Things to do in Orlando

Closest Beaches to Orlando

Looking for a place to relax and swim? Check out the beaches near Orlando.

Orlando is known for its world-class theme parks and family-friendly activities. Given that the city is tucked into the state's center, a beach trip might not be at the top of your list of things to do in Orlando. But this is Florida, after all — you're never far from a strip of golden sand.

Are you hoping to squeeze in a day of sunbathing and swimming during your vacation? Find the closest beach to Orlando before you leave so you're prepared to sink your toes into the sand whenever the opportunity arises.

East Coast Beaches

The beaches closest to Orlando are on Florida's East Coast. Most are within 75 miles of the city. Leave early to beat traffic, and you can relax on the sand in less than two hours.

This area is often called the Space Coast because of its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. If you time your visit correctly, you might even see a rocket launch.

1. Cocoa Beach (60 miles)

Located southwest of Orlando, Cocoa Beach is a surfer's paradise. People come from miles around to work on their skills, take surfing lessons, or ride their boards. There's plenty to love, even if you're not a surfer. You can spend an afternoon relaxing in the sunshine, swimming, and building castles with the soft, white sand.

When you're ready for a beach break, walk over to the Cocoa Beach Pier. Explore the shops and grab a bite to eat, or simply enjoy the panoramic views of the ocean.

Photographer: Florian Schneider

2. Canaveral National Seashore (50 miles)

If your ideal beach is quiet and undeveloped, the Canaveral National Seashore is the perfect fit. It's one of our favorite beaches in Orlando, Florida.

Unlike most areas along the East Coast, there isn't a condo building in sight. It's all dunes, forests, and 24 miles of pristine sand. At just 50 miles from the city, it's also the closest Orlando beach.

This serene spot offers a huge range of activities. You can swim, of course, but that's just the start. Try surf fishing from the beach, hike on one of the park trails, or kayak in Mosquito Lagoon.

Our favorite activity is watching rocket launches from nearby Cape Canaveral. Set up camp at Playalinda Beach a few hours beforehand and enjoy the show.

3. New Smyrna Beach (56 miles)

New Smyrna Beach offers another surfing hot spot east of Orlando. Note that a town and a beach go by the same name — make sure Google Maps is directing you to the right place.

The beach is large and flat, with endless room on the sand. It has a low-key vibe and attracts a wide range of ages. If you walk up to Smyrna Dunes Park, you can explore the boardwalks and watch as boats pass through the Ponce de Leon Inlet into the Indian River.

Photographer: Max Harlynking

4. Daytona Beach (56 miles)

Daytona Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Florida. It became popular among racing fans, who loved driving on the tightly packed sand. Today, it's a popular vacation and entertainment destination. Visitors come to play arcade games on the boardwalk, swim in the ocean, and take in the lively atmosphere.

Remember that the beach is less active since the boardwalk amusement park closed. The sand at Daytona Beach is fine and soft, but you can always find a place to rent umbrellas and lounge chairs.

5. Satellite Beach (68 miles)

Satellite Beach is a small coastal community with a long stretch of beach. You can get to the sand via a variety of access points. The most convenient is Pelican Beach Park, which has a large parking lot. Hightower Beach Park is another good option. Both parks offer bathrooms, showers, and convenient boardwalks.

The beach is pretty typical of this part of Florida — it's quiet, with ample space to spread out. If you're in the mood to socialize, you can join a large crowd, but you won't have trouble finding a private spot to snooze after your theme park adventures.

6. Indialantic Beach (75 miles)

If you're in the market for a quick trip to the ocean, Indialantic Beach is a great choice. The park is a straight shot from the Melbourne Causeway over the Indian River, so it's easy to reach without getting caught up in the traffic on the A1A.

Spend a few minutes walking along the short boardwalk, which offers gorgeous views over the dunes. Check the conditions if you're planning to swim or surf. They can be pretty rough when storms come in.

Photographer: Jason Dent

7. Melbourne Beach (75 miles)

Just south of Indialantic, you'll find sleepy Melbourne Beach. It's one of our performers' top places to go on their day off. A thick strip of greenery separates the sand from the road, giving the impression you're hanging out on a deserted island.

Don't worry. There's parking within a few minutes' walk. The beach is beautiful and peaceful, with expansive views and excellent bird-watching opportunities.

8. Vero Beach (105 miles)

With miles of quiet, uncrowded beaches, the affluent community of Vero Beach makes a lovely getaway from Orlando. The beaches here are particularly appealing when pastel tones flood the sky at sunrise. Don't worry if you're not an early riser. There's never a bad time to spend a few hours reading, building sand castles, and going for an occasional dip.

If conditions aren't right for swimming, visit the Indian River Lagoon for kayaking and fishing. When the Vero Beach parking lot is full, try nearby South Beach Park or Jaycee Park.

9. Ormond Beach (60 miles)

Ormond Beach is located on a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Halifax River in the tiny community of Ormond-by-the-Sea. Although it's not far from Daytona Beach, it has a quieter vibe.

It's clean and calm; depending on the conditions, it may be better for strolling than swimming. When that's the case, you can head across the river to Tomoka State Park to see ancient Timucua burial mounds.

10. Flagler Beach (70 miles)

Tucked between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, the small town of Flagler Beach provides the classic Florida experience. It's extremely welcoming, with friendly locals and fun-loving visitors. To get to the beach, park near the old Flagler Beach Pier, which was closed in 2022 due to extensive hurricane damage.

