Cocoa Beach Vs Daytona Beach for Vacation? An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

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Cocoa Beach Vs Daytona Beach for vacation? If you’re planning a spring break, summer vacation, or honeymoon to Florida’s ‘Surfing Capital🏄🏼‍♂️’ or ‘Home of NASCAR🏎,’ this is a question you’re bound to have.

Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach are both well-known for their gorgeous beaches, surfing, shopping, and bustling nightlife, yet they each offer something rather special. Therefore, which Beach City is the best fit for you?

Cocoa Beach is the ideal beach destination for families seeking a fun-filled vacation complete with spectacular family-friendly beaches, oceanfront lodging, distinctive dining, and world-class surfing. If you’re looking for more exciting beaches with a busy nightlife, chaotic party scenes, and an adrenaline-pumping NASCAR experience, Daytona Beach is the place to visit.

ParametersCocoa BeachDaytona Beach
Cost of a7-day Trip💵$1622 (For couples)$2359 (For couples)
Known for👍Surfing capital of the US, Surf breaks, Cocoa beach Pier, White sandy beaches, Surf museum, Kennedy Space CenterNASCAR, Motorsports culture, Hard-packed sand beaches that you can drive on, Baseball, Spring break parties, Golfing
Beaches🏖Family-friendly beaches with powdery sand,excellent surf breaks and modern amenities and a laid-back vibeHard-packed sand beaches excellent for a beach car rides, oceanfront hotels, huge crowds, lively vibe with a vibrant nightlife
Activities🏄🏼‍♂️Surfing, Snorkeling, Shopping, Fishing, Golfing, Water parks, Entertainment centers and Private Cruises, Kennedy Space CenterSurfing, Snorkeling, Shopping, Fishing, Motorsports, Cultural festivals, Baseball, Beach car rides
Popular Tourist Attractions🏛Cocoa Beach Pier, Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Village, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Port CanaveralDaytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Boardwalk, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
Best Place to Stay🏨Cocoa Beach PierDaytona Beach Boardwalk

Cocoa Beach vs Daytona Beach for Vacation: An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose

What is Cocoa Beach known for?

Cocoa Beach Pier

Cocoa Beach is a getaway to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is located south of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida’s Space Coast. It is famed for its excellent beaches and surf breakers and is sometimes referred to as the “Surfing Capital of America.”

What is Daytona Beach known for?

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, located on Florida’s east coast of the Atlantic Ocean, is well-known for its rich racing history and is also home to the NASCAR headquarters, driveable hard-packed sand beaches, and is a favourite spring-break destination due to its active beaches and exciting nightlife.

What is the best time of the year to visit Cocoa Beach?

The spring season, from early March to late May, is best for visiting Cocoa Beach since the weather is ideal with sun and ideal surf breakers for a fantastic surfing experience.

Visit Cocoa Beach from late October to early December if you want to save money on accommodations and have a more peaceful and laid-back beach experience.

What is the best time of the year to visit Daytona Beach?

Early March to late May is the finest time of year to visit Daytona Beach since the weather is pleasant for enjoying seaside pleasure and the active beaches and dynamic nightlife while spring break is in full swing.

If you want to avoid the partying spring break crowds and enjoy a more serene beach experience, the months of early April to May are ideal for a vacation to Daytona Beach.

Cocoa Beach vs Daytona Beach: Accommodation options

Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach each have a variety of hotel options directly on the beach, ranging from low-cost options to ultra-luxurious apartments that cater to your every need.

Daytona Beach, which hosts the largest racing events in the United States, has more oceanfront hotel alternatives than Cocoa Beach, as the beaches in Daytona Beach are far more commercialised than those in Cocoa Beach.

Cocoa Beach Pier is the finest spot to stay in Cocoa Beach since it has sun, sea, shopping, and seaside happiness all in one place, while New Smyrna Beach is the best place to stay in Daytona Beach.

Below table shows the average cost of accommodation for couples per night in Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach.

Accomodation type/ Place Cocoa BeachDaytona Beach
Budget $95$87
Mid-range $230$175

Best accomodation options in Cocoa Beach

Accommodation type💵Hotel🏨Location📍Best for👍
BudgetLa Quinta Inn By Wyndham Cocoa Beach-Port Canaveral N Atlantic aveSolo travellers, Budget travellers
BudgetThe Inn At Cocoa BeachOcean Beach BlvdSolo travellers, Couples on a budget

Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral N Atlantic aveCouples, Families

Beach Place Guesthouses S Atlantic aveCouples, Families

Hilton Garden Inn Cocoa Beach OceanfrontNorth Atlantic aveCouples on a honeymoon, Families with kids
LuxuryCourtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach Cape CanaveralNorth Atlantic aveFamilies, Couples

