Cocoa Beach vs Melbourne Beach for Vacation? An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

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Are you planning a vacation to Florida’s Space Coast?

If yes, then you cannot look past two of the most amazing beach cities- Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach.

Both of these coastal cities are known for their pristine beaches and turquoise blue waters and both are on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. 

But that’s where the similarities end.

Here’s a clear and concise comparison of these amazing beach cities that make them unique and why you should choose one over the other for a vacation.

ParametersCocoa BeachMelbourne Beach
Average cost of a 7-day Trip 💵$3671 (For couples)$3080 (For couples)
Known for 👍The surfing capital of the US, Surf breaks, Cocoa beach Pier, White sandy beaches, Surf museum, Kennedy Space CenterBeaches, Fishing, Snorkeling, Ryckman Park, Melbourne Beach Pier
Beaches 🏖Family-friendly beaches with powdery sand, excellent surf breaks and modern amenities, and a lively vibeMiles of unspoiled beaches with a laid-back vibe
Activities 🏄🏼‍♂️Surfing, Snorkeling, Shopping, Fishing, Golfing, Water parks, Entertainment centers, and Private Cruises, Kennedy Space CenterSnorkeling, Fishing, exploring wildlife, Shopping
Popular Tourist Attractions 🏛Cocoa Beach Pier, Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Village, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Port CanaveralMelbourne Beach Pier, Ryckman Park, Brevard Zoo, Spessard Holland South Beach Park

Cocoa Beach vs Melbourne Beach

Who has the best beaches? 🏖

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach Pier

Located on Floria’s iconic Space Coast, Cocoa Beach is renowned for its stunning white sand beaches with spectacular surf breaks and is also known as the ‘Surfing Capital of the World’.

So, it should come as no surprise that Cocoa Beach boasts some of the best beaches in Florida known for their family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of modern amenities.

Due to the peaceful and steady waves that land on its shores, the city has earned popularity as one of the safest places to surf in Florida with kids and even senior adults.

And talking about surfing a must-visit beach for surfers and non-surfers alike is the Cocoa Beach Pier which features an iconic Pier that juts 800 feet long into the Atlantic Ocean offering stunning views of the city behind.

Whether you are looking for sun, sand, surf, or seaside bliss, Cocoa Beach Pier is a place not to be missed on your visit to the city.

And if you are someone who wants a laid-back and true natural charm with Old Florida setting then head to Playalinda Beach which is located on a barrier island and offers a calm ambiance with Old Florida charm.

No matter what your preference is, there are enough beaches in Cocoa Beach to go with the vibe that you resonate with.

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Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach is renowned for its beautiful beaches. 

The wide, sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. The crystal-clear waters are teeming with fish, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The best beach in Melbourne Beach is definitely Indialantic Beach. It’s well known for its amazing views, clear waters, and soft sand. 

The beach is also great for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and fishing. So if you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out Indialantic Beach! You won’t be disappointed.

There are also numerous beachside restaurants and bars, as well as a wide variety of shops and boutiques. 

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the water or a fun-filled afternoon of shopping and dining, Melbourne Beach has something to offer everyone.

🏖 Related post: Cocoa Beach vs Daytona Beach: Which is Better for a Vacation?

Who has the best nightlife? 🍻

Cocoa Beach

When the sun goes down, the fun doesn’t have to stop in Cocoa Beach. 

There are plenty of great things to do at night, whether you’re looking for a lively party scene or a more relaxed atmosphere. 

For those who want to dance the night away, there are several bars and nightclubs along the beach that offer live music and DJ-spun tunes. 

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, there are also bars and pubs that offer pools, darts, and other games. 

And of course, no night in Cocoa Beach would be complete without taking a stroll along the beach to enjoy the stars and the sound of the waves. 

No matter what your preference, there’s sure to be something to suit your taste in Cocoa Beach’s nightlife.

🍔 Relevant post: Exploring the Top 10 Restaurants Near Cocoa Beach Pier

Melbourne Beach

If you’re looking for a fun night out, Melbourne Beach is the place to be. 

The town comes alive after dark, with a variety of bars and clubs to suit any taste. 

For a laid-back evening, head to Ocean 302 on the pier for live music and ocean views. 

Or, if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Foo Bar Cocktail lounge, where you can enjoy drinks and DJ-spun tunes until the early hours of the morning. 

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always take a moonlit walk on the beach.

Whatever your plans, Melbourne Beach is sure to have something to help you make the most of your night.

Activities & Best Things to do 🏄🏼‍♂️

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach activities

There is so much to do in and around Cocoa Beach that you will want to visit this amazing coastal city again to explore it to the fullest.

One of the best things to do in Cocoa Beach is to spend a day lounging on the beach. The beach itself is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles, and there are also several parks nearby where you can picnic or go for a walk.

If you’re looking for something more active, you can try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking, or take a surfing lesson.

Owing to its popularity as the ‘Surfing Capital of the World’, Cocoa Beach is home to the biggest and one-of-its-kind surf shop in the world, the Ron Jon Surf Shop which encompasses a whopping 52,000 sq ft of the total area.

Surfing enthusiasts would have a hard time leaving this place with so much surfing gear to choose from and even if you aren’t a surfing enthusiast, visiting this shop will be a treat in itself.

Another great thing to do in Cocoa Beach is to take a tour of the Kennedy Space Center. This is a fascinating place to learn about the history of space exploration and see some of the spacecraft up close. 

And no trip to Cocoa Beach would be complete without enjoying some fresh seafood. At Fat Kahuna’s Beachside Grille you can savor mouth-watering seafood with spectacular views of the ocean. 

There are many other restaurants here that serve delicious crabcakes, grouper sandwiches, and shrimp salads. 

So whether you’re looking to party, romance, explore or relax, Cocoa Beach has something for everyone.

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach activities - Cocoa Beach vs Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach is a small town on Florida’s Space Coast, with beautiful beaches, great surfing, and plenty of fishing. 

There’s also a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a historic downtown area. 

Here are some of the best things to do in Melbourne Beach:

Visit the Brevard Zoo, which has over 550 animals from all over the world.

Check out the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can learn about the history of human spaceflight and see rockets up close.

If you love fishing and love time to spend in nature, then head to the Indian River Lagoon for fishing, kayaking, or just relaxing on the beach.

Tour the Canaveral National Seashore, a 56-mile stretch of undeveloped coastline that’s great for hiking, camping, and birdwatching.

Explore downtown Melbourne, where you can browse unique shops and stop for a bite to eat.


Cocoa Beach is known for its surfing culture, nightlife, and family-friendly vibe. If you’re looking to catch some waves or party until the sun comes up, Cocoa Beach is definitely the place for you. The town has plenty of restaurants and bars, as well as shops and other attractions to keep you busy.

Melbourne Beach is a bit more laid back than Cocoa Beach. It’s great if you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation with beautiful scenery and plenty of activities to choose from. There are several small businesses in town, as well as art galleries, nature preserves, and golf courses nearby. 

So, which is the better destination for your next vacation? 

It really depends on what you’re looking for in a beach town. 

If you want something lively with lots to do, go to Cocoa Beach. If you’re after a more relaxed atmosphere with natural beauty abound, head to Melbourne Beach instead!

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About the author
James Williams
Hey there! I'm James Williams, the guy behind I'm a born-and-raised Floridian, and I'm stoked to share my travel adventures with you. On my website, you'll get a taste of Florida through my eyes – the places I love, the hidden gems, and the stories that make the Sunshine State special. Join me on this journey as I take you through the heart and soul of Florida, one post at a time!

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