We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Which Cocoa Beach hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Saint Louis...
Level Contributor
3,558 posts
77 reviews
Save Topic
One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Hi,

We will be in Orlando next week, and want to make the drive over to Cocoa Beach for a day. We have 2 small children (2 and 4), and were looking to get them their first beach / ocean experience! Looking for some recommendations for the following.

* Nice beach for public access, with parking that is close.

* Casual seafood restaurant right on the water or near pier. Nothing fancy, just family friendly with good food and a good view.

* Any other suggestions / recommendations that we should see / do while in town?

Thanks for any help / suggestions!

Orlando
Level Contributor
9,457 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Look at Jetty Park. Lots of people like Lori Wilson too.

There are 5 casual seafood restaurants within a couple of miles of Jetty Park in the Port: Millikens, Fishlips, Rustys, Grills, and Seafood Atlantic.

The pier can get rather crowded at times, and I'm not sure about the restaurant anymore, but I used to love to have a beer on the pier overlooking the ocean when I was younger.

Edited: 12 August 2013, 16:34
Carmel, Indiana
Level Contributor
471 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

I stayed over by the pier this spring. It's a great place to people watch and "surfer" watch. It does cost about $10 to park at the pier, though. That would be no biggy for me...but maybe for others it would be. There are 2 restaurants at the pier..one outdoors and one indoors. The pier is very laid back (think flip flip), not fancy at all. We ate at both restaurants. The outdoor one sits over the beach and the food is good. the inside one is air conditioned and sits out over the water. It's fun to watch the surfers and beach from that POV...food is fine. We are not "foodies", and it has to be pretty awful to get a thumbs down from me. It has two very small shops. I think it's a fun place to be. It's nice if you want to park it for the day, and just walk on over to the restaurant.

If you want to do a short 5 minute drive, go south to Coconuts on the Beach. Another restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the beach with music.

Carmel, Indiana
Level Contributor
471 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Oh, and go to Ron Jons!

Orlando
Level Contributor
9,457 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Jetty is $10 too. The only reason why I didn't mention Coconuts is because you had kids. It is a popular drinking establishment for the younger crowd on the weekends.

Saint Louis...
Level Contributor
3,558 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Thanks for the suggestions. We would be going during the week and probably early afternoon after we did some beach time - so hopefully wouldn't be too out of control when we went.

Do these parks / beaches have umbrellas / chairs you can rent? And do they have showers for getting the sand off of you ??

Orlando
Level Contributor
9,457 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Jetty Park has showers, but I don't remember chair rentals. There is a snack bar and a fishing pier too. It is located in the south side of Port Canaveral. It is the last exit on 528 before it becomes A1A (the second cruise terminal exit). When you get to the bottom of the ramp, turn left, and keep going. You will see a sign for Jetty Park a block or two after you make your left turn. You can get an el cheapo chair at Walmart or Walgreens in Orlando. If you are sensitive enough to need an umbrella, you may want to consider hats and a rashguard too. There used to be a couple of manatee that hung around the fishing pier in the summer. You may want to take a walk out to see if they are still there.

Lori Wilson is further south in Cocoa Beach. It will be south of the Pier and south of Ron Jons. If you go to the pier, look at Google Maps. You cannot see it from A1A.

Edited: 12 August 2013, 21:21
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Cocoa Beach
Level Contributor
2,522 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

If you are mostly interested in the water, my vote would be for Lori Wilson Park beach. No parking fee, and very good facilities. The widest beach is Jetty Park, but it is a little isolated -- not many restaurants within walking distance. The Pier has the surfers to watch.

For dinner on the water, the Atlantic Grill on the Pier has better seafood than Marlin's, the other restaurant there. You can also eat outside, but I'd recommend sitting inside, near a window. The Atlantic Grill has a northerly view, and Marlin's is both north and south, but the southerly view is better. After dinner, walk out to the end of the pier. Both are family restaurants.

There are several others right on the ocean. If it's a weeknight, Coconuts in downtown Cocoa Beach would be OK, but it can get pretty lively with a drinking crowd on Fri/Sat/Sun. The Sandbar Grill near Shepard Park beach is similar -- you can walk out the east side right onto the beach, but it is also a busy bar.

Off the ocean, but still on the water, you'll find several restaurants up at port, along Glen Cheek Drive. Grills and Rusty's are the ones we like the most, but there are several others. If you go there, try to be around between 4-5 p.m., when the big cruise shipos sail out within 100 yards of your outdoor table (almost every day, and sometimes 3-4 ships). The passengers wave, and the Disney ships play music on their horns.

For sunsets, try Jack Baker's Lobster Shanty right on the Banana River Lagoon, south of downtown. The kids can run around a bit, and they should walk out on the dock and feed the catfish (under supervision). The Sunset Grill is also on the Banana River Lagoon; it's on SR520, just a few blocks east of Ron Jon.

The kids will enjoy picking out one of the famous shirts at Ron Jon Surf Shop, where they can also browse surfboards. Also, if the older child likes dinosaurs, visit the Dinosaur Store on 520 just west of A1A, which has everything from trinkets to $25,000 fossils for sale. There's a nice ice cream store right next door. There's two mini-golf courses -- one at about 6100 north on A1A, and another about 8400 north.

There are beach rentals at the pier, and, most days in season, at Lori Wilson and Shepard parks.There are also rental stores up and down A1A -- Ron Jon has one just north of its store, and A1A Beach Rentals will even deliver. There are several places where you can buy beach stuff -- several Beach Wave stores up and down A1A -- and CVS, Publix, and Walgreens all have those items.

We often have young kids on the beach, and it's a great time, jumping in the waves and building sand castles. Have a great time!

Carmel, Indiana
Level Contributor
471 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

We were at Coconuts on a Saturday and Sunday night for dinner. There were plenty of families with young children and nobody was "wild". Now, we were there for dinner at 7:00 - 9:30ish, so could have gotten more crazy after that. i would think a weekday for lunch or dinner it should be tame.

Saint Louis...
Level Contributor
3,558 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

Great stuff! Thanks so much. I'm assuming we will be going somewhere for lunch as I'm hoping we will hit the beach in the morning and spend a couple hours then clean up and get something to eat and look around a bit. That Rusty's looks pretty good!!

Orlando
Level Contributor
9,457 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: One day in Cocoa Beach - suggestions?

I think the food at Fish Lips is better, but that is just me. The last time I went, the service was better at Rustys.

They are right next door to each other.

Edited: 14 August 2013, 22:21