In this article, I will break down some of the most popular beaches in the Central Florida near the Orlando area! These are some of my favorite beaches near Orlando, so I’ll talk about everything they have to offer for the perfect weekend getaway!
Table of Beaches Near Orlando, Florida
If you are planning a family vacation to Florida this summer, you may have some serious decisions to make. Florida is a pretty big state, so it is unlikely that you will have enough time to explore everything that the Sunshine State has to offer.
Between the calm, historic vibes of North Florida to the late-night parties in South Florida and everything in between. Many people consider Central Florida one of the best places to visit because it has the excitement of world-class theme parks with beautiful beaches just a short drive away.
Orlando is one of the land-locked cities in Florida, so you won’t find beaches in your backyard, but you do have easy access to some amazing Florida beaches on either side of the coast.
The east coast offers beaches along the Atlantic Ocean such as Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach, while the west coast is home to Gulf Coast beaches including Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach.
|Beach||Points of Interest|
|Clearwater Beach, FL||-Pier 60 nightly festival|
– Clearwater Marine Aquarium
-Caladesi Island State Park
|Daytona Beach, FL||– Closest beach to Orlando at a 1-hour drive|
-“World’s most famous beach”
-NASCAR’s Daytona 500 race
|New Smyrna Beach, FL||-Indian River Lagoon Park|
|Flagler Beach, FL||-Laid back and restful spot|
-The Flagler Beach Historical Museum
-The Flagler Beachfront Winery
|St. Pete Beach, FL||-excellent spot to go deep sea fishing in Gulf of Mexico|
|Cocoa Beach, FL|| -Kennedy Space Center|
-bird watching at Lori Wilson Park
|St. Augustine Beach, FL||-Historic colonial district downtown|
-Castillo de San Marcos monument
|Melbourne Beach, FL||-Snorkeling and fishing|
-Melbourne Beach Pier
|Ormond Beach, FL||-Boating at Tomoka State Park|
-Downtown district and shops
|Vero Beach, FL||-Peaceful beaches and great spot for metal detecting|
Top Beaches Near Orlando, Florida
Florida has miles of beaches ready to be enjoyed by your whole family. Orlando is a short drive away from crystal clear, warm waters and swaying palm trees that will make you feel like you’re on a tropical island. Here’s the list of the best beaches near Orlando, Florida.
1. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach has repeatedly been voted “Florida’s #1 Beach” for many years because it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the state. It is the perfect place to swim through clear waters and soak up the sun, it’s also one of the best beaches in Florida to host a bachelorette party!
Other popular activities include picnicking at Caladesi Island State Park, kayaking through mangroves, hiking the nearby nature trails, and learning about sea turtles and dolphins at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
You can also pay a visit to Pier 60, which hosts a nightly festival with a variety of street performers, live music, and other vendors.
Clearwater Beach is located 108 miles, about 2 hours driving distance from Orlando.
2. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is the closest ocean beach to Orlando at 55-miles away, which is about a 1-hour drive.
It is likely you have already heard of this place because it is the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” which is proudly displayed at the entrance to the boardwalk. Daytona Beach is known for its 23 miles of wide beach that contains hard-packed sand which allow visitors to drive right on the beach!
It is also the closest beach to Orlando, which makes it the perfect day trip.
Daytona Beach is also a mecca for speed racing and motor enthusiasts. Each year, you will find millions visiting Daytona Beach to participate in events such as Bike Week and NASCAR’s Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway.
Daytona Beach is located 55 miles, about a 1-hour driving distance from Orlando.
3. New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River. This quintessential beach town offers 17 miles of family-friendly beaches with soft white sand and the perfect waves for surfing.
Some popular spots around New Smyrna to enjoy the beach and other water activities are Indian River Lagoon Park, which provides wildlife viewing, walking trails, picnic areas, and a fishing pier, and Smyrna Dunes Park which is right by New Smyrna Beach.
New Smyrna Beach is located 60 miles, about a 1-hour and 30-minute driving distance from Orlando.
4. Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach is located along Florida’s Atlantic Coast between Ormond Beach and St. Augustine. This is a popular destination because it is such a short drive from Orlando! This small town is the perfect place for a quiet and relaxing weekend. Here, you can find waterfront cafes, surf shops, and miles of beautiful beaches.
When you’re in Flagler Beach, be sure to visit some amazing places such as The Flagler Beach Historical Museum, The Flagler Beachfront Winery, or Down to Earth Pottery. If you are looking for a place to grab a bite to eat, try Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill or buy some produce from the Flagler Beach Farmers Market and cook a great meal at home!
Flagler Beach is located 76 miles, about 1-hour and 45-minutes driving distance from Orlando.
