19 Best Beaches Near Orlando to Dip Your Feet in the Sand

So you’ve seen Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks and now wondering what to do next? The good news is there are plenty of stunning beaches near Orlando along the Gulf or Atlantic coast to fill your time.

Gulf beaches have soft white sand and are ideal for sunsets, while Atlantic-side beaches provide a great sight for sunrise, better surfing conditions, and more firmly packed sand.

Only a one-hour drive from Orlando will get you to many idyllic areas, including Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, and Daytona Beach.

Cocoa Beach is one of the closest and best beaches near Orlando for surfing. Just ask local surfing legend and world champion Kelly Slater, who learned to surf here.

If you don’t mind a bit of a longer drive (about 2 hours) further toward the Gulf Coast, you’ll find epic white sandy beaches and the azure waters of Fort de Soto Park, Clearwater Beach, and Siesta Key Beach.

And I only scratched the surface in this intro. Read on to discover more beaches near Orlando.

Discover the Best Beaches Near Orlando

the pier in cocoa beach
Image Credit: tamara321 / Shutterstock
  • Best Dog-Friendly Beaches near Orlando – Canova Beach Park, Ponce Inlet Dog Beach, Fort de Soto Park
  • Best Beaches near Orlando for Surfing – Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Melbourne Beach, Sebastian Inlet State Park, Anastasia State Park
  • Best Beaches near Orlando for Nightlife – Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, St Pete Beach
  • Best Quiet Beaches near Orlando – Flagler Beach, Brevard Beach, Ormond Beach, Canaveral National Seashore
  • Best Beaches near Orlando for Families – Ponce Inlet Beach, Sebastian Inlet State Park, Clearwater Beach, Vero Beach, Ormond Beach
  • Best Unspoiled Beaches near Orlando – Caladesi Island State Park, Anastasia State Park, Canaveral National Seashore
  • Best Beaches near Orlando for Camping – Fort de Soto Park, Sebastian Inlet Park, Anastasia State Park

1. Cocoa Beach – 1h

Cocoa Beach pier in Cape Canaveral of Florida near Orlando
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Cocoa Beach is one of the closest beaches to Orlando. It’s located on Florida’s Space Coast, famous for its rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center. The beach is about one hour drive, making for an easy day trip from Orlando.

Cocoa Beach is a beach town with many shops and restaurants along the Cocoa Beach Pier.

It’s also home to some of the best surfing in the United States. So if you’ve ever dreamed of getting into surfing, the waves are well-suited for beginners. While here, don’t miss an opportunity to see the world’s largest surf shop – Ron Jon Surf Shop.

Cocoa Beach has vast stretches of white sand and clear waters that are excellent for jogging, a pleasant stroll, or swimming.

There are changing rooms, playgrounds, showers, picnic areas with grills, and snack shops. Beach stalls sell the basic beach necessities, and lifeguards are on duty in the summer. You’ll find metered parking all along Flagler Street.

You can also check out several beach parks. Alan Shepard Park, named for the famous astronaut, is the most centrally located but also the most crowded. If you prefer a slightly less crowded beach, head to Sidney Fischer Park.

Lori Wilson Park is a great choice if you’re looking for a laid-back vibe with more locals than tourists. The beach park has an interpretive boardwalk, three pavilions, and a dog park. However, no dogs are allowed on the beach.

You might be interested in:

Fun Things to Do in Cocoa Beach

2h Boat Tour of Indian River Lagoon

Family-friendly Activities in Orlando

Top-Rated All-inclusive Resorts in Florida 

2. Daytona Beach – 1h

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA beachfront skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Daytona Beach is another great beach getaway, only one hour from Orlando. It has been closely linked with car racing since the time of Henry Ford, who raced on the beach during his winter vacations.

The town is known for the Daytona 500, an annual NASCAR racing competition that attracts thousands of race enthusiasts. But, even if there’s no race taking place, Daytona International Speedway offers year-round tours of this legendary race track.

The beach allows you to bring your car directly onto the sand. It can get busy here, especially in the “strip” area between International Speedway Boulevard and Seabreeze Boulevard.

If you’re traveling with small kids, be extra careful with all the traffic on the beach. For non-sandy activities to entertain the kids, check out Daytona Lagoon, complete with go-kart racing, a miniature golf course, a laser arena, and more.

Daytona Beach is also a favorite spot for students to spend spring break. The beach has a buzzing atmosphere. You can enjoy swimming, water sports, chill at beachfront bars or play beach volleyball and it’s one of the most popular Orlando beaches.

