Explore Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach and Cocoa Village using SCAT Buses

Explore Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach and Cocoa Village using the Space Coast Area Transit (SCAT bus)!

The SCAT bus is a comfortable and affordable way to explore the area near Port Canaveral while on a Port visit. You can hop on and off at your leisure – all while enjoying the comfort and safety of the local transportation system. You will find the drivers to be friendly and helpful if you have questions.

While exploring, please open our interactive Google Map in your phone browser.

Using our interactive map – You can track your location and click on each icon for more information and photos. You can also see the map below on this page.

Introduction

SCAT Bus at Port Canaveral
SCAT Bus at Port Canaveral

The SCAT bus system covers a large part of Brevard County but Port Canaveral is on Route 9 – Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach. Most visitors do not have to change routes but you can easily do so if you wish to visit areas further away such as Cocoa or Merritt Island.

Our focus is the Cape Canaveral section of Route 9. You can see the route shown in red on the map below. This is the most popular section for cruisers and the bus will take you from Cruise Terminals 1 or 3 all the way to the Cocoa Beach Pier, the Ron Jon shopping area and back. However, we do include a short description of the route to Cocoa Village below.

You can transfer to other buses and travel much further south and west but those options will take time – not ideal for port visits when you have limited time. It is best to get Uber.

How to Ride the SCAT bus

It is very simple.

SCAT Payment
SCAT Payment (click to enlarge)

Here are a few important things to know:

  • There is an App for this! You can search for 321 Transit in Google Play or App Store. You will get timetables and maps, however, the system is easy enough to use without the App.
  • The bus uses designated stops and you can expect a bus every 30 minutes on weekdays. You cannot wave it down like a New York cab! So always be aware of your nearest bus stop.
  • Each stop has a timetable posted. Most stops are open – no protection from wind or rain.
  • The bus route is circular – not two-way – meaning the bus travels in one direction only. Anti-Clockwise (driving west from Terminal 1)! Once you depart your stop you have to complete the whole route in order to return.
  • On average it takes about 15 – 20 minutes from the Port down to Shepard Park which is the southern most point of the Canaveral Loop. And then it takes about the same time to get back to the Port.
  • Have exact change please! The machine on the bus takes coins and notes and change is not given. Please visit the SCAT website for latest fare information. In early 2017 the fare was $1.50 per ride or $0.75 (discounted).
  • You pay every time you get on unless you have a transfer ticket! Please keep this in mind if you have a really tight budget! Tell the driver that you will transfer to another bus when you get on.
  • When the bus nears your stop, simply pull the rope above the window to ring a bell for the driver! Please do not distract the driver while driving. It is best to ask for advice as soon as you step on the bus before he/she starts to drive.
SCAT Bus Schedule
SCAT Bus Schedule example (click to enlarge

Is the SCAT bus for you and your family/friends?

In terms of convenience, one cannot beat taxis or Uber/Lyft. These will be waiting at your ship and easy to call from anywhere in the area. On the other hand, the bus is slower and cheaper and you must be willing to walk and wait!

So it depends!

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If your ship docks at Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 then the SCAT is an option. If you dock at another Terminal then do not bother! Take a taxi or Uber/Lyft.
  • Do consider the weather. If it is very hot or rainy, then you may want to reconsider using the SCAT because you will be exposed to the elements.
  • You will have to walk quite a bit but Central Florida is totally flat!
  • The bus is family friendly and used by vacationers, locals and business travelers!  Do not be concerned about safety.
  • And should you run late and miss the bus you can always get an Uber ride back to the ship from wherever you are!

Actually the bus systems runs until late so there will always be another bus to catch!

SCAT Bus Stop at Terminal 1
SCAT Bus Stop at Terminal 1 (click to enlarge)

Exploring the Cape Canaveral Area by SCAT bus

Here are popular destinations that cruisers can visit by SCAT bus:

  • Liquor Stores, pharmacies, banks (ATMs) and grocery stores
  • Unique shops such as Ron Jon and Dinosaur Store
  • Swimming beaches for tanning, surf lessons and bike rentals
  • Local breweries and popular beach-side bars/restaurants
  • Adventures such as zip line fun, mini golf and escape challenges
  • Cocoa Village (about 40 minutes each way)

In the following sections we will discuss each activity to help you manage your visit and bus rides.

