Cocoa Beach is one of the more varied areas of Florida’s Space Coast. With a location that brings it within earshot of the greatest aeronautic accomplishments in the nation’s history, and a diverse native environment that allows for activities ranging from the thrilling to the serene, you could spend weeks here. But since you probably don’t have that kind of vacation calendar or are simply looking for a quick weekend getaway, here are four distinct ways to spend three epic days in Cocoa Beach.
Explore Space. As we mentioned, Cocoa Beach was given the gift of being one of the closest cities to the very beginnings of the space race, and that continues on today with 21st-century rockets blasting into the cosmos right up the road at Kennedy Space Center. The KSC Visitor Complex is a terrific way to spend a full day. Open daily at 9 a.m., you can explore everything from spaceflight simulators to getting up close and personal to the actual retired Space Shuttle Atlantis. And while you’re there, don’t miss out on a chance to have lunch with the men and women who flew on that vehicle with a special buffet featuring a rotating cast of astronauts. Seating is limited (and this event is separate from your KSC daily ticket), so be sure to make reservations well ahead of your visit. And the best possible thing to do while exploring everything space is to actually see a launch in action. Check out the launch schedule to see what may be flying while you’re in town.
Explore the Sea. The marvel of Florida’s Space Coast, and one the main reasons you may not want to leave, are the placid warm blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Before you enter it, though, learn some of our surfing history at the Florida Surf Museum. Find out what makes this area so legendary as a surf community, from the people to the spots, and after you do, try a hand at hitting the waves yourself by taking a lesson with the good folks at School of Surf. You may not be Kelly Slater by the end of the day, but at any age and skill level, they’ll get you up to speed on the basics and cruising on a longboard faster than you’d think. If that sounds a little too physical for you, relax and toss a line off the Cocoa Beach Pier, a renowned fishing hole, or even rent a jet ski at Cocoa Beach Jet Ski Rentals.
Explore the Land. It’s not all water and deep space; Cocoa Beach has its share of interesting activities on good old fashioned terra firma, too. A good way to see it all is to just rent a bike at A1A Beach Rentals, and cruise at your own pace. For those with children, the Cocoa Beach Skate Park is considered one of the better such parks in the state, plus admission is only $3. And if you want to get away from the concrete, Cocoa Beach has an abundance of natural habitats to explore: The Thousand Island Conservation area is a natural wonder, great for hiking, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. When there, look for our endangered manatees as they cruise playfully in the shallow waters. There’s no fee to enter the preserve, and many entrance points, so take your time and make a day of it.
Explore the Air: For those looking to get off the ground of Cocoa Beach and into the sultry air above Florida’s Space Coast, there are some interesting options there, as well. What about strapping on a jet pack from East Coast Jet Pack? With their state-of-the-art equipment, this is an option to explore the air that most have never tried. Try the challenging obstacle course above the trees at Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures, or really take to the air with the scenic tours at Florida Biplanes Inc. They have helicopters available as well, and the sunset flights are highly recommended (there’s flat out no better way to see the sunset over the lagoon). Finally, for those needing thrills, try jumping out of a plane at Skydive Titusville; you can get views of the Kennedy Space Center from the comfort of 15,000 feet in the air.
Now, all that may sound like it would take a whole lot more than three days to see, but that’s a good problem to have (and trust us, it can be done). A vacation to Cocoa Beach on Florida’s Space Coast is truly a four-dimensional experience.