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17 Closest Beach Spots to Orlando You Should Visit

Hey beach enthusiasts! Are you tired of the same old theme park routine? Well, I have some exciting news for you. Let’s pack our bags and hit the road to explore the best beaches near Orlando.

I’m not talking about your typical tourist traps. No, no, no. I’m talking about warm, salty air that fills your lungs and sand that tickles your toes. Imagine the Gulf of Mexico, with its gorgeous waves and untamed wilderness, or unique wildlife sightings at pristine spots.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “But wait, there are no beaches in Orlando!” Fear not, my fellow beach lovers. Orlando is blessed to be situated near some of the most stunning and fun beaches around. Plus, the best part? Most of them are just an hour away!

So, why not take a break from the hustle and bustle of theme parks and embrace the natural beauty that Orlando has to offer? Let’s add a beautiful twist to your Orlando trip and explore the closest beaches.

Let’s explore the hidden gems that Orlando has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Cocoa Beach

Are you in the mood for a quintessential beach experience just a short drive from Orlando? Look no further than Cocoa Beach, located on the east coast of Florida just south of Cape Canaveral.

cocoa beach

Not only is Cocoa Beach the nearest beach to Orlando but it’s also recognized as the surfing capital of Florida.

With its crystal clear Atlantic waters, this flawless destination is the perfect place to unwind and soak up some natural beauty.

While you’re there, make sure to check out the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop to enhance your surfing experience, and learn more about the history of surfing in Florida at the Florida Surf Museum.

For a romantic evening, head to Cocoa Beach Pier and catch a breathtaking sunset with your loved one. These free activities in Orlando will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Pro tip: Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Kissimmee, so it’s perfect for a quick beach getaway from Orlando.

2. Clearwater Beach

Looking for a beach that’s perfect for a day trip from Orlando with young children? Look no further than Clearwater Beach in Pinellas County – it’s just a 1 hour and 46-minute drive away.

cleanwater beach

We highly recommend Clearwater Beach for families with kids, as it’s known as one of the safest beaches around. With a full-time lifeguard and a clear swim zone that’s about 300 feet wide, you can relax and enjoy the sand and surf without worrying about getting knocked over by kayaks or surfboards.

Looking for things to do in Clearwater Beach? Here are some ideas:

  • Take a leisurely three-mile drive north from the Clearwater Beach pier to soak up some beautiful views.
  • If you’re up for some adventure, you can also visit nearby attractions like Busch Gardens, the Salvador Dali Museum, and Tampa’s Ybor City.
  • For a romantic night out, why not enjoy a historic dinner with your partner at Columbia restaurant? And if you’re in the mood for some great seafood, we highly recommend Frenchy’s Rockaway Grille.

Whether you’re in the mood for relaxation or exploration, Clearwater Beach has something for everyone.

3. Canaveral National Seashore

Looking for a beach near Orlando that’s perfect for your next cruise adventure? Look no further than Port Canaveral!

Canaveral National Seashore

This bustling port is home to some of the most exciting cruise lines in the world, including Disney, Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean. But that’s not all there is to see and do in this area.

Take a trip to the Kennedy Space Center, where you can explore the history of the US space industry and get up close and personal with real-life space shuttles and rockets Or head to the Canaveral National Seashore for some wildlife spotting – here, you can spot bald eagles, sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees in their natural habitats.

If you’re looking for a more low-key beach experience, Playalinda Beach in Canaveral National Seashore is the perfect place to unwind.

This beautiful stretch of sand is located between Cape Canaveral and New Smyrna and is completely car-free, making it a peaceful retreat for travelers. And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out the Scrub Ridge Trail for a scenic hike.

4. Melbourne Beach

Looking to soak up the Florida sun and experience the untouched beauty of a beach? Look no further than Melbourne Beach, one of the best beaches near Orlando.

Melbourne Beach

Located just across the Indian River and Atlantic Ocean, this charming “Harbor City” is perfect for surfing, snorkeling, walking, jogging, and more.

You’ll love immersing yourself in the unspoiled natural beauty of this hidden gem.

If you’re lucky enough to visit during sea turtle nesting season, you’ll be in for a treat. Hundreds of sea turtles come ashore to nest, and you can spot them at Coconut Point.

There’s plenty to do in Melbourne Beach as well. Check out the annual Melbourne Art Festival in April, which has lots of affordable activities for kids. And for a budget-friendly shopping experience, head to the Space Coast Area.

