The Cocoa Beach area, with 72 miles of sun-bronzed Atlantic shoreline, is known for its stellar waves.
You'll find professional surfers practicing their moves, and maybe you'll be inspired to take a lesson.
These are the perfect beaches for family day trips, especially if you happen to be visiting a theme park in nearby Orlando.
The beaches, listed here from north to south, range from popular and lively to private and hidden.
Canaveral National Seashore, Playalinda Beach
Canaveral National Seashore, located on a barrier island, offers ocean, beach, dune, hammock, lagoon, salt marsh and pine flatland habitats. It's a beautiful, quiet place to spend your time. The beachfront here is a secluded 24-mile stretch where sea and space meet. This is an undeveloped beach, without vendors or stores, so be sure to bring any supplies you may need for the day. There is a parking area with boardwalk access over the dunes.
Jetty Park at Port Canaveral
The 35-acre park features the 1,500-foot Malcolm E. McLouth Fishing Pier and three acres of sandy beach. It's one of the busiest parks in the county, but that's only because it offers something for everyone. There are covered pavilions, picnic areas, campsites, showers and restrooms. It's a good spot to try some fishing or to just relax and watch the kids play.
Cherie Down Park
Dappled with sand dunes and sea grasses, Cherie Down Park is a seven-acre community beach park in a neighborhood setting. If you're looking for a place for a picnic, stop here. There's a 200-foot boardwalk that winds along the dunes, and on the beach you can take a swim, play volleyball, build a sandcastle or fish in the surf.
Cocoa Beach Pier
This pier is a historical landmark of Florida's Space Coast, and this stretch of beach is famous for surfing and sunning. This is a good spot to people-watch because the beach teems with excitement. You can take a surf lesson on the gentle, consistent waves, or just watch the pros. The pier also features restaurants and shops.
Alan Shepard Park
Shepard Park is a five-acre oceanfront park named after astronaut Alan Shepard. Facilities include large picnic pavilions, several smaller covered picnic areas and a bathhouse. There's plenty of parking and many shops are within walking distance. This is another park right in the middle of the action.
Sidney Fischer Park
This 10-acre, oceanfront park is a family favorite, an ideal place for a picnic and a swim in the Atlantic. The park was named after Sidney Fischer, who served as the mayor of Cocoa Beach from 1956 to 1960. There are picnic pavilions, showers and restrooms.
Lori Wilson Park
This beach park of nearly 33 acres features a 3,155-foot boardwalk that winds through the nature hammocks. There are six dune crossovers, picnic areas, restrooms, showers and a playground. If you're curious about area wildlife and plant life, be sure to check out this park.
Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park
At 16th Street, this 2.5-acre beach park offers access to the ocean for surf fishing and relaxation. There is a dune crossover and a pavilion.
This two-acre neighborhood park is one mile south of the Pineda Causeway. It is landscaped with native plants and provides dune crossovers for beachgoers and surf fishing. There are two sheltered picnic areas, showers and restrooms.
Hightower Beach Park
Surfing and fishing are popular at Hightower Beach Park, a quiet two-acre neighborhood beach park located four miles south of the SR 404-Pineda Causeway.
Canova Beach Park
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Canova Beach Park is a community gathering place with 12.4 acres of warm, soft sand and a xeriscape garden with native plants. It features a pavilion, grills, picnic areas, three dune crossovers, showers and restrooms.
Howard E. Futch Memorial Park (formerly Paradise Beach Park)
On the beach 1-½ miles south of Eau Gallie Boulevard, Paradise Beach Park is a great place for Frisbee, volleyball and body surfing. There are large pavilions, five dune crossovers, showers and restrooms. This beach is quiet, generous and wide, and is a favorite surfing spot for locals.
Indialantic is a sleepy town of 3,800, where you can ride the waves or just kick back on the peaceful shores. You can find beach access at most of the street ends, but if you want a beach with facilities, try James H. Nance Park: it boasts picnic areas, showers and restrooms.
Spessard Holland North and South Beach Parks
The north park is slightly more than 4½ acres of beautiful beach park. This park has three dune crossovers, three boardwalk pavilions, showers and restrooms. The south park features another seven acres of beach. With seasonal lifeguards, it's another popular family park with a 150-foot boardwalk and raised picnic areas. There are two pavilions, six dune crossovers, showers and restrooms. Fishing is popular here.
Coconut Point Park
Coconut Point Park has 36 acres of beachfront beauty. It's a popular sea turtle nesting site, and perfect for beachcombing, surfing and surf fishing. There are two dune crossovers, a small pavilion, showers and restrooms.
Known for great surfing and shoreline fishing, this peaceful two-acre community beach park is just the place to steal away for a quiet afternoon.
Photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA