Even though I grew up going to Florida, I’ve only ever been to the Gulf side of the state. My husband, TJ, had never stepped foot in the state, which is something we had to change. Obviously. Plus, we got to cross off another state for Granger!
Although TJ and I have been to several beaches around the country, Granger had only been to one prior to this trip – Surfside Beach, SC. We talk about our experiences on that trip in a previous post, so I won’t dive in too much here. But, this time was much better to say the least.
Like, much better.
Granger fell in love with water mid-summer, so this was a perfect time to take him to see the ocean again. Y’all, he loved it. I have now determined that 15-month-old Granger is a way better age to go beachin’ with than 1-year-old Granger. He could walk/run better, liked the water more, and wasn’t cutting his molars. So. Much. Better.
When I first told friends/family we were going to Cape Canaveral, most of their reactions entailed something like, “Oh…well, it’s not as pretty as the Gulf beaches but you’ll have fun.” Or “Oh…are you really into space or rockets or something?” Or “Oh! Y’all are going on a cruise, aren’t you?!” I found myself silently doubting our decision to just vacation at Cape Canaveral beach because everyone else seemed to doubt it. HA! I’ll never do that again.
For starters, the beach is a beach, and it’s pretty. Let’s just get that straight. TJ and I both grew up in landlocked Tennessee, so I’m not too picky on what beach I’m laying on. Besides, the real kicker to me is how many PEOPLE you’re sharing the beach with versus what beach you’re actually on.
And I’m proud to say that during the week of Labor Day at Cape Canaveral, FL the beach was pleasantly quiet. It was actually peaceful. Full disclosure, Labor Day weekend was pretty busy, but the week following there was hardly anyone left. Granger was pretty much the only kid on the beach in the mornings.
We’d set up our spot in the morning and let Granger wander around carrying his shovel. He’d chase the birds, roll around and eat sand, sit in the water, and visit other nearby chairs, making everyone smile. We’d of course be a little ways behind him, but for the most part he could go as he pleased. It was AMAZING. It made relaxing for us a lot easier with an incredibly mobile and wild toddler on our hands. With this experience, it’s safe to say, we’ll be back at this time of year for sure.
As several lovely people pointed out when I told them we were heading to Cape Canaveral, Port Canaveral is a popular cruise port for several different cruise lines. For a one-year-old, this turned out to be golden. It’s not like there were cruise ships constantly coming in and out of the port and interrupting the peace, but there were a few a day in the afternoon, and Granger loved every second of it. We talked about the ships and waved at them. The Disney Cruise Ship played short clips of classic Disney theme songs, which was fun. This may not be for everyone, but this ended up being a plus for us.
For this trip, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resort, and I’m so glad we did. The rooms were legit, and the amenities were on point. There was a huge pool with an awesome water slide and lazy river. There was a small, intimate movie theater that played current movies at various times during the day, an arcade, indoor jungle gym, and 9-hole miniature golf. AND, there was a good restaurant and tiki bar near the pool, if you needed it. Oh, and an exercise room, but I didn’t go in there. Because, vacation.
I don’t know what we would’ve done if we didn’t stay here. We were in walking distance of the beach, which was really important to us, but we were also near all of these amazing other things to do. We also happened to be there right before Hurricane Irma came through. The weather ended up being great, but if it hadn’t been, we would’ve had plenty of other things to do.
Our room had a full kitchen, which is where we were able to really save some money on food. We only went out to eat on travel days and one night for dinner. Pro tip: bring a few things from home, if you have anything that will travel. We had to buy condiments that we wouldn’t have needed to if we would’ve just packed what we had at the house since they wouldn’t have gone bad in the car. All of this probably would’ve saved us a little bit more. Ya live and ya learn.
I will say probably the only downfall of Cape Canaveral is there weren’t a ton of easily accessible seafood restaurants on the beach. I swear, every other beach we’ve gone to has been overloaded with seafood restaurants that you can just drive around and pop into. But, not here. We ended up finding a place on the Cocoa Beach Pier, and the food was pretty good. We were out on the water watching locals surf, which made the atmosphere better. We’d go again, but I do wish there were more options.
Even though we got evacuated because of Hurricane Irma and we had to cut our vacation a little short, I’m so happy and satisfied with our beach vacation to Florida. We will definitely be back to Cape Canaveral!
Where’s your favorite beach vacation with kids?