Last year was the first Christmas I spent in Florida and I made sure to celebrate in some of the most Floridian ways possible. This meant going to Disney World for Christmas Eve dinner, jumping in a pool Christmas Day and of course, seeing the Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas!
We live about half an hour away from Cocoa Beach, so we started out the morning with a drive up to see this unique event. I was shocked to see just how many other people do the same thing. If you want to watch the Surfing Santas be prepared for some crowds! However, I think it’s a worthwhile experience and I have some tips for checking it out on Christmas Eve.
Where to See the Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas
Cocoa Beach is not the only place to have Surfing Santas, but it is probably the biggest gathering of them. This event has been going on for eleven years now and each year more and more people dress up as Santa and go for a surf. Last year there were over 800 Santas and it keeps growing by the year!
You can find them all along Cocoa Beach, but the main viewing spot is at the 3 Minuteman Causeway beach area in front of Coconuts on the Beach. We parked few blocks away and were greeted by a big crowd at the entrance. There’s a lot of congestion getting in to the beach, but plenty of room to spread out once you are there. Coconuts on the Beach is open and you can even get a mimosa here to start off your Christmas Eve. Just know that the bar is pretty packed as well.
Once on the beach, you will see Santas all along the shore. Anyone is allowed to join in so you will see a lot of Santa costumes, as well as Mrs. Claus, reindeer, elves and more!
What to Expect
Besides crowds, you can expect the amazing sight of an ocean full of Christmassy surfers! The best part is the energy of the event though. Everyone we encountered was full of holiday cheer and it was just such a fun way to start off Christmas Eve.
We spent about an hour watching and taking pictures of the surfers, as well as walking around a bit. The event goes from 8 AM to noon and a lot of the surfers stopped around 11:30. We got there at 10:30, which is the peak time to get there. Apparently most surfers start around 10 AM so if you get there before that, you can always have a mimosa!
The waves were pretty weak last year, but the Surfing Santas still made the most of it! It is so cool to see all the tricks they can do, including a headstand while surfing with a costume on! Adults and kids alike seemed to be having a blast watching.
For those who want to dress up, but do not want to surf, there is a costume contest! You have to be there at 8:30 AM to check in and the contest starts at 9 AM. Anyone can participate in this for free!
How to Become a Surfing Santa
If you are a surfer that would like to participate, all you have to do is show up! There is no registration and it is free to join in. The only stipulation is that you wear a family friendly costume, as this event is for all ages.
Full Santa suits are the most exciting sight, but we saw all sorts of attire. Some surfers wore red and others wore a Santa hat. We also saw a few Buddy the Elf costumes and a Christmas hula girl. The guy with the reindeer on his surfboard was the one I was most impressed by!
Surfing Santas Through the Years
This event started in 2009 and this year will be the eleventh anniversary of it! Last year was the biggest by far for the tenth anniversary, but I still anticipate big crowds for 2019. It used to simply be a family doing this on their own, but Cocoa Beach has turned it into a viral event through the years!
Because of it’s fame, you can even get Surfing Santa merchandiseto celebrate the occasion. They sell shirts, hats and ornaments. The profits go towards the Florida Surf Museum and the Grind for Life charity.
Know Before You Go: Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas
Christmas Eve is a day of traditions for most people, but seeing the Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas is now a tradition for me! Andrew and I plan to go again this year and you should too if you are in the area. We met people from all over Florida! If you want to see the Surfing Santas of Cocoa Beach, keep these tips in mind.
- The main thing to remember is that finding parking can be a hassle. Try and find parking near Coconuts on the Beach and check this linkfor more info.
- The event is completely free for attendees and surfers.
- The surfing begins around 10 AM and ends by noon. Make sure you get there before 11 AM to really see the surfers!
- Anyone can be a Surfing Santa-all you have to do is show up with festive attire and a surfboard!
- Check Facebook for weather in case this event gets cancelled due to rain.
- Don’t bring chairs as this is more a standing event and you do not want to have to lug a lot of beach stuff through the crowds.
- There is a costume contest at 9 AM for nonsurfers as well.
Do you have any quirky Christmas Eve traditions? This is one of the quirkiest and most fun I have heard of! If you are looking for more Christmas things to do in Central Florida, check out this guide.