Pack Your Shopping Bags at the Port


 

After spending the day watching the cruise ships slowly dance into the port and then grabbing a bite to eat in one of Port Canaveral’s most delicious restaurants, round out your trip to this corner of the Space Coast with some shopping.

Whether you’re looking to stock up on some goodies to take on your next beach adventure – be it fishing, swimming or surfing – you can find what you need near the port. Ron Jon’s famous surf shop is one of the top tourist hotspots; it claims to be the largest surf shop in the world, and also an excellent place to find swimwear and surfboards.

If you’re on a budget, check out the Beachwave Beachwear shop, a lesser-known gem that sells swimwear for reasonable prices. In fact, Beachwave started in response to the hefty prices of other beach shops in the area. It’s a local fave, and it also has a solid online shop. 

Pick up souvenirs at the Cove Marketplace, which is an open-air market featuring unique, local artisans, and in Cocoa Village, located just 15 minutes from the port. Cocoa Village is one of the most charming districts in the Space Coast. It’s well worth setting aside an entire day to stroll through Cocoa Village’s streets and browse the unique boutiques


The Avenue Viera


One of the Space Coast’s newer shopping destinations, The Avenue Viera is an enormous open air center that has a pedestrian-friendly look and layout – one that entices shoppers to linger in the attractive commons and take their time as they meander into and out of shops.

Larger stores include Kohl’s, Belk, Old Navy, Kirklands, Bed Bath & Beyond.

In addition, specialty merchants like Francesca’s and Lane Bryant also occupy space here.

There’s also a 16-screen movie theatre and a handful of excellent dining options, ranging from the Melting Pot to Mimi’s Cafe to the Bonefish Grill. There are also several cell phone stops, an Office Depot and a Michaels, so travelers can find whatever they’re looking for in one stop. (321-634-5390, 877-834-2836)


Caroline’s House of Records


Music lovers, history buffs and retro revivalists can find a home at Caroline’s House of Records – and most likely find whatever vinyl they’re looking for, too, as this locally owned shop carries more than 40,000 different LPs and 45s.

Find a different kind of souvenir to take home with you here, one that you can use and enjoy for years. Caroline’s House of Records has been known to sell rare records.

Caroline’s House of Records is located in historic Cocoa Village and has been named the best music store in Cocoa by the community. Also find music paraphernalia here, or order online at Carolinesrecords.com. (321-633-4600)


Beachwave Beachwear


Although Beachwave Beachwear is a bit of a drive past Port Canaveral, it’s the best place to pick up some swimwear if you’re on a budget. The drive is worth the money you will save.
In fact, Beachwave Beachwear was founded in 1991, in response to the expensive cost of swimwear and beachy accessories along the Space Coast, according to its website. The goal: To offset the other expensive surf shops in the area and provide shoppers a less expensive option.

The shop started with one small shop in Cocoa Beach, and now have five locations. You can also shop online; Beachwave launched an online shop in 2010.

Here, you can find everything from swimming suits to toys to beach umbrellas to towels to sunscreen to floaties to boards. Bonus: The staff here is known for being super friendly. (321-783-1848)


RJK Studio


Space Coast-based RJK Studio makes fused and stained glass creations, including a variety of beautiful glass pendants decorated with turtles. You can also pick up glass pendants in a variety of colors and designs, such as sugar skulls.

Also look for home decor, from clocks to spoon holders. Pick up a glass pendant online for $20. The Etsy shop is www.etsy.com/people/RJKStudio.

RJK Studio also appears at the farmer’s market at Cape Canaveral on Saturdays and at the Cove Marketplace on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday November through April. (321-863-3325)


Cove Marketplace


The Cove is the waterfront area at Port Canaveral, featuring restaurants, a casino ship, shops and more. The open-air, village-style Cove Marketplace here features unique, locally made arts and crafts. Shop for jewelry, paintings, pottery, sculptures, tasty treats and other creations. The Cove is the best place on the port to get Florida souvenirs. In fact, one of its purposes is to provide cruise visitors a quick and easy taste of Florida’s most interesting offerings. Don’t expect run-of-the-mill kitsch here. The vendors are specially selected for their quality and talent. While you’re shopping, you may be serenaded by live music or entertainment. (321-514-8657)


Cocoa Beach Surf Company


This massive, multi-level surf shop claims to be the world’s largest surf complex.

