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View Full Version : Cocoa or Daytona Beach


vellamint
07-02-2006, 09:38 PM
Okay - we have decided NOT to travel the extra hour to go to Clearwater Beach.

Can those in-the-know please tell me which of these two beaches are "better". Is the water/waves the same. How about the sand. Is there anything "extra" there....I think I read that Daytona has a boardwalk? Rentals of anything on the beach? There ARE bathrooms aren't there?

I know, some silly questions but.....

Thanking you in advance for your time.

nightowlky
07-03-2006, 08:45 PM
I've become less and less impressed with Daytona's Boardwalk area the last few years. They've been doing a lot of work, though, and seem to be trying to make it better. A couple of hotels have been completely redone down there and there's now a multi-level complex with shopping, restaurants, and a movie theater but the rest of the Boardwalk area seems to be getting more and more run-down each year. The restaurant on the pier isn't as good as it used to be either.

There's plenty to do there, though. Bike rentals, ATV rentals, I think even jet ski rentals. Minigolf. Gambling cruises. Daytona Speedway.

Can't compare to Cocoa Beach as I've never been there.

oobidoo
07-03-2006, 09:05 PM
A few years ago we went on down the coast a bit and stayed at Indialantic (spelling?) beach, and we were the ONLY people, besides one little old man fishing, on our stretch of beach. It was awesome! We found a couple of little hole in the wall, but VERY good places to eat, and it was relatively inexpensive. While the kids were in the pool one evening, the fisherman, who I'm sure was a local, brought a baby shark up to the pool to show them that he caught.

Also, my DH and friend sat out on the beach and watched the sea turtles come up and lay their eggs. It was at 3 am, so the rest of us all got too tired and turned in before they made their appearance.

If you are looking for less crowd and less thongs, there are a few quaint little beaches just a short drive from there.

Lila95
07-04-2006, 12:28 AM
I haven't been to Cocoa Beach, but the last time I was at Daytona it was very crowded and dirty. The area we were in even allowed cars on the beach which was a big turn off. On our upcoming trip to FL, we wanted to have family pictures done at the beach and asked the photographer where they suggested we have them done. Cocoa Beach was their first pick. She said it is very clean and not overly crowded.

zenkatt
07-05-2006, 12:20 AM
Cocoa is a much quieter beach,,yes probably cleaner and less crowded but we find it booooooring :rolleyes1 Daytona is the most famous beach in the world for a reason, theres lots of stuff to do in the area(for all ages) and i like the crowds(hey make some friends!!!) :dance3: But it's about what you are looking for.

vellamint
07-05-2006, 01:01 AM
What is there to do on the beach besides swimming at Daytona! I think I read somewhere that you can go on a banana boat???? Is that true????

If I am coming from Kissimmee....is there a particular street or area that I should drive too....I am not familiar with how far and wide Daytona goes.....

nightowlky
07-05-2006, 11:38 AM
Just take I-4 North (or is it East?) and then it'll merge with I-95 (North). Get off at the Speedway exit and drive until you hit water! :teeth:

A1A runs up and down the coastline and there are just miles of hotels. You could head south to the lighthouse at Ponce Inlet or up north past Ormond Beach to Matanzas (sp?) State Park (watch out for tons of insects). There's also Beach St. which is on the other side of the causeway. Some shopping/restaurants down there but maybe only enough to keep you busy for an hour or two. I did pick up a nice antique lamp from down there and had it shipped home.

becca011906
07-15-2006, 07:42 PM
we've been to cocoa beach 2 times in the past, i love it, it was very clean imo especially for hurricans to have gone through just a few weeks before we went last sept. we loved going to ron jon's and shop, it was lots of fun for the kids too. we pulled into some public acess site that was $5 to park there and NO re entry but it had bathrooms, showers (outside the bathrooms to like wash the sand off of you, the bathrooms were clean IMO. I can remember how far down it was .... i'll ask dh if he remembers if you want me too!!!

winniethepoohsmom
07-15-2006, 08:36 PM
We went to clearwater on one of our trips, very nice town but a further drive than we thought. We went to the west coast thinking the water might be a bit calmer than the east coast, but I would definetly try the east coast next time (more time at the beach less time driving). I have heard cocoa beach is a nice clean family beach and daytona is wilder. I do remember going as a kid and could'nt get over all the cars driving on the beach. But I would think a lot of the college kids would be heading back to school when you are going, so it may not be so crowded.

