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Brevard County Space Coast: Palm Bay, Melbourne, Titusville area
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Old 07-16-2007, 12:40 PM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,248,139 times
Reputation: 2992


I miss the space coast! I moved to Cocoa Beach in 2000 and lived there until 2003 when I moved to Los Angeles. Now, my perceptions may be colored by the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, but I really miss the laid-back lifestyle on the barrier islands. I'm thinking of moving back and I'd like to know if things have changed or are they still the same out there?

Back in the early 2000's, it seemed like Canaveral, Cocoa, and Satellite Beachs were the epitome of the laid-back beach town. With the exception of spring break and the high season, traffic was light, the surf was mellow (unless a hurricane or big winter swell rolled through), the water was warm and the people were friendly.

I'd get up early and roll down to the PAFB beaches--or just walk out front--for a morning session, shower off, get some breakfast, then head to work before it got too hot. In the afternoon, I'd come home and shoot the breeze with my neighbors, take a dip in the pool, or settle down with a nice book in the shade of a rustling palm tree before making supper. If it was good, I'd sometimes just stop at home to pick up my board and head out for evening glass-off. As the stars came out, I'd paddle in and catch a free surf flick in the vacant lot at Dakine Diegos while enjoying a giant burrito. Or maybe a hotdog at Longdoggers.

Is this sort of life still possible in CFla? Can you still drive on the A1A without sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic (except in Mar-May afternoons)? Do Dakine Diegos and Longdoggers still exist and hold their own against the franchises? Can you find a little bungalow (maybe near 16th street) a few blocks from the sand for under 400K?

I see the ghost of surf towns here in SoCal. LA and OC cities are dead and had the soul sucked out of them years ago by overdevelopment and pricing out of anyone not running the corporate rat race and becoming a weekend surfer (at best). San Diego and Ventura still have a few of the old salts and regulators, but they've also been "gentrified" into sterile stretches of million-dollar condos and multi-million dollar yardless shoulder-to-shoulder mansions. Down in Mexico or up north there's still some soul left, but no work.

Sure, the surf remains the same. When it's on out here, Florida can't compare. But when you can't afford to live closer than 30 minutes away, you start to realize that even a week of walking out front to crappy blown-out session on ankle-slappers is more satisfying than one or two days of it being "good enough" to get no sleep and drive so far, out here.

So, anybody live in the Cocoa Beach area? Has it changed these last 5 years? What's the story?
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Old 07-16-2007, 05:00 PM
32 posts, read 172,808 times
Reputation: 39
Default Still mostly the same

Yes, Cocoa Beach is still (mostly) laid back. The burrito place has closed, I do not know why--they were so good! Juice and Java, Robertos, and a few locally owned places are still there. Movies are still free in the City Hall parking lot, with people coming on roller blades, and families coming with wagons to spend the evening watching them. There is a small farmers market downtown on Sunday mornings. Kids still ride to the beach with surfboards under their arms. Although there has been a few more condos built on any spare piece of sand, I think you would still love it!
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:04 PM
Location: Albers, IL 62215
18 posts, read 181,513 times
Reputation: 20
I have a nephew there, he is renting a house on Satellite Beach, and plans to buy it if the owner decides to sell, she is still going back and forth. He's four blocks from the beach, and he LOVES it there. He said that he gets up an hour early so he can walk down and fish.

Part of his job has been to open new stores for the company he works for, and stay there until they are "off and running"....so, he has lived all over Florida. Really...North, South, East and West. He just moved to Satellite Beach from Coconut Creek.

He said that his new neighbors were SO NICE, that kids played out in their yards, and that it has a really small town feel.

He's single, in his late 30's, and fishing is his thing, I'm not sure if he surfs, but again, he LOVES it there....he's wanted us to move to Florida for a long time, now he really wants us to move there.

(That's why I've been hanging out here....hehehe...seeing what I can learn!!)

Oh, and I do want to mention that he didn't elaborate about the people or the other areas where he has lived. I asked if the people weren't nice in the other cities that he has lived, and he said, no..there are nice people everywhere in Florida, it's just this was the first time that the neighbors actually came and rang the door bell just to "welcome him" and introduce themselves, etc. THAT, he said was a "first" for him.

(Please forgive any type-o's, I'm writing this without my glasses on!!)

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Old 07-17-2007, 04:00 PM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,248,139 times
Reputation: 2992
No way! Dakine Diegos closed!? That's such a bummer! Where is the Cocoa Beach downtown, anyway? Is it near where the A1A splits? I mainly hung out at the pier because I lived up there. Heh, I remember stashing my car (when I was driving for some reason) in the alleys next to the big hotels there, or driving in before 7AM so I wouldn't have to pay the parking nazi to put it in the dirt lot.

My dream is to own one of those houses right on the dune down in Satellite beach. I remember catching a solo session one day near the Raddisson and checking out their decks from the lineup. I can't think of anything more chill than to kick back with an icy drink and watch the stars come out over the ocean while the sun set over the river from one of those big rooftop decks. But they might be a little too pricy for me. Plus, one good hurricane and bye-bye house. So, a more realistic dream is a place a block or two away from the sand.

Can anyone tell me; do big furry dogs do okay in Florida? Like a German Shepard or a Malimute. I remember it getting warm in summer, but the sea breezes kept the barrier islands bearable (for humans, dunno about dogs) outside, and inside will be A/C'ed for them if necessary. Are there any beaches which allow dogs? I know Cocoa Beach has a no-animal ordinace for the beach. What about the city laws?
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:17 PM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,248,139 times
Reputation: 2992
Also, how's the diversity in CCB/Satellite/Melborne? I remember it being pretty monochrome (ranging from white to cooked-lobster-red) but since I'm caucasian, I didn't think much of it. Plus it seemed like a retirement community 9 months out of the year, and the bluehairs don't seem to get too riled up about anything. Except if you step on their lawns on the way to surf, sheesh! After living in some inner-city areas of LA, I've really grown to appreciate the benefits of having a diverse population. There's always a party or something going on, because some nationality or race is always celebrating something!

