If you are planning a Cocoa Beach vacation, look no further than Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort for your stay. This hotel in Cocoa Beach, Florida, is perfect for families, couples, or even larger group gatherings. Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort fully renovated the former Wakulla Suites, updating the rooms to a more open floor plan and adding Wakulla Falls Water Park. Westgate also purchased Cocoa Beach Pier a couple of years ago, so you can enjoy a free trolley ride between the two to meet all of your vacation needs.
Cocoa Beach is located less than an hour from Orlando. As Orlando locals, we loved having a getaway at our favorite local beach and getting away without a long drive or flight. Cocoa Beach is only a few miles from Kennedy Space Center. This makes both Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort and the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier perfect for watching the nearby rocket launches.
After glamping at Westgate River Ranch last year, we were excited to stay in another Westgate property close to home. Here is a full breakdown of what Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort and Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier have to offer as well as a review of both Westgate properties and their amenities.
***Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort hosted our stay and provided our meals at Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may include affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra charge to you.
WESTGATE COCOA BEACH RESORT REVIEW
Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort purchased the property formerly known as Wakulla Suites and poured millions of dollars into renovating both the rooms and the property. Adding a pool, splash pad for the kids, and lazy river, the resort is perfect for children and families as well as couples or family gatherings. Plus, the property is right on the beach and provides free transportation to the popular Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. Cocoa Beach is regularly listed as one of the top Florida beaches for families, and resorts like Westgate show why that is the case.
SUITES AT WESTGATE COCOA BEACH RESORT
The rooms at Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort surround the pool area of the hotel. While the outside of the buildings show an architecture style that speaks of the resort’s history, the inside of the rooms are fully renovated and beautifully done. The decorations and layout have been updated so that each suite easily holds a family of four (with options to sleep six in the room). Each suite connects to a suite next door, making it possible to have an even larger space if needed.
We were able to tour one of the rooms that has not been converted to see the difference. Some of the rooms in one building were not fully renovated and are for staff to use for their families. The former Wakulla Suites rooms featured a small kitchen cut off from the living room and only one bathroom. However, the newly done rooms feature two large bathrooms and an open floor plan for living room, dining room, and kitchen area.
When you walk in the front door, you immediately stand in the living room area. The living room features an L-shaped couch and a separate chair with a coffee table as well as a large flat-screen TV. Across from the living room is the kitchen and dining area. The kitchen has a bar with four stools as well cabinets, an oven, a microwave, a dishwasher and a refrigerator. Next to the kitchen is a small dining area with a table that has bench seating on one side and two chairs on the other side.
The kitchen comes equipped with glassware, plates, bowls, silverware, pots, pans, and other items for cooking. This makes it easy to stay in and cook your meals if you choose to do so. There are several grocery stores nearby including a Publix about half a mile (800 meters) away. The resort also has grills you can use by the pool area if you want to do some grilling while you are there.
The two bathrooms connect to each room. The master bathroom has a shower and connects only to the master bedroom. The second bathroom connects to both the second bedroom as well as the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and has a bathtub. This makes it easier for any guests who come to visit to have access to the bathroom without having to enter the master bedroom.
Overall, we found the room to be clean and comfortable. While I prefer a soft bed and my husband prefers a more firm bed, neither of us had any complaints of the bed. We spent more time than we expected in the room, just enjoying relaxing in the living room and not rushing around like we usually do when we travel.
You can hear the noise from the pool area in the living room during the day and evening, but the sound is much harder to hear in the bedrooms. The hotel imposes quiet times at night and the pool areas close down, keeping the hotel quiet at night. If you hear the kids playing in the pools during the day time, don’t worry. The noise is not a problem at all at night.
WAKULLA FALLS WATER PARK
If you crave fresh water or enjoy the peacefulness of relaxing in or by the pool, there is something for everyone in the Wakulla Falls Water Park. In the middle of the buildings that make up Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort, there used to be an area filled with turf. That area transformed when Westgate took over the property. Now the area features a pool, splash pad, and lazy river as well as an adults only area to lounge and enjoy an evening fire pit. Towels are provided, so just make sure to bring your sunscreen and be ready to relax.
The splash pad is a popular spot for the kids at the resort. With water features and multiple water slides, kids loved playing in this area. The splash pad is between the pool and the lazy river, so parents can relax nearby and still keep an eye on their kids. There is also a covered area next to the splash pad with daily activities for the kids run by the staff. On each side of the splash pad, there are several tables to sit and watch the kids play.
