for bird watching, camping, boating, and more!

Recommended Hotel Near Pelican Beach Park 👉 Sea Glass Inn

 

 

sunny day at the beach with beautiful big waves at Bonsteel Park in Melbourne Beach Florida

Just under an hour’s drive south of the Cocoa Beach Pier is Bonsteel Park in Melbourne Beach!

Take a stroll on the boardwalk to the beach or hike the area trails to the Indian River.

This beach park is just over 2 acres and is also a great place for surfing and fishing.

Bonsteel Beach Park

📌 8455 Florida A1A, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951

Things To Do Nearby

Walk over to the Barrier Island Sanctuary, just north of the park, where they have kayaking/canoeing, hiking, a nature center, and gift shop, tours, and wildlife viewing.

And for more fishing, try a fishing charter!

Recommended Hotel Near Bonsteel Beach Park 👉 Sea View Inn

 

 

Also known as the Howard E. Futch Memorial Park, Paradise Beach boasts over 12 acres and has lots of amenities.

Things offered here are picnic areas with pavilions, BBQ grills, a playground, restrooms, showers, volleyball courts, and seasonal lifeguards.

Paradise Beach & Park

📌 2301 N Hwy A1A, Melbourne, FL 32903

Things To Do Nearby

Nearby restaurants include Mel’s Tiki Cafe and Bunky’s Raw Bar & Seafood Grill.

Recommended Hotel Near Paradise Beach 👉 Radisson Suite Hotel Oceanfront

Part of the Canaveral National Seashore, Playalinda Beach is noted for being an undeveloped stretch of beach and a popular surfing location.

Of all the Cocoa area beaches, this is one of the best spots to watch shuttle launches!

This section of beach is almost 25 miles wide and less than an hour’s drive north of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

As it’s part of the national park, there are entrance fees.  It’s currently $20 per vehicle/day.

Playalinda Beach

📌 Florida State Road 406/402, Titusville, FL 32796

Things To Do Nearby

While at Playalinda Beach, you’re not far from the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

This preserve is open to the public and is known for its wide variety of habitats and many species of wildlife from birds to reptiles.

Recommended Hotel Near Playalinda Beach 👉 Fairfield Inn

 

 

There are many spots around Cocoa Beach that are great to watch the space shuttle launches!

My friends and I came to the Space Coast to watch the Space X shuttle launch.

Soon after arriving, though, we discovered that the launch had been postponed due to rough weather.  

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to witness the launch, but there are many spots around Cocoa Beach and on this list, that are great to watch the space shuttle launches!

Right now, some of the viewing points have changes and restrictions due to COVID-19.

See online for details on the best viewing locations.

And see the upcoming launch schedule here!

Kennedy Space Center is one of the best things to do in the Cocoa Beach area

If you need a break from the Cocoa beaches, Kennedy Space Center  is easily one of the top attractions of Florida’s Space Coast!

It’s located on Merritt Island, Florida, about 30 minutes north of the Cocoa Beach Pier.

The Kennedy Space Center has several attractions including an IMAX theater, space artifacts, shopping and dining areas, shows, interactive games, exhibits, as well as mission and training simulations.

Recommended Hotel Near Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex 👇

Townplace Suites

small kiosks and local stores in the Cocoa Beach Historic Village

Just a short drive from the Cocoa beaches, Cocoa Village is a fantastic place to go for shopping, food, and different events throughout the year.

When we visited the area, the Arts and Crafts Show going on so we decided to check it out.

The city of Cocoa Beach has an Arts and Craft Show four weekends a year, in March, May, October, and the first weekend in December.

Here, they have a couple of hundred vendors, exhibitors, and shops selling products in the park and on the downtown streets.

different booths and visitors in Arts and Crafts Show Fair in Cocoa Beach Florida

Arts and Crafts Show Fair Cocoa Beach

The Arts and Craft Show has paintings, photos, food, drinks, crafts, and more for sale.

They also have live music and admission is free.

Definitely a fun thing to check out if you’re in the area while this is going on.

Cocoa Village also has a Holiday Boat Parade and Holiday Bicycle Parade in December and many other events throughout the year.

Other events in Cocoa Village include car shows, market days, and more.

Things To Do Nearby

While here, be sure to visit Lee Wenner Park, a waterfront park along the Indian River.

There are several restaurants nearby.  Grab some grub at Ryan’s Pizza and Pub or Cryderman’s Barbecue.

You can also take a Village Food Tour to explore the local foods and learn about the history of the area!

Recommended Hotel Nearby Cocoa Village 👉 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Cocoa Beach Travel Posts

Cocoa Beach is one of the closest beaches to Orlando and is a recommended destination for a spring break getaway

Booking a last-minute trip to Cocoa Beach?  

If so, we have you covered.  Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!

Top Tours in Cocoa Beach

Thousand Island Tour w/ Kayaking (Cocoa Beach’s Thousand Island Guided Tour)

Dolphin Tours On The Banana River (See Dolphins And Manatees!)

Manatee And Dolphin Kayak Tour (Guided Kayak Tour)

Sunset Catamaran Sail (Enjoy The Wildlife And Sunset In Merritt Island)

Manatee & Dolphin Kayak Tour (Highest-Rated Kayak Tour In Cocoa Beach)

Top Hotels In Cocoa Beach

Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach(Perfect For Solo Travelers & Couples)

Hilton Garden Inn Cocoa Beach-Oceanfront – (Beachfront And Poolside View)

Courtyard By Marriott Cocoa Beach Cape Canaveral – (Top-Rated Nearby Beach)

Anthony’s On The Beach – (Top-Rated Budget Hotel)

 Looking To Get Around In Cocoa Beach

Check out rental car rates here! 🚗

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