In this article I explain how you can park for FREE during your cruise from Port Canaveral!
With ship-side parking at the cruise terminals costing $17 per day (including the days of arrival and departure), many folks are looking for budget-friendly parking near the Port. In another article I talk about the CHEAPEST off-site parking near Port Canaveral (Read Here), but FREE parking is even better!
Can I just park in the streets near Port Canaveral?
I know some cruisers try to avoid paying for parking by leaving their vehicles in the parking area near the restaurants close to Terminal 1, but this is a bad idea! The police and port security look for unoccupied vehicles and you will be ticketed! Please forget about trying to avoid the inevitable!
OK, IS FREE parking really available?
Several Cocoa Beach offer FREE parking when you book a Snooze and Cruise package!
I know what you’re thinking – the parking is not really free; the hotel simply charges more for the room to recover the parking costs! Actually – not true!
When you price the room and compare the regular rates versus the package rate, you may notice a very small difference in price ($20-$40 or thereabouts). The difference is the cost of the two-way transfers from the hotel to the cruise terminal and back (normally for 2 people).
What is the average cost of transfers to and from Port Canaveral?
On average, shared hotel transfers cost between $5 and $10 per person each way. That’s not too bad for 1 or 2 people. For 3 or more people it makes sense to look at Uber or Lyft.
Transfer costs are shown in this table:
OK, where’s the catch?
No catch, but there are several things to consider.
If you plan to drive in on the morning of your cruise then my FREE parking suggestion is not an option. When arriving from far away, consider spending the night before your cruise in Cocoa Beach instead of towns along your route!
You must use the shared hotel shuttles meaning you have fixed departure times and the transfer is NOT PRIVATE! The shuttle van may stop at a few terminals before your drop off.
Some homework is required! You have to calculate and compare the cost of the Park, Snooze and Cruise packages versus the regular room rates. Then subtract the cost of the two-way transfers to see if your parking is FREE!
Pick your hotel carefully! Only the hotels listed currently offer FREE parking and some dates may be unavailable.
Hotel parking is not as secure as parking at the Port or at gated off-site parking lots.
The hotels with FREE cruise parking (at the time of this writing!)
The Best Western Cocoa Beach is a very popular campus-style hotel with 6 buildings near the famous Cocoa Beach Pier. If you are interested in the Best Western, check rates, view our own maps, pictures and videos, enjoy our own unbiased comments and read Tripadvisor reviews.
A beach-front property located in the Northern Cocoa Beach area only 4.5 miles from the cruise terminals. The location is wonderful within walking distance of the famous Cocoa Beach Pier, several restaurants, bars, grocery stores and liquor stores.
Please look at our INTERACTIVE MAP for exact locations of the places mentioned below.
Across A1A is a Publix grocery store and liquor store as well as several very good restaurants. Do check with the front desk if they have discount vouchers for any of the nearby restaurants or shops:
Coasters Taphouse – very popular sports bar with excellent food and many beers, wine and liquor on tap and bottled
Kim Bo Chinese – the best Chinese food around. Mostly takeouts but friendly and clean
Flavors of India – with authentic Indian cuisine – very good food!
El Buzo – good Peruvian food in a plain unpretentious setting
Salsas Mexican – there are many Mexican restaurant in the area and this one has nice décor with a comfortable bar. Good food and affordable drinks.
Cocoa Beach Ale House – the bar is fine with a good selection of drinks but the restaurant is hit or miss. Despite the traffic the outside seating area is nice on a pleasant day.
At Cocoa Beach Pier you have a choice of several eateries. Let’s be honest, the area is touristy and the food is typical of touristy areas along the Florida coast but the setting is worth the extra costs for sometimes average food! Watching local surfers play in the waves below while you sip a cocktail is priceless! Nothing will put your mind in cruise mood faster than that!
Pier Points To Ponder:
There is a$2 charge (free when you have a drink receipt) to walk out on the pier beyond the restaurants. When paying you get a $2 discount token to be used when ordering drinks at the tiki bar!
You can rent beach chairs, toys and umbrellas from 3 places around the pier. The stall on the north side (in front of La Quinta) is the cheapest!
You can rent bikes from Trader Ricks but there are cheaper places that deliver to your hotel (please read our bike rental page)
The pier has 3 small shops for beach wear and beach-related items. For a larger selection, you can visit Beachwave just south of the Holiday Inn on A1A
If you have a vehicle it is best to park at the hotel and walk or pay $10 -$20 per day until 4pm (cost varies)
If you want to travel to other parts of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, Uber is available and recommended. You can also use the local SCAT bus with stops near the Holiday Inn (please read our SCAT Bus page).
Port Shuttle – Yes
Included in Stay and Cruise packages for up to two guests. Departure times are 9:30am, 10:30am and 11:30am on weekends and 10:30am and 11:30am during the work week.
Onsite Cruise Parking – Yes
Hotel parking included in Stay and Cruise packages. Otherwise $5 per night.
Restaurants and Bars
The hotel serves hot breakfast in the breakfast area of the Family Suites Building. This is standard for these kind of hotels.
The small Veranda Bar next to the Garden Pool is seasonal and weather permitting.
Complimentary evening social on Thursdays from 5pm to 6pm in the breakfast area beer, wine and snack food.
The Ale House is a popular sports bar and restaurant. Across the street near Publix is Coasters Taphouse – one of the most popular restaurant/bars in Cocoa Beach with great food and many beers and wine on tap! A few doors down is Flavors of India with authentic Indian cuisine – very good food!
Just a block to the east is the famous Cocoa Beach Pier with several restaurants/bars and always busy with both locals and visitors!
For takeout meals, Kim Bo Chinese Is recommended.
The hotel has a campus setting with rooms located in 5 buildings. You can see the buildings on our map below.
The Tower Building (FLOORS 3-8 = 6 FLOORS) is the most desirable with beautiful ocean views:
Choose the upper floors 8, 7, 6 or 5 for the best views.
Choose between 42 oceanfront (direct ocean views) or 18 ocean view rooms (these are on the side of the building facing south and southwest).
The middle 5 rooms on each floor have either One King Bed (sleeps 2) or Two Queen Beds (sleeps 4).
The outer two rooms on each floor are called junior suites and offer Two Queen Beds and a Double Sleeper Sofa (sleeps 6 in total).
Every room has a small fridge and microwave.
The Family Suites Building (FLOORS 2-5 = 4 FLOORS) is perfect for families. The fitness room and breakfast room are located on Floor 1:
Floor 2 is just above the pool. Floor 5 is the highest.
Each suite has TWO ROOMS (bedroom with door and a lounge) with a kitchenette (full fridge, sink and microwave).
Each suite offers One King Bed and a Double Sleeper Sofa in the lounge (sleeps 4 in total) or Two Queen Beds and a Double Sleeper Sofa in the lounge (sleeps 6 in total).
The three Garden Room Buildings (FLOORS 1 and 2) have many rooms on TWO FLOORS.
Some rooms face the streets and others face the courtyard or pool.
Choose Building C if you want to be closer to the beach, or Building B if you want to be closer to the breakfast room
Each room offers One King Bed (sleeps 2), Two Queen Beds (sleeps 4) or Two Double Beds (sleeps 4).
Ask about a FREE crib.
A few rooms have kitchenettes (full fridge, sink and microwave).
If you have a family of 5, do ask about a rollaway bed (extra costs) to add one to a 4-person room.
Two pools are available. The Garden Pool is more private (best for adults) and with the Veranda Bar mentioned above. The Family Suites Building has its own pool with the east-facing rooms looking down on it.