The 15 Best Beaches Near Orlando [Directions and Highlights included]

Nov 30, 2022

The 15 Best Beaches Near Orlando
By Westgate Resorts

15 Beaches Near Orlando, Florida

Are you looking for the best beaches near Orlando? Worry not, we are here for you!

When you hear of Orlando, the first thing that comes to mind is dozens of iconic theme parks, right? But besides the famous Disney parks and Universal Orlando Resort, there are many other fun things to do in Orlando.

And if you feel that most of the activities here are more child-centered, The City Beautiful also has tons of fun things to do in Orlando for adults that will give you a thrilling experience.

One of the best ways to enjoy your vacations or day trips in Orlando is by visiting the beach.

Best Family Beach Near Orlando

And while there are no beaches in Orlando, itself, there are plenty of magnificent beaches close by. Most beaches near Orlando are a one-hour or two-hour drive from the city as you head to the coast. And since Orlando is centrally located, it becomes much easier to access either the Atlantic or Gulf Coast.

The Atlantic coast to the east is home to multiple idyllic and family-friendly beaches, including Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach. The east coast is also a beautiful spot to watch the sunrise.

On the other hand, the Gulf coast to the west of Orlando boasts Clearwater Beach and Siesta Key Beach, among others. When you visit the Gulf coast, be sure to catch a view of the unfailing sunset.

If you are planning a family vacation or a day trip with your kids, Orlando offers plenty of family-friendly beach options to choose from.

So, pack enough sunscreen and get your bathing suit ready as we explore the 15 best beaches near Orlando.

1 | Cocoa Beach | Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando, approximately 59.8 miles to the east. This famous beach sits on the magnificent Space Coast, so named for its proximity to the iconic Kennedy Space Center and its rocket launches.

Cocoa Beach is filled with soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, making it ideal for a wide range of beach activities, like building sand castles, swimming, deep-sea fishing and surfing. Besides playing in the sand and water, there are numerous other fun things to do in Cocoa Beach that will leave your entire family satisfied.

The highlight of this family-friendly beach is surfing. It is home to the largest surf school in the U.S., the Ron Jon Surf School, and the largest surf shop in the world, Ron Jon Surf Shop. Here, you can learn or improve your surfing skills. You can also shop for unique beach gear and souvenirs for the entire family.

We can't overlook the Cocoa Beach Pier. This iconic pier stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean and is home to numerous bars, gift shops, boutiques, restaurants and live musical entertainment.

Cocoa Beach Pier restaurants allow you and your family to test your taste buds by trying different cuisines while still enjoying an uninterrupted ocean and beach view. For a more memorable beach adventure, visit Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort, Cocoa Beach's most luxurious and convenient resort hotel.

This beach also offers a rare and beautiful sight of sea turtles in their natural habitat.

WHAT ELSE TO DO? For space fans, try visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. If you and your family are into animals, the Brevard Zoo is just about 30 minutes by car away from the beach. You can also take bioluminescence kayaking tours at night to see the water light up. There’s plenty to do for the whole family!

WHERE: N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931



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2 | Daytona Beach | Daytona Beach is another fabulous family-friendly destination along the east coast. This popular beach is strategically positioned just 55.8 miles from Orlando.

Daytona is more than just a mere beach, it's a city beach packed with some of Florida's most famous attractions and resorts. It’s also a popular spring break destination, as well as a hot spot for motorcycle enthusiasts who show up in droves for Bike Week.

Daytona Beach is considered the safest beach near Orlando, especially along A1A, which is marketed to tourists. With its restaurants, bars, activities and its walkability, Daytona has long catered to out-of-towners, making it a safe place to vacation. However, it’s always a good idea to stay along the main road and near heavily-trafficked locations.

This fun-filled beach features a whopping 23 miles of lush sand that blends well with the turquoise water. Daytona offers a host of beach activities, such as fishing, parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding and jet skiing. Speaking of jet skiing, here's a list of jet ski rental Orlando spots you should check out.

Daytona Beach also attracts baseball fans who can catch minor league games with the Daytona Beach Tortugas at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

This beach is also a hub for motorsports, thanks to its hard-packed sand. And if you are lucky, you can catch a NASCAR race on certain weekends at the Daytona International Speedway. This speedway also hosts February's iconic Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

Daytona beach boasts a pier and a vast boardwalk where you can relax, eat, shop and enjoy family-friendly live entertainment after a long activity-filled day.

A few steps away from the beach is the Daytona Lagoon water park, which offers waterslides, go-karts and laser tags that your little ones will enjoy.

