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Are There Beaches in Orlando? Here Are Your 23 Best Options

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June 17, 2022

If you’re one of the 75 million people visiting Orlando, Florida this year, perhaps you’re wondering, “Are there beaches in Orlando?”

Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, it’s no wonder that Orlando, Florida is the number one family vacation destination and the most visited destination in the United States.

However, are there any beaches in Orlando, Florida?

In this article, we’ll answer this age-old question as to whether or not you’ll be able to dip your toes into the salty ocean during your upcoming visit to Orlando.

We’ll also provide you with a practical guide (and secret tips!) to visiting the 23 closest beaches to Orlando that you and your family will love!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.

Are there beaches in Orlando, Florida?

The answer to this question is, “No, there are no beaches in Orlando.” (bummer!)

In fact, there are no freshwater or saltwater beaches in Orlando, meaning that Orlando does not have any lakes to swim in and is not located on the ocean.

You will, however, find a plethora of things to do in Orlando that involve water including gigantic water parks, theme parks, aquariums, and swanky resort pools.

*You will also find several things to do in Orlando for adults that you may or may not have known about before!

Find out the closest beaches to Orlando from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan.

How far is Orlando from the beach?

The U.S. State of Florida is a peninsula-shaped landmass that lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Orlando is located in Central Florida, sandwiched between the two oceans (as seen in the picture above).

This means that if you’re willing to take a drive, you can find several beaches near Orlando, Florida on either the Atlantic coast or the Gulf Coast.

In fact, the closest beaches to Orlando can be found as close as 1-hour away.

Additional planning tip: For those who like exact distances, the Atlantic Coast is approx. 60 miles east of Orlando whereas the Gulf of Mexico is approx. 90 miles west of Orlando.

Disney World in Orlando, Florida
Orlando Theme Park

Are there beaches in Orlando near Disney?

With Walt Disney World being one of the biggest reasons people visit Orlando, it’s common to wonder if there are any beaches in Orlando, Florida near Disney.

After all, when traveling to Florida, most families look to give their kids the experience and memories from both theme park(s), and the ocean.

In my opinion, if you’re looking for Disney non-park day options and want to head to the beach, your best options are as follows:

  • Cocoa Beach: Located 72 miles (1 hr. 18 min.) from Disney World
  • Daytona Beach: Located 78 miles (1 hr. 20 min.) from Disney World

With several other options available, however, let’s take a look at the 23 best beaches for families near Orlando so that you can decide where to go.

23 Closest Beaches to Orlando

With so many beaches near Orlando, it makes sense many Orlando families and visitors head to the coast for a day trip or weekend get-a-way.

Hot days combined with high humidity can create an uncomfortable experience, and cooling off in the ocean is one of the best ways to beat the Florida heat!

Here is a list of the 23 best beaches near Orlando, Florida, including their amenities and exact distances from Orlando.

Many of these beautiful beaches feature ample parking, picnic pavilions or picnic areas, beach rentals, and clear, warm water to enjoy.

When planning for the perfect beach day, however, be sure to cross-check our list of family beach essentials that you’ll need when going on vacation (as we have learned the hard way what you can’t forget!).

**Read here to find our exact 6-day Orlando vacation itinerary that includes an awesome resort, restaurants, theme parks, and a fantastic day at the beach!

Cocoa Beach (cloeset beach to Orlando Florida)
Cocoa Beach

1. Cocoa Beach

  • Located 72 miles east of Orlando in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
  • Parking: $15 per vehicle
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes

Cocoa Beach has the ultimate charm factor and is home to an 800-foot wooden pier iconic to popular Florida beaches.

Quite simply, it is fun, easy-going, and absolutely beautiful.

The sands are soft and cocoa-colored, as their name suggests as well as the waters are warm and lovely to swim in. 

The Cocoa Beach Pier hosts a multitude of restaurants and shops to explore, as well as offers arcade games, fishing ($20 fishing rod rental fee for 4 hours), and panoramic views of Cocoa Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

If you’re inspired by the local surf culture, be sure to visit Ron Jon Surf Shop as their Cocoa Beach location is the biggest surf shop in the world!

For a slight change of pace, take the time to stop by Lori Wilson Beach Park or the Kennedy Space Center, two of the other popular local attractions.

Are there beaches in Orlando?  Find out from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Daytona Beach

2. Daytona Beach

  • Located 78 miles northeast of Orlando in Daytona Beach, Florida.
  • Parking: $20 per vehicle
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes 

Daytona Beach is known as “the world’s most famous beach,” and with a title like that, it’s no wonder it has so much to offer. 