For guests of all ages, there is the pool and the lazy river. The lazy river gently pushes you around a 335-ft (102 m) loop that stays an even 3 ft. (.9 m) in depth. Grab a free tube and float around the lazy river without a care in the world. Life jackets are available next to the lazy river in various sizes for kids who need them.
Lounge chairs surround the pool area, and a large hot tub and kiddie pool are next to the pool as well. The main pool reaches a maximum depth of 7 ft (2.1 m) at the deep end. The kiddie pool is in the shade most of the afternoon as is the hot tub next to it. Behind the hot tub and kiddie pool is the Aloha Tiki Bar & Cafe, serving food and drinks to refresh you during the day. The grill area is next to the Tiki Bar, and there are also some games including a huge Connect 4.
At the end closest to the beach, there is an area that is for adults only. The Makua Lanai Relaxation Zone features comfortable chairs and beach beds for adults to relax. The area is shaded, providing respite from the hot Florida summer sun. In the evening, the staff lights a fire pit so adults can relax into the evening hours here.
While I love the beach, I really enjoyed relaxing in the lazy river. It was nice to come back from the beach and relax for a few laps around the lazy river before heading up to the room. We never had problems finding an available tube for the lazy river or towels or chairs in the pool area. The entire pool area is pretty empty until later in the afternoon. Most people head to the beach for the majority of the day. Then they come back and relax in the pool area in the late afternoon into the evening hours.
THE BEACH & BEACH CONCIERGE SERVICES
The Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort property stretches from A1A or North Atlantic Avenue all the way to the beach. Behind the main resort area, Ocean Beach Boulevard splits the property. This road ends just past the Westgate resort, so there is little traffic throughout the day. Building 7, which houses the gym and business center as well as the rooms left for employee use, is across Ocean Beach Boulevard from the main resort buildings.
Once you cross the road and walk past Building 7, there is a boardwalk area with lounge chairs, tables with umbrellas, a beach shower, and beach bikes you can use for free. The bikes are locked up, so you just have to make arrangements ahead of time for someone to unlock the bikes for you.
We checked out the bikes one day and took off down the beach. We rode down to Jetty Park where I grew up camping. Jetty Park is about 4 miles each way (6.4 km). On the way there, the ride was easy. We enjoyed biking in the hard packed sand near the surf. We biked past the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier all the way to the inlet where the cruise ships enter and leave Port Canaveral. The problem? The wind was at our backs. When we turned around to bike the 4 miles back, we realized our mistake. We had to bike into the wind the whole way. If you check out the beach bikes, keep the wind in mind and maybe don’t venture quite so far.
Just beyond the boardwalk is the beach area. The Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort motto for the beach is, “We provide everything but water.” In other words, make sure to bring water (and snacks if you want them). The rest is all provided for you. You can grab some towels from the staff at the end of the boardwalk. They also provide sunscreen if you forgot to lather up before you left your room. If you don’t use enough sunscreen and end up burnt, they have aloe lotion for you to use on the way back to the room.
Each day, the staff sets up umbrellas and chairs as well as cabanas for guests to use. If you are a Westgate owner, the umbrellas, chairs, and cabanas are free. If you are a Westgate guest, they cost $25 for the full day. One of the days, the card reader was not working, so they were not charging late in the afternoon when we headed to the beach. The cabanas and umbrellas give you a shady spot to relax by the water without having to carry any gear to the beach.
If you use a cabana or umbrella, it comes with a flag for you to use. This flag, when stuck into the sand, notifies the staff that you need something. They have speakers you can use and ice chests with ice. They will also bring you more sunscreen or towels if needed. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, so they will do whatever they can to make your time at the beach comfortable and enjoyable.
If you don’t enjoy relaxing on the beach and instead crave activity, they have you covered. Beach volleyball is available, and they also have boogie boards you can use for free. There are complimentary surf lessons provided at certain times of the day as well. For kids, they have all kinds of toys made for the beach. They really have thought of everything to provide guests with a perfect beach day.
TIKI BAR & OTHER AMENITIES
Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is about a mile away and where you can find most of the restaurants. However, if you are hungry at the resort, there is the Aloha Tiki Bar & Cafe next to the main pool. Relax on stools at the bar to enjoy a meal or a drink while looking out over the resort pool.
