Orlando has amazing waterparks, splash pads, and refreshing springs, but sometimes you just need to put your toes in the water at the beach. We aren’t located directly on the coast, but we sure are close to beautiful beaches! In just 1-2 hours you can reach these top the best beaches near Orlando.
Cocoa Beach is the nearest beach to Orlando. Drive an hour east, and you’ll reach this beautiful spot on the magnificent Space Coast, so named for its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
A hot spot for surfers, the waves here are epic. Few visitors sit still for long on this luxurious strand. With bikes to rent, boogie boards to ride, and sandcastles to build, there’s plenty to keep the entire family entertained.
You can’t miss the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier. A wooden gem that oozes charm, this 800-foot masterpiece offers shops, live music, fun restaurants, and spectacular views. Save time for a visit to Ron Jon’s Surf School. It’s the perfect place to learn how to surf.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach occupies 13 miles of Florida’s Atlantic coast. Close to Orlando, this lovely strand has become known as the amusement park haven’s “locals beach.” It’s a go-to for both visitors and locals looking for an easy day trip to the shore.
The surf here is large, making it a popular destination for those looking to hang 10. And everyone loves the walkable sand. It’s fine and well-packed, making it hard enough for cars to park on the strand. The sand also provides a good environment for beach cycling. You can even bike into the waves.
Every good beach should be bordered by an adorable beach town. New Symrna offers charm in spades. Walk along historic Flagler Avenue to find quirky boutiques and a variety of restaurants, all with a laid-back vibe.
Although Clearwater Beach is a slightly longer drive from Orlando—clocking in at about one hour and 50 minutes—its white sand beaches, clear, warm water, and gorgeous sunsets make it well worth the extra mileage. Florida’s Gulf coast is famous for its sunsets and catching one at Clearwater Beach certainly won’t disappoint.
If you’re looking for some post-beach activities, don’t miss Sunset at Pier 60 (yep, we told you sunset was a big deal on the Gulf coast!). There, you’ll find food, drinks, and family-friendly activities to help your crew celebrate the end of a perfect beach day—364 days per year. Alternately, head to Clearwater Point for, ahem, livelier activities. Think fun, beach-front bars, local seafood restaurants, and nightlife.
It will take about an hour and a half to get to this quiet beach, nearly 80 miles from Orlando, in between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine. This strand is the highlight of the small beach town of the same name.
Its clean golden sand and warm surf invites those who like to swim, sunbathe, and surf without having to fight through crowds to reach the water. You won’t have to wade through touristy kitsch on your way to the sand, either. Instead, the charming town is peppered with adorable shops and restaurants.
Flagler Beach boasts a well-loved fishing pier offering beautiful views and an optimal place to cast a rod. Expect to pay a minimal fee (about $1.50 to walk on the wooden deck, a bit more if you’re planning to fish).
It will take about an hour and a half to reach Melbourne Beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast. An oasis situated on a barrier island sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River, this is the place to come if you’re looking for a slice of serenity.
No crowds will bother you here, and you won’t face the inflated prices found at shops and restaurants bordering more popular beaches. It features a beautiful wooden pier, extending over the water to provide visitors with an optimal fishing destination, as well as a perfect sunset-watching venue.
The water here is clear enough to spot some of the area’s vast marine life swimming by. Keep your eyes peeled; you may be lucky enough to spot a stingray or manatee.