Of all the places I get travel questions about, Cocoa Beach is the most common. I live in Melbourne, just down the road from Cocoa Beach, so I have spent plenty of time there and know the ins and outs of the area. That is why I wanted to share my favorite Cocoa Beach Things To Do!
I covered a lot of these in the Space Coast Travel Guide, but I figured I would break it out for a specifically Cocoa Beach trip. Everything on this list is less than half and hour from the main part of Cocoa Beach. Though it is known as a surf town, you would be surprised by all the things to do in Cocoa Beach.
Cocoa Beach Must-Sees
One of the things I recommend most isn’t actually in the Cocoa Beach. The Kennedy Space Center is in Titusville, but it is a common attraction for those vacationing here to see. I have a whole post full of tips for exploring it, and I think everyone will have an enjoyable time here. There is so much to learn and it’s even cooler seeing the rockets up close.
A few other places to check out in Cocoa Beach, are the Cocoa Beach Pier and the Ron Jon shop! The pier is such a fun place to take a stroll on, get some food and drinks or fish off of. You get a great view of the ocean and you can even hang out on the beach below.
The Ron Jon store is a cool place to visit as well. It has all the cute, Floridian souvenirs you can imagine, plus a huge aquarium. Even if you don’t need to buy anything, it’s a very Cocoa Beach place to experience!
Of course, you would be remiss if you don’t visit the beach here! Jetty Park is a lively place to be, with lots of waves and often events going on. For a more secluded spot, head to Canaveral National Seashore for a beautiful 24 miles of undeveloped coastline. If you are lucky, you might see a rocket launch from here!
Nature Things To Do
A big highlight of visiting the Space Coast, is how close to nature it is. Unlike Miami and Palm Beach, there are still a lot of undeveloped areas to explore. I definitely recommend getting on the water with some sort of paddling tour!
BK Adventures offers a wide range of options, including a sunset kayak tour and a rafting tour. Both of these options include some nighttime paddling where you get to see the bioluminescence light up the water! It is a truly magical experience to see sea creatures lit up and swimming around.
Another nautical adventure I love doing is taking a sunset sail. Sail Cocoa Beach offers both sunset cruises and eco-tours on their catamaran. Both are a relaxing way to explore the intercoastal and learn about its natural ecosystem.
If you prefer to stay on land, there are still plenty of ways to connect with nature. Between June through September, you can see sea turtles crawl up the beach to nest! There are so many in this area that you can just check out any beach at night this time of year and have a good chance of seeing them. I recommend Jetty Park or the Patrick Air Force Base beaches because they are slightly more secluded, or you can go down to Melbourne Beach for a tour.
As for the rest of the year, there are plenty of preserves to take nature walks through. The most well known spot is the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where there are hiking trails of all distances and gator sightings. The Maritime Hammock Preserve is a beautiful place to spot some unique birds and plants. You can even bike the trail here! For a chance to see manatees, head to Merritt Island’s Banana River Aquatic Preserve. Here, you can hike or paddle through the mangroves to see all sorts of wildlife.
If you have a green thumb, the Rockledge Gardens is just the place to visit. You can find and learn about all sorts of native plant species here. Be sure to check their Facebook page before you visit, because they often have events with everything from fall festivals to Goat Yoga!
Active Things To Do
Surfing is one of the other things Cocoa Beach is famous for! It is home to some of the best waves in Florida. If you have always wanted to hang ten, Cocoa Beach is the perfect place to learn. There are multiple shops offering surf lessons for all ages. I have even taken one at the Ron Jon surf shop and learned a lot in just two hours! If you already know how to surf, there are tons of shops to rent boards from.
Another popular Florida activity you can do here is golf! This area may not be Palm Beach, but there are still a variety of courses to play a round at. I recommend The Savannahs Golf Course or the Duran Golf Club, for a moderate course. If you had something more casual in mind, Lighthouse Cove Mini Golf is the best place around for it and so much fun for everyone!