Cdn Friends of Pooh
07-15-2006, 09:05 PM
We've been to both Cocoa and Daytona and much prefer Cocoa. As previously mentioned Daytona is getting very run down and dirty.

drp4video
07-15-2006, 10:20 PM
I am debating this as well. DD and I were to go to St Pete's beach on the gulf the end of May, but my dad passed away, so we canceled. Now we are going August 15-19, and don't want to drive to the gulf so we are thinking Daytona or cocoa, (then WDW August 19-22 of course). DD is almost 19, and I am, well, never mind, lol, but not sure if she would want to be seen with me at Daytona. But also not sure that she won't be bored crazy at Cocoa beach. It seems there is more to do at Daytona.

The purpose of this trip is the beach for her, but worry she will be bored especially at night.

Any good hotel recommendations at either place?

BurkeTribe
07-16-2006, 11:58 AM
Any good hotel recommendations at either place?


I would suggest not booking ahead of time in Daytona (except for Bike Week, Black College Week, Spring Break, or a NASCAR race). Instead, I would suggest just driving down Atlantic Avenue and seeing which motel looks best to you. Closer to Main Street / Pier might be better.

Personally I would probably choose a clean beachside smaller "Mom and Pop" like the Cardinal (search for "Cardinal"and "Daytona" to find their site) or similar, or a clean small-midsize corporate hotel.
(but note, my info is pre-hurricanes, so much may have changed with many motels down there).

sweetheart2576
07-16-2006, 12:51 PM
if you plan on spending the night I suggest ocean walk resort. www.oceanwalk.com

We love it here. Very clean, close to pier, washer/dryer in rooms. For august it is running 127 for an oceanfront hotel. just look under hot deals. lazy river, pool with slide, kiddie waterplay area, indoor minigolf, daily activities etc....

drp4video
07-16-2006, 06:45 PM
wow that looks awesome, didn't see it in the AAA book. I think I might stay there...just have to decide on the room size for me and DD, age 18..not sure an ocean view is needed, but think an studio effeciency might be too small, and we need two beds. THanks I am checking this out!

drp4video
07-16-2006, 07:09 PM
xcept now my daughter says she hates crowds and wants a cleaner beach, so I guess it is back to Cocoa..lol

SRRN
07-18-2006, 03:55 PM
It would depend on what you're looking for...quiet-Cocoa.
If you're looking for a little piazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-Daytona!!!!!

Snoopymom
07-19-2006, 09:59 AM
Here's some info I've posted a bunch of times now. Maybe it will help. Also, I left St Augustine there in case you're interested. I haven't been to Cocoa beach, but Bernards ia an excellent restuarant.
http://www.BERNARDSSURF.COM/


Daytona Beach

We've only been during off season, but we went during Memorial Day week this year and it wasn't really crowded, but there was a lot going on with people para sailing and bungee bouncing or whatever it's called on the pier, nice Summer beach vibe.


For hotels, I'd ONLY recommend the Hilton
http://www.daytonahilton.com/contactus.htm

and the Ocean Walk Resort, which has 2 indoor pools and the outdoor pool has a lazy river, a slide and a great kiddie pool with it's own slides and tunnels, etc. (We're staying 3 nights during Thanksgiving week for the Turkey Run car show, I can't wait!)
http://www.oceanwalk.com/

which has the Ocean Walk village connected to it with restaurants, a Bubba Gumps, a mexican place, and a movie theater. It's so nice to have everything within walking distance.
http://www.oceanwalkvillage.com/home.html

The speedway is fun. It has been awhile, but we loved taking the tour where you get to go on the track and walk on the bank
http://www.daytonaintlspeedway.com/

The Marine Science Center is a neat little place, only takes an hour or two and it's like $5 to get in. It's right next to the lighthouse.
http://echotourism.com/msc/

The lighthouse at Ponce Inlet is neat
http://www.ponceinlet.org/

and there is a nice restaurant there called Down the Hatch where you can watch sailboats and the most beautiful sun sets and another called The Inlet Harbor
http://www.inletharbor.com/

There is a chocolate factory, but we've never been.
http://www.angellandphelps.com/