1. Local Beer Brewery

The Florida Beer Company has done a wonderful job with their visitor center and it is a fun place to visit (opens at 1pm until late). Best of all, it is very near the Port! You can actually walk back to Terminal afterwards!

Please know you can get to the Brewery rather fast by bus but to return to the Terminal you have to complete the loop and this may take at least 25 minutes. Or take Uber/Lyft.

Highlights:

  • A brewery tour on weekends but you must wear closed toe shoes!
  • A large sports bar area with many craft beers on tap and bottled. You can see the brewery floor behind the glass windows. Snack food is available.

Bus Stop – only about 2 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the Burger King as shown on the map. Cross the busy A1A and walk south for a block. Turn left on Imperial Blvd and you will see the building ahead.

SCAT at Burger King for Brewery
SCAT at Burger King for Brewery (click to enlarge)

 

Florida Beer Company
Florida Beer Company (click to enlarge)
Florida Beer Company
Florida Beer Company (click to enlarge)

2. Closest Liquor Store

Cape Canaveral Liquors has a wide selection of spirits and wine. The selection is not as good as Publix or ABC but you will find most of what you need.

Bus Stop – only about 4 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the south-bound Patriots Park stop (at a Mobil gas station). Cross the busy A1A and walk east on Church Ln. The liquor store is in a strip mall at N. Atlantic Ave (to your right).

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to walk south for one block to the north-bound bus stop at Jefferson Ave. Once on the bus it is only about 8 minutes back to Terminal 1.

SCAT at Mobil for Liquor Store
SCAT at Mobil for Liquor Store (click to enlarge)

 

Cape Canaveral Liquors
Cape Canaveral Liquors (click to enlarge)

 

Northbound SCAT near liquor store
Northbound SCAT near liquor store (click to enlarge)

3. Mini Golf and Aerial Zip Lines

If you want to see live alligators then plan to visit Golf N Gator mini-golf. They have baby alligators and other reptiles on display! And the mini-golf courses are very good too.

Just a block to the north, you will find Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures  – a challenging aerial obstacle course for the Ninja Warriors in your family!

Bus Stop – only about 7 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the National Rent-a-Car bus stop. Walk north for a block or so to GolfNGator and Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures.

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to cross A1A to the nearest north bound bus stop (at Lido Cabaret).

SCAT at National for Mini golf and zipline
SCAT at National for Mini golf and zipline (click to enlarge)

 

Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures
Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures (click to enlarge)

 

SCAT at Lido Cabaret
Northbound SCAT at Lido Cabaret (click to enlarge)

4. Publix Grocery, Pharmacy and Liquor – Also Cocoa Beach Escape

The best place to go if you need any of those! Cocoa Beach Escape is a fun escape room activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Bus Stop – only about 8 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the Coasters Taphouse bus stop at the strip mall. Walk straight across the parking lot to Publix and the Escape Room.

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to cross A1A to the nearest north bound bus stop (in front of Sunrise Bank).

SCAT at Publix
SCAT at Publix (click to enlarge)

 

Escape Cocoa Beach
Escape Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

 

SCAT at Sunrise Bank
SCAT at Sunrise Bank (click to enlarge)

5. The Beach at Cocoa Beach Pier

Our highly recommended stop for visiting cruisers when using the SCAT is the Cocoa Beach Pier!

Bus Stop – only about 10 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the bus stop on the corner of Ocean Beach Blvd and Pulsipher Ave (you can see the pier straight ahead).  Walk across Ocean Beach Blvd to the famous Pier where you can rent beach equipment, learn to surf, play volleyball, have cocktails while watching the surfers and much more!

Tip – the beach rentals are a bit cheaper on the north side of the pier (in front of La Quinta Hotel).

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to walk west towards Publix on A1A and wait at the Sunrise Bank bus stop.

SCAT at Cocoa Beach Pier
SCAT at Cocoa Beach Pier (click to enlarge)

 

Cocoa Beach Pier
Cocoa Beach Pier (click to enlarge)

 

SCAT at Sunrise Bank
SCAT at Sunrise Bank (click to enlarge)

6. The Beach at Shepard Park, Ron Jon and Dinosaur Store

This is the beach where ship excursions go so you will find many of your fellow cruisers there! You can have drinks at very popular Sandbar (no ocean views though) or upstairs at Captain J’s (some views).

