By Gary McKechnie
There are hundreds of great drives in Florida, but few match the sustained pleasure of an A1A Florida road trip along the 33 miles between Cocoa Beach and Sebastian Inlet.
Here are five reasons you should go.
The city that turned a detriment (small waves) into an asset (“Cocoa Beach. The Small Wave Capital of the World”) is a great base for the upcoming drive (or ride, if you’re on a motorcycle). Be sure to visit the Cocoa Beach Pier (parking is $10, pplus admission to the fishing pier itself.) An active spot, it features a few restaurants plus volleyball on the sand. Stop by Ron Jon’s Surf Shop. Open 24 hours a day, it’s billed as the world’s largest. After that, hang out on the beach.
Downtown Cocoa Beach
With miles of oceanfront to distract visitors, it’s easy to overlook the fact the city does have a downtown – and some landmarks. The Heidelberg Restaurant serves continental and German cuisine, and its music venue, Heidi’s Jazz Club, has a great reputation for bringing in visiting artists. More casual? Grab a meal at Coconuts on the Beach, an active (and very casual) beachfront restaurant popular with students and adults.
Brevard County Parks
This is what the coast is all about: beach after beach after beach. Brevard County seems to know this better than anyone and has created a multitude of first-class Florida parks with plentiful parking, restrooms, and changing areas, and they’re usually only a few miles apart. Odds are you’ll find a favorite, either near shopping plazas and convenience stores, or far from the madding crowd. Search for your style at Brevard County Parks and Recreation.
Barrier Island Sanctuary
As a reminder of our role as the guardians of nature, the Barrier Island Sanctuary at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is well worth a stop to learn how sea turtles and other marine life need our assistance. The center also shares a message of caution agains overdevelopment in sensitive areas. Good lessons for kids… and adults. In season, they also host evening events to watch sea turtles come to the shore to lay their eggs, and later watch the hatchlings head to the sea.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
A combination park, beach, fishing pier, jetty, campground, and boat-launching site, Sebastian Inlet State Park is popular with visitors who find all of this and the chance to enjoy Florida’s natural side.
When you embark on the A1A Florida road trip, take the time to find your own hidden spots and adventures. You won't regret it.
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