9 Things to Do in Cocoa Beach

Kayak, surf or enjoy fresh seafood on the pier in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
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Written by Alisha McDarris
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Edited by Meg Lee
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If it’s a sunny beach vacation you’re after, head to Cocoa Beach, Florida, home to surf breaks, wildlife and space museums. And if you’re looking for ways to fill your days, here are nine things to do in Cocoa Beach.

1. Soak up some sun on the beach

If there was one thing that enticed you to plan a Florida vacation, it was probably the beach. After all, the state has more coastline than any other in the contiguous U.S. And Cocoa Beach has plenty of sandy waterfront where you can spread out and enjoy some sunshine any time of year.

Some of the most popular areas are Canaveral National Seashore, Cocoa Beach Pier, Alan Shepard Park and Cherie Down Park, but there are plenty of options depending on if you want a lively spot to build a sandcastle, catch some waves, or simply lie back and chill.

2. Take a surfing lesson

The surf culture in Cocoa Beach is alive and well, and there are plenty of spots to rent a board. If you’re new to the sport, Cocoa Beach is an ideal place to sign up for a group or private lesson.

The School of Surf and Ron Jon Surf School are two popular options, but many more local surf shops and schools offer lessons, too.

3. Peruse the pier

The Cocoa Beach Pier is a hot spot for bustling activity. From dining at waterfront restaurants and bars to fishing and shopping, you’re bound to find a way to pass a few hours, even if lying on the beach isn’t at the top of your to-do list.

The boardwalk itself extends 800 feet over the water and offers a nice place to sit, meander, and just enjoy the view. But you can also rent beach equipment, play beach volleyball and grab a few souvenirs while you’re at it.

4. Get adventurous on the water

Cocoa Beach offers a wide array of adrenaline-pumping activities outside of surfing.

You could rent a kayak or paddle board and hit the open ocean or explore the mangroves of the Thousand Islands, go parasailing, learn to windsurf, even try kiteboarding.

5. Spot wildlife from the water

Take a wildlife tour by boat, kayak or paddle board. Companies like Fin Expeditions and Cocoa Kayaking offer activities like nighttime bioluminescent tours, guided paddles through the mangroves, and dolphin- and manatee-spotting tours at the wildlife refuge.

For those who prefer to sit back and let an engine do the work so they can enjoy the views, there are also a number of eco tours by motorized boat available in Cocoa Beach. Wildside Tours, Cocoa Beach Dolphin Tours and Good Natured River Tours are just a few of the options.

6. Take a trip to Kennedy Space Center

In nearby Cape Canaveral, just 14 miles or so up the road from Cocoa Beach, is Kennedy Space Center. And you don’t have to be a space buff to enjoy a visit; the complex is sprawling and offers a wealth of opportunities to learn, play and explore.

There are lively science presentations, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Rocket Garden, guided tours, the Hubble Space Telescope Theater and astronaut training simulators. Plan to spend most of the day exploring this interactive and educational destination.

7. Visit the largest surf shop in the world

At 52,000 square feet, the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach is the largest surf shop in the world. And whether you surf, skateboard or none of the above, you’re bound to have a blast meandering around the massive space filled with towels, swimwear, hats, sunscreen, jewelry, souvenirs and more.

It’s fun just to browse, but it’s also a great place to grab the beach items you may have forgotten, sign up for a surf lesson or rent beach umbrellas or paddle boards.

8. Head to the park

Take a walk, have a picnic and enjoy the sunshine by exploring the parks and natural spaces around Cocoa Beach.

  • Lori Wilson Park is a popular 32-acre park with a playground, picturesque boardwalk, dunes and beach access.

  • Alan Shepard Park is only 5 acres but offers beach access, plenty of parking and easy walking access to dining and shopping.

  • For picnic tables, a boardwalk stroll and the chance to spot native Florida wildlife, head to Thousand Islands Conservation Area. Water makes up most of the park, but those without a kayak can also enjoy the natural landscape.

9. Visit a local museum

Whether you love a good interactive museum, you need to while away a rainy afternoon or you’re just trying to escape the heat, hit up one of the museums in and around Cocoa Beach.

Options include the Florida Surf Museum, where you’ll learn about the unique surf history of the area; The Dinosaur Store, which is also a fun interactive museum for the whole family; and the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, where you’ll learn about the history of the region, from dinosaur fossils to telescopes.

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