Best Beaches Near Orlando: A Guide to Sun, Sand, and Relaxation
When looking for the best beach near Orlando, we had to take many things into consideration, like location, and the quality of the sand.
Picture yourself basking in the warm Florida sun, the sound of crashing waves in the background, and the feeling of soft sand between your toes. While Orlando may be famous for its theme parks and attractions, it’s also just a short drive away from some of the best beaches in Florida.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly getaway, a surfing adventure, or a secluded spot to unwind, the beaches near Orlando have something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top beaches in the area, each offering its own unique charm and beauty.
Cocoa Beach: Where Fun Meets Surf
Without a doubt, the best beach near Orlando is Cocoa Beach. I do not know anyone who does not agree.
Located just an hour’s drive from Orlando, Cocoa Beach is a popular choice for both locals and visitors. This vibrant beach town offers a perfect combination of sun, sand, and surf. With its close proximity to Kennedy Space Centre, you might even catch a rocket launch while lounging on the beach.
Cocoa Beach is known as the surf capital of Florida, making it a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, there are plenty of surf schools and rental shops available. If surfing isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy a leisurely swim, build sandcastles, or simply soak up the sun.
After a day of beach activities, head to the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier. This historic landmark is home to restaurants, shops, and live music, providing the perfect backdrop for a sunset stroll or a romantic dinner by the sea. Don’t forget to try some fresh seafood at one of the local eateries, like Jazzy’s Mainely Lobster, known for its delicious lobster, clam chowder, and key lime pie.
New Smyrna Beach: A Local’s Paradise
Another great beach near Orlando is New Smyrna Beach. It is Just a short drive south of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach offers a more laid-back and local vibe. This 13-mile stretch of pristine shoreline is a favourite among surfers, beachcombers, and nature lovers.
New Smyrna Beach is known for its excellent surfing conditions, thanks to its consistent waves and uncrowded breaks. If you’re new to the sport, you can take lessons or rent equipment from one of the surf schools in the area. Apart from surfing, you can also enjoy beachcombing, shelling, fishing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the shore.
After a day of beach activities, explore Flagler Avenue, a vibrant street lined with boutiques, shops, and restaurants. Norwood’s, a popular restaurant and treehouse bar, offers a relaxed atmosphere and mouthwatering dishes like shrimp and grits.
St. Augustine Beach: History and Beauty Combined
If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach with a touch of history, St. Augustine Beach is the perfect destination. For many, St. Augustine Beach is the best beach near Orlando.
It is located just a couple of hours’ drive from Orlando, this charming beach town offers sparkling waters and a thriving beachfront community.
St. Augustine Beach is known for its wide sandy shores, perfect for beach volleyball, sunbathing, or building sandcastles with the kids. The beach is also home to the iconic St. Augustine Lighthouse, where you can climb to the top for breathtaking views of the city and the ocean.
After a day of beach fun, head to A1A Burrito Works for a delicious meal. This local eatery serves up mouthwatering burritos, tacos, and their own version of a crunch wrap. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even drive onto the beach at designated access points (with a four-wheel-drive vehicle) and enjoy a picnic by the shore.
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Flagler Beach: Serenity and Seclusion
When putting the list together for the best beaches near Orlando we had to consider many different things. One thing we had to consider was people’s needs. Not everyone wants a crowded beach.
For those seeking a quieter and more secluded beach experience, Flagler Beach is the perfect destination. Located between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, this hidden gem offers miles of unspoiled shoreline and a laid-back atmosphere.
Flagler Beach is known for its uncrowded beaches and pristine natural beauty. You can enjoy long walks along the shore, collect seashells, or simply relax in the sun. The area is also popular for fishing, with the opportunity to catch a variety of species from the beach or nearby piers.
When hunger strikes, head to Oceanside Beach Bar for a delicious meal. Their mahi-mahi and scallops are sure to satisfy your seafood cravings. Don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll on the fishing pier, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
St. Pete Beach: Pastel Paradise
Located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete Beach is a picture-perfect destination with its pastel-coloured buildings and white picket fences. This quintessential beach town offers not only beautiful beaches but also a vibrant arts scene and a variety of shops and restaurants.
