Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach

Hampton Inn - View from the beach
Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach – View from the beach – That is the hotel on the left behind the apartments (click to enlarge)

Introduction to the Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach

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

Booking.com

Location

As you can see in the aerial photo below, the Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach (highlighted in blue) is located a short distance from the ocean (it is not an ocean-front property) but most of the rooms have views of the ocean.

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.

Hampton Inn Location
Hampton Inn Location (click to enlarge)

To reach the beach you have to walk to the pool area 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
Hampton Inn – Path to the Beach
Hampton Inn - Path to the Beach
Hampton Inn – Path to the Beach
Hampton Inn - Path from the Beach
Hampton Inn – Path from the Beach

Port Shuttle – Yes

Included in Park and Cruise Packages for all registered room guests. Extra persons are $10 per roundtrip. Departure times are 10:15am, 11:15am and 12:15pm. The Hampton Inn currently contracts with Cocoa Beach Express for shuttles to the Port.

Hampton Inn Port Shuttle
Hampton Inn Port Shuttle – click to enlarge

Onsite Parking – Yes

Hotel parking is free for guests during a stay and included during your cruise when booking a Park and Cruise Package.

Restaurants and Bars

No. The usual Hampton Inn hot breakfast is served downstairs. Happy hour (5pm to 7pm) and a more substantial breakfast are available next door at the Marriott Courtyard in the Bistro.

Hampton Inn Breakfast Area
Hampton Inn Breakfast Area
Hampton Inn Breakfast Area
Hampton Inn Breakfast Area

Rooms

Note – the room numbering system is funky here! There are basically 2 clusters of rooms – those east (beach-side) of the elevators and those to the west (A1A-side) of the elevators!

The numbering begins in the middle as shown below! Room 810 is way west (left) and 820 is way east (right) closest to the beach.

Hampton Inn - Room Numbers
Hampton Inn – Room Numbers (click to enlarge)

The higher rooms on the 6th, 7th and 8th floors have the best ocean views but it depends on the room location. For example, rooms immediately to the west of the elevators may not have ocean views because of the structure.

If you want to overlook the pool, pick rooms 820 to 811 for example. Or 220 to 211 to stay just above the pool!

Rooms can accommodate either 4 or 6 persons and include a mini fridge and microwave. Options are:

  • A King Bed with a Sleeping Sofa. Maximum 4 persons.
  • Two Queen Beds with a Sleeping Sofa. Maximum 6 persons.
  • Two Queen Beds. Maximum 4 persons.
Hampton Inn South Facing Rooms (overlooking the pool)
Hampton Inn – (East rooms overlook the pool) – click to enlarge

Pool Area

The pool is on the south side of the building in order to get maximum sun!

Hampton Inn - Pool
Hampton Inn – Pool (click to enlarge)

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Hotel Website

Tripadvisor Reviews

1000 Islands at Cocoa Beach – A Sea Life Paradise

1000 Islands Cocoa Beach

If you love fishing or paddle sports then the 1000 Islands at Cocoa Beach is a most wonderful place to explore! Unfortunately, there is little information to be found either in print or online about the 1000 Islands – until now!

Mangrove Tunnel
1000 Islands Mangrove Tunnel (click to enlarge)

Here we will share as much as we can find out about one of our favorite places in Brevard County. Maps, paddle routes, hiking trails (yes you can hike on some of the small islands), what to see and where to see it.

A Quick Summary of the 1000 Island Experience

  • Officially, it is called the Thousand Islands Conservation Area
  • The area is rich in sea life and birds and with scenic mangrove tunnels
  • It offers shelter from windy and choppy conditions on the rivers – easier paddling
  • The launch areas (Ramp Rd and Country Club) are easy to use.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings (GPS is suggested) – you can get lost!
  • It is best to stay on the outside channels during your first few visits until you are familiar with the conditions and geography
  • The water between the islands is mostly very shallow (6 inches to 2 feet at most). Do not bring a long skeg when using a SUP!
  • Dolphin and manatee will be in the deeper water so focus on the boating channels for sightings
  • Use the Church Tower (shown on our map below) as a navigational reference in case you get lost. The Launch is to its left!

