Just south of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cocoa Beach is an island town off the eastern coast of Florida, about an hour to the east of Orlando. What began as a family of freed slaves in 1861 is now a bustling and busy vacation spot with over 11,300 residents. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Banana River to the west, Crescent Beach to the south, and Cape Canaveral to the north, the island is popular for all sorts of water activities.
With the average high of 73 degrees F in January and 92 degrees F in July, the year-round warmth is also a reason for so much outdoor fun. The city boasts six miles of ocean beaches as well as waterfront parks on the ocean as well as the Banana River.
Cocoa Beach features more than 20 parks and beaches, and many of them allow your fur baby to join you in the sand and surf.
Lori Wilson Park
Right in Cocoa Beach, Lori Wilson Park is not only canine-friendly but also has a fenced dog park where pups can play off the leash both in and out of the water. The lush hammock park is a fun place for a nature walk through the trees, a stroll over the dunes on the boardwalk, or to play a game of frisbee or fetch. There are several pavilions, picnic tables, and grills where you and your fur buddy can enjoy a meal too!
The dog park is huge, with 32 thousand square feet, and has about 30 chairs as well as benches and picnic tables. Your dog can play all day unrestrained with the other pups and enjoy the sand, surf, and the dog-bone-shaped swimming pool just for dogs. There are also water fountains, as well as water access, doggie bag dispensers, and lots of green grass with shade trees.
Dogs are welcome to join their pet parents on Cocoa Beach between 4th Street South and the north side of Murkshe Park. However, there are certain hours you have to go by. Your pup is allowed from 6 AM to 10 AM and 5 PM to 9 PM from March until November or 4 PM to 7 PM from November until March. Your fur puppy has to be on a leash no longer than 10 feet, and you must bring doggie bags to pick up anything he drops.
The white sandy beach is over one and a half miles long with turquoise waters and sensational skylines. The dunes are an amazing sight to see, but you need to keep your pup out of them. You should also keep him away from turtle nests and do not let him get too close to any of the wildlife, or you may end up with a $50 fine.
Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park Beach
Right next door, Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park Beach is another pup-popular beach where you can enjoy the ocean as long as your canine companion is on a leash at all times. Named after the man who was the mayor of Cocoa Beach from 1963 to 1972, it is a local favorite with 2.5 acres of space, plenty of amenities, and lots of space to play.
There are restrooms and outdoor showers for your convenience, as well as picnic areas with grills as well as a pavilion you can rent with two tables and a grill. If you have yet to bring food with you, there are several eateries nearby to choose from, including Squid Lips, The Fat Snook, and Taco City. Many people come to the park to fish as this is an excellent place for surf fishing. Although this is not a big park, the parking lot is almost too small for its capacity, but it is free.
Sidney Fischer Park Beach
Sidney Fischer Park Beach is not even a half-mile north of Cocoa Beach and is also named after a mayor. Sidney Fischer was mayor of Cocoa Beach from 1956 to 1960 and was very fond of outdoor recreation. This 10-acre park is a local favorite with a playground for the kids, grassy space to toss a ball, and picnic areas with four pavilions and grills on one side and a white sandy beach on the other. The parking lot is huge, but you do have to pay a small fee.
There are also restrooms and showers to clean up your pup before getting back in the car. If you want to ride a bike but did not bring one, no worries! Zagster Bike Share in the northwest corner of the park will rent you one so you can ride along the paved sidewalk that circles the entire park while Fido follows. Just keep him on a leash and pick up after him while you are there.
A little bit further to the north, Shepard Park is another pup-popular beach for leashed dogs. It is only half the size of Sidney Fischer Park, but it has five acres of sand, surf, and sun, as well as a grassy area to play. The main part of the park has restrooms with showers and changing rooms where you can get ready for your day at the beach or clean up afterward. The beach is covered in soft golden sand, and the water is clear blue and beautiful.