I'm also asking because my wife is from the ROC, so our kids will be mixes. I know Asians are pretty much last on the racial hatred scale for some whites, but I don't want to move someplace where they're gonna have problems because of their appearance. Also, are there any Asian markets anywhere nearby? Maybe Orlando?

I'm guessing someone is going to suggest we stay out of Bithlo. But we'll have to at least visit every once in a while for the demolition derbies and school-bus races. Those are still going on, right?
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:56 PM
Location: Satellite Beach, FL
149 posts, read 658,750 times
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We are planning on moving to the Sat Beach/Melbourne Beach area and currently live in VA Beach. The diversity is less than VA Beach, but not too much of a problem with us. The small laid back surfer town feel is still there, but probably will be gone in the next 10-15 years like everywhere else. As far as real estate, very few homes are selling and when we start looking to buy a home in DEC we will probably offer 30% below asking. The real estate market is in the dumps in FL. It may be worth while renting for a year to allow things to fall further. We are buying for the longterm so we won't be trying to time the market too much.

We have a Chesapeake Bay retriever and I am worried about the heat for him as well, but when comparing temps between VA Beach and Sat Beach over the last month, Sat Beach has been 2 degrees F lower than up here in Virginia! We are going to get a pool with our home and install a salt water system so he can lounge in it all day like a dog.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:36 PM
32 posts, read 172,808 times
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If you are still needing a burrito from Dakine Diegos, one is still open in Satellite Beach, although I have not been to that one.

As to the dog situation, Cocoa Beach just opened a dog park last summer at Lori Wilson park. You have to register the dog first. They have an area for big dogs and one for smaller dogs.

We have a terrier with a lot of hair. She hates the summer and spends her time lounging on the first step of our pool. We finally just gave up and had her shaved at the beginning of the summer and she is much happier. Although it is hot here, it is several degrees cooler than inland and even cooler than much of the South. And don't forget we get those ocean breezes!

There is more diversity here then there was years ago, but I would not say CB is a diverse community. Although it is not overly diverse, I would say that the community welcomes everyone. I too wanted some diversity when I came here with my kids. I looked at the statistics for Cocoa Beach High School and found it was 83% white, 5% Hispanic, 4% African American 4% Asian, and 4% multi-racial. When I went to CBHS many years ago (I won't say how long ago) we only had two African American students. So things are better. Also, CBHS is one of the top ranked schools in America, and the local Roosevelt Elementary and Freedom 7 Elementary are both "A" schools, with Freedom 7 placing 2nd in the state in terms of FCAT scores! CBHS and Freedom 7 are both IB schools, which stress a global view and a respect for other cultures and other people.

I think it is a great place to live.
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:21 AM
61 posts, read 209,896 times
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i have not read the other replies cause they are usually negative garbage, but yes, there are still some very cool small towns on the beach.

i just got back from the beach and it was awesome!
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Old 07-18-2007, 03:06 AM
Location: Orlando
98 posts, read 287,118 times
Reputation: 22
I just bought a home in the Melbourne area because of the laid-backness of the space coast. The cost of homes are much more reasonable than where I am in So. Fla. The people (generally fort lauderdale, generally ) are nicer and friendlier. Less traffic, less corruption and, despite some statistic that will be thrown at me, less crime
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Old 07-18-2007, 12:06 PM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,248,139 times
Reputation: 2992
Default Thanks!

Thanks for all the positive replies! It sounds like CCB hasn't changed that much despite the odd condo being built on the few remaining empty lots. I'm hoping that will stay the case over the next few years. I'm not quite ready to make my move yet. We have one more year to spend out here in LA, then a year of travelling the world, then a year or two of higher education. That would put my wife and I moving out in the 2010-2011 time frame. I'll be looking for work at NASA or the associated contractors. I was employed there before and really enjoyed the work.

We'll probably be visiting for a few weeks next year to check the area out.

Whew! I've only been to Dakine Diegos in Satellite Beach. They used to have a vacant lot next door where they would show surf flicks on Wednesday and Sunday nights. Everybody go there and patronize them so they'll still be around when I "come back!"

That's very encouraging news about the schools and the community's attitude. I didn't think it would be a major problem, but it's something we keep in mind. Right now, we live in a majority-hispanic urban neighborhood and everyone is very friendly. I have a feeling that a lot of our neighbors know what it's like to be discriminated against based on their skin color or first language and are careful not to do it to others.

I really hope that socioeconomic factors keep the Canaveral-CCB-Satellite-Melborne a hidden sleepy little retirement/backwater. Out here in SoCal, overgrowth and overpopulation have really changed places like Newport and Redondo, while too much concentration of wealth and exclusion of everyone else has done just as much damage to the old beach towns like Encino and Del Mar.

What's the insurance situation like? I'm pretty sure I won't be able to buy my house outright, so I'll need insurance for a bank loan. I've heard insurers are fleeing the hurricane belt and that prices are getting ridiculous. I imagine buying a place on the barrier islands is going to have a big added cost from insurance. Anyone know the story?

Thanks for all the replies! I am so looking forward to haveing some real weather and enjoying a spectacular summer lightning storm! Out here it's either sunny or cloudy. Sort of cool or blazing hot. And always smoggy, of course. That's it.
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