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Cocoa Beach
Photograph: Stacy HiltonCocoa Beach, along Florida's Space Coast, has beautiful beaches, a world-famous pier, Ron Jon's, the world's largest surf shop, beautiful hiking through nature preserves, and mankind's greatest journey at the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

The best things to do in Cocoa Beach

Soak up the sun at the beach or tour a dinosaur museum at Cocoa Beach. Yes, that says dinosaur museum.

Megan duBois
Written by
Megan duBois
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Just about an hour’s drive outside of Orlando is Cocoa Beach. The capital of surf culture in Florida is known for its clear waters, decent-sized waves, and proximity to Kennedy Space Center. While enjoying the area, it’s easy to spend the entire time relaxing on the beach, but many of the best things to do in Cocoa Beach are just a few steps away from the sunny shoreline. 

The area is family-friendly, though couples and solo travelers looking for a vibrant beach town will also find plenty to do here. From eco-tours and water sports to golf and museums, there’s an abundance of activities in Cocoa Beach that will please any traveler or beach bunny. One great thing about Cocoa Beach is how affordable everything is. With big destinations like Daytona Beach and Miami Beach getting most of the buzz these days, you’ll find many of the same highlights but more budget-friendly at Cocoa Beach. Keep reading to learn about the nine best things to do in Cocoa Beach.

Best things to do in Cocoa Beach

The beach at 16th Street South is the home to Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park. The community beach park is a favorite with locals looking to hit the sand. The direct beach access takes you over a planked boardwalk surrounded by overarching trees that feel more like a tropical jungle than a beach crossover. Once you get to the white sand beaches, you’ll spot every type of beachgoer, from surfers hitting the waves to families having oceanside picnics.

Just a few minutes from the ocean is the Cocoa Beach Spa. While it might not seem like much from the outside, the spa often gets rave reviews from patrons who book services. The vibe is that of a vintage beach house with large beach photos and wall decorations, but don’t let that deter you. The spa is known for its pre-cruise services for those driving to Cape Canaveral for a cruise vacation. Those looking to pamper their feet can get a copper pot pedicure as they sink into large cozy chairs.

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2nd Light Beach
Photograph: Stacy Hilton

3. 2nd Light Beach

One of the most popular beaches in Cocoa Beach is 2nd Light Beach, aptly named by its location at the second traffic light as you travel south out of the city. If you miscount the lights, just look for cars with surfboards tied to the roof since this is one of the best surf spots in the area. While the beach does cater to surfers, it’s also a great one for walking along the shore and enjoying the sounds of the waves before heading to your next destination.

On rainy days or after hitting the beach, you’ll want to consider going to the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures. The dinosaur section of the museum is located on the top two floors of the Dinosaur Store, with exhibits featuring real fossils. The third floor houses the Ancient Cultures exhibit, with hundreds of artifacts from Egypt, China, and Africa. There is also a recreation of King Tut’s Tomb and the Terracotta Soldiers.

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If you’ve ever wanted to learn to surf, take a lesson with Ron Jon Surf School. The lessons are geared towards beginners, so there’s no pressure in not knowing what you’re doing. The rest of the class likely has no clue either. Each instructor is certified in CPR and basic life support and has years of ocean experience themselves. There’s no other surf school we would trust more than this one. Surfs up!

Lori Wilson Park
Photograph: Stacy Hilton

6. Lori Wilson Park

Another great beach in the area is Lori Wilson Park. The beach is known for its compact sand near the water and shallow waters. A great spot for families with small kids looking to get in some beach time before the day ends, Lori Wilson Park is also excellent for surfing amateurs, thanks largely to the consistency of the small waves. Parking here is free, and as a public beach, there’s no fee to walk along the shore either. The park is also part of the State of Florida Great Florida Birding Trail, where migratory birds fly overhead and sing their beautiful songs.

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Wildside Tours specializes in two-hour eco-tours, given daily. Each tour is given over a six to 15-mile radius, as determined by the captain of each ship. There’s no set route or presentation given, and captains are given full decision-making power based on the weather, animal locations, and whatever the passengers want to see. You could do this tour multiple times during your trip to Cocoa Beach and never have the same experience twice.

After the sun sets in Cocoa Beach, there’s still plenty to do, including exciting escape games at Escape Cocoa Beach. Each of the four escape rooms has a different theme, from a bank heist to a wrongful arrest by a small-town sheriff. Each game lasts one hour, and the goal is to break out before the clock hits zero. Games range in difficulty from 3.5 to 4.5, and each is $29 per person to play.

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Those looking for a fun activity away from the beach will want to get to Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures. The obstacle course park has 49 unique challenges set over a canopy of live oak trees. Seven different trails are divided into three difficulty levels. Each obstacle is meant to be done as an individual versus as a group, which is the case for most obstacle courses. All ages, strengths, and adventure levels are encouraged to participate and play along.

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