For a truly unique experience, enroll in a turtle walk with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. And be sure to bring your family to Juan Ponce de Leon Park for a relaxing evening.

Pro tip: park your car at Curtis Byrd Park for free and walk straight onto the beach. Plus, Melbourne Beach is the closest beach to Orlando Airport! So why wait? Pack your bags and head on over to this breathtaking destination.

5. Daytona Beach

Get ready to dive into endless oceanfront fun with your loved one at Daytona Beach – just 55.8 miles away and around one hour’s drive from Orlando.

Daytona Beach

Known as “the World’s Most Famous Beach” for its pristine white sand, Daytona Beach is a must-visit spot for couples looking for a romantic getaway.

If you’re the athletic type, make sure to visit nearby Ormond Beach at Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park where you can play soccer, football, and more.

Things to do in Daytona Beach:

If you’re a fan of surfing, Daytona Beach is a perfect place to catch some waves. Take a stroll around the funfair games, dining, and shopping centers.

Visit the Daytona International Speedway to witness the legendary pier. For a change of scenery, experience the tropical air at Lighthouse Point Park and Smyrna Dunes Park while going for a run.

6. Flagler Beach

Come on over to Flagler Beach, just 76.6 miles from Orlando and only an hour and a half drive away!

Flagler Beach

This uncluttered and pristine beach is nestled along State Road A1A and boasts a warm and inviting atmosphere, with curling waves, golden sands, and crystal-clear emerald waters.

Flagler Beach is a hidden gem that’s perfect for nature enthusiasts, with opportunities to spot mangroves and other tropical forest species.

With fewer crowds and no hotels, you can enjoy a more peaceful and intimate experience with nature.

Things to do in Flagler Beach:

  • Explore the lush greenery and serene lakes at Silverlake Park, Wadsworth Park, Veterans Park, and Wickline Park.
  • Head to Flagler Beach Municipal Pier in the evening to catch a stunning sunset over the ocean.
  • Make your way to Flagler Avenue and discover an array of restaurants, bars, beach shops, and galleries.

Tip: If you plan to visit in May, please be aware that it’s turtle hatching season and it’s better to avoid the beach during this time.

7. New Smyrna Beach

Looking for a serene and peaceful getaway from the bustling city of Orlando? Look no further than New Smyrna Beach, located just 55.4 miles away with a driving time of approximately 1 hour.

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is the perfect destination for families and their furry friends, offering a laid-back atmosphere with golden-hued sands and a welcoming personality.

In fact, it has been named one of the 20 best surfing beaches in the world, making it an exciting destination for surfers and spectators alike.

There are plenty of activities to keep you and your family entertained during your visit to New Smyrna Beach.

Discover the area’s history at the Sugar Mill, explore quaint cafes and restaurants in the historic downtown, and let your children’s imagination run wild building sandcastles by the shore.

For a free summer concert, head over to the Daytona Beach Bandshell, located near the beach.

As the sun sets, take in the breathtaking views of various bird species, stunning painted skies, and sparkling water.

However, be cautious when surfing at 27th Avenue Beach or north of Ponce Inlet due to the soft sand and the presence of sharks.

Remember to park your car along Flager Avenue for easy access to the beach. So pack your bags and come escape to the peaceful charm of New Smyrna Beach.

8. Ormond Beach

Just 60 miles north of Orlando lies Ormond Beach, a hidden gem that promises a resort experience and upscale relaxation to all its visitors.

Ormond Beach

Unlike the bustling Daytona, Ormond Beach is a tranquil seaside town on Florida’s eastern coast, exuding small-town charm and scenic beauty that cannot be found elsewhere.

One of the town’s main attractions is the Tomoka State Park, which boasts an ideal location for car racing and offers a breathtaking view of the majestic Halifax River.

Things to do in Ormond Beach are aplenty, with the Central Park being one of the must-visit spots. This park features canals, ponds, and pathways that make for a perfect morning or afternoon stroll.

For history lovers, the Addison Blockhouse Historic State Park is a must-see attraction that tells the story of John Addison, a war veteran who lived in the area during the 19th century.

As the sun starts to set, head over to Bulow Creek State Park to witness the blooming of local plants and animals.

Be sure to snap a photo under the canopied palm forest lining the Tomoka River, a picturesque spot that is sure to make for a great memory.

9. Madeira Beach

Welcome to Madeira Beach, a true slice of paradise just 111 miles west of St. Petersburg and an ideal day trip destination from Orlando.

