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Whether you want to feel the sand between your toes or see a rocket fire into space, there are plenty of things to do in Cocoa Beach, FL!
This guide explores all of the popular Cocoa Beach attractions situated by the Atlantic Ocean and some in Cocoa itself; both areas are connected by causeways, best reached by car.
We also feature lesser-known activities, so if you are a local or visiting Cocoa Beach on a return trip, you’ll be sure to discover something new to add to your itinerary.
Fun Things to Do in Cocoa Beach, FL
As with all of our Florida guides, we have organized our travel article in an orderly fashion; all of the things to do are close to each other, which means you can build your own itinerary easily!
Let’s start at Cocoa Beach before working our way south to Downtown, then over the bridge to Historic Cocoa Village.
Sunbathe at Cocoa Beach
The city of Cocoa Beach offers over six miles of sandy shores with distinct beach and oceanside park areas.
The most popular stretch is Cocoa Beach, as this is where you will find the most amenities such as showers, restrooms, bars, restaurants, snack bar, beach store, (paid for) parking, and even chair and shade rental.
It takes less than five minutes to walk from the parking lot to the ocean, so you can unload with ease if you don’t want to use the rental services.
Helpful tip: bring loose change and cards for parking, as no parking lot is the same!
Unlike other beaches in Cocoa Beach, this area has full-time lifeguards on patrol for visitor safety.
The beach is split by the 800-foot historic pier, which is home to stores and two restaurants.
While the pier is built up for thirsty big kids, spending the day in the sand is one of the most popular things to do in Cocoa Beach for families.
Cool Down with a Soft Serve
Located at the entrance of Cocoa Beach, just after the parking lot, Sea Dogs (401 Meade Ave) is a snack stall that serves delicious soft-serve ice cream and hot dogs.
Expect long lines on hot days, but the sugar cones are worth it!
Cocoa Beach Boardwalk Entertainment
All of the most popular Cocoa Beach attractions are located on and around the 800 ft Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier.
The historic pier was first built in 1962 and is where visitors will find restrooms, a beach store, and two restaurants with incredible views.
Even if you don’t plan to dine at one of these Cocoa Beach restaurants, you should walk through Pier 62 to the open-air section of the pier for observation opportunities.
If sticking around for sundown, grab a table at one of the bars for a front-row seat to a spectacular Atlantic golden hour.
Alternatively, arrive for sunset to capture some cool shots under the pier.
Dine and Drink at the Tiki Bar
While you’ll find more of a cluster of bars in Cocoa Beach’s Downtown, the most happening spot for drinks is Rikki Tiki Tavern on the Cocoa Beach Boardwalk (401 Meade Ave).
The open-air bar seats 100 and offers views over both sides of Cocoa Beach.
Bar seats and tables are housed under a thatched roof, so you can enjoy a frozen cocktail while avoiding the midday sun.
The pier bar also serves a food menu of beach eats, fish dishes, soups, and salads.
Pier 62 for Seafood
Dine on a light dish of sushi or seafood at Cocoa Beach’s Pier 62 Restaurant, offering both al fresco dining and roll-down windows for those who prefer shade.
Note: patrons must be dressed and dry to dine indoors at Pier 62.
Surfing in Cocoa Beach
Whether you are a seasoned surfer or on the shore to learn, you won’t be disappointed with the waves at Cocoa Beach; it is the home of Kelly Slater, after all.
Learn to surf during this one-hour beginners lesson, where you will be taught the basics and have ample time to practice what you’ve learned in the water!
Avid surfing fans will know that Cocoa Beach has been instrumental in the making of the surfing community on the East Coast, and visitors can learn more about it at the Florida Surf Museum (4275 N Atlantic Ave).
Stock Up at the Beach Market
Grab an icy bottle of water, cold beer, or frozen popsicle at the local beach market located just before you enter the popular Cocoa Beach sign.
Trader Rick’s Marketplace (380 Meade Ave) also stocks souvenirs and beach accessories.
For more active things to do at Cocoa Beach, reserve a bike rental from Trader Rick’s and pedal your way around town.
Things to Do at Downtown Cocoa Beach Florida
Spend the Morning Shopping and Dining
Start the day at one of the many cafes dotted along North Orlando Avenue in Downtown Cocoa Beach and stick around for lunch before hitting the shops.
Buy your beachwear before you head to the sand, check out the street art, or enjoy a cocktail on a lovely day.
Look out for the Kelly Slater Statue by artist Tasha Drazich that pays homage to the multi-award-winning surfer born in Cocoa Beach.
I Dream of Jeannie Marker
Close to Lori Wilson Park, you will find a sign that states – Cocoa Beach played a part in the TV drama I Dream of Jeannie (1965 to 1979) starring Larry Hagman, who played astronaut Major Anthony Nelson, and Barbara Eden as Jeannie, the 2000-year-old genie.
Lori Wilson Park
Families love Lori Wilson Park (1500 N Atlantic Ave) for its playground and beach access.
You could easily spend a morning or afternoon here taking advantage of the pavilions and grills.
The 32.43-acre regional park offers beach boardwalk access that protects the local dunes, restrooms, showers, and seasonal lifeguards.