We love to just walk around the board walk, eat taffy, ride the bumper cars, the sky lift, play in the arcades and sit on the pier at the outdoor restaurant. It has that tacky old carnival feel to it, but it's fun. There's music on the weekends at the BandShell next to the pier, but we've always missed it.
http://virtualvolusia.com/Pier1.html
http://www.bandshell.org/

There is a new water park that we haven't been to yet
http://daytonalagoon.com/

There's also a dog track. When we go with extended family, the guys like to get together and go. It's a little seedy, LOL.
http://www.dbkennelclub.com/information.htm

Our favorite restaurant is the Ocean Deck. It has a great view of the ocean.
http://www.oceandeck.com/

The Oyster Pub is a sports bar, great for snacks, and if you're looking for somewhere to watch your "can't miss" football game. (They have a room and big screen just for Steelers fans, it's a blast!) The website is usually messed up
http://www.oysterpub.com/

For breakfast Steve's Famous Diner is good, and Billy's Tap Room is awesome, a little pricey but worth it and Aunt Catfishs is Southern style comfort food, kid friendly type of place.

http://www.billys-tap.com/
http://www.auntcatfish.com/




St Augustine

Besides the guided city tours, haunted tours and the "oldest" school, house, jail...everything tours, LOL, and the great shopping in the quaint stores along the cobble stone streets, we've done

The Alligator Farm which is fun. We liked Gator Land in Orlando a little more.
http://www.alligatorfarm.com/

We've done this chocolate factory tour. It's free and only takes about 45 minutes.
http://www.whetstonechocolates.com/

Loved this winery. They had some wonderful homemade grape juice for the kids too.
http://www.sansebastianwinery.com/

We haven't taken the lighthouse tour yet, but it looks like one of the most picturesque ones.
http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/

Marine Land is now closed, and that's a good thing. Hopefully they will refurbish it. It has a lot of neat history, but it was not worth the money.

This cruise was a blast. We saw some dolphins and the captain let ds steer the boat for quite awhile.
http://www.scenic-cruise.com/

There are tons of neat little restaurants in town, but one of our favorites is Harry's, it's a lot like Pat O'Brian's. We like to sit in the courtyard.
http://www.hookedonharrys.com/

Creekside Dinery has great seafood and a nice outside deck with a fire pit. Owned by the same people as Salt Water Cowboys, but this place seems a little less touristy.
http://www.creeksidedinery.com/rest.html

The Oasis is a casual place, good for breakfast
http://www.worldfamousoasis.com/

The Sunset Grill is pretty good
http://www.sunsetgrillea1a.com/

My favorite is The Beachcomer, which doesn't have a website, but it's an itty bitty barefoot picnic table type of place right on the beach, and it's a fun place to get some oysters or peel and eat shrimp.

My in-laws just moved from there and we used to stay with them, so I can't really recommend a hotel. There are some great looking B&B's in the heart of the city, but if you wanted to stay on the beach, I'd recommend a condo. It seems like most of the hotels are across the street from the beach. We did stay at Anastasia condos once and they were nice.
http://www.staugustine.com/visit/ac...s/lodging.shtml


Have fun planning!

Snoopymom
07-19-2006, 10:03 AM
Some pics of Daytona

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a99/ioamom/06SummerFloridaTrip089-1.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a99/ioamom/06SummerFloridaTrip081.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a99/ioamom/06SummerFloridaTrip085-1.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a99/ioamom/DaytonaMemorialDay079.jpg

KLAIT
07-20-2006, 12:19 PM
Definately Cocoa Beach for us. Much cleaner and not nearly as busy as Daytona. Like one of the posters said, cars running up and down the beach. Didn't care for it

Lcm2108
07-21-2006, 09:35 PM
I like Cocoa myself---closer and quieter.

Another option would be New Smyrna. Cars are allowed in some places and it is between Cocoa and Daytona. It is 12 miles from Daytona if you could drive across the lagoon/jetty thing. There is even a dog beach at New Smyrna.

I think I prefer New Smyrna to both as we don't have to "haul" our gear (umbrella, chairs, beach bag, etc.). We just open the vehicle, take it out with no hauling! We even leave the cooler in the vehicle as we are parked right there.

OK. Now I'm having beach withdrawals.....

Lisa

vellamint
07-21-2006, 09:51 PM
I like Cocoa myself---closer and quieter.

Another option would be New Smyrna. Cars are allowed in some places and it is between Cocoa and Daytona. It is 12 miles from Daytona if you could drive across the lagoon/jetty thing. There is even a dog beach at New Smyrna.