When the weather is nice, there is all sorts of active things to do on the water. In addition to the kayaking or paddle boarding mentioned above, you can try all sorts of water activists like flyboarding, kitesurfing, sailing, or renting a jet ski. For boat trips, there are tons of different excursions options including catamarans, fishing charters, and airboat rides up in Titusville. I recommend checking out Cocoa Beach Jet Ski Rentals for jet skis, boats and more and Castaway Adventures for a fishing charter.
For those wanting to test their climbing skills, there are a few places here. Cocoa Beach Ariel Adventures is a fun place to zip line and climb. The Brevard Zoo is a bit further, but offered Treetop Trek for some highflying fun over the animal enclosures. If you want a cheaper activity, Adventure HQ has rock climbing and a ninja warrior course that is challenging for all ages!
Cultural Things To Do
Even though it’s not a bit city, Cocoa Beach still has a little bit of culture to explore. The downtown areas are where it’s mainly out. Cocoa Village is a historic spot where you can shop and dine by the river. This is home to many of my favorite restaurants and is an overall great place to walk around! There is even a playhouse here if you would like to take in a show. The Eau Gallie Arts District is a bit far away, but that is the other best spot to go for a taste of art.
One of my favorite things to do in Cocoa Beach is take a brewery tour! You can experience this at Playalinda Brewing Company’s the Brix Project in Titisuville or Florida Beer Company in Cape Canaveral. Both of the tours are free, with Florida Beer Company offering one Saturday’s at 4 PM and Playalinda Brewing Co. offering one Sundays at 12:30 PM. It’s a great way to learn about what goes into the brewing process and a good excuse to drink some beer after!
If you prefer something to snack, then I highly recommend Village Food Tours in either Cocoa Village or Port Canaveral. You get to try the best dishes at four different local restaurants in the area. We even learned some history during our eating adventure. It’s great for anyone who likes food and making friends!
There aren’t a ton of museums in the area, and I would argue that the Kennedy Space Center is the best spot for museum buffs. However, if you are short on time, the Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral and the Space Walk of Fame in Titusville are some interesting spots. The Exploration Tower only costs a few dollars to enter and is a neat place to learn about the area and get a great view. The Space Walk is free and features some interesting statues and exhibits about the Space Program.
No matter what time of year you visit Cocoa Beach, there are always events going on! This includes everything from the Cocoa Beach Uncorked Foodie Festival to the frequent Art & Craft fairs. Surf Festivals are common, as well as different running events like the Cocoa Beach Half Marathon I am doing next month! If you happen to be here during the holidays, don’t miss the annual Surfing Santa event! Keep an eye on my Instagram to find about events happening throughout the year.
Know Before You Go: Things To Do in Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral
Whether you are visiting Port Canaveral for a cruise or on a vacation, you will find plenty of things to do in Cocoa Beach. For a vacation, I recommend spending at least one day outside at the beach, another full day at the Kennedy Space Center and Titusville. During the rest of the trip you can do a mixture of the beach and some other activity each day. For locals, I hope this guide has opened your eyes to new things to do in the area! Here’s a few things to keep in mind for your time in Cocoa Beach.
- The best time of year to visit Cocoa Beach is from November through May. It can get very hot in the summer and there is a risk of hurricanes through the fall.
- It’s recommended that you use sunscreen without oxybenzone if you are going in the ocean. Normal sunscreen contains this ingredient, which can be harmful to sea life.
- This area is quite large and it is best to rent a car. Otherwise, you will mainly have to rely on Uber/Lyft to get around, as there are not a lot of walkable areas.
- Do not expect a ton of nightlife here. If you are looking for a party scene, The Sandbar and Coconuts on the Beach are the closest you can find. A lot of bars do have live music and a fun atmosphere at night though.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Cocoa Beach? I just love soaking up all the nature! For more tips for visiting the Space Coast, check out my Space Coast Travel Guide, as well my list of the best restaurants in the area.