This is a question I sometimes get when people book our vacation rental. Luckily there are usually several options in Florida. However, what is best for you will depend on several factors.
What else have you planned during your trip?
Are you only staying in Cocoa Beach and Orlando area or have you planned other stops during your vacation? Maybe you are making a roundtrip through Florida or you have even been in other states before. If you just plan to stay in Cocoa Beach and the surrounding area the closest large airports are Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Smaller options are Melbourne and Jacksonville. Another larger airport, the Southwest Florida International Airport is close to Fort Myers and with close to 4 hours drive a bit far away unless you also would like to spend time in that area.
Are you flying in from Abroad?
If you are flying in from outside the United States Miami, Orlando, and Tampa are the airports with most international direct flights. These are also the airports international flights connect often to when having a different stop-over destination. While direct flights are the best options if prices are ok, the advantage of having a connecting flight is that you will have done your immigration at that airport. At your final airport you only have to collect your luggage.
What else should be considered?
Most likely you will rent a car. Orlando has the advantage that car rental kiosks are in the airport building and you can get your car directly across in the parking garage. That is one reason why Orlando would be my first choice if there is a good priced option.
In both Miami and Tampa trains connect you to the car rental terminals. Think about adding the prepaid toll packages for rental cars or have sufficient cash with you.
It is worth looking at your arrival times. If you do have to do immigration add at least one hour. Car rental can also take one hour. Especially with jetlag I would try to avoid long driving times in the dark. In my experience Orlando is manageable however if I would arrive in Tampa or Miami, I might consider booking a room for a night.
On your departure day check the traffic information upfront and in particular when flying out of Miami I would add one hour extra.
So in Summary…
If I get a good priced flight into Orlando that would be my first option. It is a short drive and convenient airport in particular if you are also renting a car.
What are your thoughts?
What experiences would you like to share? Which factors are important for you?
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