This beach resides on the Atlantic Ocean and has activities for all ages, including a 1,000-foot pier that is home to Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant and free fishing!

The beach itself is safe for swimming with lifeguards present. Kids can splash around and practice their strokes while others romp on the beach, building sandcastles or digging for buried treasure!

If your family loves action, rent bikes to ride and explore the beach or enroll in surfing lessons to take on the waves!

You’ll love the Daytona Beach Boardwalk too!

The Boardwalk is home to a beach amusement park with rides, carnival games, arcade games, and concessions as well as hosts firework shows every Saturday night at 9:45 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day!

The adventures in Daytona don’t stop on the sand as the city itself has attractions that go beyond the beachfront.

Attractions such as the Daytona Lagoon Water Park and the world-famous Daytona International Speedway also attract visitors to the area.

Additional planning tip: Did you know that you can drive and park on certain areas of Daytona Beach’s hard-packed sand (where car racing and NASCAR originated)?

**Read here to find out exactly how to plan to spend 1-day at Daytona Beach. We include our insider tips on where to park, what to expect, and what we love about this historic beach!

Are there beaches in Orlando?  Find out from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Clearwater Beach

3. Clearwater Beach

  • Located 94 miles southwest of Orlando in Clearwater, Florida. (Driving from Orlando to Clearwater beaches takes approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes.)
  • Parking: $3/hour (max $30/day)
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes 

Clearwater Beach couldn’t be more aptly named!

Located on the Gulf Coast, this beach has sugary white sand that is soft against your feet and the water is crystal clear.

It is one of the top family beaches in Florida for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful calm waters.

And what makes the sand so white?

Interestingly enough, the sand is white because it is largely made up of microscopic quartz crystals washed through the Gulf of Mexico and onto the Florida shores. 

Visitors can enjoy water activities, including paddle boarding, parasailing, and jet skiing as well as its shallow waters that are perfect for little ones.

We love strolling along Clearwater Beach’s 1,080-foot wooden pier called Pier 60, which has telescopes, concessions, a souvenir shop, fishing, and epic views of the sunset.

There is also a large shaded playground here.

Local attractions include Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Celebration Station (bumper cars, batting cages, mini-golf, laser tag, etc.).

Additional planning tip: Just north of Clearwater Beach is Caladesi Island State Park. The island is only accessible by ferry or private boat and has restrooms and a cafe, along with its pristine beach.

Beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and kayaks are also available for rent. 

*Though their proximity to Orlando varies, check out our list of the best beaches to find shells at in Florida if your kids love finding sea shells!

Beaches near Orlando (New Smyrna Beach & Park)
Smyrna Dunes Park

4. New Smyrna Beach

  • Located 78 miles northeast of Orlando in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
  • Parking: $3/hour (max $30/day)
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes 

New Smyrna Beach is home to an expansive 17-mile stretch of hard-packed sand, similar to that of Daytona Beach which is only 14 miles away.

Due to the hard nature of its sand, New Smyrna Beach is perfect for beach walks, running, and biking along the shore.

New Smyrna is also a mecca for surfers and is consistently voted one of the top surfing destinations in the world for its consistent surf break.

In addition, another one of the biggest draws here is Smyrna Dunes Park which is situated at the northern tip of New Smyrna Beach.

This 2-mile coastal boardwalk trail is a family-friendly trail averaging 53 minutes to complete.

It is also completely wheelchair accessible so that everyone can enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian River, and Ponce de Leon Inlet.

While in town, you can also enjoy a river cruise up the Indian River and try your hand at spotting dolphins and the Florida manatee. 

5 – 7. Canaveral National Seashore 

  • Located 73 miles east of Orlando in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
  • Entrance Fee: $20 per vehicle
  • Lifeguards on duty: No
  • Chair rentals available: No
  • Concessions/food available: No

Though not technically a single beach, we feel this recreational paradise deserves a mention when it comes to the closest beaches to Orlando.

Canaveral National Seashore is located in New Smyrna Beach, FL, and is the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in the entire state (meaning no condos or high-rise buildings).

It includes three major beaches: Playalinda Beach, Klondike Beach, and Apollo Beach. 

Plus, families can kayak within the park on the serene Mosquito Lagoon (part of the Indian River Lagoon). This experience offers beautiful views and up close and personal wildlife experiences

Finally, Canaveral National Seashore is a popular place for visitors to gather to watch real-life rocket launches coming from the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral.

The Space Center is located at the southern end of the shoreline, and you can see these launches at several beaches along the shore. 

Playalinda Beach offers the closest view of the launches.

Check the Kennedy Space Center launch schedule and plan to be in the park a few hours early if possible as NASA eventually restricts incoming traffic for security purposes prior to a launch.