Madeira Beach

A mere two-hour drive will bring you to this stunning coastal gem, where you can stroll along the water and soak up the sun.

Affectionately known as “Mad Beach,” Madeira Beach is renowned for its Boardwalk, John’s Pass Village, Gulf beaches, and excellent fishing spots. This is a popular destination for retirees, making it a tranquil and relaxing place to spend your day.

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the small snack shack on the beach, where you can indulge your taste buds and satisfy your hunger while enjoying the stunning views. Simply sit, eat, and take in the laid-back vibe of Mad Beach.

Things to do in Madeira Beach are endless, and here are just a few options. Gulf Boulevard offers access to the Gulf of Mexico, where you can swim in crystal-clear waters.

Take a dolphin-watching cruise to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal, and explore the Alligator Wildlife Discovery Center at John’s Pass.

For a more relaxed experience, head to Bamboo Beach Bar to unwind with a refreshing cocktail.

If you’re up for more adventure, St. Pete Pier is just 10 miles away from Mad Beach. Here, you can enjoy street performances, indulge in delectable street foods, and soak up the lively atmosphere.

Don’t miss the chance to explore Madeira Beach and create unforgettable memories.

Also Read: 15 Insane Abandoned Places In Florida You Must Visit

10. Anastasia State Park

Experience the ultimate beach getaway at Anastasia Island, nestled near St. Augustine, boasting 42 miles of stunning coastline.

Anastasia State Park

Although it is not the closest beach to Orlando, it is definitely worth the drive for those seeking a thrilling adventure on the waves.

Anastasia Island is a haven for boogie boarders, skimboarders, surfers, paddleboarders, and kiteboarders.

Things to do at Anastasia State Park:

  • Indulge in the ultimate beach combing experience and go shelling.
  • Visit the stunning white sand beaches at Matanzas Inlet.
  • Take a hike and explore the sand dunes and marshes, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
  • Experience a unique wedding ceremony at Anastasia State Park.
  • Savor mouthwatering cuisine at the Sunset Grille or the Salt Life Food Shack.

Please note that there is an $8 per car entry fee to access the park.

11. Vero Beach 

Located in the southeast of Orlando, Vero Beach is a true gem of Florida’s eastern coast, offering stunning sunrises and sunsets on its pristine sandy beaches.

Vero Beach

If you’re looking to explore more, head a few kilometers down to South Beach and soak up some sun.

If you’re visiting between May and October, don’t miss the chance to witness sea turtles hatching their eggs on the beach.

When hunger strikes, don’t miss the chance to enjoy a delicious meal at Kountry Kitchen With Love.

Things to do in Vero Beach include taking a trip to Hutchinson Island, another must-see destination in Florida.

Enjoy a luxurious stay at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Take a relaxing stroll at Jaycee Park, an 8-acre park perfect for walking and nature appreciation.

Have a picnic with friends at Oceanside Park, also known as Round Island Beach Park.

12. Caladesi Island

With just a short ferry ride from Honeymoon Island and a northward drive from Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island is the perfect beach destination for those looking to soak up the sun and get a little closer to nature.

Caladesi Island

This hidden gem boasts the closest white sand beach to Orlando, making it a must-visit spot for those seeking a beach getaway.

As you stroll along the shore, keep an eye out for Gopher tortoises burrowing behind the dunes, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and shore birds singing sweetly in the background.

The beach is often adorned with sand dollars, adding a touch of magic to the already serene atmosphere.

Things to do on Caladesi Island:

Take a leisurely stroll along the boat docks and bask in the warm Florida sunshine.

Go snorkeling at Main Beach and discover the underwater world.

Hike through the mangrove swamps and salt marshes, and down to the beach, experiencing the unique ecosystem that exists on the island.

13. St. Pete Beach

Welcome to St. Pete Beach, a beautiful barrier island located southeast of Clearwater and approximately 90 miles away from Orlando.

St. Pete Beach

For those who love outdoor adventures, Shell Key Preserve is a must-visit destination.

This pristine nature preserve is only accessible by boat, and visitors can explore the untouched beauty of the island’s pristine beaches and clear waters.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Historic Fort DeSoto is highly recommended.

Built-in 1898 during the Spanish American War, the fort offers a glimpse into the past and the military history of the region.

Visitors can also enjoy stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico from the fort’s observation deck.

Other activities that you can enjoy here include taking a dolphin-watching tour, renting a jet ski, paddleboard, or kayak, and exploring the calm waters of St. Pete Beach.