5. St. Pete Beach
Located just west of St. Petersburg in Pinellas County is one of the very best Florida Beaches, St. Pete Beach! This natural beauty is in a prime location on the way to some other great Gulf Coast Beaches such as Fort De Soto Park and Anna Maria Island.
St. Pete Beach is the perfect place for deep-sea fishing since the Gulf of Mexico is known for its abundance of snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder. Additionally, from May 1st through October 31st, Loggerhead turtles swim to shore to nest and hatch over 100 eggs along the shores of this beach. You can often find tour groups that gather to see these nests.
St. Pete Beach is located 113 miles, about a 2-hour driving distance from Orlando.
6. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is one of the closest beaches to Orlando, which is why it is one of the most popular on our list. This beach is south of Cape Canaveral and Port Canaveral and acts as a gateway to the Kennedy Space Center. The beach is known for its laid-back, surfer vibes.
Speaking of surfers, one of the main draws to Cocoa Beach, and an experience I enjoyed the most while there, is Ron Jon Surf Shop, which is the largest surf shop in the world! You will also find a ton of shops and cafes along Cocoa Beach Pier. If you want to connect with nature, head to nearby Lori Wilson Park which is home to many native species of birds.
Cocoa Beach is located 59 miles, about a 1-hour driving distance from Orlando.
7. St. Augustine Beach
St. Augustine Beach is a historic gem along the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, this portion of the coast is nicknamed “Florida’s Historic Coast!” This nickname comes from the city of St. Augustine being the first landing site of Ponce De Leon years ago. This idyllic beach is a great spot to spend the weekend with the entire family.
The beach offers white sand, calm waters, and plenty of amenities ( my favorite part!) such as picnic tables and volleyball courts. There are also plenty of resorts along A1A to stay at that offer easy beachfront access with restaurants and dessert shops within walking distance.
It’s also one of the top beaches for those traveling north from the state of Georgia, given it’s proximity to Jacksonville and the Golden Isle.
St. Augustine is 105 miles, about 1-hour and 45-minutes driving distance from Orlando.
8. Melbourne Beach
Melbourne Beach is part of Palm Bay in Brevard County. The beach is a great place for fishing, snorkeling, and many other water sports. You will find that this is a family-friendly beach with plenty of groups enjoying the stunning shoreline.
Some of the best things to do in Melbourne Beach are to stroll along the Melbourne Beach Pier, view wildlife at Sebastian Inlet State Park, or explore the nightlife of downtown Melbourne.
Melbourne Beach is located 76 miles, about a 1-hour and 20-minute driving distance from Orlando.
9. Ormond Beach, FL
Ormond Beach lies directly north of Daytona Beach but offers a more sleepy beach town feel for those who don’t want the hustle and bustle of Daytona’s events.
Fun Fact: One of Ormond Beach’s earliest settlers was millionaire John. D. Rockefeller!
On top of the gorgeous beach, one of the best things about Ormond Beach is its charming downtown district. You will find plenty of restaurants, gift shops, riverfront parks, historic landmarks, and an art museum.
Also, pictured above is Tomoka State Park, which is well worth a visit for it:
- Hiking and Biking Trail
- Canoe and Kayak Rentals
- Paddle boarding
- Wildlife viewing: gopher tortoises, white-tailed deer, bobcats and a variety of snakes
Ormond Beach is located 62 miles, about a 1-hour driving distance from Orlando.
10. Vero Beach, FL
Vero Beach is a small town along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. My favorite thing about this area is the peacefulness of Vero Beach. It’s the perfect place to find serenity!
A fun fact about Vero Beach is that it is part of the coast called the “Treasure Coast.” This is an area where a Spanish Fleet shipwrecked in the 1700s, leaving behind gold, silver, and jewelry to wash ashore for hundreds of years to come. For this reason, you will find many metal detectors on the beach looking for treasures! More about the best beaches in Florida for metal detecting in this article.
Summary to Beaches Close to Orlando, Florida
Florida is the ideal place to be during the summer months. If you’re planning a vacation here and want to visit the attractions of Orlando such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, or Seaworld, you might be wondering where to go for the best beaches in the area.
While Orlando itself does not have any beaches directly in the city, there are plenty of options that are a quick and easy drive away. With over 500 miles of shoreline, there is no shortage of beaches in the Sunshine State! Some of the most popular beaches within driving distance of Orlando are Daytona Beach, Clearwater Beach, and Cocoa Beach.
In this guide, I gave you a quick breakdown of the energy of each of the top 9 beaches near Orlando so you can decide which is the best for you and your family. So, are you going deep sea fishing on the Gulf Coast, or watching NASA launch its next rocket along the Space Coast? It’s all waiting for you here in Florida!