22 Things You'll Understand If You're From Cocoa Beach, Fl

22 Things You'll Understand If You're From Cocoa Beach, Fl

It truly is One of a Kind.
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The World Famous Cocoa Beach, Florida is a well known tourist town that attracts many families every year with its beaches, surfing, resorts, history and relation to the Orlando area. However, Cocoa Beach isn’t just a tourist trap. Every Cocoa Beach native has a special place in their heart for this unique town. It truly is unlike any other and has a special charm that no other place can replicate. Here are 22 things that every Cocoa Beach local can relate to.

1. You can hear and see rocket launches from your own home.

At this point in your life they’re commonplace. If you want to see the launch all you have to do is look out the window.

2. Your childhood was filled with hurricane evacuations.

Every time a hurricane came your family turned it into a vacation to visit another evacuation site.

3. You took at least one field trip to Kennedy Space Center and then probably never went back

Kennedy Space Center is one of the pride and joys of our area, but most locals only go once to visit. It is definitely a cool site to see that everyone needs to do at least once, but once you’ve gone it’s almost no big deal to you.

4. You go to the beach all the time and can probably walk there from your house.

Going to the beach is the main thing to do in this town, so you’re there all the time. Almost the whole town is based off of A1A, so the walk to the beach from your house is usually worth it to avoid paying for parking.

5. You either regularly surf or you’ve tried to learn how to before.

Since Cocoa Beach is the East Coast Surfing Capital, the sport is kind of a big deal here. If you don’t regularly surf, you’ve definitely had lessons or have tried to learn from a friend at least once. Learning to surf is practically a right of passage to live here.

6. If you’re feeling bored you just go to Orlando.

While you love this town, it can get a little boring sometimes. Luckily, Orlando is just a stone’s throw away, so you go there a lot to enjoy their many attractions.

7. You feel like you know almost every person who lives in the town.

Even though we are a tourist town, it still feels pretty small. Everyone is a mutual friend of everyone and it’s hard to find someone that you’ve never heard of.

8. Surfinista, Tiny Turtle, Epic Burrito, Taco City, Grill's, and Rock the Guac are your lifeblood and if you’re feeling fancy you go to The Fat Snook.

Cocoa Beach has some of the best restaurants on the Space Coast. You grew up eating good food and never expect anything less.

9. If you had a dollar for every “I love this Island” sticker you’ve seen in your life you’d be a millionaire.

These things are everywhere. They’re the symbol of our friendly neighbor town, Merritt Island, and are commonly seen all around our town when their residents come to our beaches.

10. You know how to avoid Cocoa Beach traffic as much as possible during the summer and rocket launches.

As soon as you got your license, you learned all of the back roads, rush hour times, and alternative routes to avoid A1A as much as possible during tourist season.

11. You refuse to pay for parking at the pier and will find different ways around it.

Parking at the pier can cost as much as $20 on some days, so you will do whatever you can to avoid it. Whether you park at a church, a friend’s house, or at Publix, you’ll do whatever you can to avoid paying to park.

12. Every time you describe to someone where you live you pinpoint the relation of your house to Ron Jon’s.

Ron Jons is like our city’s landmark. Describing where you live in relation to Ron Jon is second nature and the easiest way to describe your location.

13. Kelly Slater is practically a god

His supernatural level talent is awe inspiring and the fact that he’s from Cocoa Beach makes him a symbol of our town. There are multiple Kelly Slater statues around town, but the main one is constantly decorated for holidays and visited by tourists. Not many other towns can say that they’re home to one of the greatest athletes in history!

14. You’ve watched I Dream of Jeannie and have been to the area it was filmed.

Everyone in Cocoa Beach feels kind of famous watching I Dream of Jeannie and recognizing the places where the show was filmed. You probably drive by the main area it was filmed every day.

15. Every time you go on a road trip, you use the Ron Jon’s billboards to figure out how far you are from home.

Who needs a GPS? These signs show up every few miles for a stretch that reaches many states. All roads may lead to Rome, but all billboards lead to Ron Jon’s.

16. The skate park was the coolest place to hang out in middle school.

During your angsty teen years, the skate park was the place to be. Whether you were skating or just watching other people skate, you used to hang out there all the time hoping your crush would notice you.

17. You despise driving near those scoot coupes that tourists love to rent.

Those things are so small and annoying. Tourists, who are notoriously not the best drivers, are always manning them too, making them especially dangerous.

18. You genuinely get annoyed when people confuse Cocoa Beach and Cocoa.

Nothing can make a Cocoa Beach native more mad than telling them they live in Cocoa. Cocoa is another town in Brevard that is not even anything like or very close in location to Cocoa Beach. Educate yourself, everyone.