Bus Stop – near Pizza Hut only about 15 minutes from Terminal 1. Just walk a short distance to the east and you will see Sandbar on your left and the beach in front. There are beach rentals on the beach.

To visit Ron Jon, walk west a short distance towards A1A then turn south and you will see Ron Jon on the next block. It is a great store for souvenirs, clothes and beach-related items.

The Dinosaur Store is a bit further west (you must cross A1A and it is hidden behind CVS). It is a fun store for adults and kids alike!

Afterwards, return to the bus stop where you step off (Pizza Hut) and make sure you get on the bus heading north back to Port Canaveral! There are other buses going south.

SCAT at Shepard Park
SCAT at Shepard Park (click to enlarge)

 

Shepard Beach on Cruise Day
Shepard Beach on Cruise Day (click to enlarge)

 

Dinosaur Store
Dinosaur Store

7. Cocoa Village

Shore Excursions arranged by your ship normally include a visit to Cocoa Village. You can do this on your own by SCAT Bus!  It will cost only $1.50 pp each way and takes about 50 minutes!

  • Take the #$9 bus to Shepard Park. Tell the driver you will transfer to Cocoa Village.
  • At Shepard Park, get your transfer pass as you step off the bus.
  • Wait for #4 bus to Cocoa. Show your transfer pass to the driver
  • Exit at the 520/Brevard Ave bus stop (Village Plaza) and walk south along Brevard Ave to the village.
  • To return, use the nearby bus stop at Tulip Restaurant on Brevard Ave

Interactive Google Map

(Please click on each icon for photos and more information.)


map end

 

Universal Studios – Cruise Shore Trip

Universal Studios Shore Trip

Everything you need to know about visiting Universal Studios as a shore trip from Port Canaveral. It is about 56 miles and should take less than 75 minutes from the Port

Universal Studios -Parking
Universal Studios -Parking (click to enlarge)

Driving Directions to Universal Studios

  1. Exit the Port and head West on FL-528 W for 52.8 miles. It is a toll road – pay $1.00 + $1.00 +$2.25 (change available).
  2. Take exit for I-4 East for Downtown/Orlando. Drive 3.1 miles.
  3. Take exit 75A toward FL-435 South/International Drive
  4. Turn left at the intersection towards City Walk then look for the parking exit on the right.
  5. At the entrance booths, decide if you want standard parking ($20), preferred parking (a bit closer to City Walk – $30) or valet parking.
  6. Once you enter City Walk, keep right for the Universal Studios Florida theme park, or left for Island of Adventure theme park.

Despite the people movers, it is a good 20 minutes of walking from your vehicle, through City Walk with its shops, bars and restaurants to the theme park entrances – and there are 2 security checks (or 3 if you visit both theme parks). Doing it both ways, it is safe to say the entrance/exit procedures alone will take just under an hour. Please keep that in mind if you plan a short day.

 

Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront

Hilton Cocoa Beach
Hilton Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

Introduction to Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront

If you are interested in the Hilton Hotel Cocoa Beach, check rates, view our own maps, pictures and videos, enjoy our own unbiased comments and read Tripadvisor reviews.

Location

The Hilton is an ocean-front hotel about 6.5 miles from the Port. The location is secluded in the sense that it is some distance from restaurants and shops but it is perfectly safe to walk around the area, especially during daylight hours and early evening. The hotel has good restaurants and bars so you may not want to dine elsewhere but Uber or taxis are available if you want to explore.

One of the area’s top restaurants, Florida’s Fresh Grill, is located about 6 blocks to the north as shown on the aerial photo below.

Hilton Location
Hilton Location (click to enlarge)

Port Shuttle – Yes

Included in Park, Stay and Go packages for all registered room guests. Departure times are 10:30am and noon.  Extra persons are $5 per one-way trip.

The hotel does not offer airport transfers and partner with Smart-two.com instead.

Hilton - Port Shuttle
Hilton – Port Shuttle

Onsite Parking – Yes

Hotel parking included in Park, Stay and Go packages for up to 7 nights. Otherwise $5.95 per night plus tax.

Bars and Restaurants

Yes!

Inside you can choose between the Salt Lounge or Salt Restaurant for drinks and/or meals.