If you visit this beach between May and October, watch out for sea turtles that flock to the sandy beach to lay their eggs.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting Daytona Beach, check out the Harbour Beach Resort, an oceanfront property overlooking the sun, sand and surf.

HOW FAR FROM DISNEY? The driving distance between Daytona Beach to Walt Disney World is 78 miles. It takes approximately an hour and a half to drive from Daytona Beach to Walt Disney World.

WHERE: Daytona Beach, FL 32114


3 | New Smyrna Beach | New Smyrna Beach is known as the “Shark Bite Capital of the World” because Volusia County, where New Smyrna Beach is located, records the most shark bites anywhere across the globe. In 2021, Volusia's 17 shark bites represented 15 percent of the global total, according to the University of South Florida.

The reason behind the shark bites could be attributed to the fact that Sharks are often in fairly shallow water where swimmers and surfers are playing. In New Smyrna Beach, the jetty or inlet areas are often where shark bites happen. This particular beach is home to some of the best waves for surfers in the southeast.

Despite its ominous acclaim to fame, New Smyrna Beach, commonly referred to NSB by locals, is a great beach for families and surfers hoping to catch some waves. NSB is located 55.9 miles from Orlando toward the Atlantic coast. This beach occupies approximately 13 miles of Florida's Atlantic coastline, covered in fine, well-packed sand.

Besides being an ideal place for all water activities, it’s also great for outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, golfing, sailing, cycling and motorboating.

NSB is also a refuge for sea turtles and dolphins, making it a great place for you to see them up close. Sightseeing tours offer great opportunities to clearly spot marine animals in their natural habitat.

If you’re looking for restaurants and shops, head to Flagler Avenue for quaint and quirky boutiques and good food.

NSB OR DAYTONA? If you are eager to get away from the hustle and bustle that tourists bring, New Smyrna Beach might be the best option for you. If you think you'll miss all the events, attractions and nightlife, Daytona Beach sounds like a perfect fit.

WHERE: New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169


4 | Clearwater Beach | Want a more quiet beach with a laid-back vibe? Visit Clearwater Beach, approximately 108.1 miles from Orlando, toward the Gulf coast. It’s located in St. Petersburg, Florida, about 35 minutes by car from Tampa, which is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Lightning. This beach is a beautiful paradise with over 2.5 miles of white sand beaches and calm, clear water. Now you know where the beach got its name!

Clearwater Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Florida, but it has also been named one of America’s best beaches time and time again. The beach has everything you need for a perfect day in the sun, sand and surf, from restaurants to shopping, parasailing, jet skiing and paddleboarding.

There's also a long list of family-friendly activities, such as building sand castles, flying kites and collecting shells. And if you want to explore more of the area, take a ferry ride to Caladesi Island State Park, one of Florida's few unspoiled islands.

This beach is also home to the famous Pier 60, a popular pier among locals and tourists. Pier 60 features several shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants and daily sunset celebrations with street performers, musicians and artisans.

And don't forget to take your kids to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where they can learn more about marine life and get up close with the dolphins.

EAST COAST OR WEST COAST BEACHES? The Atlantic coast has plenty to offer in the way of water sports. They get the better waves and, thus, some greater action. Florida's Gulf coast, however, is responsible for those visions of smooth, white sand beaches and crystal-clear water.

WHERE: Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228


5 | Canaveral National Seashore | Located on a barrier island 65.4 miles from Orlando is the Canaveral National Seashore, one of Florida's most beautiful and unspoiled coastlines. This coastline is home to some of the best beaches near Orlando. Canaveral National Seashore is home to more than 24 miles of pristine beaches, dunes and lagoons.

There are no resorts, shops or high-rise buildings here, just miles of pristine beach and beautiful boardwalk dunes fringed with swaying palms. So, pack enough food and drinks when visiting this beach.

This beach is also great for bird-watching, as it is home to over 200 species of birds. It's also a refuge for about 14 species of animals that are either endangered or threatened.

If you want a more adventurous experience, swim, snorkel or sunbathe. Ideally, it's a great place to relax and enjoy nature at its best.

If it's your lucky day, you can catch a breathtaking view of a rocket launch into space from the beach, thanks to its proximity to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.

WHERE: S Washington Ave, Titusville, FL 32796


6 | Ponce Inlet Beach | Ponce Inlet Beach rests approximately 64 miles northeast of Orlando. This beach is perfect for those who want to experience a more laid-back and quieter atmosphere.

Ponce Inlet Beach is famed for its excellent surf conditions, making it a popular spot for surfing, bodyboarding and kitesurfing.

This beach is also a great place to go fishing, as there are many spots along the beach where you can cast your line. You can also enjoy other watersports, such as parasailing and jet skiing. The hard-packed sand along its coastline makes this beach perfect for running, cycling and walking.