Fishing can be done from the ocean, and there is a dog park for furry friends.
This is one of the free Cocoa beaches that does not have parking charges.
Sidney Fischer Park
Sidney Fischer Park (2200 N Atlantic Ave) is another Cocoa Beach option that has shelter for visitors seeking shade.
It, too offers a playground, showers, and restrooms.
Parking is charged.
Cherie Down Beach
Since there is no entertainment boardwalk or downtown, the 7-acre Cherie Down Beach (8330 Ridgewood Ave) enjoys fewer crowds, which is ideal for bathers who want a more peaceful day out.
There’s also free parking and views over Cape Canaveral!
The sand closest to the dunes is softer, whereas the ocean stretch is rough with shells.
The downside to Cherie Down Beach is that there are limited amenities when it comes to rentals or dining, but it does offer restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic shelters, and grills.
It is recommended to pack chairs as you might get bitten by the creatures in the sand!
Space Tourism at Cocoa Beach
Many flocked to Cocoa Beach on 6 May 1961, to watch Alan Shepard being propelled into space!
There’s even a 5-acre park named after him, Shepard’s Park (299 E Cocoa Beach Causeway).
Today, visitors can keep track of the Kennedy Space Center’s rocket schedule via social media but don’t set your heart on it since cancelations are common, and some take place during the night.
Any of the Cocoa Beach beaches south of Cape Canaveral will provide viewing opportunities on a clear day…if there is lift-off!
Things to Do at Downtown Cocoa Village, Florida
If you ask locals what to do in Cocoa Beach away from the Pier area, they’d most likely suggest heading to Downtown Cocoa Village for craft beer, great food, live shows, and shopping.
It takes around 20 minutes to drive between the beach and the village, so you will need a designated driver if staying oceanside.
The main street and attractions are located on and around Brevard Avenue.
Cross the Bridge
The city of Cocoa is connected to Cocoa Beach by the Martin Anderson Beachline Expressway/A1A and the Merritt Island Causeway/Hubert Humphrey Bridge (West Cocoa Beach Causeway).
Both routes go over the Indian River and the Banana River.
Take in the lush view as you cross over, especially if you are the passenger!
Look to Cape Canaveral to see if there is any activity over at NASA.
Hide From the Sun at Myrt Tharpe Square
Once you’ve parked up at Cocoa Historic Village, make your way to Myrt Tharpe Square (12 Stone St) for a central shaded spot.
Here you’ll find benches, a water faucet, and the gazebo that is used for community events.
Antilles Trading Company Maritime Pirate Museum
Ahoy, there, mateys!
Learn more about nautical life in Florida through the 300 artifacts held at Antilles Trading Company Maritime Pirate Museum (641 Brevard Ave).
From shipyards to shipwrecks, there are heaps of items to keep all ages entertained.
The museum also puts on frequent events; check out the official social media channels for the schedule.
See a Show at Cocoa Village Playhouse
Join locals as they take in a show at the Cocoa Village Playhouse (CVP at 300 Brevard Ave), which opened its doors in 1928 as the Aladdin Theater.
From Broadway on Brevard to ballet, throughout the year, a variety of performances takes over this historic stage, with some shows selling out.
This is one of the best things to do in Cocoa Beach with kids, but you have to act fast to ensure a seat.
Florida Historical Society
Find out more about the city at the Florida Historical Society.
The library began documenting papers in 1905, and today you can look at rare and out-of-print books, maps going back to the 1500s, and photographs and postcards from around the Sunshine State.
Look Out for Art
Look up, look down, and look all around for the city’s street art scene.
Community regeneration projects have commissioned many of the murals on the pavements and walls of Cocoa.
Get Lost in a Book
Hello Again Books (411 Brevard Ave) is an LGBTQ+ woman-owned small indie business selling and promoting new and used books.
Pop in to see the ever-changing shelves and lovely decor, and to buy a book, of course!
The owner also hosts and participates in a number of safe space events.
Drink Like a Brit
Bar hopping is one of the top-rated things to do in Cocoa Beach for couples — local and visiting — so start the engines at the George & Dragon English Tavern (502 Brevard Ave) for beer, wine, cocktails, and a game of darts!
This veteran-owned bar has two lounges – red for a more upmarket experience and blue for pub vibes.
Well Fired Wagyu
If you are salivating at the thought of a meat market with a side serving of BBQ, Crydermans (405 Florida Ave) is the Cocoa restaurant for you.
The BBQ menu consists of popular items such as brisket, sausage, and turkey, or you can pick up more unique options like elk and duck at the butcher’s section.
Watch Live Sports
For a relaxed drink, American pub grub, and big games on TV, head to Time Out (607 Florida Ave)
This airy bar’s food menu consists of pizza, salads, burgers, and wings.
Enjoy a Dram
Tin Whiskey Southern Kitchen (3 Forrest Ave) at the ‘other end of the village’ is where you’ll experience live music, open-air dining, and a drinks menu of wine, beer, and whiskey cocktails.
Look out for happy hour and Sunday brunch with biscuits.
