Staying Safe & Beach Tips From a Local

For some of our guests, visiting the beach is a new experience – or something done just once a year. As born and raised Floridians we grew up quite literally on these beaches. We’ve compiled some of our top tips to help you stay safe and make your beach trip easier. We’ve also included some beach etiquette that will help you beach like a local! 


Safety First: 

  • First and foremost, stay safe! Rip Currents are common in Cocoa Beach and you should educate yourself on what to look out for and what to do if you find yourself in one here
  • Cocoa Beach has 4 manned lifeguard stations. The nearest to Lunar Beach Bungalow is the Cocoa Beach Pier. This would mean additional walking along the beach; taking the sidewalks through the neighborhoods; or a very short drive. However, if you’re after the peace of mind, it is worth it. 
  • Lather up with sunscreen – and apply often, especially when swimming. There’s a sunny day and then there’s a FLORIDA sunny day! 
  • Bring plenty of water and make sure everyone hydrates often. This is normal for any time you’re in the heat but the salt water be especially dehydrating. 
  • The heat is no joke here. There are many measures you can take to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. You should also familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke – and when you should seek attention. 
  • Always, always double and triple check the car before getting out to make sure no one- especially small children or pets- are left behind. A few minutes in a car in the Florida heat can be life threatening. We love this quick video by a pediatrician that provides a few stats and great “hot car” tips. 

City of Cocoa Beach General Beach Rules: 

    • Dogs are only allowed in certain areas of the beach and at certain times. Check out our dog-friendly tips for more on that. 
    • No glass on the beach. 
    • Beach campfires are allowed on the beach but only with a permit. You can request a permit here
    • No other open fires or fireworks at any time, including grilling / charcoal. 
    • You can fish from the beaches in Cocoa Beach, however you will need a special license to do so. You can find more on that here. 
    • Do not dig holes. They pose a fall risk to those walking/ running along the beach; drowning risk for smaller children and animals; can delay emergency vehicles or crews; and pose a threat to sea turtles. 
    • Do not disturb sea turtles or their nests! Often, small flags will surround a nest however not all are caught immediately. Sea turtle season is from March 1 through October 31. If you’re at the beach at night during this time, please keep any lights off, especially past 11pm. 
    • If you see a stranded sea mammal, call the Cocoa Beach Police Department and request they call Sea World. If it is safe for you to do so, pour water over the mammal and cover with wet towels until they arrive. 
  • Leave only your footprints – no trash, cigarette butts, toys, etc. on the beach. We suggest bringing a trash bag or two from the house that you can pile trash into during your time on the beach. When you leave, carry it back up to the trash can at the beach entrance – all Cocoa Beach beaches have trash cans. 
  • Follow posted rules at the beach(es). 
  • View the rules in their entirety on the City of Cocoa Beach website

Tips to Make Beaching Easier:

  • Beach Pack list: 
    • Bluetooth speak (provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays) 
    • Bring a cooler (provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays) 
    • Sunscreen 
    • Drinking water – and a lot of it
    • Beach towels. Pro tip: Bring a large beach blanket to sit/ lay on + beach towels for drying off. We’re huge fans of Turkish Towels because they roll up teeny tiny for their size but are really absorbent. They’re also super stylish and can double as a sarong or cover up! (when staying with Southbound Stays, a large Turkish Towel beach blanket and Turkish Towel beach towels are provided). 
    • Spray bottle with vinegar – just in case someone ends up with a jellyfish sting (provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays). 
    • Sun shade and / or beach umbrella (a Sport Brella and beach umbrellas are provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays) 
    • Baby powder. Use it to help remove sand from your body- it works best to use before you get wet. Then rinse off. 
    • Beach chairs (provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays) 
    • Pack meals, snacks and drinks (reminder: no glass).. Some of our beach day favorites include sandwiches, apples, watermelon, granola bars, pretzels and chips. Individual sized snacks are best + bring paper plates which both help keep sand from getting on everything. 
    • Trash bag(s) to dispose of trash. 
    • A “wet bag” to put your wet items in upon leaving. Typically a simple plastic bag will do! 
    • A “dry bag” to keep items you want to stay dry in, we recommend a sealed off version. 
    • DO NOT wear jewelry or bring other valuables. 
  • Cocoa Beach sand is soft which means it can be a trek from the boardwalk to the shoreline (where it starts to firm up). Try to load as much as possible to reduce trips to and from the beach access point/ car. 
  • With that, use a wagon! If you’re staying with Southbound Stays we supply them for you to use. Keep in mind, you’ll need some muscle when pulling the wagons – like we said, the sand is soft and unfortunately, there is no perfect wagon for the sand.  
  • Keep your feet covered when walking on the sand – it gets HOT!
  • Go early to claim your spot.
  • Use your shoes or heavier items on all 4 corners of your beach blanket to keep it from blowing up. Pro tip: keep your shoes with the bottom soles facing the sun. This way when you go to put them back on they’re not too hot. 
  • Set up shade and be sure that umbrellas or sport brellas are securely in the ground – especially on windy days.
  • Keep things that could melt or burn under the shade and covered or in your bag, like your cell phone. 
  • The grass is not always friendly – watch out for sand spurs. 
  • Those pretty blue things all over the beach… Don’t touch them! They’re jellyfish. Just in case, use that bottle of white vinegar and the sprayer we told you to bring and spray it on the sting. 
  • We mentioned this before but it’s that important… Always wear sunscreen! Even (and especially on) overcast days – don’t miss the tops of your feet, hands and ears! ☺ Reapply often. 
  • Another repeat… drink water and a lot of it!
  • Make time to take a walk along the beach.
  • RELAX – you’re at the beach. 
  • If you do get a sunburn, we suggest putting a wash cloth soaked in cool, whole milk on the burn area. It helps bring out the heat. After it’s sat awhile, apply aloe vera gel or lotion. 
  • Some additional tips if you’re bringing little ones: 
    • Use a cheap shower curtain to carve a little tiny (think butt sized dip) in the sand and fill it with water for a “baby pool.” Even older kids (and adults) love this! 
    • Bring a variety of toys and games (provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays). 
    • Bring swim diapers if your little one is still in diapers.
    • Collect sea shells. 
    • Make a sand castle.

Good beach etiquette – what locals want tourists to know

  • Don’t spray sunscreen near others; the wind will carry it. Walk away from crowds or go near the water. 
  • Secure your beach umbrella with a sand anchor (provided if you’re staying with Southbound Stays). 
  • Don’t walk across or near someone else’s “beach spot” – and especially not their towel. If you have small children, ensure they do the same. 
  • Play games near the water or away from others – you don’t want your frisbee or ball landing on someone trying to read or rest. 
  • Don’t feed the seagulls (birds) – you’ll create a swarm and you and your beach neighbors may just end up covered in bird poo. 
  • Don’t smoke near others  and be mindful of which direction the wind is blowing if you do. Ashes blow quickly and can burn someone. It’s best to avoid smoking all together on the beach or go to the parking area. 
  • Play your music loud enough so only you can hear it where you’re sitting and not for the entire beach to hear. 🙂 
  • When you need to “desand” your towel, be mindful of the direction of the wind as your sand may blow all over someone! Take it down near the water where people aren’t setup nor laying and give it a good shake there. 
  • Take your trash and personal belongings with you – don’t leave anything but footprints. 
  • From your hosts: 
    • We’re on the beach and sand coming into the home is inevitable. However, to minimize the amount of sand, use the sand station to wash off the initial layer- plumbing isn’t meant to handle a full beach worth 🙂 
    • Shake out towels well before throwing them in the washer or dryer.

Additional reminders for when you’re in Florida (and not just at the beach): 

  • Mosquitoes, lovebugs and roaches. They’re annoying but they live here too and you’ll likely see them at some point during your stay. They especially love moist, warm environments so they’re more prevalent at the beachside. 
  • If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute and it’ll change. You may have a downpour and within the hour it’ll be bright and sunny again. 
  • For the ACTUAL beach, you typically only have to be mindful of fish, sharks and mammals. However, the Space Coast is full of lakes, rivers and ponds. If there is a fresh or brackish body of water, you have to assume there could be alligators. This isn’t meant to alarm you but to provide you with practical knowledge of visiting a place where they exist and are an almost every day occurrence. A few tips: 
    • Never feed an alligator.
    • Keep your distance if you see one. 
    • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. 
    • Keep small children and pets away from non-swimming water edges. 
    • Do not wade in fresh or brackish water. 
    • Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee’s website for more information, FREE coloring and activity books for kids and more! 

If you’re looking for a place to stay on your Visit to Cocoa Beach, check out our Cocoa Beach vacation rental, Visit Cocoa Beach and what to do in Cocoa Beach pages.

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