Cocoa Beach has a long reputation as a surf destination, and one of the best places to fill your surfer needs is at 3A Rides. This Cocoa Beach-based shop opened in 2005, as a place to get rental and retail gear for surfing, skating, biking and paddling. Score new and used stand-up paddleboards, surfboards and bikes for a range of abilities and needs. Looking to fine-tune your skills? Sign up for one of 3A's surf camps for everyone from kids to adults, beginners to advanced. For something unique to the region, ask about the local boards, including 3A Rides' own boards.
Music lovers, history buffs and retro revivalists can find a home at Caroline's House of Records – and most likely find whatever vinyl they're looking for, too, as this locally owned shop carries more than 40,000 different LPs and 45s. Find a different kind of souvenir to take home with you here, one that you can use and enjoy for years. Caroline's House of Records has been known to sell rare records. Caroline's House of Records is located in historic Cocoa Village and has been named the best music store in Cocoa by the community. Also find music paraphernalia here, or order online at Carolinesrecords.com.
Half a mile north of 520, off A1A, you'll find The Pier, an exciting extension of the city of Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast. Take in live music (the pier has welcomed the bands such as the Beach Boys and UB40) as you dine several hundred feet above the Atlantic Ocean at Oh Shucks. Or walk down to the end of the pier for classic seafood at Marlins. The Boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean Grille offer great selections, as well. There are also gift shops, volleyball courts and fishing sites. This historical, 800-foot-long landmark is excellent for fishing, as well as playing beach volleyball and some of the best surfing in the area.
Although Beachwave Beachwear is a bit of a drive past Port Canaveral, it's the best place to pick up some swimwear if you're on a budget. The drive is worth the money you will save. In fact, Beachwave Beachwear was founded in 1991, in response to the expensive cost of swimwear and beachy accessories along the Space Coast, according to its website. The goal: To offset the other expensive surf shops in the area and provide shoppers a less expensive option. The shop started with one small shop in Cocoa Beach, and now have five locations. You can also shop online; Beachwave launched an online shop in 2010. Here, you can find everything from swimming suits to toys to beach umbrellas to towels to sunscreen to floaties to boards. Bonus: The staff here is known for being super friendly.
Cocoa Beach in Florida is home to many great artists, so it would be a sin to exclude art galleries and shops from the region's best shopping. One local artist who rises to the forefront is Rick Piper, whose colorful art is often centered around water and emanates a distinctly Space Coast feel. At his Cocoa Beach-based storefront, you can find prints of fish, mermaids and water for sale (or just to gawk at and enjoy). Throughout the region, you can find Piper's bright murals, too, like an immersive mural complete with sound effects on the wall at Coconuts on the Beach. You will see his murals throughout town, at coffee shops, pools, other shops and even in private homes. Check out Pipers' Facebook page for more information about his upcoming shows and inspirations: www.facebook.com/rickpiperart.
Cocoa Beach is the hottest spot on the Space Coast to find surf gear and rentals, which is no surprise, since the waves here are a major destination for water activity. Catalyst is another locally owned, popular surf shop in downtown Cocoa Beach. Bonus: The ocean is this shop's backyard. So take your new board straight out the door and to the water, and even sign up for surfing classes, if you need to brush up on your skills. Rent your surfboard or a stand-up paddleboard here, too. Since this is a full-service shop, you can also pick up any beach gear you need, from sunglasses to flip-flops to swimwear. Catalyst has everything you need for your surfing vacation in one spot � even the waves.
Space Coast-based RJK Studio makes fused and stained glass creations, including a variety of beautiful glass pendants decorated with turtles. You can also pick up glass pendants in a variety of colors and designs, such as sugar skulls. Also look for home decor, from clocks to spoon holders. Pick up a glass pendant online for $20. The Etsy shop is www.etsy.com/people/RJKStudio. RJK Studio also appears at the farmer's market at Cape Canaveral on Saturdays and at the Cove Marketplace on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday November through April.
This massive, multi-level surf shop claims to be the world's largest surf complex. It boasts everything you could need under one roof for a surf and beach adventure. Here, you can browse more than 1,500 surfboards, a variety of unique clothes, swimming suits and beach gear, as well as rent a surfboard, get a skateboard and pick up lunch and a latte. Relax near the 40-foot water wall and 5,600-gallon shark and exotic fish tank located right inside the facility, where you can watch the sharks, morays and eels be hand-fed. Whereas other area surf shops may be more famous, the Cocoa Beach Surf Company also makes huge waves.
Ron Jon Surf Shop is the world's most famous surf shop, with a location in Cocoa Beach. You can find Ron Jon stores along the coast, from New Jersey to Maryland, but it's popular tourist attraction in the Space Coast, too. In fact, Ron Jon's Cocoa Beach location is the largest surfing shop in the world. Pick up souvenirs here, as well as some sunscreen, a new swimming suit and, of course, a surfboard. At Ron Jon's, you can find everything you need for a day at the beach. And whether you life chain stores or not, it is a Cocoa Beach landmark.
On the Indian River, this quaint, historic, little town is rich with old-fashioned charm. Cocoa Village is easily the best place to shop on the Space Coast, and one of the region's most popular destinations for visitors, too. Stroll down beautifully landscaped streets and experience the history of the village or listen to the live music pouring out of the local gazebo regularly. Cocoa Village is where you go to score local, unique finds and crafty goods at speciality stores. The shops here are charming and personal – not big-box chains. The Cocoa Village Playhouse also sponsors many Broadway musicals and local performance events monthly. There are plenty of craft and antique shops, bookstores, clothing and gift boutiques, galleries and restaurants to visit as well.