There really isn't much that is better than spending time in the waves and Melbourne Beach is a great place to escape on a budget and still hang ten.
Melbourne Beach, Florida is not to be confused with Melbourne Australia although I do believe Melbourne, Florida was named in honor of its well known Australian counterpart. Melbourne Beach is located approximately 25 minutes south of the infamous Cocoa Beach. You won't find Ron Jon Surf Shop in Melbourne Beach, but you also won't find nearly as large of a crowd, which is always a good thing in a zombie apocalypse or even if you just want some beach and ocean to yourself. You can also find lodging at Melbourne Beach for significantly less.
I took my family to Melbourne Beach over Christmas break 2013. We were able to stay in an oceanfront luxury suite for only $120 per night. We booked a room with DoubleTree Suites by Hilton. The hotel is on the ocean and every room has an oceanfront view. The above pictures were taken from our balcony. $120 is a steal for that property. I priced rooms in other cities and was hard pressed to find anything similar for less than $200 per night and some hotels were charging $500-$600 per night. There are not too many beachfront hotels in Melbourne Beach but since it appears to be one of Florida's Atlantic secrets, they are all reasonably priced.
The city of Melbourne, Florida also has many great places to eat. A few of the local places we enjoyed were Squid Lips Overwater Grill, Pistilli's Pizza, City Tropics Bistro and Ocean Cafe.
Squid Lips Overwater Grill is a nice place to get some fresh fish and pretty good food. What really makes Squid Lips great, however, is its location. It's located right on the river and you can sit on the beach to eat your food. We took our kids, got a table on the beach and were waited on right next to the water. It was a wonderful atmosphere and I recommend giving them a try.
My favorite restaurant to frequent is Pistilli's Pizza. They make authentic New York style pizza, actually better than the pizza I've had in New York. They have a crazy lunch special that includes two slices of pizza and a soda for only $4.99. It's crazy cheap because the two slices of pizza is like eating half a pizza at most places. They are truly New York slices. If you are looking for a great New York style Italian restaurant, Pistilli's is the place to go. Don't take my word for it, check out their reviews: TripAdvisor
City Tropics Bistro is another one of those places worth visiting for the atmosphere. It's an eclectic little bistro not very far from the beach. You are greeted when you enter the door by a friendly face and free popcorn. The place is decorated in an island theme and the food is pretty good. They've got a little bit of everything from burgers to seafood and even a good kid's menu if you dine with the family. I recommend trying one of their brick oven pizzas. My wife recommends the California rolls.
The last place I recommend is Ocean Cafe: Bagels & More. I think it used to be called Beach Bagels. This is a family owned shop that was originally just a fresh bagel cafe. We went for the homemade bagels - a great morning treat. You can get all types of bagels and they even make bagel sandwiches. You can sit and talk with the owners while you visit as they are very friendly and pretty much always there. They told us that in 2014, they will also be serving Cajun food in an effort to expand the business. I hope all goes well for them. They are worth checking our and even get a good rating on yelp.
So, there it is. Melbourne Beach is more than a great place to escape zombies. It's also a great place to catch some waves, build a sandcastle and eat good food. It's one of my favorite places to visit and if you try it out, I think you will know why. I highly recommend Melbourne Beach, Florida to all you preppers or just travelers out there.
-Tim (the adventure guy)