Best accomodation options in Daytona Beach

Accommodation type💵Hotel🏨Location📍Best for👍
BudgetQuality Inn Daytona Speedway I-95International Speedway BlvdSolo travellers, Budget travellers
BudgetCove Motel OceanfrontDaytona BeachSolo travellers, Couples on a budget

Holiday Inn Resort Daytona Beach OceanfrontSouth Atlantic avenueCouples, Families

Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort100 North Atlantic avenueCouples, Families

Bahama HouseSouth Atlantic avenueCouples on a honeymoon, Families with kids
LuxuryHard Rock Hotel Daytona BeachNorth Atlantic avenueFamilies, Couples

Beaches: Who has the best beaches?

Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach both have some of Florida’s most pristine beaches, complete with azure blue waves, beachfront lodging options, shopping centres, restaurants, pubs, and bars, as well as a variety of beach activities. Both of these locations, however, are in stark contrast to the vibe they exude.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is known for its pristine white powdery beaches and spectacular surf breaks. With over 100 surf spots on the East Coast alone, Cocoa Beach is known as the ‘Surfing Capital of the United States.’ It is also home to numerous surfing champions, including eight-time world champion Kelly Slater.

Cocoa Beach is well-known for its peaceful and steady waves, which contributes to its appeal as the greatest place on the Space Coast to surf with kids and a sought-after family holiday destination.

Best Beaches in Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach Pier
Cocoa Beach Pier

Your visit to Cocoa Beach Pier would be incomplete if you did not see the iconic and historical monument that stretches 800 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

Cocoa Beach offers the greatest of sun, sand, and coastal beauty all in one location. The CB Pier is a great spot to spend time with your family, whether you’re surfing on the waves, fishing off the Pier, playing beach volleyball, eating wonderful seafood, or shopping for gifts in one of the many shopping shops located around the Pier.

Canaveral National Seashore, Playalinda Beach
Playalinda Beach

For those seeking a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Cocoa Beach Pier, Playalinda Beach is an ideal destination for those seeking a calm beach ambiance and undisturbed natural appeal.

Playalinda beach is located on a barrier island and features a 24-mile stretch of sugary white secluded coastline complete with dune, hammock, lagoon, salt marsh, and pine flatland ecosystem.

Playalinda beach’s calm setting amidst an unspoilt natural environment and lack of gaudy tourist traps make it an ideal getaway for couples looking to spend quality time together.

Lori Wilson Park
Lori Wilson State Park
Image credit: Image by Rusty Clark via Flickr

Lori Wilson Park has a 33-acre beach with fine golden sand and crystal blue water, as well as enough free parking.

Additionally, the Park features a boardwalk that leads to the beach and other beach facilities such as restrooms, picnic spaces, showers, and a playground. Wildlife fans, in particular, should pay this park a visit for its breathtaking natural beauty.

Sidney Fischer Park Beach
SeaPinesBeach: Tybee island vs Hilton Head

Sidney Fischer Park Beach is one of Cocoa Beach’s most popular family beaches. This clean beach’s smooth shoreline, lack of small rocks or stones, and round-the-clock lifeguard duty make it the safest beach in Cocoa Beach for children.

Other features include a children’s playground, a sandy volleyball court, picnic spaces, outdoor showers, and plenty of parking.

Alan Shepard park
marco island vibes

Featuring five-acre of oceanfront park, Shepard Park is named after the astronaut Alan Shepard.

The Shepard Park beach is equipped with numerous facilities, showers, small and big picnic spots, and ample parking. Numerous businesses and restaurants are located within a few minutes walking distance of the beach and are centrally placed in Cocoa Beach county.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is famous for its 23 miles of hard-packed white sand beaches, which make it one of the top beaches in Florida for beach vehicle rides. It also has a rich racing history and is home to NASCAR headquarters.

Daytona Beach is recognised for its bustling beaches and is a favourite spring break destination due to its oceanfront hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars, and shopping, as well as a thriving nightlife.

Best Beaches in Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach

This spectacular beach, also known as the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” was founded in 1870 and later acquired the name of the city, which was incorporated in 1874.

Daytona Beach has 8 miles of hard-packed white sands that make it easier for automobiles to drive on, which is one of the reasons for its rich origins in motorsports.

From beachside hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, and retail malls to the magnificent Pier spanning over the Atlantic Ocean, Daytona Beach is the “Party Capital” of Florida, attracting millions of guests each year, the majority of which are teenagers on spring break.

Daytona Beach, the most iconic beach on the East Coast, is sometimes overcrowded with largely boisterous young crowds enjoying their spring break holiday, so go early in the morning.

