Use www.mapquest.com to see mileage and routes. There are public parks at both but most places you will have to pay to park. At Daytona you can still drive on the beach in some areas which in the future will probably not be happening as the beaches are sometimes very crowded and more people getting injured. Depending on what area of Orlando you are coming from it's about 1 hours drive to either place. Also look at Jetty Park in Port Canveral. It's very popular.
The travel time/distance to Cocoa Beach varies depending on where in the Orlando area you start from. From the east gates of WDW, it takes about an hour via SR417 & SR528 (Beachline). From the Orlando airport, it is about 45 minutes. Universal & I Drive are somewhere in between depending on traffic. Do not take SR520 into Cocoa Beach; it is faster to stay on 528 and then access the beaches off of A1A.
Daytona via I-4 takes about 80-90 minutes including the drive in the city after the freeway ends. It is more built up than Cocoa Beach, and there will be more traffic.
If you do go to Cocoa Beach (including Cape Canaveral, the next town to the north) there are some nicer beaches with facilities that require payment for your car: Jetty Park, Cocoa Beach Pier, Alan Shepard (Ocean Beach) Park, Fischer Park, & Lori Wilson Park. However, off of A1A all the way from the cruise ship port down to Patrick AFB, there are many other beach access points that have nearby free parking, so one often can find a nice, uncrowded beach without having to pay. However, There will not be a lifeguard, & restrooms may be a walk down the beach or along the main road. Just don't park in a private lot or ignore parking meters, when present.
During the summer months, weekends are more crowded because Orlando residents tend to drive over to use the beach. Over holiday weekends like July 4, the beaches are jammed.
Enjoy your trip!
Which one of these parks at Cocoa Beach would you recommend. We will be visiting April 21 to 28 (Orlando) and would like to visit CB for the day. Don't mind paying to use facilities and parking. Are these parks state parks? Would they have similar facilities to say Honeymoon Beach on the gulf side?
I am not familar with Honeymoon Beach S.P., but you can compare it to the descriptions below. There are federal, state, county, and local beaches in the Cocoa Beach area. Some of the notable ones are:
Playalinda Beach at the Canaveral National Seashore, north of the space center and accessed through Titusville, is an isolated, pristine beach area that has a desert island feel to it, but has few facilities other than portable toilets. It is operated by the U.S. government, and requires a small admission fee, I think $5. The very northernmost part of that beach is frequented by nudists, but there are miles of regular beach below that. This park is well away from commercial development, and is at least 40 minutes from the tourist features of Cocoa Beach.
Probably the all-around best place is Lori Wilson Park, which is in the middle of Cocoa Beach, within walking distance of many shops and restaurants. It is fairly developed, with pay parking, boardwalk, rest rooms with showers, picnic shelters, and a nature trail. There is also a playground and sand volleyball net. Look at brevardparks.com/visittheparks/…prkca1.php. It is operated by Brevard County.
Cocoa Beach Pier is also a good choice, especially if you want more activity. It usually has surfers, and is surrounded by many hotels and restaurants, including several restaurants and bars on the pier itself. There is a pay parking lot right at the front door, and also rest rooms. The pier is commercial, but the surrounding beach is city-administered.
Jetty Park is also popular. It is right next to the shipping channel, and the big cruise ships will sail close by late most afternoons. It is just south of the Cape, and the beach here is very wide. There is pay parking, rest rooms, a fishing pier, and a campground. There isn't a lot of commercial development around, but are a number of nice restaurants at the port (Glen Cheek Drive, called "The Cove"), 3/4 mile away.
The two main city parks in Cocoa Beach are Alan Shepard Park, right where the Cocoa Beach Causeway (SR520) meets the ocean, and Sidney Fischer Park, about a mile further south on A1A. They both have reasonable facilities, and are surrounded by shops and stores. Shepard Park is within three blocks of Ron Jon Surf Shop, and parking can be more difficult at busy times. To compare, go to cityofcocoabeach.com/city/citylife/city_park…
The nearest state park with a great beach is on highway A1A just south of Brevard County, at Sebastian Inlet. It does have more facilities than any of the above parks, including a treasure museum, but probably isn't worth the 45-minute drive. See floridastateparks.org/sebastianinlet/default…
Your trip will be after Easter, not a particularly busy time, so crowds should not be a problem -- with the possible exception of nice weekends, when residents from Orlando come over to Cocoa Beach.
Great, thanks so much for the info. Just what I was looking for.
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