I think I prefer New Smyrna to both as we don't have to "haul" our gear (umbrella, chairs, beach bag, etc.). We just open the vehicle, take it out with no hauling! We even leave the cooler in the vehicle as we are parked right there.

OK. Now I'm having beach withdrawals.....

Lisa

Okay....I am Florida-Direction-Deficient!!! How much time does it take to drive from Kissimmee to New Smyrna as opposed to Daytona or Cocoa Beach? Is it a longer or shorter ride. I actually like the drive-your-car-on-the-beach part of Daytona but I hate long drives which is why I was considering Cocoa Beach.....I think (?) Cocoa Beach is closer? New Smyrna lets you drive onto the beach?

DisneyFan06
07-21-2006, 11:07 PM
I live in Daytona Beach. Although the beach is nice, it is nothing something to go out of your way to see. Furthermore, we no longer have a decent boardwalk. It was once a great family place; however, it is in the process of being reconstructed - for a much needed improvement! :woohoo: If you have further questions about the area please ask or send me a private messages I am willing to help. :wave2:

ETA: Because of Sea Turtles, cars are not permitted to drive on the beach - only in selected permitted zones. :goodvibes

ETAA: [Edited to Also Add] Daytona does have a family owned water park called, "Daytona Lagoon (http://www.daytonalagoon.com)." It is really nothing special but I am sure kids would enjoy it. Here are some pictures. It also has Lazer Tag, Go Carts, Miniture Golf, a Interactive Game Room and other activities. This is also located near the beach on A1A.

http://z.about.com/d/goflorida/1/0/a/I/daytonalagoon.jpg

sweetheart2576
07-22-2006, 12:31 PM
I live in Daytona Beach. Although the beach is nice, it is nothing something to go out of your way to see. Furthermore, we no longer have a decent boardwalk. It was once a great family place; however, it is in the process of being reconstructed - for a much needed improvement! :woohoo: If you have further questions about the area please ask or send me a private messages I am willing to help. :wave2:


Disneyfan
what is left of the boardwalk at this point. Is the game room open that was once there? We will be there in August. I never thought there was too much to do on the boardwalk to begin with. Are you still able to walk on it to get to the main st pier or is there too much construction and is the sky ride working? We were there last March. Any major changes since then?Any thing added or taken away. There was a sub shop that we got subs at last year that was pretty good, are they still there? I think it was king something, i could be wrong.

connie1042
07-23-2006, 10:50 PM
Go to cocoa beach every year. Stayed at Motel 6. Not fancy, but clean and a very short walk to the beach. Can rent about anything from Ron Jons. Love it there. Lots of fast food you can pick up and take to the beach.

drp4video
07-26-2006, 10:00 PM
I booked the Hilton at Cocoa Beach....Ron Jon's Surf Shop is a must for DD, age 18. Her roomate in college went to cocoa beach spring break and loved it. I am assuming it will be much quieter August 15-19th lol

BurkeTribe
07-26-2006, 10:06 PM
On thread, and on soapbox--
I encourage everyone to stay at decent local mom&pop hotels when in Daytona. There are some really good ones with great attitude and pride in their establishments.


Now temporarily hijacking the thread, on another soapbox :)


Because of Sea Turtles, cars are not permitted to drive on the beach - only in selected permitted zones.



Well... that's partly true for Ormond/north and Wilbur-by-the Sea/south areas, but of course, that's not the reason why you can't drive near the pier in Daytona (where most vactioners would expect to drive). There has been driving-on/vacationers-digging-in the sand of most of the Daytona Beach area for so many years that there are few if ANY turtles that nest in the Daytona/DBS area anymore, especially the areas where most of the heaviest driving in the past was (where most of the large motels are). There are more likely many many more turtle nests south towards Ponce Inlet, and north of Ormond, where there has never been much driving or massive amounts of vacationers. If folks really wanted to help the turtles, they would move any eggs found in Daytona, DBS, and Ormond(a general rarity anyway, from what I've heard) farther south to Ponce or north to the state park areas, and let them hatch there, in an environment that is safer now and will still be safer years from now (don't see many wild parties in the state park areas).

There are definitely no turtle nests between Seabreeze and International, nor should ther be allowed to be any in the future.

