Cocoa Beach is one sweet oceanside retreat. On the shores of the Atlantic, along Florida’s Space Coast, it’s conveniently close to Central Florida’s best theme parks and the legendary Kennedy Space Center. And this city has it all: fine coastal dining, great shopping, and plenty of waves to catch. Just make sure you spend your vacation at one of the best hotels in the city – here are some suggestions.
You’ve flown to Florida for the warm beaches, fresh seafood, and endless rays of sunshine – and all three are on tap at Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront. Create your own water-based agenda or get the concierge desk to schedule surfing lessons and deep-sea fishing trips for you. Content staying close to your suite? Grab a drink with a little umbrella shading the rim at Castaway’s Beach Bar, order amazing frozen treats at Gilberto’s Gelato and Creamery, and hang out on the pool deck; all without venturing more than a few paces from your plush boudoir.
Best Western Cocoa Beach is designed with diverse travelers in mind. You can park yourself poolside in the garden courtyard rooms or get an aerial view of the pier from a beach tower suite. Put up your whole clan in the spacious rooms equipped with kitchens in the family suites building – pets are welcome too. Visiting solo? Any room will do because (let’s be honest) you’ll be spending most of your time at the beach.
Only in Cocoa for a minute? Don’t waste a second of your time; Four Points by Sheraton can pick you up at the airport or cruise docks. If you arrive early, grab a cup of Starbucks in the hotel lobby. If you make it in late, the Shark Pit Bar and Grill has a good stiff drink and a burger with your name on it. Keep the kids entertained with an outing to Golf N Gator or Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures, then tuck them up in bed so you can hit the outdoor pool (or perhaps the 24-hour gym if you had that burger) for some much needed alone time.
Are the Atlantic Ocean, Ron Jon Surf Shop, and Kennedy Space Center on your vacation itinerary? Then check in at this treat of a retreat: you’ll love that all three are quickly accessed from Hampton Inn. Before you take the elevator from your room to the beach make a detour to Ron Jon’s shop just five minutes away for a new boogie board. When skies are clear, a 30-minute drive to Kennedy Space Center will put you front of the queue for a rocket launch.
If you’re staying at Discovery Beach Resort you may want to pack more than one swimsuit. When you’re not doggy-paddling in the outdoor pool or catching waves thanks to direct beach access, you may be warming your muscles in the sauna or hot tub. Don’t slip into those trunks just yet though; an afternoon of fishing awaits. And once that fish is on the line Wine Down Wednesdays at the Tiki Bar is next: bottles of wine at 50 percent off and discounted pasta dishes – you’re welcome.
Who says you need to sail miles from the mainland for an island-style stay? Cape Crossing Resort is a Merritt Island gem that spoils you with the marina-based life. Walk from your townhome down to the docks where dolphins and manatees invite you to kayak or pontoon with them. Rain on the horizon? Scoot into the clubhouse for games and movies. When the weather clears, hit up the waterfront Tiki Bar and Restaurant for fruity cocktails and water views that’ll make you think you’re in the Caribbean.
How do you define a royal experience? Royal Mansions Resort insists that it must include a private oceanfront pool, a balcony with waterfront views, and an exclusive walkway directly to the beach. There’s cool, nutritious dining on poke dishes at Barkada Bowl nearby on N Atlantic Avenue – but the Cape Canaveral condos have fully-equipped kitchens and dining areas so you can easily cook at home: a home that just so happens to be on the water.
Looking for resort-like perks without the resort-like crowds? The Casa Coquina del Mar Bed and Breakfast in nearby Titusville is an absolute delight. They’ll provide you with beach chairs, umbrellas, wine-coolers, and towels for a stroll down to Playalinda Beach. Did an afternoon of shopping wipe you out? Shuffle to the garden hot tub and unwind for a bit. Just make sure you hop out in time for free wine, beer, and snacks at the daily evening social hour.