19. The amount of seafood you’ve eaten in your life is much higher compared to the average person.

This town has some of the best seafood around. Period.

20. Going on a cruise is your family’s go-to vacation.

Port Canaveral is incredibly close by, so whenever your family is thinking of a quick vacation to go you always choose a cruise. For many people going on a cruise is a novelty, but for us its an almost annual thing.

21. The summer boat races and Christmas boat parade are some of your favorite events.

With so many houses on the water, it’s hard not to own or know somebody who owns a boat. The boat races on the beach or the boat parade during Christmas time are always fun events.

22. You wouldn’t trade this town for anything.

This town has a small town feel while still having tons to do. With its prime location, beautiful beaches, restaurants, friendly people, and rich history, Cocoa Beach truly is one of a kind.

Cover Image Credit: http://cdn.skim.gs/image/upload/v1456337700/msi/cocoa-beach-welcome_y1imcl.jpg

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Meet The College Student Who Took A Solo Road Trip Across The United States

With only a cooler, a bag of electronics, and a bag of clothes, Alex Kim embarked on the trip of a lifetime.

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Not many college students can say that they've taken a road trip across the United States. Even fewer can say that they've gone on that journey alone.

However, Alex Kim can say that within one month, he drove from the east coast to the west coast of the United States by himself. And he made sure to hit all the major attractions on the way.

You name it — the White House, Cloud Gate, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Yosemite — Kim has been to all those places.

Kim is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in religious studies with a minor in human rights. He plans to attend law school in the fall of 2019. So, he knew that if he wanted to take a trip across the states, the summer of 2018 would be the perfect time.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

I had the opportunity to meet Kim when he briefly stopped by Lawrence, Kansas, near the final stretch of his journey. When he told me about his trip, I was baffled, intrigued, and impressed all at once.

To take a long road trip with friends is one thing, but to take a month-long road trip by himself is an entirely different story.

Kim said he simply wanted to meet people. He had the opportunity to meet other brothers in his fraternity, Pi Alpha Phi, and made quite a few friends (myself included!) on the way. He also visited family friends and people that he knew through Greek life.

Besides meeting people, this trip also consisted mostly of driving an 6-8 hours per day, listening to educational podcasts, and traveling to national parks, monuments, and memorials. He even bought along a burner and pot to cook ramen noodles in the national parks. Kim called these meals his "ramen adventures."

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Kim said this trip was extremely of out of his comfort zone, but it helped that he went alone because he was able to set his own schedules, plan his own routes, and do everything at his own discretion.

When asked about why he decided to go alone, Kim said "Going with someone else means that I will spend way more money than I should… If I went with another person, I also have to cater sleeping accommodations as well."

There were many times where Kim simply slept in his car because he didn't know anyone in the area, or he didn't want to pay for a hotel or Airbnb. But he didn't have to sleep in his car the whole trip. Half the time, he had friends or family members who were willing to house him for a night or so.

In addition, going alone gave Kim a lot of time to reflect on his past and what's to come in his future.

"I can't tell you how many times I thought of what my next chapter of life will be," Kim said.

However, going alone also presented its fair share of obstacles. Some difficulties included bad weather, over exhaustion, too much caffeine, and lack of sleep and nutritious food. One of the biggest problems that he faced was loneliness.

Kim admitted that there were periods of time where he felt extremely lonely. When he knew that he wasn't going to see people for a while, he would call his parents in the morning to tell them where he had been and that he was doing well.

There was one instance where he was first traveling to a national park, Yellowstone Park, and he internally freaked out. For the most part, Kim heard nothing but complete radio silence because there was no reception. Kim said that he felt scared because he wasn't in control of his loneliness.

Aside from those challenges, Kim was glad to say that the road trip went well, and he didn't have any car trouble.

For him, some notable locations were New York City and Los Angeles. Kim didn't really go to L.A. for sightseeing, but rather to pay his respects to an old mentor who passed away. Even though he explored much of nature and national parks, he said that the most breathtaking view was not in fact at a national park, but at a family friend's farm in Harlington, Nebraska.

Courtesy of Alex Kim

"I never thought I would say this, but I really enjoyed the countryside in Nebraska. Being away from the city lights, it was very peaceful and quiet. The sunset was breathtaking," he said.

Overall, Kim approximated that he traveled across the United States for a grand total of 9,700 miles, and despite some challenges, he really enjoyed this trip. He met new and old people and witnessed stunning views that he wouldn't have seen back in North Carolina. As a lone traveler, Kim practiced humility and now sees the world with a fresh perspective.

