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Family Trips, Featured, Hotel Reviews, Travel, Travel with Kids

Cocoa Beach & the DoubleTree Cocoa Beach Hotel

The folks on Florida’s Space Coast are worried.  The space program is coming to an end and the thousands of tourists that regularly come to watch the shuttle launches will be no more.  Not to mention that due to overfishing of some key fish–many of the popular charter businesses can’t take tourists out to catch their famous snapper species.  The people that live along the space coast are worried that their already struggling economy will dwindle even more.  And, I feel for them.   With other parts of Florida hosting more attractions and beautiful beaches–the Space Coast may be forgotten.

A couple of weeks ago, we headed over to Cocoa Beach to watch the last launch of the space shuttle Atlantis and I realized–Cocoa Beach has the potential to be a really nice vacation destination-especially if you are looking for a relaxing and quiet beach vacation.    The beaches were uncrowded and l-o-n-g.  Perfect for reading a book, napping or taking a long, long walk.  We stayed at the Doubletree Cocoa Beach and though we paid a TON for our hotel room (prices went up due to the shuttle launch)–reasonable rates can be had there and all along the beach.  The DoubleTree Cocoa Beach is not a resort hotel–just a basic hotel with upgraded amenities and great service.

The room was a typical hotel room….but they had upgraded us to an executive level room which gave us access to the cocktail hour in the evening and free breakfast in the morning.

We were all excited about the plethora of toiletries provided to the executive level.  Of course, we stashed these away for our trip to Hawaii.  You can never have enough travel sized bathroom items.

They also provided the typical mini-fridge, microwave coffee maker–complete with bottles of water and popcorn that were FREE!  You don’t see that everyday.  And, of course as with all Doubletree hotels, they gave us chocolate chip cookies.

These signature chocolate chip cookies have got to be one of the best marketing tools ever.  Even Aaron, who can’t figure out the difference between Target, Wal-Mart and K-Mart, knows that Doubletree Hotel=Chocolate Chip Cookies.  (Target Stores take note: –if you give out food upon arrival, the husbands will remember.)

We ordered room service and plopped the kids down in front of the TV.  Aaron and I sat out on the lanai and ate our dinner and free wine (Yay for the executive level perks!).  The food was a disappointment however and I cannot recommend it.   However, I have heard great things about the Thai and sushi restaurant down the street and we loved this BBQ place on our last trip out this way.

But, we didn’t go to Cocoa Beach for the food or the hotel–we wanted to spend time on the beach and see that shuttle launch.  The DoubleTree Cocoa Beach was perfect for that.  This is the boardwallk from the pool area to the beach.  Just a few hundred feet and you are there.  We played on the beach in the evening, ate dinner and went to bed.  The next morning we woke up, ate (FREE!) breakfast, and went back to the beach for the shuttle launch and more beach time.  It couldn’t have been any simpler or relaxing.

Unfortunately, we were there during the height of   lovebug season.  I didn’t take a photo of the pool area because it was completely covered in lovebugs and I didn’t want to stop long enough to get a picture.  The photo of the door above was a fraction of the lovebugs around.  Bear in mind, these happy loving little bugs come for a couple of weeks in the late spring and then just disappear.  We had never seen them swarm so badly in our time in Florida—must be a sign of climate change or something.  (Remind me to do my research on these little things.)

But, the beach…..the beach was beautiful.  The water was cool and refreshing and quite different from the beaches on the west side of the state.  We all had a blast.

The moral of this little story is…..don’t forget about the Space Coast.  Even without the shuttle program, the area is still worth a trip.  Cocoa Beach is a very nice place and has some very nice and uncrowded beaches.  So, do yourself and your family a favor and go explore the area.   Relax on the beach and have some unstructured, unscheduled fun.