Is Cocoa Beach Really Orlando’s Closest Beach?

Aerial view of the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier

The road to a sunny beach is never long – especially if you’re headed to Cocoa Beach on Florida’s Space Coast.

Welcome to Sunny Florida, you’ve landed in Orlando and are ready to dip your toes into the ocean! But wait, do you know where the closest beach is? Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to the Orlando International Airport (MCO). That’s right, the beach where astronauts searched for seashells, and Kelly Slater learned to surf is a mere 52 miles from MCO, that’s only a 55-minute drive!  If you need to get to the sand ASAP, all you need to do is head east on Highway 528, The Beachline, and you’re headed straight for a great time!

Less than an hour’s drive east

Welcome to Florida's Space Coast

Orlando International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States and a preferred airport for travelers headed to one of the many theme parks, out for a cruise, or just looking for some fun in the Florida sun. The Space Coast and its most famous beach, Cocoa Beach, is conveniently located due east of this travel hub, and we love that all you need to do is merge onto Highway 528 Eastbound to get to us.

If you’re renting a car at the airport, be aware that 528 is a toll road, so you will need exactly $2 to pass the tolls and get here. Ask your preferred car rental company how they handle toll roads and their associated fees.

Not feeling like driving after being on a plane? No worries. Several Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral hotels offer room packages with shuttle services to safely transport you and your family from the tarmac to the beach shack. Please call your preferred hotel to learn more about safety precautions and shuttle booking availability.

Exploring Cocoa Beach

The Cove at Port Canaveral

You’ll know you’ve arrived on the Space Coast once you see the massive cruise ships awaiting passengers in Port Canaveral. If you’re starving, take the George King Blvd, exit, and arrive at The Cove, where you’ll find some of the most entertaining waterfront dining in Cape Canaveral. Enjoy watching wildlife play in the water, cruise ships, fishing boats, and sailboats coming and going, and on extremely special days, you’ll see Falcon 9 boosters and other rocket parts being unloaded to head back to Kennedy Space Center for refurbishing and reuse!

If you’re trying to just get to the beach, keep driving! Cocoa Beach is only a few miles away!

Cocoa Beach Pier and Surfers

Your first stop could be the famous Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier, this is where Ron Jon got its start back in the day and one of the best surf spots in the county. Head a little further south to Ron Jon Surf Shop and Cocoa Beach Surf Company where you can pick up all the beach gear you left at home and walk straight to the beach. Set up your umbrella at Alan Shepard Park and enjoy your toes in the sand and the sun in your face. Take a surf lesson if you feel so inclined, you’ve made it to paradise and the beach is your oyster!

When you’re cruising the A1A keep your eyes peeled, there are turn-offs every few miles that lead to both metered parking and free parking near beach access points including county and city parks. Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach has free parking and miles of boardwalk trails to hike when the beach sun becomes too much, as well as bathroom and shower facilities for the weary traveler.

Lori Wilson Park

The Space Coast is Always Worth the Drive

Cocoa Beach is full of attractions and activities that you won’t find in Orlando. When you’re ready to leave the beach, there’s so much more left to do! Stop at Carib Brewery USA in Cape Canaveral to try some local brews, check out one of the many incredible dining options in the area. Or take the kids to the Dinosaur Store and Museum and Ancient Culture. Looking to get off the ground again? Beachside Helicopters and Florida Air Tours offer a sky-high view of the whole Space Coast. Better yet, check out Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures, to zip line the coast.


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You Don’t Have to Go Home Either!

With hundreds of hotels, motels, and vacation rentals in the area, you can be sure to lay your head on a clean, cool pillow at night and wake up to an iconic Space Coast sunrise the next morning.

Sunrise From the Condo

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Cocoa Beach is Orlando’s closest beach and if you haven’t been here yet, what are you waiting for?

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