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Cocoa Beach, Florida
Touristy Cocoa Beach Sits Along Florida's "Space Coast" and Has Six miles of Beautiful, Sugar White Beaches, a Long Fishing Pier, Art Festivals and More
Overview: Touristy Cocoa Beach sits on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River Lagoon on Florida's "Space Coast." The town experienced major growth with the advent of the U.S. space program in the 1960s and major unemployment when the Apollo program came to an end in the 1970s.
Unemployment spiked again in 2011 with the end of NASA's shuttle program, but tourists still come to the area to visit the Space Center. In normal times, cruise ships come and go from Cape Canaveral (five miles away), and local surf shop Ron Jon's draws two million visitors a year. The city has six miles of beautiful, white sand beaches, and residents enjoy an 800-ft fishing pier, surfing festivals, art festivals, two golf courses, a dog park and four oceanfront parks. Everyday supplies are readily available, and there are galleries, boutiques, flea markets and a shopping mall. Restaurants are mostly casual fish shacks and diners. Ramp Road Park is ranked as one of the state's best fishing spots, and the Banana River Lagoon is a national estuary with more than 3,000 species of animals and plants.
Two thirds of the housing is made up condominiums, and only 40% of the homes are occupied by full-time owners. The rest are rental properties and vacation homes, many filled by "snowbirds."
Population: 12,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 58%
Cost of Living: 16% above the national average
Median Home Price: $375,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Crime Rate: Official crime statistics are above the national average, but residents say that the crime they hear about is mostly in the tourist areas and does not affect eveyday life. Crime rates in neighboring Cocoa are high.
Public Transit: The city has a trolley system.
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 43%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes are always a possibility. In fact, Irma in 2017 and Dorian in 2019 both caused some flooding and wind damage.
Notes: The city lost population during the first decade of this century but has since regained most of what it lost. The northern part of Cocoa Beach is touristy while the southern area is more residential. The population triples during tourist season. Cocoa Beach is popular with NASA retirees, and residents say that it is a pleasant place.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
Florida, particularly the Keys and the Gulf Coast, were struck by Category 4 Hurricane Irma in early September, 2017. Towns will rebuild, perhaps this time with climate change in mind, making them safer and better equipped to handle major hurricanes going forward.
Population - 21,477,737
Persons 65 years old and over - 21%
High school graduates age 25+ - 88%
Bachelor's degree or higher age 25+ - 30%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 26%
White persons, not Hispanic - 53%
Median household income - $55,596
Median home value - $215,009
Persons in poverty - 13%
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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