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Fifty miles east of Orlando is an undiscovered gem – Cocoa. Located centrally in Brevard County, it has grown over the years but continues to retain its small-town charm and is a great place to raise a family. Cocoa stands on the beautiful Indian River and is the hub of recreational water sports like boating, parasailing, sailboarding, water-skiing, and sailing. The city was founded by fishermen early in Florida’s history and fishing in the Indian River, Atlantic Ocean, and the nearby St. Johns River is still a major attraction.
The first families arrived in Cocoa around 1860 from the north looking for a better life in an untamed swamp. First plats of the new settlement were made under the name “Indian River City” but U.S. Postal authorities claimed it was too long for use on a postmark. There are different stories as to why Cocoa was selected as a name, each quainter than the next, nevertheless, by 1884 the name Cocoa was firmly associated with the new settlement. It was incorporated in 1895 and even today as one walks down the tree-lined streets of the historic Cocoa Village one can see some homes and buildings from the 1880s.
Vicinity of Cocoa
Today eighteen thousand people have made Cocoa their home. This roughly fifteen square mile town boasts of several good public and private schools as well as the Eastern Florida State College and the University of Central Florida’s Cocoa Campus. The Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory in the Eastern Florida State College Cocoa Campus is literally a star attraction! The Space Coast Convention Center is Florida’s premier multi-use facility for tournaments, camps, special events, lodging, and meals for all types of events. The Brevard Museum of History and Science focuses on the history, science, and culture, with an emphasis on Brevard County and the East Central Florida region.
Cocoa Village is one of the most successful and prosperous downtown redevelopments and is a growing, evolving community. Walk down Riverside Drive with its old Florida mansions. The Porcher House, now a historic site, is an excellent example of 20th-century classical revival architecture, adapted to the Florida climate. This elegant and classic mansion is open to the public and is available for rent for special occasions. Stroll through Riverfront Park, on the Indian River, and take an antebellum paddle boat ride down the scenic river. Local jazz and classical music groups regularly entertain folks at the Gazebo in Myrtice Tharpe Square. Catch an evening performance at the historic Playhouse.
Cocoa Village is host to year-round special events, including Mardi Gras style street celebrations and four Craft and Fine Art Shows. Alma Clyde Field Library, formerly the Tebeau-Field Library is one of only two libraries in Florida that archives paper documents today. The historic village boasts of 60 specialty shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants. Explore antique stores housed in historic buildings or enjoy coffee in a Victorian style coffee house on the Indian Riverwalk. Cocoa, like its name, makes you feel real good.