Don't miss out on the picturesque lighthouse. The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida, standing at 175 feet tall. This lighthouse offers spectacular views of the beach if you're willing to climb over 200 stairs to the top.

Winterhaven Park is another popular spot on this beach that is worth visiting. It's packed with amenities, such as freshwater showers, private restrooms, BBQ grills, picnic tables and a handicap-accessible boardwalk. Lifeguards are posted here during busier times, making this spot safe for your little ones.

WHERE: Ponce Inlet, FL 32127


7 | Satellite Beach | About 67.6 miles east of Orlando, you'll find that Satellite Beach offers a more secluded beach experience. This beach sits on a barrier island and is attached to a small town with the same name. Satellite Beach is perfect for those who want to find a place to relax and unwind.

This family-friendly beach is home to some of the best surf spots in Florida. The waves here are perfect for both beginner and experienced surfers. If you want to explore more of the area, there are many parks and nature reserves nearby that are worth visiting.

Pelican Beach Park is one of the popular spots on this beach that your kids will enjoy. While in this park, you can cook your favorite BBQ or enjoy tasty dishes served from the covered pavilion.

And if you want to bring your furry canine friend along for some beachside fun, Satellite Beach Dog Park is the perfect spot for your pup.

WHERE: 565 Cassia Boulevard Satellite Beach, FL 32937


8 | Indialantic Beach | Indialantic Beach, so named for its prime location between the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, sits approximately 71 miles southeast of Orlando.

This pretty beach is a wonderful place to visit with your little ones. The sand here is very fine, and the waves are gentle, making it a perfect place to build sandcastles or splash around in the water. The wide stretches of sand make this beach ideal for playing different beach games.

Other activities you can enjoy with your kids include surfing, swimming, sunbathing and fishing.

Indialantic Beach is home to many restaurants, cafes and bars, so you can enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the beautiful view.

This beach also has a two-mile boardwalk where you can take a leisurely stroll or go for a jog as you take in the scenery.

And to add to its charm, Indialantic Beach has a well-equipped playground for kids.

WHERE: 2 Wave Crest Ave, Indialantic, FL 32903


9 | Melbourne Beach | Melbourne Beach is another beach near Orlando that you can visit with your little ones. Located just 75.3 miles from Orlando toward the Atlantic coast, this beach is a great place to visit if you want to experience a more peaceful atmosphere away from the busy city life and vacation crowds.

The sand here is very soft and cinnamon-hued, and the water is crystal clear, making it perfect for swimming, bodyboarding and surfing. The clear water also makes it easy to spot some marine life, such as manatees enjoying their natural habitat.

There's also a wooden pier on this beach that serves as an optimal fishing destination and a perfect spot for sunset watching.

If you want to explore more of the area, there are many parks and nature reserves nearby that are worth your time. The Brevard Zoo is one of the popular spots in Melbourne Beach that your kids will enjoy.

WHERE: Melbourne Beach, FL 32951


10 | Flagler Beach | Flagler Beach is another family-friendly beach in Orlando. The sand is soft and white, and the waves are gentle and inviting. There's plenty of room to spread out and the beach is well-kept and clean.

Best of all, there's a wide range of activities to keep everyone entertained. From building sandcastles to collecting shells, there's something for everyone at Flagler Beach. And when you're ready for a break from the sun, the nearby restaurants and shops make it easy to grab a bite or do some shopping.

Whether you're looking for a day of fun in the sun or a relaxing afternoon by the water, Flagler Beach is the perfect spot.

WHERE: Flagler Beach, FL 32136


11 | Vero Beach | Our list of the best beaches near Orlando can't be complete without Vero Beach. This beach is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It is located on Florida's Treasure Coast, and it's a great place to relax and unwind. Vero Beach is located a little under two hours from Orlando, making a doable day trip.

Vero Beach is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, which makes it a perfect spot for building sandcastles or simply relaxing in the sun. The beach is also great for swimming, boating and windsurfing. There are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, so you can always find something to do.

Because of its location, the beach is also less crowded and perfect for families. This means you can relax and enjoy your time with your family without worrying about fighting for a spot on the sand.

FUN FACT: Spanish ships carrying treasures are believed to have wrecked off on the shores of this coastline. So, keep your eyes peeled because you might spot some treasures washed to the shore by the waves.

WHERE: 11260 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, FL 33706


12 | Ormond Beach | This dune-backed beach lies north of Daytona Beach and is one of the best beaches near Orlando for those who want to avoid crowds.

Ormond Beach has a more natural and rustic feel than some of the other beaches in the area, and it's a great place to enjoy the Florida scenery. The beach is also great for swimming, surfing, fishing and kayaking.