St. Pete Beach is known for its stunning sunsets and soft white sand. You can spend your days lounging on the beach, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, or exploring the local art galleries and shops. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram photo, don’t miss the historic Don CeSar Hotel, which offers breathtaking views and a touch of old-world charm.
For a unique dining experience, head to the Blind Pass Marina and Snack Shack. This hidden gem serves up delicious seafood and offers a casual, laid-back atmosphere. Whether you’re craving fish tacos, crab cakes, or a refreshing drink, this local spot has you covered.
Canaveral National Seashore: Unspoiled Beauty
For nature enthusiasts and those seeking a more secluded beach experience, Canaveral National Seashore is a must-visit. Located just a short drive from Orlando, this pristine stretch of coastline offers miles of untouched beauty and a chance to reconnect with nature.
Canaveral National Seashore is known for its unspoiled beaches, sand dunes, and diverse wildlife. You can explore the area on foot, bike, or even by kayak, immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the park. Keep an eye out for sea turtles nesting on the beach or take a leisurely hike through the lush coastal hammocks.
As there are no stores within the park, be sure to bring your essentials like drinking water, snacks, and sunscreen. This is the perfect destination for those looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in the tranquillity of nature.
Melbourne Beach: A Hidden Gem
Nestled on a barrier island, Melbourne Beach offers a serene and secluded beach experience. With its pristine shoreline and natural beauty, this hidden gem is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Melbourne Beach is known for its unspoiled beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. You can also explore the three beach parks in the area. Sebastian Inlet State Park offers emerald-clear waters and is a popular spot for scuba diving, boating, and fishing. Coconut Point is a nesting site for sea turtles, and Ponce de Leon offers charming shops and restaurants.
After a day of beach activities, indulge in some delicious food at one of the local eateries. Long Doggers and Nini’s Cuban Cuisine are among the favourites, offering a variety of affordable and tasty dishes. This hidden gem is a true paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.
Treasure Island: A Beach Lover’s Paradise
Treasure Island lives up to its name, offering a true paradise for beach lovers. Located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, this stunning destination boasts miles of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Treasure Island is perfect for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing beach experience. You can take long walks along the shore, swim in the calm waters, or simply soak up the sun. The beach is also kid-friendly, with designated swim zones and lifeguards on duty.
Make sure to take a ride on the Beach Trolley, which connects various beaches and attractions in the area. This convenient mode of transportation allows you to explore the island and visit shops, restaurants, and other points of interest with ease.
Clearwater Beach: Beauty and Adventure
Clearwater Beach is renowned for its beauty and vibrant atmosphere. Located on the Gulf Coast, this stunning beach offers powder-soft sand, clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking sunsets.
Clearwater Beach is perfect for both relaxation and adventure. You can spend your days lounging on the beach, swimming in the calm waters, or indulging in various water sports like jet-skiing, paddleboarding, or parasailing. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to rescued dolphins and sea turtles.
When it comes to dining, make sure to try a classic grouper sandwich at one of the local restaurants. This delicious seafood delicacy is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Clearwater Beach is a true gem on the Gulf Coast, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and exciting activities.
Fort De Soto Park: Nature’s Paradise
Fort De Soto Park is a nature lover’s paradise and a must-visit destination near Orlando. This sprawling park spans over 1,136 acres and offers a diverse range of ecosystems, including palm hammocks, wetlands, and pristine beaches.
The park is home to over 300 species of birds, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. You can explore the park’s trails on foot or by bike, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the area. Fort De Soto Park is also known for its historic fort, which offers a glimpse into Florida’s past.
While visiting the park, make sure to pack your essentials like drinking water, snacks, and sunscreen, as there are no stores within the park. Spend your day exploring the park’s natural wonders, picnicking on the beach, or simply enjoying the tranquil atmosphere.
Discover the Best Beaches Near Orlando
From the bustling shores of Cocoa Beach to the serene beauty of Fort De Soto Park, the beaches near Orlando offer a wide range of experiences for every beach lover. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a glimpse into Florida’s history, these beaches have it all.
So, pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and get ready to explore the best beaches near Orlando. From family-friendly destinations to hidden gems off the beaten path, there’s a beach waiting for you to discover. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your beach getaway today!