Maps

Google Earth is a good place to start and we use Google Maps to plot our GPS waypoints and tracks. This is work in progress and it will be for many years to come – please know one can spend a lifetime in the 1000 Islands and still discover new mangrove tunnels, paddle routes and enclaves.

You can also open our 1000 Island Map in a browser on your phone.

On the map you can see the launch areas, hiking trails, important waypoints (junctions, etc) and tracks of paddle trips. There are hundreds more routes to paddle and we will add others over time!

Please click on each icon or track for more information and pictures.

Tour Companies and Rentals

Please read our Guide for Paddle Tours and Rentals for more information about guided tours and rentals at the 1000 Islands.

Hiking Trails

Who knew you can hike on one of the 1000 Islands! As shown on our map, North Crawford island to the north of Ramp Rd has a short 0.4 mile flat trail and a nice little ramp to launch your SUP or kayak.

The trail itself is not very exciting but it gives one an opportunity to photograph birds and learn about plants that are not so easy to do from a wobbly kayak or SUP!

Hiking Trail Launch
1000 Islands Hiking Trail Launch (click to enlarge)

P

 

Kayaking Near Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach

Kayaking!

The brochures show crystal-clear blue water with playful dolphins leading the way as kayakers paddle between pods of friendly manatees.

Often, however, that’s not what folks experience and the kayaking shore trip activities get mixed reviews as a result – a shame! The Port Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area is perfect for water-based exploration and kayaking is one of the most popular adventures in the area. You just need to plan properly and manage your expectations!

Kayaking at Manatee Cove
Kayaking at Manatee Cove (click to enlarge)

Kayaking Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your kayaking shore trip:

  • At the coast weather can be unpredictable. You may have to brave strong wind and small waves on the river.
  • Know your capabilities and book an excursion that you can handle! You have to paddle to get around – there is no floating downstream here!
  • Come prepared with sunscreen, thin gloves, wide-rimmed hat, sunglasses (with retainer), bug repellent, sandals that stay on your feet (not flip-flops),  waterproof camera, comfortable clothes. For longer tours bring water and/or energy drinks and snacks.
  • Sightings are not guaranteed and the water is often murky. Also understand that manatee sightings are fewer during the colder months (Dec-Mar).
  • All kayaking tours are not the same. Read below to learn about the differences in terms of group sizes, kayaks, launch locations, etc.

How To Book a Kayaking Trip

There are 4 ways to do a kayaking adventure near Port Canaveral.

  1. Book a shore excursion with your cruise company
  2. Book a guided tour with one of the outfitters listed below – RECOMMENDED
  3. Rent a kayak, either at the launch site or have it delivered to the launch area. Then explore on your own, however, we recommend a guided tour instead.
  4. Rent a kayak at or near the beach to play in the ocean – this is really a beach-related activity for experienced folks and we list a few beach rental companies below
Kayak Tour
Kayak Tour (click to enlarge)

Kayaking outfitters offering guided tours

Most of these companies do not have offices to visit – they store/transport their kayaks on trailers not far from their favorite launch sites. Once booked, you will receive directions to the meeting or launch place which will be chosen based on season, sealife reports, currents, wind strength/direction, etc.

The prices, tours and locations listed here do change so PLEASE contact each company for accurate information!

Outfitter Rates  Tour Times / Locations
Calypso Kayaking $35.00 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6:30pm
Two hour tour at 1000 Islands. Launch mostly from Ramp Road or Country Club
Fin Expeditions $40.00 8am to 8:30am or 12:30pm to 1pm
Two hour tour at 1000 Islands. Launch from Ramp Road
Adventure Kayak $35.00 7am to whenever – based on bookings
Two and a half hours at various locations including 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
Lazy Days Kayak $35.00 Morning and Afternoon – based on bookings
Two and a half hours at 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
Relax Kayaks $35.00 On the hour – Based on bookings
Two hours at 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
A1A Beach Rentals call 9:30am, 1:30pm (but flexible)
Half day tours at various locations including 1000 Islands (Ramp Road).
SoBe Surf $75.00 Between 9am and 3:30pm based on bookings
Two hours starting at the Veterans Memorial Launch
 Calema Watersports  $40.00  Early AM and late PM
Tours start at Kelly Park to an island near Canaveral Lock

Kayak rental companies

They may or may not deliver kayaks depending on many factors such as time of day, season and your location. You may have to rent a roof rack system if you have a rental car. It is best to call and ask about these things before renting.

