by Terry Ward
There are many hotels to choose from when vacationing in the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral area. But for one that really targets families with a horde of amenities designed to keep kids of nearly all ages entertained both on and off the beach, this timeshare hotel stands apart from the crowd. The property’s name — Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral Beach Resort — is the first hint that this isn’t your standard Holiday Inn. And while you may be asked to attend a timeshare presentation during your stay, there’s certainly no obligation.
The units, which range from studios to two-bedroom oceanfront apartments, are spread between two buildings and are all individually owned, but maintain a standard dÃ©cor theme throughout. With the exception of the studios, all suites are outfitted with full kitchens that make it easy to prepare meals. But what families get most excited about here are all the activities on offer to complement a classic beach vacation. The pool area has a four-story waterslide and a lazy river, there’s an onsite movie theater that screens family favorites throughout the day, and the resort provides a mini-golf course and many other sport offerings, such as tennis courts, basketball courts and shuffleboard.
Despite the fact that meals aren’t included in your stay, you may feel like you’re at an all-inclusive property, thanks to the included offerings (not to mention the wristbands you’re required to wear). One thing you won’t hear is “Mom, I’m bored.” Another highlight is the property’s beautiful beach location, on the far north stretch of Cape Canaveral Beach, right next to Jetty Park and a short drive (or even walk) from all of the portside restaurants, casino cruises and other attractions.
Our Editor Loves
- Lazy river and splash pad
- Tennis and basketball courts
- Mini golf and movie theater
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Rooms are spread between the property's two five-story buildings, one of which is oceanfront and houses only two-bedroom studios and the other of which is set back from the ocean. The main hotel building is the one set back from the ocean, and this is where you'll also find the restaurant, game room, movie theater and gym.
A tram runs between the buildings every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, making it easy to access the beach if you're staying in the main building. It's also just an eighth of a mile to walk between the two buildings.
Studio accommodations sleep a maximum of four people, with a king bed and a king sleeper sofa in one room. The kitchenette has a mini-fridge and a microwave, and there's a flat-screen TV and blue ray DVD player for watching movies. Be aware that studios do not have balconies.
With a king bed in a separate bedroom and a queen bed and king pull-out sleeper in the living room are, the one-bedroom villas can sleep up to six people. The full kitchens come with stoves, ovens, full-size refrigerators and all of the kitchenware you need for cooking and enjoying meals in your unit. There are washers and dryers in these villas, too.
The most spacious accommodations, the two-bedroom villas are all located in the oceanfront building and can sleep 8 people. All two-bedroom villas have ocean views and some have double balconies. Two separate bedrooms have a king bed each, and in the living room area there's a queen size bed and a king-size sleeper sofa. Full-size washers and dryers are also provided in these villas.
Rollaway beds are not provided, but you have the option to connect a studio to a one-bedroom villa (sleeping 10 people). Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
Stayed in the villas in late May - building closest to the beach. Had four teenagers with us. These are condos, so you don't have room service, unless you pay extra. We just went to the grocery store to start the week and had breakfast/lunch in the condo and went out to dinner a few nights.
Location is great! I was leery when looking at Google Maps - it looks industrial around the resort, but is really isn't. That is the cruise shipyards that are across the street. You are at the end of an area at this resort - very easy to get to from the highway. Our room was on a higher floor so you could watch the cruise ships come and go out to sea from the balcony, and you could also see the ocean.
Resort would be great for young kids - they have a HUGE pool area with slides and a lazy river with plenty of tubes. Tiki bar outside. Putt-putt course, indoor game room, etc. Boardwalk to the ocean from all of the facilities, but the property itself is oceanfront.
The room itself was mostly modern. Not a ton in the way of kitchen utensils that you might want but sufficient for a week's stay. Basic mixing bowls, mixer, etc. Rooms were clean - no concerns. Some of the unit seemed more worn - walls, etc. in some areas but it was clean.
There is a shuttle from the out buildings back to the main building where the pool and other amenities are. Close enough to walk but shuttle was convenient if you didn't feel like it.
Town (restaurants, grocery, etc.) only took about 5-10 drive through a neighborhood area. Easy to get to things.
The hotel doesn't offer beach chairs, but there was a guy out on their beach who did offer chairs and umbrellas each day for rent. Nice to have.
Highly recommend this spot for families especially.
Don't get me wrong the resort itself was beautiful! BUT, the staff was horrible they are complete liars we caught them in 3 lies with our 4 families and talked to others at the resort and they also got false information too!
Just to give you an example.. I called a month ago and reserved 2 cribs so we didn't have to travel with ours, come check in day, we arrive 1 hour early and they say are room is not available and will call when its available... but gave us a room key...? so whatever we go to dinner and come back and now its 6pm ( we've been traveling since 4am with 4 little kids and they are tired!) they still said are room is not ready, we are traveling with family who have a timeshare there and wanted to be next to them, so just for fun we try our room key that they gave us 3 hours ago and try in on the room next to them and tad-a it works and the room was fully cleaned ....... but 10 minutes goes by and surprise its ready now and....we get up to the room no cribs in the room, so I call and she said they will bring them right up.... 45 min. go by, kids are crabbier now whining (they are not bed sleepers) still nothing, Call again she said that they have been delivered... clearly not if I"m calling again.... so she said i'll put in the order again.... 20 mins now goes by and still nothing, this time my husband goes down there and just lays it on them, its now almost 8-9 and we've all been up since 4am so he was a little mad....all in all they lied and said they had no more at their resort and will have to go get them from another resort... so another 20mins and they 2 cribs show up, so if it wasn't;t for my husband who had to yell and raise a voice they would have never told me they didn't have any cribs. just poor poor staff/management there ... my goodness
We stayed for 5 days... so on our way home I started to itch...then another family member was itching too .... then 3 out of 5 adults got bed bugs there in 2 separate rooms luckily the 2 kids that weren't in the cribs didn't get harmed... so gross!