Sun Splash Park

If you want to get away from the claustrophobic crowds on Daytona Beach and have a fun-filled beach holiday, the Sun Splash Park, a local favourite, is a 5 mile stretch of beach with fantastic activities and services for kids and their parents alike.

Because of its flat beachfront, sanitary conditions, and lifeguards on duty around the clock, this beach is one of the safest in Daytona Beach for children.

Bicentennial Park Beach

Another family-friendly beach, Bicentennial Park Beach, is located about 20 minutes north of the city centre and offers a lengthy stretch of sugary white shoreline with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Kayaking, fishing, canoeing, beach volleyball, tennis, racquetball, shuffleboard, football, and more fun activities are available at the beach.

AI Weeks Sr. North Shore Park

AI Weeks Park at the Ormand-by-the-Sea, located an 18-minute drive north of Daytona Beach’s city centre, has ADA-accessible facilities, a variety of amenities, and ease of access for those with disabilities.

New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is without a doubt the most beautiful and cleanest beach in DB, with 17 miles of white-sugary beachfront and crystal blue Atlantic Ocean seas.

Whether you’re with family, a loved one, or friends, New Smyrna Beach is the ideal location to spend quality beach time surfing, paddleboarding, or boogie boarding in the strong waves.

The beach features a variety of amenities, including ADA-accessible toilets, picnic spaces, and lifeguards on duty 24 hours a day.

Cocoa Beach vs Daytona Beach: Nightlife

When the sun sets on these two beach communities, they truly come alive with sparkling lights, pubs, bars, and restaurants teeming with tourists and people dancing, drinking, and dancing to the beats of live music.

Both Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach have some of the most vibrant nightlife in Florida, yet they offer very different experiences for different people.

Cocoa Beach is less congested than Daytona Beach, has a more laid-back old Florida vibe, and has a more family-friendly nightlife with food and entertainment options for families with small children.

Daytona Beach, as the site of major racing events and cultural festivals, appeals more to young folks seeking the ideal spring break vacation and adults seeking colourful and cosmopolitan vibes with crazy party scenes.

Things to do in Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach activities
  1. Visit the Ron Jon Surf Shop– The ‘Largest Surf Shop in the World” encompassing 52,000 sq ft of total area. Even if you are not a huge surfing enthusiast, visiting this Surf shop is a treat in itself.
  2. Fat Kahuna’s BeachSide Grille– Breezy outdoor seating with spectacular views of the ocean. 
  3. Enjoying skating with your kids at the Cocoa Beach Skate Park.
  4. Explore Cocoa Beach’ history at Cocoa Village– Explore the revitalized , nostalgic community with more than 50 shops, restaurants, galleries and artist studios.
  5. Explore the Cocoa Beach Pier– For sun, sand, shopping and seaside bliss all in one place.
  6. Explore the Kennedy Space Center– Must do activity on your Cocoa Beach vacation for kids and adults alike.
  7. Embark on a sea journey by taking a cruise at Port Canaveral.

Things to do in Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach activities
  1. Catch a thrilling NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway.
  2. Visit the Daytona Beach Boardwalk for a livelier beach experience and a vibrant nightlife.
  3. Learn about Florida’s fascinating marine life at the Marine Science Center.
  4. Catch a baseball game at the Jackie Robinson Ball Park.
  5. Take a leisurely car ride on the beach.
  6. Visit the Cici & Hyatt Brown Museum of Art.
  7. Take a self-guided tour of Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory.
  8. Visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum– Tallest lighthouse in Florida.
  9. Visit the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS)
  10. Enjoy Golfing at the LPGA international

Cocoa Beach Vs Daytona Beach for family vacation?

Cocoa Beach is a better family vacation destination than Daytona Beach because it has more spectacular white sand beaches and excellent surf breaks, making it the best place for surfing enthusiasts, oceanfront accommodation options, picnic areas, and many fun activities on and off the beach to make your family vacation truly enjoyable.


Cocoa Beach is a better holiday destination than Daytona Beach if you want the best family vacation experience with world-class surfing beaches, reasonable oceanfront lodging, fine eating options, fun-filled activities on and off the beach, and a visit to the Kennedy Space Center.

Daytona Beach is your cloud nine if you enjoy livelier beaches with party atmosphere and large people, dynamic nightlife, thrilling motorsports, upmarket shopping centres, and other adventure activities.

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About the author
Aditya Bhosale
Hello there. For the past five years, I have worked as a travel blogger, photographer, and digital marketer. I packed my backpack, pulled up my socks, and have been wandering around the world wherever the roads lead me since quitting my mundane 9 to 5 job.

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