This is a great spot to set up camp if you're considering indulging in a meal or a cocktail at one of the nearby beach bars and restaurants. For a more tranquil escape, drive a few minutes north and park at one of the public beach access points along the A1A.

Photographer: Lernestorod

West Coast Beaches

Compared to their eastern counterparts, the beaches on Florida's West Coast tend to have softer, whiter sands and more kid-friendly swimming opportunities — and the sunsets are downright spectacular.

If you have the time, these Orlando, Florida, beaches make a wonderful day trip. For a multi-day adventure, pair them with a visit to one of the Orlando springs.

11. Clearwater Beach (106 miles)

If you've read anything about Orlando beaches, you've probably heard of Clearwater Beach. It's consistently ranked as one of the best in the state. It all starts with the sand, which is ultra-fine and almost as white as sugar. The city goes to great lengths to keep it clean, so you're guaranteed to find an immaculate place to drop your towel.

Plan to spend an entire day enjoying the beach and the energetic atmosphere. We love the boardwalk that runs along the sand, providing easy, car-free access to various shops and restaurants.

Photographer: Michelle_Raponi

12. St. Pete Beach (110 miles)

St. Pete Beach offers the same awe-inspiring natural beauty as Clearwater Beach, but it feels completely different. This area is more laid-back, family-friendly, and a little less busy. Plus, there's ample parking just a short walk from the sand.

Like most beaches near Orlando, this area offers pleasant conditions year-round. If you have extra time, you can ride the Suncoast Beach Trolley to check out the other spots along the shore.

13. Treasure Island (115 miles)

Stretching for three miles, Treasure Island Beach is one of the widest beaches on Florida's West Coast. There's so much space, in fact, that you can set up multiple chairs and umbrellas and still not feel like you're infringing on other beachgoers.

Take advantage of the city-run parking lot near 112th Avenue, and spend an entire day playing on the sand. If you want to get active, join a pick-up sand volleyball game or stroll down the paved Treasure Island Beach Trail.

14. Madeira Beach (113 miles)

Drive across John's Pass from Treasure Island to find Madeira Beach. Leave your car in John's Pass Park, and you can walk for miles. If you're visiting during turtle season, avoid the marked nests. A local nonprofit puts up boundaries to keep the animals safe.

The best thing to do in Madeira Beach is just off the sand. John's Pass Village is a recreation of a historic fishing village that's filled with shops and restaurants. If you want to make the most of your day trip from Orlando, stop by one of the tour operators to book a fishing, shelling, or boating adventure.

15. Anna Maria Island (130 miles)

Stepping onto one of the beaches on Anna Maria Island, you might think you've walked straight into a postcard. Everything is picture-perfect, from the brilliant white sand to the occasional palm tree that towers overhead.

If you want to visit all the beautiful places in Orlando (or at least nearby), this spot will blow your socks off. If you get bored, simply move down the shore. Equally breathtaking beaches border the entire 7-mile island.

16. Siesta Beach (132 miles)

Siesta Key Beach is a regular on "best beaches" lists — it's often called one of the most attractive beaches in the entire country. Drive a couple of hours from Orlando to judge for yourself, but we're willing to bet this dreamy strip of white sand will win you over immediately.

There's something for everyone, whether you're interested in swimming, paddleboarding, napping in the sun, or trying different aquatic sports with the family. This is one of those places that draws you in immediately, so make sure you allow a full day for a visit.

17. Venice Beach (145 miles)

Of all our favorite beaches near Orlando, Venice Beach is the farthest afield. However, if you're looking to avoid the crowds at the popular beaches to the north, this is the place to be. It's frequented by beachgoers who prefer long naps to loud music. The chill vibe is so strong that it's almost palpable.

Leave the theme park fun behind, and let the sound of sea breezes restore your inner peace. While you're at it, spend some time looking for the ancient fossils buried in the sand.

18. Cortez Beach (130 miles)

It's not always easy to find shade on Florida's beaches, but Cortez Beach is an exception. A row of trees lines the sand, giving you a cool place to relax with an ocean view. And since the beach is rarely crowded, it's pretty easy to grab a spot.

Pack your tackle box (or buy fishing gear from one of the shops in Bradenton Beach), and walk down the pier to cast off. In the winter, you might even spot a gentle manatee or two.

19. Fort De Soto Park (125 miles)

Fort De Soto Park spreads over five tiny islands, offering more than 1,000 acres of open land for exploration. Hike down trails through thick, tropical foliage, watch for 300-plus bird species, or explore the turn-of-the-century fort.

Many visitors head straight for the park's unspoiled beach to search for seashells. Near the sandbar, you'll often see numerous boats anchored offshore. Don't want to drive back to Orlando? Stay overnight at the park campground.

20. Honeymoon Island State Park (135 miles)

If you hope to take shells home as souvenirs, check out the beaches at Honeymoon Island State Park. With four miles of sand to scour, you can find all sorts of treasures.

Other activities in the park include swimming, fishing, hiking, and paddling. Alternatively, you can pick up a bike or a four-wheeler (an exciting option for families) at the on-site rental shop and pedal the trail network.

Embark on a Seaside Adventure Just a Drive Away from Orlando

Orlando might be landlocked, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a leisurely day at the beach. The only challenge is choosing a destination.

After your beach adventure, our shows are the perfect way to ease back into the city's lively pace. Our performers use world-class artistry and out-of-this-world costumes to spin tales of joy and discovery. We can't wait to welcome you on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure at one of our shows in Orlando.

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