The easiest way is to rent at the launch site from companies who park their trailers there for a day! You just show up in your rental car or with Uber/taxi and your kayak will be waiting! Try Calypso at the 1000 Islands.

  • Relaxed Kayaks
  • A1A Beach Rentals
  • Wildlife Watersports
  • Calypso Kayaking
  • SoBe Surf
  • Calema Watersports
  • Surf & Ski Watersports
  • Ron Jon Watersports
  • Cocoa Beach Rentals
  • Last Chance Cafe & Bait

Kayak Launch Spots

This map shows the popular kayak launch areas in the area. For newcomers or cruisers we suggest to focus on the 1000 Islands at Ramp Road for your first kayaking adventure. Please read our Guide to the 1000 Islands at Cocoa Beach.

Country Club Launch
Country Club Launch (click to enlarge)
Ulumay Launch
Ulumay Launch (click to enlarge)
Ulumay Launch to Sykes Creek
Ulumay Launch to Sykes Creek (click to enlarge)
Wall Street Launch
Wall Street Launch (click to enlarge)
Veterans Memorial Launch
Veterans Memorial Launch (click to enlarge)
Ramp Road Launch
Ramp Road Launch (click to enlarge)
Kiwanis Launch
Kiwanis Launch (click to enlarge)
Banana River Park Launch
Banana River Park Launch (click to enlarge)
Last Chance Launch
Last Chance Launch (click to enlarge)
Kelly Park Launch
Kelly Park Launch (click to enlarge)

Pictures and Video

Adventure Kayak

Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach
Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

Calypso Kayaking

Calypso Kayaking
Calypso Kayaking (click to enlarge)

Fin Expeditions

Fin Expeditions
Fin Expeditions (click to enlarge)

SoBe Surf

SoBe Surf
SoBe Surf

Brevard County Brewery Tours

Brevard County Brewery Tours

Craft beers are all the rage and the industry enjoys a strong following and seemingly unlimited growth. With cell phone apps such as Untappd, craft beer lovers from around the world share information about their favorite brews and breweries, leading to trips of discovery to find that special beer!

In early 2017 there are 9 breweries within an hour drive of Port Canaveral and beer enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the efforts to brew quality and imaginative beer. The breweries are shown by yellow icons on the map below.

For easy navigation, please open our Interactive Google Shore Trip Map in a browser on your phone.

In this article we discuss the breweries and possible itineraries to help you plan a tour.

The Breweries are:

Please note: The beers on tap change frequently at these smaller breweries and even the same beer tastes different when freshly brewed versus a few weeks old. For this reason we are not going to comment on the quality of the beer produced. It is best to use your favorite APP when researching the breweries. There are hundreds if not thousands of reviews for each beer in APPS such Untappd! 

Florida Beer Company

Closest brewery to Port Canaveral. Easily reachable from the Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach hotels when using the SCAT Bus. Please visit our SCAT Bus page for directions.

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

Our Impressions:

It is a large brewery and the tasting room can handle any size crowd. In fact, it is so big it feels almost impersonal – a bit like a food court in a mall!

Nevertheless, there is a small play area for kids near the restrooms, many TVs up against the ceiling, several seating tables, large glass windows to watch the brewing operation and a large round bar with a massive round mural in the middle.

We tend to favor more intimate tap rooms but at least you can almost always get parking and a seat at the bar! While we are not going to review their beers, we have to admit the flavored ciders are excellent!

They do not serve food but you can ask the bartenders for takeout menus from different local restaurants who deliver.

Most importantly, however, they always have a great variety of beers on tap therefor this brewery is a must for every craft beer enthusiast.