Kim also learned many lessons along the way and here are six that he shared:

1. Learn to rely on yourself.

2. Sometimes it's good to play it by ear. You'll have the freedom to do so much more.

3. If you can't play it by ear, always have a contingency plan.

4. The people who constantly kept up with you throughout your whole trip are you true friends.

5. Get out of your comfort zone; learn to be versatile.

6. Take time to yourself to reflect on your past, make amends if possible, and plan out your future.

After his trip, Kim returned to North Carolina, taking with him all the experience and lessons he gained from his travels. Nowadays, he keeps busy by studying for the LSAT in September and working towards getting into law school.

But would Kim take this extraordinary road trip again if he could? Most definitely.

See more pictures from his trip below.


Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

Courtesy of Alex Kim

All photos here are provided courtesy of Alex Kim.

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10 Reasons You're Missing Out On A Huge Part Of The US If You've Never Been To The Mississippi Gulf Coast

#coasttrash4life

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I only listed 10 but there are so much more.

1. The Islands

Mississippi's barrier islands are seriously a hidden gem. While most Mississippians know what the barrier islands are, the most they can tell you is that they protect our coastline during hurricanes. However, unless you're from the Coast, most people have no clue that we have gorgeous white sand beaches a few miles south. In the summer, there's no party like an island party and no day like a boat day.

2. The Casinos.

I'm not 21, so I can't gamble, obviously. But staying at the casinos is the best stay-cation. From the Hard Rock, to the Golden Nugget, to the Scarlet Pearl, a weekend getaway to one of Biloxi's finest hotels is such a blast. Girl's night? Stay at a casino. Pool day? Stay at a casino. You're guaranteed to have SO much fun.

3. Cruisin’ the Coast

At this point, I feel like everyone in the USA should know what Cruisin' is. If you don't, here's the run-down: it's a week-long car show during October with the country's finest cars. It's a non-stop party. The Coast does not sleep for a whole week. People come from all over, and chances are, you could even meet a few people that have traveled internationally for this. I look forward to Cruisin' all year long; it is undoubtedly the highlight of October. Getting to ride around in my dad's vintage Willys Jeep- there is nothing better.

4. The Pascagoula River

Personally, I am more of a saltwater girl than a freshwater girl, but river days are a Mississippi Gulf Coast staple. I love to go fishing with my brother or go for an afternoon boat ride.

5. The Fishing

Y'all, I LOVE to fish!!!! Nothing beats deep-sea fishing. On the Coast, people legitimately pay to go fishing in the Gulf of Mexico via charter boat! It is so much fun and such a great adventure. It's become a way of life for a lot of people- it's how many make a living.

6. The Will to Thrive

The people of the Gulf of Mexico are survivors. In the last twenty years, this place has gone through a multitude of tragedies, but we have still managed to thrive. Hurricane Katrina wiped out a good portion of the Coast, nearly as bad as it razed New Orleans. Businesses, families, and homes were destroyed. We have built our lives from the ground up.

A few years after Hurricane Katrina, we experienced the BP oil spill. Those who made a living off of fishing, shrimping, or anything relating to the Gulf of Mexico became incapable of putting food on the table for their families. People who enjoyed going to the islands, swimming, fishing, or watching the wildlife were unable to. Our wetlands were quickly being ruined. People of the Coast are survivors despite all odds.

7. Mardi Gras

Originating in Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras rapidly became a Mississippi tradition as well. Although Mardi Gras is technically only one day, coasties celebrate Fat Tuesday for well over a month. From balls, to parades, to huge parties, Mardi Gras is surely a South Mississippi staple. It's an experience like NO other, I promise you.

8. The Seafood

If you have a serious food addiction (like me), nothing beats the Gulf Coast’s seafood. I’m serious. From Bozo’s in Pascagoula, to Huck’s Cove and the Tiki in Gautier, getting a seafood fix is super easy. A lot of people celebrate holidays and spend time with family over seafood. Crawfish boils on the Coast are PHENOMENAL. If you like boiled shrimp, fried oysters, or grilled tuna, then the Coast is the place for you.

9. The Festivals

If you haven't figured it out yet, everybody in the 228 is always ready to celebrate something. We LOVE a good party. My personal favorites are the Crawfish festival and the Peter Anderson Art festival- but these are just a drop in the bucket.

The Gulf Coast holds so many festivals each year. The Crawfish festival is basically a time to gorge yourself on crawfish and listen to really good music. In the past, artists like Riley Green (heart eyes) have performed!!! The Peter Anderson festival celebrates local artists- professional and amateur. It is so relaxing to walk around Downtown Ocean Springs, looking at art and eating popsicles.

10. The People!!!

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is one really big family. We call ourselves anything from #coasttrash to #the228 to #coasties. When you’re traveling and meet someone from the Coast, it’s like finding a little piece of home, no matter where you’re at. Hospitality runs rampant down here. There’s no place I’d rather be!

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