I know I am about to age myself, but I just have to!
Do you remember I Dream of Jeannie? I really hope you do – in hopes we can sway together to the contagious theme song that will forever bring us back to a simpler time. “Master! Yes, Jeannie.”
Okay, I am back from the past! There is something about childhood memories that bring nostalgic feelings to heart with thoughts of basic happy life.
Now, if you do remember I Dream of Jeannie, you’ll recall that Tony and Jeannie lived in Cocoa Beach. The show was set there and therefore recognized by a dedicated street called, “I Dream of Jeannie Ln.”
Anyways, “Jeannie, I wish I was in Cocoa Beach.” (See what I did there?)
As part of the Road Trip Series, I decided to bring the spirit of I Dream of Jeannie and take us on a road trip to Cocoa Beach, Florida. Only a couple hours from Miami and so worthy of a quick escape to this quaint and underrated town. You can find this gem on the east coast of Florida bordered by Cape Canaveral, home to Kennedy Space Center.
Can you say, COCO Beach?
First things first, Cocoa Beach is pronounced Coco Beach. I realize we typically have chocolate in our minds, but not in this case. I have personally confirmed with the locals and it is pronounced ‘Coco’ Beach.
Where to Stay
The town offers vast amounts of peace and fun for the entire family, which can be enjoyed without going too far. You have the option to stay at a hotel or a vacation rental.
We found a perfect newly built family vacation rental on VRBO. It accommodated up to 8 guests comfortably offering an assortment of amenities. The home was extremely comfortable and spacious. Kids had their own room, foosball table, and plenty of boogie boards. Did I mention that the best part of the home was how close we were to the beach? It was a short 5-minute walk straight to the luscious golden sand. We also had supermarkets, restaurants, and ice cream just a short ride away.
Entertainment for the Family
This classic iconic beach town has cruise ships and rocket trips, surf megastores and surf lessons, riverfront tee times and oceanfront happy hours, art galleries and gourmet galleys, seashells and plenty of beach. Here’s a couple of the best family-friendly things to do in the area.
If you like to keep it simple and enjoy the beach atmosphere, you’ll love the endless miles of soft white sand, beautiful seashells, and beach waves. Be sure to stay vigilant of the kids boogie boarding as the waves can be quite active and consistent for our smaller swimmers. While at the beach, prepare for your day with plenty of sunblock, a cooler, an umbrella, cold drinks, surfboards, snacks, and a large sand pail for castle building. You can surf, rent a board, or take a lesson. Also, you can people-watch or enjoy a game of volleyball, whiffle ball, or even a family football game. If you decide to just relax and keep your feet sandy, keep your eyes peeled for some fish play. We had the opportunity to encounter some friendly dolphins that were flirting with some paddle boarders.
The beach also serves as a sunrise destination. I was able to convince myself to wake up before the sun came up and was mesmerized by the performance of the sun. Although in solitude, there were some runners and photographers that were also captivated by the scene.
Cocoa Beach Surfing
If you are anything like our family, you’d understand that there is always an opportunity for adventure. My nine-year-old daughter invests hours on YouTube watching surf videos – I swear, I sometimes feel like I am paying for surf lessons without paying for them. She feels so confident about surfing although she has never surfed a day in her life. And, standing on her boogie board in our pool while her brother makes waves does not count. So of course, in the true spirit of adventure, my daughter was eager to take surf lessons.
School of Surf
After extensive research, I found a school that had great reviews, and the customer service upon registering was outstanding. It was an hour of instruction and application. The waves did not show any remorse for our little surfer. She was able to rip some waves and smiled the whole way through. They provided the surfboard, a small instructor to student ratio, and guided instruction. I highly recommend it if you have ever wanted to learn to surf.
Kennedy Space Center
Journey into the great beyond when you take your family to explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center. Located just a short drive from your vacation rental in the neighboring city of Cape Canaveral, the complex is a great place to spend the day. Visit the Firing Room and relive the launch of Apollo 8, then stop by the Lunar Theater to watch the moon landing in all its glory.
Visit Ron Jon Surf Shop
This iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop is the world’s largest surf shop. The store, which is one of the top Cocoa Beach attractions, is open 24 hours a day. It offers everything you could possibly need for the beach lifestyle, including bikinis, surfboards, clothing, and sports gear. With its fish tanks, glass elevators, and flowing waterfalls, it’s worth discovering even if you don’t feel like shopping. Savers’ tip: If you take a lesson at the Surf School, they’ll give you a discount coupon card for the shop. Winning!
Explore the Cocoa Beach Pier
The Cocoa Beach boardwalk stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. Besides giving you a wonderful view of the beach coast, it’s overflowing with shops, restaurants, and boutiques. Be sure not to miss munching on a juicy fish sandwich at the Atlantic Ocean Grille.
Some Good Eats in Town
Because we stayed in a vacation rental, we purposely stocked up with groceries so we could enjoy the comfort of the home without having to leave anywhere. However, we did enjoy a couple nights of different delights that I would recommend.
The name of the restaurant speaks for itself – Simply Delicious Café & Bakery. We decided to eat breakfast at this local favorite and although we did have to wait some time, it was worth every minute. Breakfast options were all delicious and the kids enjoyed the decorative emoji pancakes with a side of fruits. My favorite was the over-sized latte.
Cocoa Beach truly has so many options, but one evening the family was craving authentic Mexican food, so we decided to order and pick from Mexico’s Grill. There is a wide range of options on their menu for everyone’s preference. There was also a kid’s menu which did not disappoint. The food was fresh, plentiful, and tasted delicious. The price point in relation to how much food we got was just right. We enjoyed it so much we ordered twice!
After a long day at the beach, pizza just sounded like a good idea. Papa Vito’s Italian restaurant prides itself on authentic Italian food along with fresh homemade dough and sauce. I was sold on homemade everything! We also decided to order and pick up. The pizza was fresh and hot and the sauce and dough did not disappoint! The kids enjoyed every bit – they even ate the crust. Again, winning!
Ice Cream and Milkshakes
All I have to say is if you decide to skip any meal be sure it is not snack time! Wow! A must-visit beachside destination that promises to leave you with an ice-cream mustache and some happy kids. The Fat Donkey is another local spot that is sure not to disappoint. You order through a small window, sit outside, and enjoy the mess of a delicious ice-cream cone. Kids’ favorite is the cake batter and this momma loves the cookies and cream milkshake. They also have a large assortment of different flavors including some non-dairy options.
Hope you get to enjoy and experience Cocoa Beach in the way my family and I did. When you go, be sure to let me know if you were able to visit any of the recommended places. Feel free to visit @illiett to see our family travels. Light & Love #Chasinbalance