10 Hidden Gems in Cocoa Beach You Must Visit!

Sharing is caring!

Cocoa Beach, the “Surfing Capital of the World”. It’s no secret why thousands of families, college kids, and couples flock to this lively coastal town every year.

From the pristine white sand beaches with turquoise waters of the Gulf, the spectacular sunsets, beach activities, amazing restaurants, shopping malls, nature trails, and wildlife parks to the excellent surf breaks that Cocoa Beach is popular for, there’s something for every kind of traveler.

This quaint beach town offers more than just the stereotypical beach activities like surfing and sunbathing.

Now let’s dive into the top-secret gems or rather lesser-explored attractions that make Cocoa Beach so special. 

Here are 10 Hidden Gems in Cocoa Beach that You Must Visit!

Thousand Islands Conservation Area 🏞️

Ten Thousand Islands

Feel like exploring? The Thousand Islands Conservation Area is a must-see for nature lovers.

Boasting stunning rock formations, gorgeous sandy beaches, and breathtaking sunsets over the sparkling waters of the St. Lawrence River, it’s sure to be an experience that you’ll never forget!

Along with that, it’s brimming with outdoor activities like fishing, boating, camping, and even swimming – so there’s plenty to do all day long.

The serenity of nature combined with the sheer beauty of this natural paradise makes it well worth a visit – the perfect way to escape from everyday life and get closer to nature.

🏖 Related post: Is Cocoa Beach Worth Visiting? 7 Good Reasons Why You Must!

🏖 Related post: Cocoa Beach vs Melbourne Beach for Vacation? An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

🏖Relevant post: Cocoa Beach vs Destin: An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

🏖 Related postCocoa Beach vs Vero Beach: An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

Lori Wilson Park 🏕️

Lori Wilson Park
Image credit: Image by Rusty Clark on Wikimedia Commons

Those who have visited this will vouch for its spectacular beauty.

This public beach park offers more than just an ocean view. From its picturesque beach to its winding trails, and beautiful lakeside activities, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re more of a sunrise enthusiast or a sunset sightseer, Lori Wilson Park always has something breathtaking to take in.

Visitors can explore nature trails through tropical hammocks on land or rent paddle boards or kayaks to enjoy the Indian River Lagoon by water.

For those looking for something more exciting, Lori Wilson Park has a skateboard park and basketball court too.

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

❤️ Also Read: 13 Best Romantic Getaways in Central Florida

🏖 Related post: Orlando vs Miami for Vacation? An Honest & In-Depth Comparison to Help You Choose!

The Dinosaur Store 🦖

The Dinosaur Store

Now, what’s more, unique than good old dinosaurs?

It’s not every day you get to explore what the prehistoric world has to offer, but thankfully with The Dinosaur Store in Cocoa Beach, you can experience it all without even leaving the beach.

With educational exhibits, interactive activities, and an impressive selection of fossils and replicas, it makes for a truly one-of-a-kind visit.

From experiencing a close-up view of dinosaur teeth to seeing ancient skeletons come alive in animated form on large-screen TVs, there’s something sure to keep everyone intrigued.

Let your inner paleontologist run wild at the Dinosaur Store – be sure to check it out on your next visit to Cocoa Beach.

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

Exploration Tower 🗼

Exploration tower cocoa beach
Image credit: Image by Rusty Clark on Flickr

Located in the heart of Cocoa Beach, the Exploration Tower is a must-see destination. Not only will visitors gain a unique perspective of the area with its incredible seven-story height, they can also explore a variety of interactive exhibits that tell the history and culture of Cocoa Beach.

Plus, Discovery Cove offers plenty of activities to keep kids (and adults) occupied. From outdoor movie screenings in the courtyard to on-site educators teaching kids about marine life and more, no wonder it earns its status as one of Florida’s top attractions.

For those looking to get an up-close glimpse at the real “Florida vacation”, there’s no better place than Exploration Tower.

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

Manatee Sanctuary Park 🐬

Manatee Springs State Park

The Manatee Sanctuary Park in Cocoa Beach is a must-see for those looking to explore the magnificent underwater world of Florida.

Boasting crystal clear waters, a diverse array of marine life, and much more, there’s something for everyone at this tourist hotspot.

Whether you’re taking an educational tour around the sanctuary or diving in for up-close encounters with fascinating creatures like manatees and sea turtles, you won’t be bored during your visit to this one-of-a-kind park.

