Lively Resort Just Steps from the Beach
Surfboards painted vivid yellow, red, and green hang in the lobby at the International Palms Resort Cocoa Beach, a nod to the surf-friendly beach right outside the front door. Here, the ocean and beach culture take center stage in nearly every activity. Grab a boogie board at the resort’s onsite surf shop and hop into the Atlantic Ocean, or lounge on a reclining chair with a drink from the poolside bar. With courts for sand volleyball, tennis, corn hole, and basketball, the resort provides plenty of opportunities for friendly competition. Kids have their own pirate-themed pool to expend their energy.
You can choose a one-bedroom villa for a little extra room, plus a sleeper sofa, a chair with an ottoman, and a full kitchen. Two-story lofts include bathrooms on both floors. After a day on the beach, you can dine at one of International Palms’ onsite restaurants. The resort’s flagship eatery is Mambo’s Beachside Bar & Grill, where you can sample casual Caribbean dishes on the colorful patio. The bar hosts a live reggae band on Sunday.
Cocoa Beach, Florida: White-Sand Beaches on Florida’s “Space Coast”
Nicknamed Florida’s “Space Coast” for the nearby Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach occupies a 72-mile stretch of scenic shoreline on a barrier island off Florida’s Atlantic coast. The Kennedy Space Center’s exhibits include hands-on replicas of astronaut capsules, an authentic Saturn V rocket from NASA’s Apollo program, and Alan Shepard’s space suit. After visiting the space center, take a scenic route through the 140,000-acre Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge; keep your eyes peeled for alligators, bald eagles, and shorebirds.
Cocoa Beach has also been called the East Coast capital for surfing; 11-time surf champion Kelly Slater got his start on these waves. You’ll find several surf shops offering lessons and gear, plus in-the-know staff who can show you where to find the best breaks. Hop in a sea kayak to explore peaceful inlets and scope out resident manatees. At the Cocoa Beach Pier, anglers can try to reel in gator trout or redfish off the long boardwalk that juts into the Atlantic.