We ate at the Tiki Bar one afternoon and enjoyed a chicken sandwich that was big enough for us to split. The sandwich came with chips, and we did not wait long at all for it to be ready. The Aloha Tiki Bar features sandwiches, burgers, salads, wraps, cocktails and sodas. Most of the food is priced between $7 – $12.
The resort also offers other amenities like a decent sized gym and a business center to print anything you may need. The gym includes treadmills, exercise bikes, dumbbells, as well as other fitness machines. We expected a small gym with a few dumbbells and a treadmill and were impressed with the options available.
One of my favorite things about Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort (and all of their resorts we have stayed in) is the text concierge service. If you need anything at any time, you just have to text the front desk. Our ice machine was not working, but a quick text and the staff brought us a bag of ice. When we wanted to ride the bikes, it was another quick text. Instead of having to go back to your room to dial the front desk or stop what you are doing and walk over to the front desk, you can just send a text and get the information or help you need.
WESTGATE COCOA BEACH PIER
Westgate not only bought Wakulla Suites, the company also purchased the Cocoa Beach Pier. Growing up in Orlando, Cocoa Beach and the Cocoa Beach Pier were popular day trips. I’ve been going to the Cocoa Beach Pier for years, and I am very impressed at the changes they have made, especially to the tiki bar at the end of the pier. The pier features several restaurants and shops as well as fishing, umbrella rentals, surf lessons, and more.
GETTING TO THE PIER FROM THE RESORT
Getting from the resort to the pier is easy. The resort provides a free shuttle between the two. The shuttle picks up at the back of the resort on Ocean Beach Boulevard and drops you off in the pier parking lot.
While the schedule has the shuttle leaving the resort on the hour and the pier on the half hour, the drive only takes about five minutes. Because of this, the shuttle often runs more frequently as people are ready to leave the resort or pier. A few times we showed up just as the shuttle was arriving to drop off guests. The driver each time took us and then returned to be ready at the scheduled time. This made it even easier to get between the two properties.
WESTGATE COCOA BEACH PIER ENTRY FEE & PARKING FEE
The pier does have a fee for the area over the water. The costs is $2 per person, but you get a $2 chip good for $2 off at Rikki Tiki Tavern. If you plan to eat at Rikki Tiki Tavern, you get your money back for the fee. If you eat in any of the other restaurants at the pier, make sure to keep your receipt. You can show the receipt to get free entry onto the pier as well. This may also work for receipts from the gift shop, but I’m not sure as we did not purchase anything.
The fee for parking in the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is $20 for the entire day. There are a few spots just outside of the parking lot that are metered parking spots. If you are only staying for a short time, this may be worth it. Spots are limited though, and parking enforcement is on top of it if you miss it by just a few minutes. If you go for the sunrise, these spots are your best bet since the parking lot is not open yet. If you are staying at Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort, just take the free trolley instead of paying to park.
COCOA BEACH SUNRISES & ROCKET LAUNCHES
The Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. The quiet of the morning brings out a few surfers as well as locals running on the beach. A few sleepy tourists wander down to the beach from their nearby hotels, but the area at the pier is generally pretty quiet at sunrise. One morning we watched a proposal right next to the pier as well.
Make sure to arrive about 20 minutes before sunrise to watch as the light paints the clouds. The pier is a popular spot for photography in general. In the early morning, the sun plays between the pilings as the surfers catch waves by the pier. Dolphins make frequent appearances in the area, so keep your eyes open. Plan to stay about 45 minutes after sunrise if possible. Even though the beach never really gets busy for sunrise, it empties back out within a few minutes while the sun is still low in the sky and offers the perfect lighting for photos.
If a rocket launch is scheduled during your time in Cocoa Beach, the pier is also a perfect spot to watch the rocket launch. As a part of Florida’s Space Coast, people drive from all over to watch launches here. If you are staying at Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort, you also have a great view from the resort itself. With Kennedy Space Center and the launch pads only a few miles away, you have a chance to watch the launches right up close.
The Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is also perfect for watching rocket launches. If you want the pier in your photos, be on the south side of the pier. If you want an unobstructed view, watch from the pier itself or from the north side of the pier. The pier area is popoular though. If you plan to watch at the pier, make sure to arrive very early. The parking is limited, so you may have to park further away and walk over. If you drive over from Orlando, the roads get backed up trying to get to the area, so factor in plenty of time.