With plenty of activities to get involved in, easy access to plenty of amazing information, and the chance to observe some truly incredible wildlife all in one place, it’s no surprise why so many visitors fall in love with Cocoa Beach’s Manatee Sanctuary Park.

South Banana River Aquatic Preserve 🌳

South Banana River Aquatic Preserve
Image credit: Image by Rusty Clark on Flickr

If you’re looking for an unforgettable day trip that whisks you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then a visit to South Banana River Aquatic Preserve in Cocoa Beach is certainly worth considering.

Not only is it a visually stunning locale with its sprawling marshlands, beaches, and lagoons, but it also provides endless opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re into kayaking and canoeing or bird-watching and sea turtle spotting, there’s something for everyone.

Plus, unplugging and having a conversation with Nature is one of the best ways to reset your body clock.

So don’t wait any longer – put on your walking shoes and make your way to South Banana River Aquatic Preserve for an experience you won’t soon forget!

Nature’s Way Market & Café ☕️

I am pretty sure most people who have been to Cocoa Beach might not have heard about this place before.

Nature’s Way Market & Café in Cocoa Beach is not the typical cafe that you can find around every corner.

This local café serves up organic and locally sourced food with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options too. It’s the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch after exploring all that Cocoa Beach has to offer.

Their dedication to providing sustainable and organic food is unparalleled. Plus the friendly and inviting vibe makes it a perfect place to meet some interesting people while you cozy up with a cup of coffee to enjoy your lunch break.

🏰 Relevant reading: The Best Sit-Down Restaurants at Disney World You Simply Must Try

Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory 🔭

Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory
Image credit: Image by Greenwoodc on Flickr

Would a visit to Cocoa Beach be complete without exploring the things that the Space Coast is known for?

Home to Kennedy Space Center from which this pristine coastline gets its name, the Space Coast is a haven for Space enthusiasts and the budding astronaut in your family.

The Astronaut Memorial Planetarium & Observatory is one such overlooked attraction. Located on the Eastern Florida State College campus, this amazing planetarium has been an integral part of educating the students as well as tourists and is recognized as one of the best planetariums in the US.

As you reach its rooftop you will be astonished to witness one of the largest public telescopes in Florida. The expert and knowledgeable staff make it a fun experience for kids and adults alike to experience the spectacular beauty of the night sky every weekend.

And the fun doesn’t end here, the planetarium is also home to the state-of-the-art theatre where you can learn and enjoy the best Space documentaries from Discovery and National Geographic.

Sands Space and History Center 👨🏻‍🚀

Located in historic Cocoa Beach, the Sands Space and History Center is a unique facility that combines multiple outlets of modern education and entertainment.

The center offers historical exhibits to educate about the area’s past, a space-themed IMAX 3D movie theater, a museum shop full of educational gifts, and a computer lab.

What makes this center truly extraordinary though is its outdoor rocket garden that allows visitors to touch and explore actual aerospace artifacts from the Mercury to Apollo programs.

Not only can guests learn hands-on about space exploration but they can also check out launches happening right at the nearby Canaveral National Seashore.

With its phenomenal attractions, the Sands Space and History Center is the perfect place to get in touch with history while learning more about our exciting future.

The Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary 🏞️

The Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary in Cocoa Beach is more than just a place of nature – it’s an oasis.

With native plants, conservation programs, and a commitment to ecological diversity, the sanctuary offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re seeking solace in its lush vegetation or coming for an educational lesson on wildlife care and preservation, the sanctuary has something waiting for you.

You can even take part in their innovative community program that helps to cultivate the indigenous species that are unique to the area – like the rhesus macaque and eastern indigo snake.

The next time you’re visiting Central Florida, be sure to make a pit stop at the Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary for an enriching experience that you won’t forget about any time soon.


Cocoa Beach has something for everyone – from nature lovers who want to explore lush forests filled with wildlife to thrill seekers who want an adventure exploring abandoned shipwrecks offshore – you won’t be disappointed when visiting this vibrant city on Florida’s Space Coast.

With so many hidden gems tucked away here, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to visit each year – so don’t forget to add these seven incredible attractions to your list when planning your next trip down south.

Happy exploring! 😊

Photo of author
About the author
James Williams
Hey there! I'm James Williams, the guy behind floridatripguide.com. 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!

Leave a Comment