Pros and Cons of Living in Cocoa Beach Florida

Sea foam and sunrise from Cocoa Beach

If you have a move coming up that will take you to Florida, you are obviously doing some research to find the right town or city to move to. Of all the coastal cities in Florida we could have moved to, I am very happy my family decided to move to Cocoa Beach in the early 1980’s. I might be biased, but I believe Cocoa Beach is one of the best beach towns in Florida to live in. Is living in Cocoa Beach perfect? What town is? I believe that no matter where you are living, you have the good and the bad to deal with and you need to weigh out the pros and cons of living there. In this article, I will let you know what I think the pros and cons are to live in Cocoa Beach.

The Cons of living in Cocoa Beach

The Heat. It gets hot here. Really hot in the summertime. July, August & September can be brutal. The 90 degree temperature combined with almost 100% humidity does take at least a season to get used to. You just have to take some precautions to make certain you stay safe. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. Wear a hat and sunglasses. Use sunscreen every day. Park in the shade & get a sun shield for your dashboard (they really make a difference) We have air conditioning everywhere. Remember the other 9 months out of the year are absolutely amazing. I kinda love posting a picture at the beach while my friends and family are dealing with ice and snow.

Hurricane season. It goes from June 1st through November 30th. I am not going to lie or downplay this one. Preparing for a hurricane and evacuating is not fun. The good news about a hurricane is the heads up time you have before the storm gets here. The long-range forecast lets you know when a storm is approaching and if it could be a threat 10+ days before it hits land. If they give the mandatory evacuation notice, then everyone on a barrier island should evacuate. Some years, we never evacuate.

Tropical wind speed probability from Hurricane Irma 2017

The Bugs. There does not seem to be a shortage of bugs in Florida. We have mosquitos, no-see-ums, fire ants, roaches & love bugs. They can be a nuisance. Here are my two cents on them.

Mosquitos don’t really bother me too much on the beach. Since we have a lot of wind come off the ocean, the mosquitos seem to be more of a mainland problem…until the wind starts coming from the west. Then the mosquitos get blown over the river onto our barrier island. I seem to come across mosquitos in rural areas, areas with uncleared land, or after a couple days of rain. I have more of an issue with the no-see-ums early in the morning on the beach catching the sunrise. If there is any type of breeze, they tend to not be an issue.

Fire ants can pop up anywhere. The healthier your lawn, the less of an issue they can be. If you happen to step on a fire ant mound, you will certainly feel their bites. It’s never just one ant biting you either. So, be aware of your surroundings and where you are walking & standing.

Roaches are just gross. You can minimize the chance of getting them by keeping your house clean. Sometimes they do get in from packages being delivered, etc and you might need some help from a professional (like Truly Nolan or some type of pest control company) to get rid of a sudden infestation or spray regularly to ensure you do not have an issue.

Love Bugs come through Florida twice a year. Once in the spring and then at the end of summer. They will wreak havoc on the front end of your car and windshield. They love swarming on the highway and splatting on your vehicle. The only recommendation I have for them is to clean your car often so they do not ruin your paint job. I use fabric softener sheets to help remove them from the paint.

The Traffic. Cocoa Beach is a long, skinny beach town. The main road is A1A. During our “season” it does get crowded and jammed up. We have 2 Publix’s, one near the Pier and the other is 2 miles south and this stretch of A1A is where the traffic is thickest. The light at 520 & A1A either direction could take a few light cycles to get through the intersection. So, be patient and you will get through it. Our “season” is from January through April. This is when the snow-birds visit and the spring breakers come to town. Other times of the year we have thicker traffic usually coincide with an exceptionally nice weekend and people are coming in to go to the beach or we have a launch scheduled at the Space Center and we have extra people in town to see the rocket launch.

Bad traffic on I4 in Orlando Florida
I know bad traffic really looks like this. Fortunately, we don’t have it this bad in Cocoa Beach!!

Lack of public restrooms. Public restrooms are almost non-existent in Cocoa Beach. The Cocoa Beach Garage has them along with the bigger parks on the beach (Rober Murschke Park, Lori Wilson Park, Alan Shepard Park, Fisher Park & the Pier) have public restrooms. Otherwise, you are going to hit the grocery store, convenience store, or grab lunch/grab a drink somewhere and use their facilities. Most businesses downtown will not let the public use their restrooms unless they are a paying customer.

