Are you tired of Winter yet?
To try and help bring some sun and warmer temperatures this past week I had some family in town that really wanted to visit a Florida beach. Not wanting to head too far from our home we decided to visit Cocoa Beach.
We arrived early enough in the morning that there were plenty of parking spots in the paid parking lot available near the Pier. But I was told by some employees that the parking lot does fill up quickly and is not always available if you come later in the day.
As an added perk of paying for parking, we also got vouchers that allowed us access to the Pier for free. But I’ll review that later on.
I was pretty impressed with this beach. It appears clean and had plenty of places to set up your beach towel for a fun day. We opted to pay for a covered canopy that gave us close access to the pier and other available activities nearby. This is not required, but we liked the option of having the shaded canopy overhead.
Coming from New Jersey I’m used to my beaches having long boardwalks with vendors and food options, but that is not the case here at Cocoa Beach. As you can see in the above picture after you leave the parking lot you basically are right on the beach. There are some stores and places to eat and drink up on that long pier in the distance.
But before we headed towards the pier, near the parking lot was a place called Trader Rick’s and was kind of like a general store.
The outside of the building was decorated with all sorts of sea creatures and my favorite some Manatees.
Inside they sell all sorts of things to help with your day at the beach. They have towels, bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses, soda, snacks and tucked away in the back a Penny Pincher machine.
I always think these Penny Pincher machines are unique from the standard machines we usually find at popular attractions. The design is a little different, and they always seem to run really quiet without the familiar clinking sound you may be used to from other hand-crank versions.
The only issue I have with this type of machine is they almost always roll short for me. I guess I should try to adjust how I press the pennies to account for this, but on this visit, I actually ended up with some nice final pennies on my first try.
With my pennies pressed and a nice cold soda in hand, I headed back outside and started my tour of the Pier.
The pier is not very wide but does have some fun stores along the one side, and plenty of seating on the opposite side. The stores have all different souvenirs with Cocoa Beach printed on them.
About halfway down the pier, there was a pretty large bar with some high top tables around. They did offer food service here along with the full-service bar for all your favorite tropical mixed drinks. I grabbed a seat along the bar and had a wonderful view of the entire beach.
Once I was done with my food and drink I headed back towards the Pelican Bar & Grill. But just before the main doors to the restaurant there was a hallway off to the left.
This had access to the restrooms and a couple employee-only areas, but of course, this is also the perfect place to have another penny machine.
This machine was in a pretty bad location with people coming and going from all different directions. It was a little hard to use and even harder to try and take pictures of the machine.
After a few attempts to use the machine, I was able to press a full set and the designs came out really nicely. I do like that they are labeled with Cocoa Beach on them which always helps make them special in my collection so I can remember my visit and where they came from.
The Pelican Bar and Grill is located about halfway down the pier. But as you can see from the picture above there is plenty more pier beyond that and something else right at the very end.
This second half of the pier is only available with a small paid admission fee. Out here you can do some fishing right off the elevated pier. As I mentioned at the beginning with my paid parking I was given a voucher that gave me access to this part of the pier for free.
All the way at the end of the pier is the Rikki Tiki Tavern. It’s interesting to be out there as you are way out in the water.
There was live music playing out here, and plenty of seating but it was a very popular place and I had to wander around for quite a while before a seat opened up.
The bar also gave a great view of the beach in both directions and really made for a nice place to enjoy some drinks and wonderful sea air that always just seems to make me feel like I’m on vacation.
After a long day of fun on the beach, in the water, and on the pier it was eventually time to head home. I had a couple new sets of pressed pennies to catalog once I got home, but for now, the slight sunburn I had and relaxing disposition was just what I needed. The Central Florida Theme Parks are always near and dear to my heart, but sometimes it’s nice to just get away and put your feet in the sand.