Learn about the history of St. Pete Beach and the Gulf Beaches at this charming museum. St. Pete Beach has plenty of fantastic restaurants, cafes, and bars serving up fresh seafood, tropical drinks, and more.

14. Treasure Island

With just a short 2-hour drive, you can escape to Treasure Island, a serene paradise located about 15.2 miles away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando.

Treasure Island

The warm, mild climate and crystal-clear waters create the perfect environment for soaking up the sunshine and taking long, leisurely walks along the pristine sand.

Families with children will appreciate the Treasure Island Beach Trail, which borders the beach and offers a safe, fun way to explore the area. And if you’re looking for activities, Treasure Island won’t disappoint!

Things to do on Treasure Island:

  • Experience the magical sight of dolphins and manatees swimming against the setting sun at Sunset Vista Trailhead Park
  • Rent a boat and explore the breathtaking Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic Preserve
  • Indulge in the finest top-quality seafood at Middle Grounds Grill
  • Find inner peace and refresh your mind and body with beach yoga while enjoying the refreshing breeze.

Also Read: 6 Best Things To do in The Florida Aquarium

15. Fort De Soto Park

As you make your way 118 miles southwest of Orlando, you will find yourself basking in the beauty of Fort De Soto Park, a beach destination that embodies relaxation, tranquility, and natural wonder.

Fort De Soto Park

The pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters are just the beginning of what makes this beach a must-visit spot.

Swing in the hammocks tied up between palm trees and enjoy the tropical breeze while spotting more than 300 species of birds that call this place home.

It’s no surprise that Fort De Soto Park has received numerous accolades over the years, including being named America’s Best Beach by TripAdvisor in 2009 and the World’s Best Beach for Families by USA Today in 2014.

Things to do in Fort De Soto Park are abundant. These are as follows:

  • Cast a line at the popular Florida fishing pier
  • Explore the historic Fort De Soto, made up of mortar battery cannons and coquina shells
  • Discover the islands of St. Christopher, Madelaine, Mullet, Main, Bonne Fortune, and St. Jean by taking a boat ride or kayaking

16. Sebastian Inlet State Park

Located just 90.5 miles from Orlando, Sebastian Inlet State Park is a hidden gem that offers a perfect escape for those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Sebastian Inlet State Park

This tranquil beach destination boasts pristine waters, soft sand, and a variety of outdoor activities that will keep you entertained.

Surf enthusiasts will be delighted to know that this is one of the most popular surfing spots in Florida, with its powerful waves that provide a thrilling experience.

You can also rent kayaks to explore the park’s lush mangroves or go hiking along the nature trails.

If you prefer to relax and soak up the sun, there’s plenty of space to lay out your beach towel, read a book, and unwind.

Those traveling with kids will have a blast building sandcastles, collecting shells, and playing in the gentle surf.

At night, I highly recommend staying in one of the park’s RV camping sites, which offer a unique opportunity to experience nature at its finest.

Gaze up at the starry sky and let the sounds of the ocean lull you to sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.

At night, I highly recommend staying in one of the park’s RV camping sites, which offer a unique opportunity to experience nature at its finest.

Gaze up at the starry sky and let the sounds of the ocean lull you to sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.

17. Davis Islands Beach

Davis Islands Beach is a picturesque sandy beach situated close to downtown Tampa.

Although swimming is not advised here, it’s still an excellent spot to soak up the Florida sun and indulge in outdoor activities.

Davis Islands Beach

You can take a leisurely stroll along the beach, feel the sand between your toes, or simply relax on a beach chair with a book in hand.

The stunning views of the nearby marina and skyline only add to the charm of this beach.

Marjorie Park is a beautiful waterfront park on Davis Islands, perfect for picnics, fishing, and relaxing. The park features a playground, picnic areas, and scenic views of the water.

Whether you’re looking for some peace and tranquility or want to enjoy a fun-filled day with family and friends, Davis Islands Beach is worth a visit.

Conclusion

Escape the hustle and bustle of Orlando’s theme parks and enjoy a peaceful day trip to one of the nearby beaches shared in the list of 17 Closest Beach Spots to Orlando You Should Visit.

From soaking up the sun to splashing in the waves, these beaches offer a perfect escape from the city’s chaos.

For a unique twist, head towards the Gulf for a refreshing change of pace. Not only will you be able to bask in the warm Florida sun, but you can also relish the natural beauty and avoid the crowds typically found at theme parks.

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