It boasts everything you could need under one roof for a surf and beach adventure. Here, you can browse more than 1,500 surfboards, a variety of unique clothes, swimming suits and beach gear, as well as rent a surfboard, get a skateboard and pick up lunch and a latte.

Relax near the 40-foot water wall and 5,600-gallon shark and exotic fish tank located right inside the facility, where you can watch the sharks, morays and eels be hand-fed.

Whereas other area surf shops may be more famous, the Cocoa Beach Surf Company also makes huge waves. (321-799-9930)


Merritt Square Mall


Located right on the Banana River, this island mall is a fun, comfortable place to spend your time – and money. More than 80 brand name and specialty shops have outposts here, from Sephora inside JCPenny to Champs Sports and Aeropostale, you’re sure to find all the items on your list. Anchor stores include Dillards, Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears, and Merritt Square also features a 16-screen cinema, glow golf and an indoor bungie jump experience.

This mall is not entirely different than a standard, chain mall in another city, but it’s a solid shopping bet, if you need reliability, a staple, some new clothes or just a relaxing afternoon in the cool indoors. Here, you can also get a tattoo, massage, new sunglasses, dinner, frozen yogurt and jewelry. (321-452-3270)


Cocoa Village


On the Indian River, this quaint, historic, little town is rich with old-fashioned charm.
Cocoa Village is easily the best place to shop on the Space Coast, and one of the region’s most popular destinations for visitors, too. Stroll down beautifully landscaped streets and experience the history of the village or listen to the live music pouring out of the local gazebo regularly.

Cocoa Village is where you go to score local, unique finds and crafty goods at speciality stores. The shops here are charming and personal – not big-box chains.

The Cocoa Village Playhouse also sponsors many Broadway musicals and local performance events monthly. There are plenty of craft and antique shops, bookstores, clothing and gift boutiques, galleries and restaurants to visit as well. (321-633-4990)


SuperVillian Comics


This comic shop first opened as a tiny 400-square-foot shop in Texas in 2004, and quickly began growing. In 2013, SuperVillian Comics opened doors in Cocoa Beach, Fla., conveniently across the street from the Ron Jon Surf Shop. But that location was always intended to be temporary, says owner Chris McIntosh.

The shop relocated to Cape Canaveral this summer, after a short closure for the move (and so owners could make the summer comic convention circuit, which they share with their fans on their Facebook page). The new location is between two of the Cape’s popular restaurants, Papa Vito’s and Cazoni’s.

Scour the new shop for movies, comics, various collectibles, statues, graphic novels, quirky gifts and sci-fi and fantasy merchandise, although comic books are the biggest seller.


Ron Jon Surf Shop


Ron Jon Surf Shop is the world’s most famous surf shop, with a location in Cocoa Beach. You can find Ron Jon stores along the coast, from New Jersey to Maryland, but it’s popular tourist attraction in the Space Coast, too.

In fact, Ron Jon’s Cocoa Beach location claims to be the largest surfing shop in the world.

Pick up souvenirs here, as well as some sunscreen, a new swimming suit and, of course, a surfboard. At Ron Jon’s, you can find everything you need for a day at the beach. And whether you life chain stores or not, it is a Cocoa Beach landmark. (321-799-8820)


Aimee Heckel’s passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University.
When she’s not covering Colorado for Fodor’s Travel Guides and writing for SpaTravelGal.com, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family’s nonprofit that helps refugees in Africa.
Heckel also blogs for HuffPost Weird News and writes feature stories, a fashion column and fitness column for the Boulder Daily Camera in Colorado. 

Read more about Aimee Heckel here.

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