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A DAY IN COCOA BEACH & CAPE CANAVERAL

A delightful experience

sunny 85 °F

Good day!

Our intent today was to return to Kennedy Space Center to visit the Shuttle feature, something we missed at last year's visit due to extremely long lines in the hot sun. We returned to discover that to visit the one feature would cost us $54./pp, the full cost of admission. Nuts on that, we agreed, so we left!
Having no specific plans beyond the Space Center we decided to drive into nearby Cocoa Beach. A lovely beach town with hotels, condos, restaurants galore we drove around to get a 'lay of the land'. It was nearing lunch time & we discovered the Cocoa Beach Pier which extends 1,500' into the ocean. The beaches were alive with activity with hundreds of people enjoying the warm water and sunny skies. There were at least 3 restaurants/bars on the pier so we chose the one at the end. It offered a beautiful view up & down the beach & of the swimmers. A fish sandwich with a marguerita was our chosen lunch. A delightful experience. Not far from the pier are numerous tourist shops, one of which is the world's largest Ron Jon Surf Shop (store) which takes up a city block. It has unique 'sand castle' architecture. As we approached town from the adjoining community of Cape Canaveral we drove past the harbor. Located in a park-like setting is a tall (6 story) building shaped like a billowing sail. We learned that the 'Exploration Tower' is the defining feature of Canaveral & Cocoa Beach's maritime industry. The port has grown to become one of the 10 busiest seaports in the world. Different areas of the port define their purpose. For example, the port authority built facilities to accommodate 3 one thousand ft. mega-cruise ships simultaneously. The area has its own turning basin for easy access. Another area is focused on bulk commodities, such as cement, grain, containers, etc. Another area is devoted to military vessels. Each year there are. 300+ visits to the port by US Navy submarines. They use the waters off shore to test their ballistic missiles in coordination with Kennedy Space Center. These missile subs are 560' in length! Another area of the port has a giant tank farm accommodating several million gallons in its storage tanks. Heavy duty supplies and materials for the Space Center largely come through the port by ship. The Exploration Tower explained all this in addition to Space program achievements, ecology of the area, and native peoples who inhabited the region hundreds (thousands) of years ago. It was all very interesting and educational. About 'happy hour' time we headed back to the City of Cocoa, about 10 miles west of the beach, where our motor home is parked. We chose a local Irish pub, 'Ryan's' for a sheppard's pie dinner washed down by a glass of Guinness. Pat had a salad & soup.

Tomorrow we continue up the coast to St. Augustine, about a 2-3 hour trip. We understand that its a very beautiful town.

Dick

Posted by dixter 06:14 Archived in USA Tagged beach & cape canaveral cocoa

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