WESTGATE COCOA BEACH PIER RESTAURANTS
As far as Cocoa Beach restaurants go, the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is the place to be. The pier boasts several dining options at a variety of prices. One of my favorite things about the pier restaurants is the straws they use. All of the restaurants on the pier use pasta straws for their drinks instead of plastic straws. These pasta straws quickly became my favorite type of straws. They stay firm throughout the meal without disintegrating in your mouth or your drink and don’t hurt the environment. On top of the perfect straw, the restaurants feature delicious food with lots of options.
RIKKI TIKI TAVERN
Rikki Tiki Tavern is located at the end of the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. Situated over the water, this is the perfect place for a sunset meal, snack or drink. You can enjoy your meal at the large bar or at one of the tables next to it. There are also stools lining the counter around the edge of the pier, so you can enjoy the view looking out over the water. Happy Hour takes place every day Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There is an entry fee of $2 for the pier, but in return you get a coin for $2 off at Rikki Tiki Tavern.
Rikki Tiki Tavern serves seafood and appetizers as well as tropical drinks. I don’t drink alcohol, but they made me a virgin Key Lime Pie drink. If you like key lime pie, this is a must. Made with vanilla ice cream, graham crackers, and lime juice, and topped with whipped cream, it takes like its namesake dessert. It was so good that I ended up ordering it again another day at another restaurant on the pier. They are also known for their Rum Runners and Bahama Mamas.
For our appetizers at the pier, my husband ordered the crab and seafood dip, and I ordered the boneless chicken wings. I’m not a seafood fan, but my husband enjoyed the seafood dip. The chicken wings were delicious. The bar also has sandwiches, wraps, and burgers along with salads, shrimp, mini hot dogs, and sesame crusted tuna. Prices for the food at Rikki Tiki Tavern ranges from $10 – $19 (for the lobster club sandwich). Drink prices range from $6 – $18 (for the rum flight).
The view and atmosphere at Rikki Tiki Tavern was perfect. We loved the relaxed vibe, the ocean breeze, and the view. At times you can watch dolphins cutting through the waves and fishing nearby. Sue, our bartender for the evening, knew her stuff. She took great care of everyone at the bar and seemed to sense when you needed something. She was happy to answer our questions and moved around the bar helping all the customers with ease.
PELICAN’S BAR AND GRILLE
We ate at Pelican’s Bar and Grille at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. I loved it and would go back again the next time we are in Cocoa Beach for the day. This restaurant is indoors, allowing you to enjoy the beach view while sitting in the air conditioning. Sitting just above the water line, the tables along the windows provide an excellent vantage point for watching surfers and beach goers enjoying the day.
The atmosphere in Pelican’s is still relaxed, but the dining experience is more upscale than Rikki Tiki Tavern. Pelican’s is perfect for a nice family dinner or date night but relaxed enough for shorts and a t-shirt. The window seats typically fill up first, so go at off-peak times or be prepared to wait if you want one. There are some outdoor tables with umbrellas as well and plenty of non-window tables inside plus bar seating.
Prices at Pelican’s Bar and Grille range from $5 to $25 with most entrees in the $12 – $20 range. Specialty drinks are all priced at $9.50. Desserts are $5 – $7. Pelican’s features a large seafood menu but also has a couple of options for vegetarians and non-seafood eaters.
Because we enjoyed two meals at Pelican’s, we got to try a few options. My husband tried the lobster linguine special for dinner and the lobster roll for lunch. While he thoroughly enjoyed the lobster linguine, he could not say enough good things about the lobster roll. For my non-seafood options, I tried the 4 oz steak platter with fries for dinner and the chicken sandwich for lunch. The steak platter was wonderful, and the fries were exactly how I like them (crispy on the outside). The chicken sandwich was delicious, but it was huge! I couldn’t finish it all and ended up taking half of it to go.
Because I’m a self-proclaimed “dessertie”, I had to try to desserts with each meal too. I went for the key lime pie when we went for dinner the first time and then tried the chocolate cake the second time. I liked the chocolate cake, but I would take the key lime pie again in a second next time we go. It is hard to find good key lime pie this far north of the Keys in Florida, but Pelican’s has it.
The service at Pelican’s Bar and Grille is top notch, and we really liked the service we received from both Ariam and Charlene there. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable, taking care of your dining needs with a perfect balance of checking in on you and leaving you to enjoy your meal. I would highly recommend Pelican’s whether or not you are staying in Cocoa Beach.