There are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, so you can always find something to do when you're not enjoying the beach. If you are a foodie, Granada Boulevard is the best spot to enjoy mouthwatering dishes.

SIGHTSEEING TIP: Ormond Beach is also home to Tomoka State Park, which is a great place to explore if you want to see more of the natural Florida landscape.

WHERE: Ormond Beach, FL 32174


13 | St. Pete Beach | St. Pete Beach is strategically positioned west of St. Petersburg, Florida, approximately 110 miles southeast of Orlando to the Gulf coast. St. Pete Beach is about two hours or two and a half hours away from Orlando.

It's covered in soft clean sand and warm waters perfect for a host of beach activities, such as swimming, fishing, sunbathing, and water sports. St. Pete Beach is also a good place to take walks, especially during sunset when the whole area glows in beautiful hues.

In addition to the beach, there are also many restaurants and shops located nearby. You can find everything from casual beachwear to high-end fashion boutiques.

ST. PETE BEACH OR CLEARWATER BEACH? Both have been ranked year after year for their award-winning beaches. In 2019, Clearwater Beach was #1 Beach in the US by TripAdvisor's Best Beaches. Then in 2021, St Pete Beach was ranked #1 by TripAdvisor! Needless to say, they have a lot in common with their natural beauty. If your vacation plans are largely focused on beach time, Clearwater would be the clear choice. Clearwater Beach has more to do within walking distance with easy accessibility on the promenade. If you are looking to explore, St. Pete Beach has better accessibility to Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg. Clearwater Beach is further and the roads tend to be more heavily trafficked than St. Pete Beach.

WHERE: St Pete Beach, FL 33706


14 | Siesta Key Beach | Siesta Key Beach is located 138. 5 miles southwest of Orlando in Sarasota, the former home of the Ringling Brother Circus. It's one of the most popular beaches in Florida, and it's easy to see why. The white sand is powdery soft and stays cool under your feet, the water is crystal clear and the views are simply stunning. Siesta Key Beach is repeatedly named the best beach in Florida, or at least one of the best beaches in The Sunshine State.

Siesta Key Beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, fishing and kayaking. This beach is also popular for beach volleyball and kite surfing.

There are kid-friendly shallows where your kids can enjoy splashing in the water. Full-time lifeguards are a bonus for families.

This beach also boasts picnic tables, BBQ grills, tennis courts, volleyball courts and playgrounds.

A few miles from the beach is Siesta Key Village, where you can find shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors and bars. There are also numerous other attractions, including a marine laboratory and aquarium, 50 miles of canals and waterways and several caves and lagoons.

FUN FACT: The sand at Siesta Key is made up of 99 percent pure quartz, giving the beach not only its color, but its powdered sugar feel. The beaches of Siesta Key have quartz that originally came from the southern Appalachian Mountains via rivers to the Gulf of Mexico, washing up on the beach over time.

WHERE: 948 Beach Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242


15 | Caladesi Island State Park | Sitting 110 miles southwest of Orlando in Clearwater lies Caladesi Island State Park. The island is one of the completely natural islands in Florida and is accessible only by boat, which makes it a great place to get away from the hustles and bustles of the city.

This beach is perfect for nature lovers as it's teeming with wildlife. The powdery beaches are perfect for sunbathing, building sandcastles and strolling. The island is also great for swimming, fishing, kayaking and picnicking.

Caladesi Island State Park is covered in mangroves, palm trees and lush vegetation. It's a great place to enjoy the Florida landscape and wildlife.

If you want to explore the island, there are several walking trails that wind through the island's natural vegetation. You can follow one of the interior trails to the historic Scharrer Homestead, where you'll enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico.

There is also a marina on the island where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards and other beach equipment.

And while there's a snack bar at this beach, there are no major restaurants, so it's advisable to pack your own water and lunch if you plan to spend the whole day at the beach.

WHERE: 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698


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Last Tips on Finding the Best Beaches Near Orlando!

These are some of the best family-friendly beaches near Orlando. As you can see, there's a beach for every taste and preference. Whether you want to enjoy the Florida landscape, marine life, or simply relax on the sand, you're sure to find the perfect beach for you. So, take note of the beaches that stand out to you, grab your sunscreen and have some beachside fun!

If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s close to the action, Westgate’s Orlando resorts are just minutes away. For more travel tips and guides, visit our Westgate Resorts Travel Blog.


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* Westgate Resorts is in no way affiliated with the attractions featured in this article. Items or places listed are current as of the publishing date of this article. Please call or visit the respective website for the most up-to-date offerings and details.

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