Our 2021 Florida Trip Report continues with a day at Cocoa Beach. This is actually the first of two days we spent there…
Monday, June 7
Our destination of the day was Cocoa Beach, to enjoy a day in the sand and water of the Atlantic Ocean. Because of that, we did not sleep too late so that we would be able to have plenty of time there. The weather forecast looked like it would be a good day of mostly sun and some clouds, which would be nice, too.
After breakfast on the porch, we left the condo a little after 9:00 heading east. Once again, it was great to have a Sunpass for all of the toll roads we drove on. Interestingly, we saw a Disney Cruise Line bus heading back toward the Orlando area. We usually see lots of those on our drives to the beach. But on this trip, we did not expect to see any since the cruise line is not operating. I wonder where that bus was going? Was it substituting for a Magical Express bus from the airport, perhaps?
All along highway 528 was lots of construction. I realized that the construction was for the new Brightline high-speed railway. I had not realized before this trip that it would run right alongside of the highway, although sharing the right-of-way does make sense. Fortunately, all of the work did not cause any major construction delays.
As we drove through Cape Canaveral and past the cruise ship terminals, we saw a Royal Caribbean ship and a Carnival ship docked there. We all talked about how we are looking forward to the return of cruising.
Before we got to the beach, our first stop was the Publix grocery store in the city of Cocoa Beach. Because we had not gotten lunchables at Target the night before due to the rain, we needed something for lunch. A quick trip into Publix got us what we needed, and we added those to our cooler bag that already had our drinks inside.
A short drive later, and we were at Lori Wilson Park, our favorite place to enjoy the beaches of Cocoa Beach. Although we got there a little later than we usually arrive, there were still plenty of parking spaces available. Of course, we only needed one space, but there were others for other people who had not arrived yet, too.
We loaded ourselves up with our cooler bag, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and beach bag and made our way out to the beach, walking along a walkway over the sand dunes. I was interested to see that the wooden boards in this walkway had been replaced with synthetic boards, which of course will last much longer. And also interestingly, the other walkways had not had their boards replaced, at least not yet. I would guess it is coming soon, though.
Back at Cocoa Beach once again after being away for a while
Once we could see the ocean, we saw what I had expected that we would see, which was two cruise ships anchored out in the water a few miles offshore. These were not just any ships. These were the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy. Our last few cruises had been on the Dream. And at this very time, we were supposed to have been on a cruise on the Fantasy, which was scheduled after our 2020 cruise was canceled. Of course, this cruise was canceled as well. So it was interesting that we could see the ship that we were supposed to be on. Oh well, maybe a cruise is in our future.
Not our umbrella, but I really liked how that yellow umbrella stood out from everything else.
We claimed our spot on the beach not too far from the lifeguard hut and started setting up our umbrellas and chairs. I really don’t see how people make it at the beach without an umbrella or some other shade, but some people do. But then I have done that in the past, too, when I was younger and maybe not quite so concerned about burning.
One of the many boardwalks leading from the parking lot to the beach at Lori Wilson Park. I love photographing these.
I had put on sunscreen back at the condo, but Laura and Jaylin needed to put on their sunscreen after we got everything set up. And then we just enjoyed sitting in our chairs enjoying the breeze and the ocean views for a while. We also decided to go ahead and eat lunch before we went out instead of waiting until later. While we were sitting there, we noticed the occasional plane flying overhead, some of which looked like military planes. Were they checking on the cruise ships? Were they looking for something else? Or were they just out flying? We never did find out.
Laura at the beach
Steve at the beach. We did not get an individual photo of Jaylin at the beach, by the way.
It was a good day of enjoying being in the water and then enjoying our beach chairs, alternating between the two. It was apparently low tide when we were there, and the waves were not all that great, although Laura tried to catch several on our board. I was content just standing in the water and being pushed around by what waves there were. Maybe not high thrills for some people, but it was good for me. The water temperature was perfect, the sun was nice, and the occasional clouds provided a nice break, too. Except maybe for a few bigger waves, we could not ask for much more out of a beach day. It was good.
Laura and Jaylin at our beach camp
Laura and Jaylin at our beach camp from another angle
Eventually, it was time for us to leave. We had been there for around five hours, which was a good, long time. So we packed up our chairs and umbrellas and stuff and headed back to the car. We had planned ahead and had brought clothes to change into, so we used the restroom facilities for that before leaving. It was a good day at Cocoa Beach, and we were looking forward to being back sometime.
The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy ships of the Disney Cruise Line anchored out at sea
Farewell, Cocoa Beach! Farewell, yellow umbrella!
We can’t go to Cocoa Beach without going to Ron Jon Surf Shop at least once. Yes, we had just been to the Disney Springs Ron Jon location the day before, but it is small compared to the large Cocoa Beach location. We found a parking place pretty close to the door and made our way inside.
On our way in, I was a little surprised to see that the store closes at 10:00 PM. They used to always be open 24 hours. I had always wondered who would go to Ron Jon at 2:00 AM, but apparently some people used to. And I am guessing that the new hours are a COVID response. We took our time looking around at everything on both levels, just to make sure that we saw it all. I was interested to see how much NASA related merchandise they had, which seemed to be more than what was there in the past. We made our selections and checked out, heading back to the car. Sometimes we visit the Cocoa Beach Surf Company store next door, but we skipped it for this visit.
By this time we were hungry for supper, so we went to one of our favorite Cocoa Beach restaurants, Molly’s Seafood Shack. There was no wait for a table, which was nice. And we did not have to wear masks at our table, which was also nice. Our waiter was friendly, as they all seem to be there. I chose fried shrimp and grilled mahi, along with corn on the cob and a salad. It was all delicious, especially the corn on the cob. And Laura and Jaylin liked what they got, too. As with every visit to Molly’s, we left full and satisfied.
Our drive back to the condo was pretty uneventful. We did make a quick restroom stop, but otherwise, we went straight back to the condo. It had been a good day, but those beach days seem to tire us out. So we watched television for a bit before heading off to bed.
Check back soon for more from our 2021 Florida Trip!