Live Music at Cocoa Riverfront Park
Directly across from Merritt Island, Cocoa Riverfront Park (401 Riveredge Blvd) is a recreational space featuring a splash pad, a paved walkway by the water, and an amphitheater for live shows.
Visitors can also enjoy watching boats bob about the Cocoa Yacht Basin by the Hubert Humphrey Bridge.
Play Games and Drink Beer at REC 225
Get your bocce on at Rec 225 (225 King St), which offers over 50 games from childhood favorites like Pacman to adults only, Cards Against Humanity!
This large bar also hosts trivia night and puts on a simple menu of handhelds, fries, and bowls.
Kids are welcome at this Cocoa bar.
Craft Beer at Bugnutty
Who else loves saying Bugnutty (225 King St Unit B)?
Just us, OK!
Bugnutty Brewing Company is a taproom located at the industrial building where craft beer is brewed.
Bar seating and tables are available, as well as big-screen TVs and flights for those who can’t decide which crafty to go for.
Unusual Cocoa Beach Souvenirs
It doesn’t quite get more kooky than Parrot’s Cove Mall (625 Florida Ave)!
Get lost in the myriad of rooms where you’ll find stacks of home antiques, clothing, beauty products, and coastal souvenirs.
Visiting this 6,000 sq ft store is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Cocoa Beach for those looking to take home something special or unusual.
Cocoa at Christmas
Dotted around the Downtown Village, you’ll see tasteful Christmas decor via trees, wreaths, and banners.
One banner states ‘Hot Cocoa Holidays’ – is it a possible nod to one theory on how the city got its name?
Legend has it a lady used to call out ‘hot cocoa’ to sailors passing through the Indian River.
You’re also only just over an hour from Florida’s Christmas town, Celebration!
Here snow falls every night on the run up to Xmas, and kids can skate while the sun shines; quite the surreal experience for out-of-towners.
Things to Do Near Cocoa Beach
Once you’ve exhausted all of the above Cocoa Beach activities, hop in the car and head on a day trip to one of the following suggestions located close to the city.
Wizard of Oz Museum
Click your heels three times and watch as you are whisked away to the Wizard of Oz Museum (7099 N Atlantic Ave)!
This trippy self-guided experience includes immersive 3D laser projections and thousands of artifacts related to the Wizard of Oz movie and book.
Remember, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!
Get up close and personal with the complex responsible for hundreds of launches at NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
An entrance ticket includes access to Space Shuttle Atlantis, a bus tour, an astronaut’s view of space captured and shown at the IMAX cinema, the shuttle simulator, and a virtual moonwalk.
A must for space fans of all ages!
Or check out our guide on how to get to Kennedy Space Center from Orlando if you prefer to do day trips from a more central point.
Florida Bioluminescent Tour
The guided tour takes place at night on Florida’s only bioluminescent lagoon, located on the Indian River, so you can experience the bioluminescent comb-jellyfish in cooler months or the dinoflagellate plankton during summer months.
Guides are very knowledgeable about sea life and the bioluminescent, and first time kayakers are welcome.
Meet Mickey at Walt Disney World, drink Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios, and soar to the highest heights on The Wheel at ICON Park International Drive, all of which are accessible from around an hour’s drive from Cocoa Beach!
Find out more in our guides below.
Our Orlando Travel Guides
- Orlando Bucket List
- Orlando on a Budget
- Romantic Things to do in Orlando
- Things to Do on International Drive
- Kennedy Space Center Tours
- All Orlando Guides
Where to Stay in Cocoa Beach
Hotels in Cocoa Beach
La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Cocoa Beach-Port Canaveral’s guests appreciate its heated outdoor pool and hot and cold continental breakfast. It is a little cheaper than the Best Western. Check rates and dates at Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.
Motels in Cocoa Beach
Motel 6 in Cocoa Beach is attractive to those on a budget as it offers free parking and coffee. Rooms feature a mini-fridge, TV with cable, and WiFi. Check rates and dates at Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.
Condo Rental in Cocoa Beach
This 1-bed condo is less than a five-minute walk to the beach.
Guests love the clean, modern decor and large TV.
This 3-bed condo is a better option for larger groups, and it has a hot tub!
RV Parks in Cocoa Beach
Carver’s Cove RV Resort overlooks Banana River and offers showers and laundry facilities. There is also a fishing pier.
Camping in Cocoa Beach
Campers will need to travel to Cocoa Beach as tent camping options are situated either close to Cape Canaveral at Jetty Park Campground or Long Point Park at Melbourne Beach.
Cocoa Beach Travel Information
So where is Cocoa Beach in Florida?
The Brevard County city is sandwiched between Cape Canaveral in the north and Satellite Beach in the south, on the Sunshine State’s Space Coast.
‘Founded’ as Indian River by fishermen in 1860, or even earlier in 1925 by Gus Edward, depending on what literature you read, the coastal region was home to the Ais (pronounced Ay-ess) People long before official records show.
The closest airport is Orlando International, which is around 60 miles away.
Cocoa Beach is famous for its sandy shores, wild surf, and proximity to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, all of which make it one of our favorite Florida beach towns.
What activities will you do? Tell us in the comments below.