A wonderful thing about Orlando is that you are surrounded with outdoor activities as well as the weather to keep you busy for a lifetime. The proximity to the beaches should rank as one of the top five reasons to make Orlando your home. It is quickly becoming a tradition for my family to enjoy the sun, salt-water and overall closeness to the majesty of our world by taking in vitamin D from the sun as we reenergize our bodies on the beach.

This past Labor Day weekend was no exception. We lathered up with sunscreen, ok my girlfriend forced us to cover up in sunscreen, put on our trunks and hit the road. Depending on where you live in Orlando, Cocoa Beach is between 30 minutes to 1 hour from your home. I am vaguely aware of some pop-culture surrounding Cocoa Beach but as someone who missed American pop-culture growing up, I’m not completely in tune to it. Maybe someone can fill me in. The drive is easy. We decided to try the Lori Wilson Park.

Recently we’ve developed a beach tradition that is to hit the road, get some coffee at the local coffee shop and once we get to Cocoa Beach, stop at Publix and get some fried chicken. Yes, I know, fried chicken at a grocery store? I’ve never been a fan of grocery store cuisine but I must admit, hesitant as I was the first time I tried it, Publix fried chicken quickly became the perfect accompaniment for a beach outing. It just goes so well with the sun, and is now our official lunch meal for our beach outings.

The beach itself is wonderful and the weather makes it that much better. Surprisingly, although public, the times I have been at Cocoa, the beach wasn’t crowded at all. And best of all, using the Lori Wilson Park makes the outing very inexpensive as well. There is no fee to park at the park and the amenities of fresh water showers, bathrooms and changing rooms are nice indeed. They are well-kept.

Depending on where you are in Orlando, the expense of going to the beach will be, depending on the mileage your car gets, about five to eight gallons of gasoline and the chicken and groceries you get at the store. That’s it! For about $60 you can have fun in the sun, and some eye candy to go along for some much needed body reenergizing.

But there are some downsides to lying at the beach.

The sun is great but it can be unforgiving, so if you are like me, who doesn’t listen to the girlfriend when she wants to lather you up with gook, then you pay the price with sunburn only a beach can impart on you. It takes more than one lathering up to survive. Learn from me, listen to her and let her lather you up. The gook is better than the sunburn that lingers for days afterwards!

And then there are the whales.

Ok, I’m probably going to make some readers mad at me, but I can’t let this slide without
commenting on it. I know a lot of people think about this to themselves but most are too decent to make a comment, but well, I’m opinionated and that makes for someone like me, who gave up keeping his opinions to himself a long time ago, someone who sometimes doesn’t hold back. Today is one of those days where my fingers engage before my brain.

Someone needs to tell some people out there that bikinis are for bodies that fit into them! They are meant for giving us some eye candy to go along with the sun and the fun at the beach! They are not, and I repeat, not for making us utter; “what the…!!!!”, as my favorite 5-year old likes to say, when we inadvertently turn and look in that direction. Let me tell you, the eye-candy and sun of the day quickly evaporated into the swearing pain of being subjected to viewing a bikini completely engulfed in a body that just wasn’t meant for a bikini. So please, spare us the visions that don’t go away and leave the bikinis to the bodies that they are meant for. I think most on the beach would appreciate it, at least I will!

That said I know some of you are aghast at my lack of decency for my fellow human being and are probably looking to express your displeasure with me. That’s what the comments section is for. Take advantage of it. But, I know most of you are secretly cheering me on!

For those still reading my blog, one of the greatest things about Orlando is the weather and the access to outdoor activities. Beaches and water are a major part of it. Take advantage of it and head out to Cocoa Beach, you won’t be disappointed, ok maybe a little as you might encounter a bikini engulfed by a body too large for it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to try as many beaches as I can. Hope to see you there.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...