Closest beach to the amazing attractions of Orlando, Cocoa Beach, Florida is six miles of waterfront enchantment nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River Lagoon on Florida's scenic Space Coast. Awash in bewitching old world Florida ambiance, Cocoa Beach has the timeless allure of southern beach resorts with its pastel vintage architecture and long stretches of untouched sand.
Originally settled by a family of freed slaves during the Civil War, the Town of Cocoa Beach was established in 1925 by Gus C. Edwards and experienced major growth in the 1960s with the birth of the space program. The town's first building project, a fishing pier, still sprawls 840 feet over the Atlantic today, lined with lively gift shops, restaurants and boutiques.
Affable, affordable Cocoa Beach offers matchless sunning, swimming, golfing and snorkeling, as well as such adventurous options as parasailing, jet skiing and world-class surfing. Take a guided deep sea fishing cruise or just walk to the end of the half-mile Cocoa Beach fishing pier to try your hand at landing one of the Atlantic's big fighters. Entice Lady Luck on a glittery casino boat cruise, experience the adrenalin rush of an open cockpit biplane ride over the beaches and space center, or experience the thrill of an afternoon at the greyhound races. Plentiful cultural venues include the Surfside Playhouse, Phoenix Theater and King Center for the Performing Arts.
Kids love Cocoa Beach, from the go-karts of Andretti Thrill Park to the stunning planetarium and laser shows of Astronaut Memorial Planetarium. Take the youngsters to visit the alligators, anteaters, kangaroos and kookaburras at the Brevard Zoo, boasting over 400 animals from Latin America, Australia and Florida, or check out Jungle Adventures, billed as the largest alligator park in Florida. The area is of course home to the Kennedy Space Center, and the popular visitor's center includes a shuttle launch simulator ride on a full-size replica, tours of the launch area, IMAX movies and vintage spacecraft. US Astronaut Hall of Fame is right next door, where you can experience simulated astronaut training from launch to zero gravity.
A unique combination of temperate and warm subtropical climates has blessed Cocoa Beach with one of North America's most diverse and fascinating ecosystems. Spend a day exploring turtle nesting beaches, sea life-rich lagoons or miles of lush tropical flora on a kayak tour through Cocoa beaches breathtaking Thousand Islands. Kids of all ages will stand in awe of majestic cranes, frolicking dolphins and endangered manatees as they follow the magnificent nature trails of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.