THE BOARDWALK BAR
The Boardwalk Bar is a relaxed and casual place to eat at the pier. Located near the start of the pier, it features a large bar overlooking the beach as well as tables with a pathway through them for those just walking through. Fans as well as the fact that it is completely covered keep it cool in spite of Florida’s hot summer days. Beach themed music plays through the speakers, adding to the vibe. If you need a quick snack or drink while you are at the beach, this is the perfect spot to go.
We enjoyed breakfast one morning at the Boardwalk Bar. It is the only pier restaurant open for breakfast. Jason took good care of us, and we had the place mostly to ourselves when it opened. They are known for mimosas and Bloody Marys, but we just tried the food. Breakfast options included omelettes, waffles, breakfast burritos, and more with several seafood options. I went for the chicken and waffles and loved it while my husband enjoyed his breakfast burrito.
KEITH’S OYSTER BAR & SEA DOGS
In addition to these three restaurants, the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier also has Keith’s Oyster Bar. We were not able to eat there because it is only open on weekends. We stayed Monday through Friday, so we had to miss out. Located just at the start of the pier, it is the only open air seafood bar in Cocoa Beach. Here you can find fresh seafood, lots of oysters, burgers, appetizers and salads. Signs outside advertise the schedule for upcoming live entertainment.
Another option we did not get a chance to try was Sea Dogs. If you are wanting a faster and cheaper dining option, Sea Dogs is your place. Also located right at the start of the pier, you can find hot dogs, nachos, ice cream, smoothies and snacks for your perfect beach day.
THE WESTGATE COCOA BEACH PIER SHOPS & ACTIVITIES
In addition to great restaurants, the pier features several shops. Tropical Threads sells beachwear in case you forgot something at home or just want more options for your Cocoa Beach vacation. Trader Rick’s offers everything you could need for a good beach day. Find food, drinks, boogie boards, and flip flops in this shop at the start of the pier. Trader Rick’s also rents bikes, surfboards, umbrellas, and chairs. Finally, the Pier Shop specializes in one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home with you and remember your Cocoa Beach holiday.
If you are looking for beach activities, you can rent a volleyball, surf board, or boogie board from Sea Dogs. Chairs and umbrellas are also available for rent if you want a place in the shade to relax and enjoy the beach. You can also take surf lessons at the Cocoa Beach pier. The pier area is a popular spot for surfing in Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach is known for surfing, and pro surfer Kelly Slater first learned to surf here.
If fishing is your sport of choice, you can bring your own equipment and fish from the pier for a $7 fishing fee ($5 for seniors over 55 or children 12 and under). Fishing equipment rentals are also available at Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier for $20 for 4 hours including bait. Bait is available for purchase as well at a cost of $5.
We stopped to talk to one man fishing from the pier. He surprised me with the variety of fish he had caught from the pier. With so many swimmers and surfers nearby, I assumed it wouldn’t be that great for fishing. The pier extends 800 feet, but the water stays shallow in that area. Red fish, Black Drum, Grouper, Flounder, and many more types of fish are common at the pier depending on the season. The abundance of fish in the area is also seen in the number of dolphins we spotted from the pier each day.
Cocoa Beach is our favorite Central Florida beach. Located close to Orlando, it does not draw large crowds like Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach. That is perfectly fine with me. I love Cocoa Beach for the peace and quiet. You can easily find and enjoy the crowd or avoid the crowds and find a piece of the beach that is all yours. The Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier provides entertainment and activities for those wanting to be in the middle of the action or enjoy a waterfront meal. For those wanting to escape the crowds, Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort provides a more private beach experience.
The newly redone Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy a slower pace. With so many great options for relaxing, you don’t really even need to leave the resort. If you do want to explore the area, you have places like Kennedy Space Center and activities like mini golf and ropes courses nearby. The free shuttle to the pier gives you plenty of dining options within minutes.
We enjoyed our stay at Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort and plan to return soon. Since we usually just take day trips, it was a treat to spend some time at our favorite beach. We will be sure to return to the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier on even our day trips though. We enjoyed the atmosphere and loved all the dining options there. If you are looking for the perfect Cocoa Beach vacation, look no further than Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort and Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier.
For another unique Westgate experience in Central Florida, check out our review of Westgate River Ranch. For more Central Florida travel tips, check out this list of 40+ things to do at Christmas in Orlando.
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