Cocoa Beach is about an hour drive east of Orlando on Florida’s Space Coast.  We were spending a week in Orlando and thought that Cocoa would be the perfect drive for a beach day.  There were several toll roads plus a little construction that strung out the drive, but it was easy one.  Our plan was to arrive at the beach by 9:30 in the morning so we could maximize our day.  When we go to the beach, we like to have little on the itinerary.  With that in mind, we only had two real plans for the day - enjoy the beach and our dinner reservations.  Beach days like that are pretty ideal.

Planning a beach day without actually staying on the beach can be a little tricky.  Full vacations on the beach where you can walk right back to your room to change or grab something you forgot are really enjoyable.  There is certainly something to be said for the convenience and ease of staying on the beach... especially if you your littles love spending lots of time in the sand.

We scoped out parks that offered daily parking and restrooms.  We settled on Alan Shepard Park.  The park was named after astronaut Alan Shepard and provides an excellent view of space launches.  It is an ocean-front park providing picnic, shower, and restroom facilities for guests.

The location was great with many popular tourist related retail shops within easy walking distance.  Parking for the day was $15.

Alan Shepard Park
200 E Cocoa Beach Causeway
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
(321) 868-3252 

We spent the morning at the beach enjoying a little reading and fresh Florida oranges.  When we spend a day at the beach, we always pack a little cooler and bring a few snacks.  For lunch, we walked up to the pier and grabbed a quick meal from Sea Dogs, a little beach shack.

Packing for a day trip to the beach is important, especially if you plan to go to dinner somewhere a little nicer like we did.  We wore our swim suits to the beach so that we would avoid having that wardrobe change.  Pack an outfit for your evening that can be changed into easily and quickly.  We don't know anyone who enjoys public restrooms at the beach - the goal is to get in and get out.

We had great weather at first, and then a little Florida rain shower came through so we took cover in the car and looked up a local brewery.  With traveling we've learned that you can plan pretty much everything, but the weather.

When weather doesn't turn out like we'd want, we still try to make the best of things.  Plus, this little rain shower allowed us some time to scope out enormous Ron Jon Surf Shop and enjoy a local brew.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company
150 N Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
(321) 613-2941  

The brewery was small with only one beer on tap, but it had the best little local feel.  Everyone knew everyone by name and we even ran into a sweet couple whose cruise ship was docked at Port Canaveral.  After the brewery, we still had a little more time to kill before dinner so we headed to Coconuts on the Beach which was right around the corner from Fat Kahuna's for a drink.

We were looking forward to our dinner reservation at Fat Kahuna's Beach Side Grille all day, but we had no idea just how wonderful it would turn out to be.  

 Fat Kahuna's Beach Side Grille
8 Minutemen Causeway
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
(321) 783-6858 

Fat Kahuna's is a small restaurant with lots of Hawaiian influence.  The chef who previously lived in Hawaii moved home to Cocoa Beach with the dream of bringing Hawaiian flair back with him.  The restaurant is intimate and all of the servers work as a team.  

There was too much that we wanted to try on the menu, so we settled on an option that allowed us to try smaller portions of several things.  Of course, we had to finish the meal with dessert and coffee. 

The restaurant is only open for dinner and with few tables, reservations fill up quick.  They do have a little outdoor seating that can add a few additional tables, but the weather didn't get much better the night we were there.  If this is a place you want to eat you have to make a reservation, especially if you don't have much flexibility on days.

The kona coffee and homemade whipped cream deserve their own post.  It was delicious!  Do yourself a favor and treat your dinner like a special occasion.  Order drinks, an appetizer, entrees, dessert and definitely coffee.  Dining here was more than exceptional food and drinks.  It was a true dining experience, just how we like it.

Make sure that you eat at Fat Kahuna's.  Make a reservation, and if the weather is nice then ask to be at a table outside with a view of the ocean.  You can't beat it.

Pack at least two towels per person.  This allows you to use one towel while you are at the beach and you still have a clean one to use after washing the sand off and changing.

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