A day trip to Cocoa Beach is perfect if you are coming from Orlando. Between the picturesque views, family-friendly activities and 72 miles of beaches – you may even want to stay a little longer. Here are 11 things to do on a day trip to Cocoa Beach with kids.
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1 – Beach Day
The most obvious reason to take a day trip to Cocoa Beach with kids from Orlando is to have a little fun in the sun. With 72 miles of coastline, there can be a lot of beaches to choose from. Cocoa Beach is well-known for its playful Atlantic waves, so bring a boogie board!
If you have a family, I would highly recommend Lori Wilson Park because it usually has plenty of free parking, restroom facilities, play ground, picnic pavilions, showers and they even offer chair rentals.
2 -Canaveral National Seashore
Canaveral National Seashore is the longest stretch of untouched beach along Florida’s east coast. Every time I have visited Canaveral National Seashore I have seen a plentiful variety of wildlife like roseate spoonbills, scrub jays and turtles.
There are no condos, no hotels, nothing. It’s completely natural and untouched.
Canaveral National Seashore does require an entrance fee of $15 per vehicle and the restroom facilities have composting toilets. Canaveral National Seashore is very remote, so if you plan to spend the day there, I would pack a lunch. Cell phone service can also be spotty in some areas.
There are several vistas to stop at along the way to view the scenery and wildlife. Parking lot 1 is great, if parking is available.
You will definitely want to take along your own Sand Toy Set so your kids can play in the sand.
3 – Cocoa Beach Pier
Located at 401 Meade Avenue in Cocoa Beach, FL, the pier is a surfing and fishing hot spot. But the 800 foot pier is also a great place to dine and shop with a waterfront view.
Parking for the Cocoa Beach Pier is around $20 but they typically waive this fee in the evening after 5PM.
Another fun thing to do in Cocoa Beach with kids is go fishing. Besides the Cocoa Beach Pier, there is another great location for fishing – Jetty Park.
With views of the famous Kennedy Space Center and the chance to witness dolphins, turtles and manatees, the 1200 foot pier is the perfect place to cast a line and relax.
There is a $15 parking fee for Jetty Park. Jetty Park is also a great place to surf, swim, sunbathe and enjoy a picnic in one of the pavilions.
Please Note, you will need to bring your own Fishing Pole with you to fish at Jetty Park.
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5 – Turtle Walk Tour
Aside from all of the fun in Cocoa Beach, there is also a lot of nature. Nesting season runs from March through September. You can go on a turtle walk tour to see Loggerhead sea turtles lay eggs in May, June and July. You must register in advance and this isn’t recommended for small children or anyone with mobility issues. Visit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society to learn more about turtle walks.
Note: This activity probably won’t work well during a day trip but I wanted to include it because it is such an incredible experience.
6 – Golf N Gator
Enjoy a fun miniature golf course with your family and get the chance to see, feed and hold live alligators. They also have other reptiles and insects that you can view.
7 – Paddling
One of the best ways to experience Cocoa Beach with kids is by exploring the thousand islands on a guided eco tour. You can contact Cocoa Beach Kayaking to learn more about their tours and rentals.
8 – Ron Jon Surf Shop
You may have seen a few bill boards advertising the world’s largest Ron Jon surf shop. With such a colorful history in the surfing scene, Cocoa Beach has quite a reputation in the surfing community. The famous Kelly Slater grew up surfing Cocoa Beach!
The Ron Jon surf shop is fun for everyone to look around and maybe pick up a souvenir.
9 – Surfing
If you enjoy surfing, then you will adore Cocoa Beach. Head to Jetty Park during your day trip for a great surfing destination.
10 – Watch Rocket Launches
The Kennedy Space Center is viewable from Cocoa Beach. The beaches of Cocoa Beach are insanely good for watching rocket launches. Check out the launch schedule to see if there is one during your trip.
11 – Waterfront Dining
You can finish up your day with a waterfront dinner at Coconuts on the Beach. A favorite dish of mine is the Mahi tacos but they also serve excellent burgers if you aren’t a fan of seafood. The coconut shrimp look delicious too!
You may not be able to fit everything into a day trip but hopefully you can come back and explore some more. If you come back for a full trip to Cocoa Beach, you should plan a bioluminescent paddling tour with Adventure Kayak. The Indian River Lagoon is the most biodiverse ecosystem in the world and during the summer months, you can see comb jellies light up the water with a soft glow. It is an incredible experience!
There are a lot of fun things to do in Cocoa Beach with kids. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you have a great time!
Written by Heather Hinson – Heather, along with her husband, is a Cocoa Beach photographer based in Central Florida. She loves kayaking, going to the beach and theme parks.
Photos courtesy of Heather Hinson