Getting my head around Cape Canaveral was difficult without a map. The area is a mess of islands, spits, inlets, and bridges. It’s a good thing the US is such a fan of grid systems or we would have been incredibly lost. Cocoa Beach runs south all the way along the outer edge of the cape, while official Cocoa is back on the mainland. They’re confusingly three bridges away from each other (which definitely caused some hassle with the GPS at one point!) but it allowed us to get accustomed to the idea of driving on a highway over the ocean – something we knew we’d have to do for over 100 miles later in the trip.
Now, having grown up visiting the British coast, there’s a part of me that just can’t prevent tensing up before entering the sea. Logically, I know that being in a tropical region should alter the temperature but I’ve been conditioned to brace for the unavoidable chill that the sea brings all my life (looking at you, Marsden Bay).
Feeling warm water at Cocoa Beach was such a shock!
And then it was very, very nice and a lot of phrases were exchanged like “isn’t this nice?” and “it’s so warm” and “why can’t we have this at home?”.
Another benefit of the beach was that it was mercifully cooler than the previous days spent inland.
The benefit of all the driving over water meant that I saw my very first wild dolphin as we drove around and over a lagoon called the Banana River. My inner seven year old was so excited (I was the girl obsessed with animals instead of barbies, remember) but the most exciting event would come later in our trip…
Cocoa is very different compared to the beach. The Village area, just before the marina, has an almost European feel to it with little trinket shops and hanging baskets. I bought a lovely green shell with painted gold trimming that will eventually become a necklace.
We got ice cream and coffee one evening and went for a stroll along the boardwalk. Just in time for sunset, even if it was setting behind us!
|Universal Studios Orlando||Key Biscayne|
|Cocoa Beach and Village||Orchids and Key Largo|
|Kennedy Space Center||Dolphin Research Center|
|Miami Beach||Key West|