Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Beaches of Florida
In between those wonderful, full days at the theme parks, although fabulous as they are, and they are, you might be tempted to take a day off and have a great day and just chill. A great way to do this is to escape to Cocoa Beach. It is the closest beach to Orlando and takes just under an hour (approximately) to drive. It is east of Orlando and has a stretch of beach six miles long. Cocoa beach is located on a barrier island nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the banana river lagoon. The primary attraction is the weather, with its coastal location and positioned where two climatic zones meet (sub tropical and temperate – so they tell me) it avoids extremes.
Locally know as the surfing capital of the east coast, it is home to several surfing championships. There is so much to do here from, fishing, boating, sightseeing, surfing, shopping, dining or just lounging on the beach, that you may not know what to do first. If you are lucky you may see dolphins at play or even a whale in migration. That makes swimming here more than interesting!
There is also the famous cocoa beach pier which is an historical landmark, stretching some 840 feet over the Atlantic ocean – mind you, I havn’t actually measured it! It features an array of shops, boutiques and restaurants. Not unlike a day at an English seaside resort, though probably different weather.
Not far away, you have the Merritt Island national wildlife refuge, which is located on the John F Kennedy space center, east of Titusville. The refuge is home to more than 500 species of wildlife (again I havn’t counted them), 16 of these are currently federally listed as threatened or endangered species. They also have a manatee observation deck where many manatees are spotted in the spring months – although I have seen them in November too.
There are many great bars and restaurants along the coast and some wonderful hotels should you wish to stay over night. A fabulous bar called Coconuts on the beach is extremely popular and trendy and is a wonderful spot to just sit and relax whilst watching the people pass by.
While in this area, you may be lucky enough to see a space launch. This coast line is an ideal spot to see a launch without actually having to go into the space center and you will get just as good a view. It is a magnificent sight, so do check before you go to Cocoa beach whether or not there is to be a launch during your stay in Florida.
So why not give it a try, you wont be disappointed.
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