Florida Beer Company
Florida Beer Company Tasting Room (click to enlarge)
Florida Beer Company Bar
Florida Beer Company Bar (click to enlarge)
Florida Beer Company Brewing (click to enlarge)
Florida Beer Company Brewing (click to enlarge)
Florida Beer Company - Devils Triangle Beer
Florida Beer Company – Devils Triangle Beer (click to enlarge)

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company

Near the popular Coconuts Restaurant in an area called the Barmuda, this brewery is in a great but challenging location. There is limited parking in front and a few more in the back but on busy beach days it will be hard to find parking nearby.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Entrance
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Entrance (click to enlarge)

Our Impressions:

Regulars tell us this once was a great brewery with very good beer even when the selection was small. Our visits, however, continue to disappoint despite our best efforts to remain positive.

First off, it is a tiny place with only four seats at the small counter. There is a couch and larger table nearby but the owner decided to use the tasting area as a storage facility leaving the area cramped and in disarray. Outside seating is available but it does not look clean. Do NOT bring small children inside because they may get hurt when stuff gets knocked over.

Worst, however, is the beer selection. One expect more than one beer on tap even at small breweries but the single choice here is simply not enough to attract repeat visitors.

Food is not served but we do not recommend eating here anyway.

If you have plenty of time and just happens to be in the neighborhood, then give it a try. Otherwise, do not bother with including this brewery in your tour.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Bar
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Bar (click to enlarge)
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Seating
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Seating or Storage? (click to enlarge)
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Outside
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Outside (click to enlarge)

Bugnutty Brewing Company

On Merritt Island in a strip mall, the brewery looks unassuming from the outside but inside it resembles a neighborhood pub!

Bugnutty Brewery Entrance
Bugnutty Brewery Entrance (click to enlarge)

Our Impressions:

To be perfectly honest our first impression when walking in was not positive. The bar was not busy yet the counter was quite dirty and it took a while for the bartender to notice!

Despite that, the many choices on tap looked promising and we quickly settled in to taste a few. The recommended Rhesus Peanut Butter Cup Nitro was good. Very good actually! So was the solid Porter called Minty Mountain Top and several others!

The tasting room is nothing special and looks like a typical 50s Diner with black, bright red and silver decor but thankfully without the checkered floor! There is a fair amount of seating at the bar and tables and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. Come as you are and enjoy your beer! You can even bring your well-behaved dog!

With plenty parking spaces outside and darn good beer, Bugnutty Brewery eventually won us over and this one is a must-do in any brewery itinerary!

Bugnutty Beer
Bugnutty Brewery Beer (Minty Mountain Top – click to enlarge)
Bugnutty Brewery Tasting Room
Bugnutty Brewery Tasting Room (click to enlarge)

Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Company

Way south, Historic Melbourne is a fun place to visit especially when coming from the coast where so many establishments and buildings are typical beach style.  The area reminds us of small-town America where the downtown areas have been revitalized to showcase local history and cultures.

It is here where Hell ‘n Blazes established themselves in a 120 year-old building!

Hell N Blazes Entrance
Hell N Blazes Entrance (click to enlarge)

Our Impressions:

For some reason we just love old buildings hosting modern businesses! To us it means the owners put a lot of thought into creating the right atmosphere for their craft and Hell ‘n Blazes did not disappoint!

The very large and very contemporary bar fills almost half the room and could’ve easily overshadowed the rest of the space yet the shiny wooden floor, the structures along the ceiling and the color schemes on the walls make the interior very inviting. Plenty of table seating near the bar and a game room for kids at the back of the building.

We settled in quickly when the bartender handed us two small bags of Pretzels and proceeded to explain the choices on the large tap menu. First round was the Causeway IPA and Huggins Hefeweizen. Both beers went down smooth and we immediately decided this Brewery is a keeper!

They also offer a nice selection of white and red wine for those times when your partner is not keen on beer!

Parking seems to be in the streets nearby but no worries there’s plenty! Do not plan a craft beer tour without a visit to Hell ‘n Blazes. Also make time to explore Historic Melbourne when in the area!

