WEEKEND ESCAPE IN COCOA BEACH
Stretching down a wide coastline of warm, sandy beaches lies the city of Cocoa Beach. “Space Coast” is what it's often referred to given it's proximity to the Kennedy Space Center, but Cocoa Beach is well known for its great surfing and laid back bars and restaurants. I think Cocoa Beach is the perfect weekend escape.
Cocoa Beach is the perfect weekend escape from Orlando, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my time. You can relax on the beach, eat on a unique pier with a unique take on food, and learn about the history of space exploration at the NASA space center. So often, people come to Orlando for a conference or to head to the theme parks, but I think part of your trip should be coming to Cocoa Beach for some rest and relaxation.
I've been to a lot of beaches, and Florida's beaches still remain some of my favorites. The wide beaches make it the perfect place to stroll up and down, looking for shells and enjoying the sunset or sunrise. One of the coolest parts about the Westgate resort is that they offer complimentary surf lessons! You can simply sign up and get an hour free with a skilled surfer. Even if you've never done it before (like us) you'll get to learn quite a lot. I know Michael really enjoyed it and even mastered getting up and riding a wave.
Built in 1962 the large pier, 800 feet in length, is very unique for Florida's coast. Much effort was put into restoring the pier. Specifically, they wanted to improve the pier structurally, without changing it. The Riki Tiki Bar at the end to the pier was built by the Seminole Indian tribe and is a beautiful feature to the outstretched pier.
There are five restaurants on the property, offering a variety of different foods, delicious frozen cocktails and a full bar. Pelican's Bar and Grill overlooks the ocean and offers traditional beach food staples (burgers, fried fish, chicken) and some very inventive dishes that I enjoyed! The chef crafted the menu with Asian-fusion cuisine that really stands out at the beach. This is a great place to look out at the ocean or watch the sunset. Make sure to try the oysters- some of the best I've ever tasted.
This was my favorite thing we did in Cocoa Beach! I wasn't sure what to expect, but we found it an educational and heartwarming experience. I was filled with a sense of joy learning about our country's history of space exploration and the defining moments that shaped the future of understanding the world beyond earth. We started with a bus tour that gave us an overview of the space center and you learn about the vastness of the facility. For example, the largest doors in the world were built here, for the Apollo program. From here, we went to different buildings to learn about the history of different missions, see space suits and learn more about exploration.