However, if you are already in the park you may stay to view the launch.

8 – 20. The Beaches of Vero Beach, Florida

  • Located 104 miles southeast of Orlando in Vero Beach, Florida.
  • Parking: Free
  • Lifeguards on duty: Varies
  • Chair rentals available: Varies
  • Concessions/food available: Varies 

Vero Beach, Florida is located on the Atlantic Coast and is home to several of the closest beaches to Orlando.

Among the twelve public beaches in Vero Beach, Florida, our favorites are South Beach, Jaycee Beach, Treasure Shores, and Golden Sands.

These beaches have a much more relaxed feel than some of the other big-name beaches on this list and are, therefore, great places to get out of the hustle and bustle of Orlando.

Visit the Vero Beach website for a complete list of amenities at each other their beaches as well as to determine if lifeguards, chair rentals, and restrooms are available.

Nonetheless, you can always enjoy boating, bird-watching, scuba diving, and fishing here.

Best of all, Vero Beach is known to be a great spot for Sea Turtle spotting as well as Sea Turtle tours!

21. Flagler Beach

  • Located 100 miles northeast of Orlando in Flagler Beach, Florida.
  • Parking: Free
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes, May-September
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes

Flagler Beach is located further up the coast from Daytona Beach and is a 1 hour and 40-minute drive from Orlando.

Flagler Beach has a unique look due to its bronzed sand that is mixed with small fragments of coquina shells giving it a reddish glow.

The texture is slightly more rocky than Florida’s white-sand beaches, but what it lacks in texture, it makes up for in beauty. 

The beach also lacks crowds. Your family may get lucky and get a whole stretch of beach to themselves!

At Flagler Beach Pier you’ll find fantastic views of the Atlantic, a charming restaurant, and a famous signature wall where you and your family can leave your mark. 

Nearby, the Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area is a great place for family-friendly fun!

Go biking, hiking, and camping, or take a dip in the water and soak up that Florida sun!

Are there beaches in Orlando?  Find out from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
St. Pete Beach

22. St. Pete Beach

  • Located 100 miles southwest of Orlando in St. Pete Beach, Florida
  • Parking: $15 per vehicle
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes

St. Pete Beach is a resort town meaning its atmosphere is equal parts laid-back and exciting, with plenty of things to do.

There are a ton of family-friendly activities in St. Pete, as well as amazing restaurants, museums, and St. Pete Pier.

Voted as the No. 1 Beach in the U.S. in 2021, St. Pete Beach (the beach) is known for its gorgeous views of the emerald green Gulf of Mexico, as well as its sugary soft white sand.

Boating and kayaking tours, as well as dolphin watching, and sunset cruises are popular ways to explore the Gulf when visiting St. Pete Beach.

Instead of just visiting St. Pete Beach as a day trip from Orlando, I recommend spending an entire vacation here to truly experience the beauty of this area!

Additional planning tip: Both Clearwater, FL and St. Pete Beach, FL top our list of the best spring break destinations for families. Read here to find out why!

Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park

23. Fort De Soto Park

  • Located 110 miles southwest of Orlando in St. Pete Beach, Florida
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle
  • Lifeguards on duty: Yes
  • Chair rentals available: Yes
  • Concessions/food available: Yes

If you have time, consider driving an additional 10 miles from St. Pete Beach to explore Fort De Soto Park.

Fort De Soto Park encompasses five offshore keys, or islands, on the Gulf of Mexico.

These islands are St. Jean Key, Madelaine Key, St. Christopher Key, Mullet Key, and Bonne Fortune Key.

This park offers two swimming areas on North Beach and East Beach.

It also has a nature trail, canoe trail, and two piers where fishing is permitted. 

The beaches themselves are stunning, being named some of the best places in Florida (and even the nation!) to swim!

The beaches are preserved in their natural state so that their beauty is not disrupted.

Additional planning tip: If you have time in your schedule to spend the night, grab a few family camping essentials and pitch a tent at the 238-site family camping area here! And yes, there is swimming available in the camping area!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several beaches near Orlando to plan a perfect beach day!

If you’re looking for some other ideas on places to stay in Florida that are on the beach (meaning no driving necessary!), check out our other favorite oceanfront Florida vacation destinations!

These are all places that we have stayed at and would return to again!

Our best tips, itineraries, and lists of things to do at each place can be found (free!) below:

Which one of these beaches near Orlando are you wanting to learn more about? I’d love to hear which one(s) you choose to visit!

-Jen

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.

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Are there beaches in Orlando?  We'll show you your best options for beaches close to Orlando, Florida to plan the perfect beach day for your family vacation!
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Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

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