Hell 'n Blazes Tap Room
Hell ‘n Blazes Tap Room (click to enlarge)
Hell 'n Blazes Beer Tasting
Hell ‘n Blazes Beer Tasting (click to enlarge)
Hell 'n Blazes Game Room
Hell ‘n Blazes Game Room (click to enlarge)

Intracoastal Brewing Company

So during our brewery tours we get to talk to folks. Many folks. We ask them about their favorites local breweries.

One popular brewery is Intracoastal Company – the kind of place where fans drive many miles to visit because they love the vibe and the beers! We had to see for ourselves.

Intracoastal Brewing Entrance
Intracoastal Brewing Company Entrance
Intracoastal Brewing Company Front
Intracoastal Brewing Company Front

Our Impressions:

Sometimes things just work out. You cannot pinpoint the exact reason or analyze the cause but you know it when you experience it!

Intracoastal is such a place in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne. The warm colors, the simplicity of the wooden bench seats next to the bar, the sounds of people talking, the good beer, the size which is just about right – not too small and not too big. It reminded us of the first time we walked into a Starbucks (a very nice Starbucks).

We dove right into a Boss Hefe and a What Gose Around. Sour, tart and lemon with a bit of spice. A fine Gose. The Boss earned its lederhosen with a fine Bavarian wheat taste.

And so it went! People strolled in, sat down and smiled. Yeah, they felt it too!

Parking is limited on the side so look nearby. Then walk up and savor the atmosphere inside! A must stop on any craft beer tour!

Intracoastal Brewing Tap Room
Intracoastal Brewing Company Tap Room (click to enlarge)
Intracoastal Brewing Company Beers
Intracoastal Brewing Company Beers (click to enlarge)
Intracoastal Brewing Company - On Tap
Intracoastal Brewing Company – On Tap (click to enlarge)

Charlie & Jake’s Brewery Grille

At some point during a brewery tour one has to eat, preferably while drinking a homebrew! Then look no further than Charlie & Jake’s!

Charlie and Jakes Entrance
Charlie and Jakes Entrance (click to enlarge)
Charlie and Jake's Entrance
Charlie and Jake’s Entrance (click to enlarge)

Our Impressions:

Good BBQ is not easy to find around the Space Coast and BBQ lovers are always searching for the next pit king! Charlie and Jake’s may not top most lists but there is nothing wrong with their grub!

Located in a strip mall just north of the Pineda Causeway in Suntree (Melbourne), CJ’s is an easy drove from the Port Canaveral area.

As you walk up, the outside/inside bar and patio is a striking feature but frankly you will feel a bit of an outcast at the outside bar – inside is where the action is!  Inside you choose between restaurant or bar seating. The decor is modern yet welcoming with dark and earth colors.

We opted for the bar – but quickly changed to a different part of the bar no thanks to the freezing air-conditioners above! That aside we got served promptly.

There were 6 home brews on tap and those happened to be malts and ales except for the Wickham Wheat which was light and tasty. Overall the beer is good but perhaps not as imaginative as the other breweries – but then again our focus were more on the food and we loved the BBQ!

The atmosphere in Charlie & Jake’s is certainly more restaurant than brewery and the beer selection is limited but they are doing a fine job with balancing the two. 

Charlie and Jakes Restaurant
Charlie and Jake’s Restaurant (click to enlarge)
Charlie and Jake's Bar
Charlie and Jake’s Bar (click to enlarge)

Lost Shirt Brewing Company

This one has that startup look and feel. Owned by two guys who are following their dream and working very hard to achieve success.

Lost Shirt Entrance
Lost Shirt Entrance

Our Impressions:

It is a bit of a drive out to West Melbourne and the location is in an industrial part of town. Only true beer enthusiasts will venture this far out of the way but once you arrive it is a special feeling to be served beer by one of the owner/brewers.

We did not expect much in terms of decor and setting and the truth be the told, the interior is bright white, bland and very short on ambiance. A visit here is all about the beer and a chat with the guys – and this makes it special. You are enjoying young beer brewed with care and the love, anticipation and excitement of its owners and thus you play a small part in the early stages of their journey!

