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Blast off to the space coast, while stepping back in time to feel the nostalgic past of Old Florida,  on the east coast of Florida in Cocoa Beach. A recent stay at the Westgate Cooca Beach Resort & Pier has me yearning to go back and enjoy a beach weekend filled with family, fun and sun.

Located about two hours from Tampa by car, and an hour east of Orlando, Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort offers a great family-friendly beachside retreat. The resorts accommodations are two-bedroom, two bath suites, complete with a living room and full kitchen that allow everyone a bit of room to spread out. The interior rooms offer great views of Wakulla Falls Waterpark, a kids splash zone and lazy river. The lazy river is relaxing loop that allows kids, and kids-at-heart, to float round and round.

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There are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained as the resort offers beachside concierge services and cabana service, boogie boards and surf lessons available for the adventure seekers, as well as bicycle rentals for those interested for exploring the coastline. Adults can enjoy a tropical cocktail at Makua Lanai Adult Relaxation Zone or at one of the many restaurants nearby at the Cocoa Beach Pier. A complimentary trolley goes back and forth from the resort to the Pier every 30 minutes. It’s easy to hop on the trolley for the quick ride to grab an ice-cream, or enjoy a delicious meal or cocktail at the Pier’s Rikki Tiki Tavern.

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The historic pier was recently re-built and stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, providing a gorgeous view and taking dining on the water to whole new level. The thatched roof on the tiki bar was built by the local Seminole Indian tribe. On top of award-winning restaurants like Pelican’s Bar & Grill and Keith’s Oyster Bar, the pier has a gift shop and offers live entertainment.

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Of course, don’t miss a trip to the Kennedy Space Center, about 15 minutes from the property. View the the exciting history of space travels with great exhibits and a tour of the Center. Also, don’t miss the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop that is open 24/7 for surfwear, sportswear, beach gear and much more.

-By Ronda M. Parag

Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort

3550 N. Atlantic Ave. Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 * 321.783.2230

For reservations and hotel information, visit www.westgateresorts.com.