Seriously this hotel has gone downwards in the last couple of years, ever since Holiday took over Ron Jon.... sad to say... this has been the worst year yet, and for sure we will never be back at this resort after this visit.
Pools and Waterpark
The hotel fronts a beautiful and wild stretch of beach, but the swimming pool and onsite water park tend to be where most families spend the bulk of their time. Open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., the pool ranges between 3 and 5 feet deep; there are no lifeguards on duty. There's a kiddie pool and splash pad area that's perfect for the younger members in your family. Your older water babies will gravitate to the resort's four-story twisting and turning waterslide and lazy river, both of which close at 7 p.m. Parents like to escape to the hot tub.
Nothing's really set in stone as far as a kid's program here, but the hotel's friendly staff arrange poolside activities for kids throughout the day during high season. Activities run along the lines of coconut painting and sand dollar art projects. There's a small play area inside with toys and drawing supplies, as well as an outdoor jungle gym with slides and swings where the kids can burn off some energy.
The stretch of beach in front of this property is probably the prettiest in all of the Cape Canaveral Beach and Cocoa Beach area, since it abuts beautiful Jetty Park. An independent vendor on the beach sells chairs for the day or by the hour and two chairs and one umbrella cost $10 for the hour or $20 per day. Body boards can also be rented for $5 per hour or $10 per day; surfboards cost $10 per hour or $30 per day; and paddleboards are $20 per hour or $30 per day. The same vendor can also arrange bike rentals.
The property has two onsite tennis courts that are lighted until 8 p.m. There's no reservation system so the courts are available on a first come, first served basis. Racquets and tennis balls are provided free of charge, but you need to leave your room key at the front desk in exchange for them.
There's an onsite outdoor basketball court and you can leave your room key at the front desk in exchange for a basketball.
The property's movie theater is a great place to while away the rare rainy hour or two. Free films are screened from 10 a.m., with about five movies offered each day. All are family friendly, along the lines of "How to Train Your Dragon" and "The Lego Movie."
Monday nights feature a family comedy and magic show that costs about $5 per person. There are two showings -- 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. -- and during busier times at the resort, you'll definitely want to reserve a seat in advance, as the show is very popular.
Go back to the 80's with your entourage in the hotel's onsite arcade room, conveniently located by the restaurant and movie theater. Pool tables, classic 80's video games and pinball machines make for plenty of fun. There are onsite cash machines to get coins. The arcade is open all day and located right by the restaurant and next to the movie theater.
The front desk can set you up with clubs and golf balls to play a round of mini-golf. A total of nine holes are spread around the hotel's main building, with five on one side and four holes on the other.
Cape Grill & Bar
The hotel's only restaurant, Cape Grill & Bar is located on the ground floor of the main building and is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (plan breakfast in your room or offsite). The menu is about as American as it gets, with hamburgers, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, chicken, pasta dishes and the like. The kids' menu has limited, but likeable offerings, such as chicken fingers, pizza, hot dogs, and grilled cheese, all served with French fries or healthier sides, such as carrots and broccoli.
For serious shopping, there's a Publix just 3 miles south of the hotel, and you'll find a full-service deli, pharmacy and everything else you could possibly need to stock up. If you just need to replenish essentials, such as butter and milk, then you'll appreciate the small marketplace located in the main building.
Room service is available during the restaurant's regular hours.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The property has an onsite gym on the second floor of the main building that's open 24 hours and has weight machines, bikes, treadmillls and the like.
Parking is free.
There are laundry facilities on the third floor of the main building. It's $1 per load and you can get change at the front desk.
You're free to arrive after 11:30 a.m. on the day of your reservation, but check-in is not until 4 p.m. Checkout is at 10 a.m., but 11 a.m. check-outs can be requested and are usually accommodated. There are storage rooms where you can leave your luggage if you arrive early or want to stay for a while after checkout.
The Art of Smart Timing
Weekends are a very busy time in the summer and if you plan on just walking in and getting a room, there's a slim chance of it happening. Be sure to book in advance on weekends in summer and also during high season periods around the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and spring break in March and April, when prices will be at their highest and the pool at its most packed.
Orlando International Airport is the closest major airport to the property and is located less than 50 miles (about an hour's drive) west of the hotel. Many guests choose to rent a car at the airport so that they can explore the surrounding area once they're based at the hotel. But if you prefer not to rent a car, the hotel offers an airport shuttle that costs $60 for one to two people, $70 for three people and $80 for four to five people. Be sure to book in advance.
The hotel offers a happy hour shuttle (5 to 8 p.m.) to Port Canaveral that costs $20 for four people (and $5 for each additional person). It's an effective way to get to the port if you're not up for the 20-minute walk. The shuttle also runs for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and for additional fees, you can utilize it any time of the day.
For Mom and Dad
Parents with the potential to sneak away should spend some time at the Port, home to a bunch of lively seafood restaurants, many of which have live music on weekend nights. Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill is a favorite for fresh Florida fish like grouper and snapper and the Tiki bar will put you in the vacation mindset. If you like to gamble, casino cruises aboard the Victory make for a fun out-to-sea outing (as long as the waves aren't too rough). There are two daily cruises offered at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and both are five hours long. Prices start from $10. The departure point is just a 5-minute walk from the hotel.