Lack of parking. Parking can be tough in Cocoa Beach. Most parking areas are pay to park. The streets with public beach access points are all metered parking and we have municipality parking that is metered (The metered parking is $2.50 an hour). There are a few entrepreneurial landowners that will charge a flat fee to park for the day. (starts at $10 day and goes up depending on what is going on). There are some free parking areas downtown but they are only for 90 minutes. The best bet if you are local or come to Cocoa Beach often is to buy an annual parking pass. It is $20 year for CB residents or $75 year for anyone else. This will allow you to park at any of the metered spots or the parking garage for “free”. Here is an article on all the places you can park in Cocoa Beach

Now Open!!!

Pros of living in Cocoa Beach. 

No State Income Tax. Our state does not have an income tax. We do have a sales tax that is 7%. This is charged on services and non-food items. Food, prescription drugs, and non-prescription drugs are not taxable. If you are moving from another state, you will need to pay a new vehicle registration fee of $225 for most vehicles.

The Beaches. The sandy shores of Cocoa Beach are open to the public. There are over 50 public beach access points from Grant Ave south to 35th St South. Our shoreline does not have coquina rocks in the surf like other sections of the beach in Brevard County. The water temperature is great most of the year. It will drop into the 60’s in the winter months (February is probably the coldest water temperature). So, depending on your tolerance level to the water temperature, you could be swimming or surfing year-round. Maybe have a wetsuit for the cooler weeks. See the stats here

Beach marker for 14th St South Cocoa Beach

The Water. Cocoa Beach is surrounded by water. We have the Atlantic ocean to our east and the Banana River to our west. So, you have a lot of options to have some fun. Surfing, swimming, kayaking, boating, fishing, and much more can be done here. 

Rocket Launches. Cocoa Beach is on the Space Coast! The space industry is a big part of the history in Cocoa Beach starting back in the 1950’s and it is going strong today. We have SpaceX launching AND landing rockets, we have ULA launching AtlasV rockets, we have Blue Origin getting ready to launch in 2021 and manned flight will be happening again soon.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy landing
SpaceX landing the falcon heavy at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as seen from south Cocoa Beach.

Amazing restaurants. If you love to eat, you will love Cocoa Beach. From Port Canaveral to Patrick Air Force Base; we have 50+ unique one of a kind restaurants here in the Cocoa Beach area. We have fine dining, we have bar-b-que, we have Thai, we have Island cuisine, we have pizza…most of these are downtown Cocoa Beach. If you are hungry, we have got you covered.

Dog Friendly. We love our dogs in Cocoa Beach. We have outdoor restaurants that allow you to have your pup sit with you and have clean water for your dogs. We have a dog park at Lori Wilson Park. You are even able to take your dogs to the beach in south Cocoa Beach between 4th St South and 15th St South.

dog digging in the sands of Cocoa Beach

Quality of life. All you have to do is drive down A1A and you will see people walking, running or riding their bikes. Downtown Cocoa Beach is set up to walk and roam around. We have Friday Fest the 3rd Friday of the month bringing the community together. There are surf contests and outdoor events throughout the year. Probably the coolest thing about living and growing up in Cocoa Beach is how everyone returns to Cocoa Beach throughout the year for Holidays & events. The best example of this is Thanksgiving Weekend. The city hosts the Cocoa Beach Art Festival, which is also a three day street party and alumni weekend for anyone who attended Cocoa Beach High School. Friday & Saturday nights are reunion nights and you will run into a lot of your old friends.

So, as you can see, Cocoa Beach is a great place to be. If you are considering a move to Florida or the Space Coast and you are trying to decide on the right beach community to live in, Cocoa Beach should be on your list of places to consider. If you have any questions about the Cocoa Beach area or Space Coast; I am here to help. Simply call or text Eric Larkin with RE/MAX Aerospace at 321.795.1854 or comment below. 

About the author:

Eric Larkin is a Broker Associate with REMAX Aerospace. He lives, works, and plays in the Cocoa Beach area. Eric has been helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs since becoming a real estate agent in 2003. His focus is always on helping, answering your questions, and doing everything possible to make certain you have a smooth transaction from beginning to end.

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