3. Ormond Beach – 1h

Ormond Beach Shore line Sunrise
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Ormond Beach is just North of Daytona Beach, stretching along the Atlantic Coast. It has a small-town feel and is much quieter than Daytona Beach, making for a pleasant escape from crowds.

For a quiet beach getaway, I recommend Al Weeks Sr. North Shore Park. The park has basic facilities and a lifeguard, so you can swim safely and clean up afterward with the on-site showers. Parking is free but limited, so arrive early to snatch your spot. The sand is golden, soft, and coarse.

There are no restaurants directly on the beach, but you’ll find several options on Granada Boulevard.

Interestingly, millionaire John. D. Rockefeller owned a winter home, the Casements, in Ormond Beach. The mansion has been restored and converted into a museum. Inside the mansion are a few Rockefeller-era artifacts, including the high-sided wicker beach chair.

Other tourist attractions in the area are Tomoka State Park and ‘The Birthplace of Speed,’ which hosts an annual Vintage Car Show.

Because of its low-key vibe, car-free zone, and guarded waters, Ormond Beach is one of the popular beaches near Orlando for families.

4. New Smyrna Beach – 1h

people on New Smyrna Beach florida
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

New Smyrna Beach town has a long dune beach bordering the Canaveral National Seashore. Behind the dunes sit cozy beach houses and small hotels with views of the Atlantic coast.

It’s also listed as one of the most charming coastal small towns in America.

If you are looking for good baches near Orlando, the public New Smyrna beach offers 7 miles of nice hard-pack sand and some of the best surfing on the East Coast. At low tide, it can be stunningly wide in some areas. The beach has free parking, clean restrooms, and outdoor showers.

Cars are allowed on certain sections of the beach if you purchase a day pass.

Side Note: The sandy dunes of New Smyrna Beach are endangered; therefore, it’s against the law to walk on, play in them, or pick the seagrass.

5. Canaveral National Seashore – 1h

Canaveral National Seashore
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Canaveral National Seashore is 24 miles of undeveloped pristine beaches with no man-made structures in sight. The state park is a pure wilderness with many species of plants and wildlife.

Secluded and peaceful beaches, wildlife sanctuary, fishing spots, and extensive hiking trails make Canaveral an ideal place for outdoor adventure and a relaxing day on the beach.

The water is beautiful and clear. It’s most definitely worthwhile to make the one-hour drive from Orlando to get here. There are 13 parking lots at Canaveral, with bathrooms in each lot.

Just pack up lots of water, food, and other necessities, as there are no vendors here.

The most stunning beach on Canaveral National Seashore is Playalinda, ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

The beaches have boardwalks, making them wheelchair accessible. If you prefer more privacy, walk further away from the boardwalks.

Just keep in mind the very last beach on park road – Beach No. 13, is a nude beach. If that’s not your cup of tea, then you might want to avoid this section.

6. Satellite Beach – 1h

Satellite Beach
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Satellite Beach is a coastal town sheltered by dunes, about 15 miles south of Cocoa Beach.

It’s one of the local’s favorite beaches near Orlando for family vacations because of its slow pace and fewer crowds.

Satellite Beach has a stunning beachfront Canova beach park with playgrounds, pavilions, showers, restrooms, benches, and picnic facilities.

The gorgeous coastline and abundant sunshine make Satellite Beach a great spot for a quick beach getaway from Orlando.

Moreover, Canova Beach Park is dog friendly, with plenty of areas to explore with your pup. The beach park is known for stunning sunrises, so get up early to catch one.

7. Ponce Inlet Beach – 1h 10 mins

Ponce Inlet Beach
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Between Daytona and New Smyrna Beach, you’ll find Ponce Inlet Beach and Lighthouse Point Park. The beach is safe, clean, and quiet, and it’s one of the best beaches near Orlando for families.

The Lighthouse Point Park features a large ship with walls, stairs, ropes, and slides. It is a lot of fun for children about 3 to 12 years old. There are a few swings, two picnic tables, and a gazebo near the playground.

To the North, you’ll come by the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. At 175 feet in height, it is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and one of the tallest in the US. To the south is a fishing charter and a refreshing ice cream shop.

The restrooms are usually fairly clean. If you have a furry friend, make sure to visit the dog beach area.

8. Flagler Beach – 1h 10 mins

Lifeguard on watch by Flagler Beach, Florida
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lena Grottling

Flagler Beach is a funky beach town about 30 miles north of Daytona, worthy of a day trip if not an extended stay. The beach here is vast, with softer sand than the more hard-packed beaches of Daytona.