We sat at the small bar and were served promptly with two packets of pretzels! It was both surprising and impressive to see 8 different beers on tap from such a young brewery! We went for the beers on the lower end of the IBU scale – Bad Apple, Beach Break Ale and Decisions Ale – and were impressed with the flavors. Really solid.

It is always a good idea to support up-and-comers and we suggest you add Lost Shirt to your tour plans. Most probably you also get to chat with the owners! 

Lost Shirt Tasting
Lost Shirt Tasting (click to enlarge)
Lost Shirt Tap Room
Lost Shirt Tap Room (click to enlarge)

Playalinda Brewing Company – two locations

We like to the leave the best for last so let’s end with the two locations from Playalinda Brewing Company, starting with Brix and finally their Hardware building!

The Brix Project

The second location just north of the NASA Causeway south of Titusville where most if not all of their beers are currently brewed. It is an expanding operation with a distillery planned for later in 2017!

Playalinda Brix Entrance
Playalinda Brix Entrance (click to enlarge)

Our Impressions:

So what do we like best? The beer, the food or the live music? Heck, we just love it all!

The modern traditional decor is what strikes one first as you walk in. It’s the details that impress; look for the “Playalinda Brix Project” logo carved into the backs of the wooden stools, or the flight paddles neatly stacked upright behind the bar. Do you spot the clever invitation to “Shoot It, Share It, Hashtag It”?

It’s cozy and noisy yet modern and cool all at once.

The beer menu is long and varied. You can choose home brews or guest taps. Our first round was the hoppish Pleasure Chest and yummy Key Lime Slice (served with a cool whip rim)! Whoa! Both topnotch!

Then there are the Bites! They call it artisan food and trust us – they’re not presenting alternate facts! We did not eat on our last visit but can tell you the Sunday brunches are a special treat! How about a flight of flavored Mimosas and really good breakfast food!

If you have time for only one top brewery on your tour, then Brix would be the one. Plain and simple.

Playalinda Brix Tap Room
Playalinda Brix Tap Room (click to enlarge)
Playalinda Brix Brunch
Playalinda Brix Brunch
Playalinda Brix Patio
Playalinda Brix Patio (click to enlarge)
Playalinda Brix Bar
Playalinda Brix Bar (click to enlarge)

Hardware

The original building where it all began in downtown Titusville. If you can, start or end your brewery tour right there!

Playalinda Hardware Entrance
Playalinda Hardware Entrance (click to enlarge)

Our Impressions:

Somehow the combination of a 100-year old hardware store and a modern brewery is the perfect match! Well, at least in this case when the owners made a genuine authentic effort to preserve the features necessary to maintain the historic character while still providing a safe and comfortable tasting environment.

Granted, it appears the newer Brix Project building may get more attention because of the live music events and such, but tasting beer in the Hardware is unmatched in the area.

The historic decor highlighted by the original wooden hardware cabinet behind the bar is impressive. But look closer and you will notice the “Playalinda Hardware” logo carved into the backs of the wooden stools! Sometimes details matter!

The beer menu is long and varied. You can choose home brews or guest taps. Our first round was the crispy Bottomless Blonde and yummy Key Lime Slice (served with a cool whip rim)! Excellent stuff!

Then there are the Bites! You can easily come for a tasting and stay to eat – no need to dine elsewhere because the sandwiches and platters are sumptuous!

The rejuvenated space program is giving Titusville new life and hopefully its Downtown area will continue to draw upstarts and visitors.

Yes, yes and yes. A must in any brewery tour itinerary. Enough said.

Playalinda Hardware Tap Room
Playalinda Hardware Tap Room (click to enlarge)
Playalinda Hardware Eats
Playalinda Hardware Eats (click to enlarge)
Playalinda Hardware Tap Room
Playalinda Hardware Tap Room (click to enlarge)
Playalinda Hardware Tasting
Playalinda Hardware Tasting (click to enlarge)

 

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
Hilton Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

Introduction to Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, August 2019

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.

Booking.com

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 $9 per night.

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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Hotel Website

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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.

Booking.com

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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