It gets hot here with no shade, so if you did not bring an umbrella, you can rent one right on the beach at Latch’s Umbrellas and Surf Rentals. They also rent beach chairs, bikes, kayaks, surfboards, and other gear you may need. If you get hungry, you can find Captain J’s and Sandbar Sports Grill right next door. Always keep your pup on a leash and pick up whatever he drops.
Jetty Park Beach
A few minutes to the north, Jetty Park Beach has 35 acres of sand where you and your pup can play as long as you keep his leash on at all times. Jetty Park Beach is on the tip of the island in Cape Canaveral. On one side, you have Port Canaveral, and on the other is the great Atlantic Ocean, where you and your fur buddy can play in the sand and surf all day long.
Besides the beach, the campground is the main attraction, with 340 campsites to pick from, most of them pup-friendly. If you plan to stay the night, be sure to book early because they fill up quickly. Each site has a picnic table fire pit with a grill, and many have electricity and water. There are showers and restrooms available for campers, as well as beachgoers and a fishing pier in case you want to do some fishing.
Cocoa Riverfront Park Beach
The lovely Riverfront Park in the historic Cocoa Village is combined with Taylor and Lee Wenner Parks to make up almost 10 acres of waterfront for you and your leashed pup. Right on the Cocoa Yacht Basin on the Indian River off of the Hubert Humphrey Causeway, there is plenty of room to run, play, and even splash in the water. Besides the beach, your pup can enjoy the large greenspace, watch the kids play at the playgrounds, and take a walk along the boardwalk.
Whether you are there to enjoy the water by boating, fishing, or playing in the surf, you may get the opportunity to enjoy a free outdoor concert here at the amphitheater. In addition to all that, the park is right on Cocoa Village Main Street, where you will find a variety of shops, eating establishments, and bars. Be sure to ask permission before bringing in your pup, though.
Wickham Park Beach
Head south a few miles to Wickham Park, with almost 400 acres to explore and enjoy. As long as you keep your canine companion on a leash the whole time, you and your fur baby can explore the whole park, which includes over 135 picnic tables for relaxing, three lakes, and 10 pavilions. If you want to stay the night, there are 88 campsites with shower rooms, electricity, and water, as well as fire pits and a laundry facility. Reserve your spot in advance because this is a popular place.
There are several playgrounds, four volleyball courts, nine horseshoe pits, seven ball fields, an archery range, and even a disc golf course. You and your pup can also explore the natural spaces on one of the trails. Two of the lakes are used for swimming, but there are no lifeguards, so swim at your own risk. In the middle of the park is perhaps the best spot, the leash-free dog park! Your pup will love the space, and they even have a pup pool!
Osteen Park Beach
Also on the Indian River, Osteen Park Beach is located less than 10 miles from Cocoa Beach on Merritt Island, just across the causeway from the Cocoa Riverfront Park. With about four acres along the waterfront, you can let your fur buddy play in the water as long as you keep him on a leash at all times. If you like fishing, there is a sheltered pier out onto the water that allows you to toss your line way out there! It even has a pavilion with a picnic bench.
If you have the kids with you, they will love this shaded modern playground with slides, climbing, and swings. Bring a cooler with food and drinks so you and your pup can enjoy a meal at one of the picnic tables after you work up an appetite. Just be sure to bring plenty of doggie doo baggies to pick up anything your doggie drops.
Seagull Park Beach
Just past Patrick Space Force Base, about seven miles from Cocoa Beach, Seagull Park Beach has a peaceful and beautiful neighborhood park of just over 1.5 acres. Your canine companion is welcome to join in the fun of playing in the water and on the sand as long as he is on a leash the whole time. You also need to bring your own doggie cleanup baggies to pick up after your pup.
This is a gorgeous park with beautiful landscaping that includes much native flora as well as coquina rocks and almost a mile of golden sand. The outcrop of coquina rocks is a great place for some selfies with its unique composite of broken shells. The park also has two shelters with picnic tables, and a shower outside that is supplied by an artesian well. However, there is no restroom, and the parking lot is small, with only 15 spaces.