Hilton Hotel - Salt Restaurant and Lounge
Hilton Hotel – Salt Restaurant and Lounge (click to enlarge)

The Longboards Tiki Beach Grill is outside and you can choose to dine or drink under shade or in the warm Florida sun if you are working on your tan!

Hilton Longboards Tiki Beach Grill
Hilton Longboards Tiki Beach Grill (click to enlarge)
Hilton Longboards Tiki Beach Grill
Hilton Longboards Tiki Beach Grill (click to enlarge)

While relaxing on the beach you can walk up to the Castaway Bar for refreshments!

Hilton Castaway Bar
Hilton Castaway Bar (click to enlarge)
Hilton Castaway Bar
Hilton Castaway Bar (click to enlarge)

Rooms

The 7 floors of the Hilton offer direct ocean views and several other directions. The best views will be from floors 3 and higher.

Pool

The hotel pool also has a fun splash area and your kids will love it!

 

Hilton Hotel Pool
Hilton Hotel Pool (click to enlarge)
Hilton Hotel Pool Deck
Hilton Hotel Pool Deck (click to enlarge)
Hilton Hotel Pool with Splash Area
Hilton Hotel Pool with Splash Area (click to enlarge)

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Courtyard Cocoa Beach Cape Canaveral

Courtyard by Marriott
Courtyard by Marriott (click to enlarge)

Introduction to the Courtyard Cocoa Beach

If you are interested in the Courtyard Cocoa Beach, check rates, view our own maps, pictures and videos, enjoy our own unbiased comments and read Tripadvisor reviews.

Location

As you can see in the aerial photo below, the Courtyard Cocoa Beach (highlighted in green) is located a short distance from the ocean (it is not an ocean-front property).

While the area is very safe to walk, there is not much nearby. The closest best restaurant is Brano’s a few blocks to the north. Near Brano’s are fast food restaurants Taco Bell, Long John Silvers and a Waffle House.

If you want to walk about 8 blocks to the north (passing Brano’s on your left) you will find more restaurants, hotels, mini-golf and the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop.

Courtyard Location
Courtyard Location (click to enlarge)

To reach the beach you have to walk to the pool area of the Hampton Inn and then down a path for only 0.1 miles (marked in green in the photo above). You can rent an umbrella and two chairs for about $32 per day.

Hampton Inn - Path to the Beach
Courtyard – Path to the Beach
Hampton Inn - Path to the Beach
Courtyard – Path to the Beach
Hampton Inn - Path from the Beach
Courtyard – Path from the Beach

Port Shuttle – Yes

Included in Park and Cruise Packages for two registered room guests. Additional guests pay $10 roundtrip. Departure times are 10:15am, 11:15am and 12:15pm.

Fly, Cruise and Snooze Packages from/to MCO are valid for one person only. Additions persons are $45 each.

The Courtyard currently uses Cocoa Beach Shuttle for airport shuttles and Cocoa Beach Express for Port transfers.

Courtyard Port Shuttle
Courtyard Port Shuttle

Onsite Parking – Yes

Hotel parking cost $5.99 plus tax for guests. Hotel parking included for the duration of your stay and cruise in Park and Cruise Packages.

Restaurants and Bars

Yes. Happy hour (5pm to 7pm) and meals are available in the Courtyard Bistro. The Kohia Tiki Bar is open on weekends.

Rooms

There are very limited ocean views from the top floors of the east-facing rooms.

Rooms can accommodate up to 5 persons and include a mini fridge and microwave. Options are:

  • Executive King Suite – a lounge with wet bar and a bedroom with a King Bed. 4 persons
  • Extended King Room – a King Bed with a double sleeping sofa and wet bar. 4 persons
  • Spa Room – a King Bed with a whirlpool bath. 3 persons
  • Extended Queen Room – two Queen Beds with a sleeping sofa. 5 persons
  • Standard Room – choose between a King Bed and sleeping sofa, or two queen beds. 4 persons

Pool

Not the most interesting pool in the area but functional on hot days!

Courtyard Pool
Courtyard Pool (click to enlarge)
Courtyard Pool
Courtyard Pool (click to enlarge)

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Fawlty Towers Motel

Introduction to Fawlty Towers Motel

Fawlty Towers Motel is a budget hotel in Cocoa Beach.

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