The stunning coastal drive north of Ormond Beach is part of the fun, with beautiful ocean views that stretch for miles.

Flagler Beachfront Winery makes for a great first stop along the way. And, yes, they make their own wine and have an outdoor seating area. The winery also has a selection of wine slushies and delicious cheese, charcuterie platters, and flatbreads.

Or, try High Tides at Snack Jack, which serves fresh seafood right on the beach, including some of the best spicy-steamed shrimp in Florida.

The town is centered around Flagler Pier, which provides fishing gear for rent.

9. Indialantic Beach – 1h 20 mins

Indialantic Beach
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Going further south of Cocoa Beach, you’ll get to Indialantic Beach, the quaint but charming Atlantic beach town.

This beach has all you need – sun, surf, sand, water sports, and enough waves to make it fun for the braver swimmers. The sunrise and the views are spectacular.

Indialantic Beach is a great beach near Orlando for families and anyone looking for some beach fun. Plus, you can view rocket launches from the Cape at a further distance but with fewer crowds.

It has clean changing facilities and plenty of parking (paid). They also have lifeguards on parts of the beach.

You’ll find many food options and several surf shops within walking distance if you forget anything.

10. Melbourne Beach – 1h 20 mins

Melbourne Beach
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Melbourne Beach seashore is tremendous with beautiful scenery. You have a wide stretch of sand to take a stroll. The water is blue and clear, great for swimming or surfing.

Just next door to Melbourne Beach, you’ll find Brevard Beach.

Both Brevard and Melbourne Beach are conveniently located right down the road from all the shopping centers and restaurants at Cocoa Beach. They’re much less busy than Cocoa, making them a better option if you want to unwind and prefer fewer crowds.

Brevard Beach has free parking and big bathrooms. The beach is also very clean, and the sand is soft.

Melbourne Beach has several picnic tables, a bathroom, and a lifeguard on duty during the main season. You might see some turtle hatchlings if you come during the right time of year.

11. Sebastian Inlet State Park – 1h 30 mins

Sebastian Inlet State Park
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The Sebastian Inlet State Park, with 3 miles of pristine beaches, is one of the most popular state parks in Florida. The water is crystal clear. A tranquil inlet is an ideal place to swim where you don’t have to worry about crashing waves.

As per facilities, there’s paid parking, a restaurant/gift shop, changing rooms, restrooms, and picnic tables.

The park’s pier extends into the Atlantic Ocean, providing a great platform for fishing and observing marine life. The ospreys are a particularly fascinating species to watch as they hunt for fish. You might even spot dolphins and manatees.

The park is famous for surfing too. Many surfing competitions take place on weekends, and there are surfboards for rent.

Plus, there’s camping available if you want to stay longer.

12. Vero Beach – 1h 40 mins

Vero Beach
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Vero Beach is a quiet, picturesque beach town with interesting art galleries, antique shops, and trendy restaurants. Most of the fun takes place along Ocean Drive and around Orchid Island’s beaches.

Vero Beach area provides excellent diving opportunities. You can spot dozens of species of tropical fish, corals, turtles, manatees, rays, and more.

One of the best beaches in Vero Beach is Hamiston Park. The shore is somewhat narrow, so it can get crowded, but the vibrant scene and other amenities make it a great choice if you like action.

There’s a children’s playground, lifeguards, plus a ton of hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops within walking distance.

Other perks are free parking, picnic areas, benches, restrooms, and outdoor showers.

13. Anastasia State Park – 1h 45 mins

Saint Augustine Beach - summer 2017, Anastasia State park, St Augustine, Florida
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Mazharava Larysa

If you don’t mind paying a small entrance fee for beach access, Anastasia State Park is a great beach option near Orlando.

There’s a playground and snack bar where you can order sandwiches and sodas or rent a beach chair, umbrella, surfboard, and other beach necessities.

The park is a good surfing spot. It has wide beach access and extensive nature trails that wind through marshland.

Despite the park’s popularity, several areas to the south are quieter but have much rougher water.

Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards can be rented at the on-site island store. The campsite is also very popular.

14. Clearwater Beach – 2h

clearwater beach is one of the best beaches near orlando
Image Credit: mariakray/Shutterstock.

Families with kids love Clearwater Beach’s white sand and shallow, clear warm waters.

It’s a great spot for beach volleyball. Another fun activity is to visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

To top it off, you can watch the sunset from Pier 60, complete with musicians and artisans. The beach around Pier 60 is one of the area’s nicest and busiest beaches.

