by Terry Ward
As long as being directly oceanfront isn’t a must for your family’s hotel choice, this friendly and affordable Courtyard by Marriott property in the heart of Cocoa Beach is a popular pick. It’s especially great for pre- and post-cruisers (Port Canaveral is just 6 miles to the north) and beach-loving families who’ve either come here for their entire vacation or are making a side trip after hitting Orlando’s theme parks, located about an hour away.
The seven-story building, set behind other buildings about 200 yards back from the beach, has a private pathway from the hotel to access the sand and a nice swimming pool and hot tub right onsite, and most guests spend their time frolicking in water of whichever sort they prefer. You’re around a mile south of Ron Jon’s and the Cocoa Beach Pier, two of the area’s main attractions, and grocery stores and restaurants are also nearby.
The rooms, all carpeted and with a burgundy and green color scheme, can feel a bit dated, but complete room renovations are scheduled to begin in late 2015 and should be finished in early 2016. While not modern, accommodations are spacious and comfortable. All rooms have balconies, but if you want to see a sliver of the ocean, you should request to be on the fifth, sixth or seventh floors. Families particularly appreciate the varied configurations for connecting rooms, making it easy to maintain some sense of privacy while having everyone close together at the same time.
There are many hotel options in Cocoa Beach, but if you’re looking for good value and location, friendly service and reliable comforts, this mid-range hotel definitely ticks all the boxes.
For more information, read about Courtyard by Marriott.
Our Editor Loves
- Pool and hot tub onsite
- Short walk to a beautiful beach
- Outdoor firepit and comfy seating area
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All of the hotel's 155 rooms have balconies, but if you're picky about your view, it's important to specify this when booking. While no rooms have uninterrupted ocean views (since you're not oceanfront here), there are several rooms on the uppermost floors (five through seven) that allow you to catch a glimpse of the glittering Atlantic Ocean through the nearby buildings. Other views include pool views, river views (it's quite a ways in the distance, more like river sliver) and parking lot views, the least inspiring of the bunch.
While there are flat-screen TVs in all rooms, there are no DVD players available. Wi-Fi is free in all guestrooms and suites.
Bathrooms are fairly standard throughout the property, with an outside sink separate from the actual bathroom area, where you find the toilet and shower-in-tub combination. If you prefer a walk-in shower, you can request one of the handicap accessible rooms, all of which have these roll-in showers.
If you need a crib, be sure to request that when booking to be sure it's available and placed in your room upon arrival. Connecting room options include connecting a king bed room to one with two queen beds and a sofa bed or a room with two queens to another room with two queens and a sofa bed. These layouts are great for accommodating larger families, and rollaway beds can also be added to most rooms for no additional charge.
Basic rooms come with either two queen beds or a single king bed and you can upgrade from there to have the option of a two-person sofa bed in either of those rooms, too. Mini-fridges and coffeemakers are available in all guestrooms.
King suites offer the most privacy, with a bedroom with a king bed that can be shut off from a living room area with a sofa bed. These suites also have a wet bar and a microwave in addition to the mini-fridge and coffeemakers that are standard in all rooms.
Nice hotel near the beach and other activities around. Nice and spacious bar and pool area. Ample parking. Rooms were large; however, rather musty smelling. Area around the hotel is obviously a tourist destination.
I stayed at this hotel prior to and post cruise. The staff was amazing and made me feel especially comfortable. The food/bar offerings were above par. It was nice to chill at the hot tub with a cold adult beverage in hand. Kim at the front desk was amazing. For some reason I thought i had booked a post cruise reservation after my cruise. Somehow, I had not booked a room. Kim pulled some strings and was able to find me a room even though they were fully booked. I will definitely stay at this hotel again if I have a cruise out of port canaveral. They have complementary shuttles to and from the cruise port.
For most families who come to Cocoa Beach to vacation, beach time is the main mission. And while not located directly on the ocean, the hotel makes that easy to accomplish. There's a path that leads directly from the hotel to a beautiful stretch of beach where vendors rent lounge chairs and umbrellas. Tip: It's tempting to go barefoot, but the sand gets very hot later in the day, so be sure to bring along flip-flops to avoid scorched feet.