Hightower Beach Park
Right next door to the south, Hightower Beach Park is beautiful and well-maintained by the city and is pup-popular because dogs are welcome all the time as long as they are leashed. The boardwalk takes you over the dunes to the beach, where you can learn more about the native dunes and how they help the environment. The informational signs also let you know where you and your pup are not allowed to go, so pay attention.
The park has 18 acres of space with almost 3,000 square feet of beachfront where you and your canine companion can play in the surf. Speaking of surfing, this is a popular surfing spot so bring your board if you have one. There are also picnic areas with tables and grills, several trails to explore, and a boardwalk to enjoy. Please pick up after your fur puppy and keep him away from turtle nests and other wildlife.
Canova Beach Park is home to one of the only dog-friendly beaches in Brevard County. However, your fur baby will have to be on a leash at all times. And you will need to pick up anything he drops right away. Canova Beach has just over nine acres of space with boardwalks covering three sections of dunes and is listed as one of the 10 best beaches in Florida, featuring plenty of clean sand and surf as well as picnic areas with grills and tables.
This is a popular park with the locals because it is free to park, and it has a beautiful beach with lots of amenities. You can have a barbecue, enjoy a picnic, or grab a bite at one of the nearby eating establishments. Just only bring your pup inside if you ask first. The park also has restrooms, drinking fountains, and outside showers to clean off the sand.
Howard E. Futch Memorial Park Beach
About a mile from Canova Beach, the Howard E. Futch Memorial Park at Paradise Beach has a beautiful beach where Fido is welcome on a leash. It has almost 12.5 acres and is a popular place for local group activities like volleyball, surfing, and kiting. There is a huge playground for the kids with slides, climbing, and tunnels, as well as covered picnic tables with barbecue grills to enjoy a meal with your canine companion.
If you did not bring any food with you, that is no problem. Right in the park, you will find several places to grab something, including the Paradise Treats food truck, open from 11 AM until 6 PM. If you want to surf, the Jagger Lee Surf Company is also on the beach, where you can get a board, wetsuit, or even some surfing lessons. Or you and Fido can just hang out at the beach all day to swim and soak up some sun.
James H. Nance Park
Keep going south, and you will run into James H. Nance Park, where you and your fur puppy can enjoy a day on the beach as long as he is on a leash. Take a walk along the boardwalk over the dunes, where you are shaded by palms and other trees. It is a great way to see some awesome sea turtles. Just make sure you do not let your pup get too close to them, or he may scare them away.
It is a stunning beach with several picnic pavilions with grills and tables, restrooms, and water fountains. There is a volleyball court where you can watch a tournament, or sometimes you can even join in on a game if you have someone to hold your pup’s leash for you. Right across the street, get a slice of the famous New York pizza at the Original Bizzarro Pizzeria or something healthier but just as yummy at Cafe Surfinista.
Coconut Point Park Beach
Just a few minutes from James H. Nance Park, Coconut Point Park Beach is amazing, with its diamond-white sand, crystal-clear water, and famous ocean views. Your fur buddy is welcome as long as he is on his leash the whole time you are there and be sure to bring some puppy poo baggies to pick up whatever he drops. The 37-acre park is also a great place to spot some sea turtles and has two dune crossovers along the boardwalk.
If you like to surf or fish, you can do that here too but swimming is the number one activity at Coconut Point Park Beach. However, there is no lifeguard so practice safe swimming rules. This park is also listed in the Florida Birding Trail for its abundance of shorebirds like red-throated loons, gannets, red knots, and black-bellied plovers. Pack a lunch and enjoy a meal in the picnic area after working up an appetite in the water.
The Final Woof
Thinking about taking your canine companion out on the water? Try the Coastal Lagoon Tours on Merritt Island where you can see dolphins, manatees, and other marine creatures. Or you can take a two-hour tour of Banana River on The Nana to see alligators, bat rays, dolphins, and manatees. Afterward, grab a brew at the Intracoastal Brewing Company in Melbourne or another adult beverage at the Dirty Oar Beer Company on King Street. Another way to enjoy the outdoors with your pup is by visiting one of the farmer’s markets like the Satellite Beach Market or the Brevard County Farmer’s Market.