The water sports facilities are excellent. Boat trips of all kinds depart from the marina, from diving and dolphin watching to fishing excursions.

It can get pretty packed, especially approaching sunset, so get here early.

You can also check out the nearby Sand Key Park, which has a lovely beach, plenty of green space, a playground, bathrooms, showers, and a picnic area.

15. St. Pete Beach – 2h

St. Pete Beach
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If you’re looking for white sand beaches near Orlando with clean and clear water, St. Pete Beach is a great option.

St. Pete Beach has a 7-mile strip of white sand and a vibrant live music scene. Plus, the sunsets here are hard to beat.

Upham Beach Park has one of the best beaches in the area. The park also has rental paddleboards and a toy library where kids can grab toys to play with in the sand. Once they’re done, all they have to do is return to it.

While here, make sure to check out the stunningly beautiful Secret Garden.

16. Fort de Soto Park – 2h 20 mins

Fort de Soto Park
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Fort de Soto Park offers a little bit of everything for everyone.

It has 7 miles of waterfront, two fishing piers, boating, hiking, cycling, picnic-and-camping grounds, and a historic fort. Kayaks and paddleboards are also available for rental.

And for dog parents, there is a long and popular dog beach just north of the main fishing pier.

You can spend a fantastic beach day roaming the fort, dipping your feet into the sand, hunting seashells, and floating on blue-green waters.

The fort was built to protect the sea border in the Gulf during the Spanish-American War.

17. Honeymoon Island State Park – 2h 20 mins

Honeymoon Island State Park
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Honeymoon Island State Park is a beach lover’s paradise. It’s a beautiful spot to shell hunt and snorkel around. The water is calm and warm, great for swimming.

They have a visitor center with tons of great information, fun items to purchase, and activities for children. There are bike trails you can ride as well as walking trails.

To refill your energy, you can grab snacks from a little cafe with outdoor seating while taking in the ocean views.

For dog lovers, there is a section called dog beach for you to bring your furry family members.

Public restrooms are available, as well as showers to rinse the sand off after a fun day on the beach.

18. Siesta Key Beach – 2h 30 mins

Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota Florida shot by aerial drone. #1 Beach in the USA.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Suncoast Aerials

Siesta Key was ranked the number 1 beach in Florida and for good reason.

Boasting one of the finest powdery quartz sand in the world, the beach is exceptionally wide and long, ideal for all types of beach activities.

The water is warm and crystal clear. The sunsets are magnificent.

On top of that, there are many dining and shopping options in Siesta Key, as well as night-time entertainment.

The beach tends to get pretty crowded on weekends, but if you arrive during weekdays, you’ll be just fine.

19. Caladesi Island State Park – 2h 30 mins

Caladesi Island State Park
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Accessible only by ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park (about 15-20 mins), Caladesi Island State Park is one of the very few remaining unspoiled beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The park offers pure white sand beaches, beautiful sunsets, and scenic kayaking adventures through mangrove forests.

The beaches are quiet, secluded, and wild. The views from nearly every corner of the beach are stunning.

The park is also one of the best sea shelling locations on the Gulf Coast, right after Sanibel. You can enjoy plenty of island trails and sights for birdwatching.

The gradual slope of the sea bottom makes this a good spot to swim for kids.

The Best Beaches Near Orlando

woman on a hammock having one of her best beach getaways
Courtesy Visit Florida

So there you have it. You have plenty of beaches to choose from to spice up your Central Florida vacation.

Pick the one that you feel most drawn to, and get ready to enjoy some sunshine. Don’t forget your sunscreen, water, and snacks for the journey, and have splashing fun!

What is the nicest beach near Orlando?

Amazing aerial picture of the Cocoa Beach Pier located in Florida with blue sea
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Kevin Capella

We think Cocoa Beach is the nicest beach near Orlando for its white sand beach and gorgeous clear water.

What beaches are closest to Orlando?

woman on beach
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These beaches are within an hour of Orlando:

  • Cocoa Beach
  • Daytona Beach
  • Ormond Beach
  • New Smyrna Beach
  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Satellite Beach

How far is Cocoa Beach from Orlando?

Happy family spending good time at the beach together, taking selfie
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Cocoa Beach is one hour from Orlando.

What is the best beach near Orlando?

save money on a beach vacation and dream about your next one using these vacation quotes
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Our vote is Cocoa Beach for its white sand, clear water, and fantastic for surfing.

Travel Writer at Savoteur | + posts

Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.