There are other, more profit$-motivated reasons behind disallowing driving in that strip (you'll notice they started charging for cars on the drivable beach strips at around the same time they blocked off the others). Reasons such as the obvious-- larger motels with lots of pull in City/County govs prefer to have the beaches between themselves and the Ocean car free... and the not-so-obvious-- the city allegedly reaps extra monies (beach driving fees for where you can drive, more tickets for illegal parking on crowded streets near where you can't).


I'm all for saving turtles, but also all for solid non-stop driving/cruising between Ormond and Wilbur.

Snoopymom
07-27-2006, 12:03 PM
[QUOTE=BurkeTribe]On thread, and on soapbox--
I encourage everyone to stay at decent local mom&pop hotels when in Daytona. There are some really good ones with great attitude and pride in their establishments.


Can you post some?

We used to stay at the Beachcomber Inn (a medium size one, part of a group of hotels I think) before the hurricanes, and we saw another one that was covered in tarps and boarded up with
1 Charley
2 Francis
3 Jeane
4 Sale

spray painted on it...I think some of them never recovered.

Thanks!!!!

Jason71
07-27-2006, 01:56 PM
BurkeTribe, I totally agree with you re: the profit motive behind the closing of the beach between US 92 and Seabreeze Blvd. It was purely a power play by a few local hoteliers (but having been very active in Daytona politics at one time, that is par for the course).

While I appreciate the sentiment behind supporting the mom & pops, I would warn people who don't know the area to be very careful, and consider sticking with a chain. Drugs and prostitution are rampant in Daytona, and a lot of these smaller no-name hotels have forced to cater to such clientele to survive. One of my best friends used to deliver newspapers to beachside, you would not believe the things he would see at 4:00 a.m.

Re: the Boardwalk. It has literally been condemned. Last I heard, the owner of the arcades settled his lawsuit with the city, clearing the way for them to tear it down and build a new giant hotel.

Jason71
07-27-2006, 02:27 PM
Okay....I am Florida-Direction-Deficient!!! How much time does it take to drive from Kissimmee to New Smyrna as opposed to Daytona or Cocoa Beach? Is it a longer or shorter ride. I actually like the drive-your-car-on-the-beach part of Daytona but I hate long drives which is why I was considering Cocoa Beach.....I think (?) Cocoa Beach is closer? New Smyrna lets you drive onto the beach?

About the same as Daytona, maybe 10 to 15 minutes longer, but largely a more pleasant drive. Not as close as Cocoa, tho--that's still the closest beach.

Take I-4 East but get off at the State Road 44 exit, in DeLand (I want to say #118, but I never pay attention). Head East on 44 for about 20 minutes, past farm land and thru New Smyrna, then follow the signs to the beach.

They had suspended beach driving in New Smyrna following the hurricanes, but I believe they have reinstated it at least along some stretches. There are also car-free zones. Over all, more of a "locals" beach than Daytona. Should you go, be sure to get a burger at the Breakers, one of the best burgers in central Florida.

BurkeTribe
07-27-2006, 07:06 PM
[QUOTE=BurkeTribe]
Can you post some?

...I think some of them never recovered.


That's the problem with my info, it is pre-recent-hurricanes... The Cardinal still seems nice, at least by their site (http://www.cardinalmotel.com/).... not fancy mind you, just that cool Mom&Pop* Daytona style that's being slowly eroded away by property taxes and the Powers That Be who would love to knock the little guys all down and build mega-motels and condos (to reap more taxes, which is slightly understandable but short-sighted I think).... but hey, I'm spoiled, I used to live in a house right on the beach in the area (sighhhh).



This site has what are probably top end Mom&Pops, B&Bs, and small resorts (and a few chains sneaking in): http://daytonalodging.com/

This place seems cool in that old skool (cottages)/new skool(free wifi) way:
http://perryswhitecaps.com/

I think that by driving by the motels, one can tell which are run by people who take pride in their establishments, and which are either seedy crack dens run by folks who would rather be somewhere else or are rundown facilities run by a certain nationality of immigrants who almost invariably pinch pennies too much in their motel businesses trying to be the low-price lords ("You want soap? 50 cents. No, we have no ice machine, this isn't the Ritz Carlton!")



Of course, nothing in Daytona will be as good as the WL or Poly, but that's to be expected :)


* Even most of the Mom&Pops are probably no longer owned by real Mom and Pops, but if the owners' Mom&Pop sensibilities can be seen in the motel, it counts :)