Pool and Hot Tub
You don't have to leave the hotel property for water fun, with the onsite pool and hot tub located right off the main lobby. Both are open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are no lifeguards on duty. The hotel calls its swimming pool a "mineral pool" and this is because it uses natural minerals instead of chlorine and other chemicals for its cleaning system. The freeform pool sits alongside a hot tub.
In the evenings, after you've enjoyed the golden hour on the beach, it's nice to gather around the hotel's outdoor firepit and sit for a spell in the comfy Adirondack chairs and bench-style seating here. You can have drinks delivered from the hotel's bar, but there are no tables for enjoying a meal here.
Local Attractions and Activities
Other family activities abound in Cocoa Beach and include everything from boating and fishing excursions that can be recommended by the hotel concierge to visiting nearby Kennedy Space Center and watching rocket launches from the beach.
There's a convenient and tasty all-day dining option right inside this Courtyard that families find extremely practical when they're not up for heading out for a meal. The Bistro offers a range of all-American eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has continuous service from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. On the menu for kids for breakfast are such items as French toast, scrambled eggs and cereals, and for lunch and dinner, the equally mainstream but satisfying choices include quesadillas, turkey sandwiches, burgers and the like, all priced under $5.
There's indoor seating just off the lobby or else in a covered outdoor dining area by the pool. Breakfast items, including some tasty griddles and sandwiches, are served all day, and other adult-favorites are things like turkey reubens, chicken Caesar salads, shrimp potstickers and flat breads.
There is also a Starbucks in the Bistro restaurant.
Room service is offered from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Highchairs and crayons and paper for coloring are available for kids, as well.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wireless Internet is offered free of charge throughout the hotel.
Self-parking in a lit outdoor lot is $5.99 per day.
Self-serve laundry machines ($2 per load, get quarters from the front desk) are available onsite and also include detergent in the price.
There's a business center with complimentary printing and photocopying.
The hotel's gym is open 24 hours and has treadmills, stationary bikes and weight machines.
Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at noon.
The Art of Smart Timing
Cocoa Beach is a popular destination year-round, and crowds particularly swell during spring break in February and March, around Easter, and over Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. You'll get some of the best deals here and have the beaches largely to yourself during the shoulder season months of late-September and October into early November and again in January and April and May. The area sees many snowbirds migrating down from the northeast and Canada from after the Christmas holidays into early May. And weekends are often busy on the beach, too, with locals coming out to play and Floridians from inland areas like Orlando making the day trip for fun in the sun.
Most guests at the Courtyard fly into Orlando International Airport, located roughly an hour west of the hotel and accessed by a relatively straight shot of mostly highway (toll road) driving. Orlando's airport has flights by all major national carriers, as well as many international airlines. The hotel works with an outside operator called TraveLynx to provide shuttle service to and from Orlando International Airport for around $45 per person.
Alternatively, you can consider flying into the much smaller, but closer Melbourne International Airport (about 25 minutes away), with flights offered by Delta and US Airways from major cities in the South.
Unless you plan to spend all your time at the hotel, you'll want to consider renting a car during your stay for easy access to nearby restaurants and attractions, such as the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center. Car rental companies are available in Cocoa Beach, but you'll get the best rates by booking through search engines such as Orbitz and Expedia for pickups at the airport.
Kids will love riding the Cocoa Beach Trolley, which runs up and down the beach (including to Port Canaveral) and has a stop near the hotel. The trolley operates Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids under 5 years ride for free and it's $1.25 for adults, with discounts for seniors.
For Mom and Dad
If you can find some time to slip away for a date night, there's lots of fun to be had in both Cocoa Beach and at the port in Cape Canaveral. Head to the latter for a waterside seafood dinner at Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill and enjoy the views of passing cruise ships and fishing boats returning with the day's catch. And in Cocoa Beach, hit Fat Kahuna's Oceanview Grille for tuna tacos and the sinfully delicious fried pineapple upside down cake then walk a block away to Heidelberg Restaurant for live jazz music at the lounge bar.