Historic Cocoa Village is an enchanting spot on Florida’s Space Coast recognized for being rich with old-fashioned Southern charm and hospitality. The picturesque riverfront community dates back to the 1860s. Cocoa Village offers unique shopping and dining opportunities for tourists and Floridians alike. If you’re planning a vacation to Florida and haven’t determined your destination, don’t overlook this bohemian find.
Exploring Florida’s Quirky and Historic Cocoa Village
What little I knew about Florida’s Space Coast consisted of Cape Canaveral and I Dream of Jeanie. I definitely did not expect to find the walkable and artsy Historic Cocoa Village, the downtown core of the City of Cocoa, just miles from Cocoa Beach and an hour from Orlando.
The nostalgic riverside community is full of good eats and unique shops with a waterfront park and a boardwalk trail along the harbor. Being from the Northeast, I liken it to Mystic, Connecticut, but with a casual Florida vibe instead of a New England one. Overall, I was charmed by the charming hippy town. I very much enjoyed the 36 hours I spent there.
Where to Stay in Historic Cocoa Village
Parrish Grove Inn – 536 Delannoy Ave, Cocoa, FL 32922. This bed and breakfast is actually owned by the Mayor of Cocoa Village, thus providing a real local experience. The 119-year-old Florida landmark has been beautifully restored. It includes five guest rooms, free WiFi, continental breakfast and wine & cheese. There is even a popular wine bar downstairs with seating for non-guests.
My purple decorated room also had one of the softest beds that I had ever slept on. So comfortable! From this conveniently located B&B, I could easily walk the two blocks to town for dinner and shopping. No need for a car during the stay!
If you’d rather be closer to the beach, go over the bridge and stay at the Four Points Cocoa Beach. The hotel is particularly suited for surfers with a board rental shop in the lobby as well as a Starbucks, all within walking distance to the sand and waves.
Where to Eat in Historic Cocoa Village
Crush Eleven – This urban restaurant and wine bar serving up handcrafted cocktails and local flavor was a true find. The food amazing and the atmosphere chic yet cozy. A bit pricey, but a nice way to spend the evening with friends or on a date.
Murdock’s Bistro & Char Bar – Serving up southern comfort, hospitality and cuisine accompanied by fried pickles and live music.
KOA Korean & American Fusion – I definitely did not expect to find a Korean barbecue place on the oak-tree lined streets. But sure enough there is, and it’s quite popular, even crowded on a Wednesday night.
Ryan’s Pizza & Pub – A large two-floor family beach-like restaurant with lots of outdoor seating and daily beer specials. I spotted families with strollers coming and going. Fun music too!
Sugar Shack Donuts – They had me at sugar! Add in donuts and I was bee-lining it across the street and into this hipster donut and coffee shop, which serves daily flavor specials. I partook in a monstrous strawberry flavored delight. It was open after dinner too, so not just for breakfast.
What to Do in Historic Cocoa Village
Back in 1885, the S. F. Travis Hardware store opened in town. It is still in business, thus worth checking out along with all the other quirky shops in the village. I enjoyed simply walking around the town and taking in the sights. Even the benches throughout town have been painted as part of a local art project.
For kids, there is a Cocoa Riverfront Park that has a free playground and a water area that kids were running in and out of.
The Historic Cocoa Village Association offers a walking historic tour that can be accessed through QR codes from your phone. There are also a number of special events throughout the year including a July 4th Orchestra Concert and Fireworks Display, Fall Festival, Craft Fairs, Holiday Festival, Memorial Day Celebration, Car Shows, Sip & Strolls (Sample wines from the various stores in the Village), BBQ & Blues, Mardi Gras, The Space Coast Half and Full Marathon, concerts and so much more. You can visit either the City’s website at www.CocoaFL.org or the merchant website at www.VisitCocoaVillage.com for a complete list of upcoming events. Also, the local playhouse regularly puts on Broadway musicals and performances.
Cococa Village is also home to the Florida Historical Society State Headquarters, which is a library of Florida History and Florida books and gifts.
Have you been? Any other recommendations? Please share in the comments!
Looking for another near Orlando family trip adventure, do check out Orlando North too.