After spending a good part of the last several years in Orlando, the one thing I was constantly asking the locals was what is the best beach close to Orlando. Orlando is home to the best theme parks in the world and Walt Disney World, so while there is plenty to keep you occupied, sometimes you want to do something a little different and explore the beautiful beaches of Florida. So which are the closest beaches to Orlando?
When most people think of Florida, the first thing that comes to mind is usually its many beaches. Florida is home to miles of beaches, so it is no wonder that when you ask for a recommendation, you’re not going to just get one, and you’re going to get dozens.
How far from Orlando is the closest beach?
The closest beach to Orlando is actually not in Orlando, but you should look outside the city if you want to be close. Depending on traffic, the nearest beaches from Orlando are located between 45 minutes and an hour away from downtown.
Which is the closest beach to Orlando?
Here is a list of the most popular beaches within an hour of Orlando. They are all located on the Atlantic Ocean.
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Cocoa Beach is about an hour away from Orlando, but it has some of the finest beaches that Florida offers. The beaches are very friendly, and the water is clear.
If you’re looking for a great beach to visit, Cocoa Beach should be at the top of your list. The beaches here are beautiful, and the water is crystal clear. You’ll also find that the locals are friendly and welcoming, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy some time by the ocean. Also, don’t forget to check out the cocoa beach pier while you’re there.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is another beach that is an hour away from Orlando. It’s a great place to surf or just relax on the sand. Many events are held in this area regularly, which makes it even more fun. Many people visit the Daytona International Speedway for events all year round, including the Daytona 500, making it a very popular spot for visitors to central Florida.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
New Smyrna Beach is located south of Cocoa Beach. It’s just as popular as the other beaches on this list, but it doesn’t have quite as many people visiting all the time because it’s slightly farther away from Orlando.
This beach does have gorgeous white sand, though, and very cool, clear water, so if you’re looking for a destination that isn’t too far away from Orlando but is still beyond the scope of what you’d expect from Florida beaches, this is the place to go.
So… which beach is closest to Orlando?
It depends. Depending on which one you choose, it can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half order to get there from Orlando. Just keep in mind that if you’re planning a trip to a beach, it can get a little crowded on weekends and holidays. Make sure you plan ahead and leave during the week if possible. You’ll have a much more relaxed experience that way.
What is the best beach close to Orlando?
My vote goes for Melbourne Beach. It takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there, which isn’t bad at all. I like that it is far away enough from Orlando so that you can really relax but not so far away that it’s taking forever to get there.
The water is fantastic, and it’s clean. And the best part is that it’s not too crowded but still has a lively vibe to it. If you go early, you can see surfers enjoying the morning waves. In the afternoon you will see more families. Later in the afternoon, the younger crowd will come out to grab the last few hours of rays.
The beach is nice and large, making it the perfect spot if you want to spread out. Parking is also plentiful, so there is no need to worry about circling the block to find the ideal place to park.
Check out the Sebastian Inlet State Park Fishing Pier if you like to fish. This is also one of the best places in Florida to see sea turtles, and their nesting season is from May to October.
Gulf Beaches Close to Orlando
Florida’s gulf coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the US. And while they are a bit farther from Orlando, they are well worth the drive.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
Clearwater Beach is close to two hours away from Orlando and is the most famous beach in Florida. It is well known for having some of the most excellent beaches in the area. They are wide and long, which makes them perfect if you plan on bringing a lot of people with you.
The water is crystal clear, which means it’s fantastic for swimming or snorkeling. You’ll also find that the water is just the right temperature since it experiences minimal fluctuations in temperature from season to season. If you visit in the summer, the water is so warm you might think you’re in the world’s most enormous bathtub. Not exactly refreshing, but a pleasant surprise if you’re used to the cold water at the Atlantic beaches.
Fort De Soto Park, Florida
Fort De Soto Park is located just over an hour away from Orlando. The unique thing about Fort DeSoto is that it is made up of 5 barrier islands, each with its own unique characteristics.
Fort De Soto is a lot quieter than the neighboring beaches like Clearwater. Therefore, it is an excellent option if you are looking for a more peaceful vibe. There are also miles of nature trails that you can enjoy before or after spending the day at the beach.
Another bonus of Fort De Soto is that they have campsites. So if you want to do an overnight at the beach, you can, which is pretty awesome.
St. Pete Beach, Florida
St. Pete Beach is a bit further from Orlando, but the drive is definitely worth it, as you will see once you arrive. To get there, expect to spend about 90 minutes driving time total, and it is one of the most popular gulf coast beaches.
The beach is excellent for swimming and sunbathing since the water isn’t too rough and has beautiful white sand that feels like flour. There is plenty of parking and even a pier where you can fish and enjoy sunsets. And if you want to make this trip a family adventure, there are also several fun activities for kids on the beach, such as parasailing or jet skiing, all at very affordable prices.
Treasure Island, Florida
Treasure Island is located approximately two hours away from Orlando. Also located on the Gulf of Mexico, Treasure Island Beach is considered one of the cleanest and safest beaches on the gulf coast.
The best thing about Treasure Island is that it is kid-friendly with plenty of activities for families. The water here is very calm and shallow, which means you can wade out. There are also restrooms, showers, picnic areas, grills, and picnic tables.
The beach is vast, so you won’t have a problem finding a spot no matter what time of day you arrive.
Honeymoon Island State Park, Florida
Just an hour and a half away from Orlando, Honeymoon Island has been rated one of the top ten beaches in America for four years running. This beach is off the coast of Dunedin, FL, and is truly a wonderful place to spend a day at the beach.
The best thing about this beach is that it is clean with beautiful white sand, much like the beaches of Florida that you see in postcards. You can relax on the beach or swim in the Gulf of Mexico, but there are also plenty of other things to do, such as biking, horseshoes, picnicking, and volleyball.
Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
Caladesi Island State Park is just under two hours away from Orlando. If you want to see the true beautify of Florida, Caladesi is definitely a must-visit. To get to Caladesi Island, you have to take a ferry, making it a bit of a more extended trip. However, it is well worth the effort.
The beach at Caladesi Island State Park is famous for being America’s Best by Dr. Beach in 2008. It can be reached by a 20-minute boat ride from Honeymoon Island. Caladesi Island State Park is a peaceful place with pathways that wind through the dunes, palms that stand up to the sea breezes, and birds everywhere. It truly is paradise.
Atlantic Beaches Close to Orlando
Some of the closest beaches to Orlando or located on the Atlantic Ocean. You can be in the sand and swimming in the ocean in less than an hour, which is why they are so popular with both visitors and residents of Orlando,
Cape Canaveral National Seashore is closer to Orlando, only about an hour away. Cape Canaveral is home to the Kennedy Space Center, where you can witness rockets being launched. It is also home to Port Canaveral, which is visited by millions of cruisers every year boarding their ships for a Caribbean adventure. Of course, being so close to Orlando means that you can take advantage of all the great attractions that Orlando has to offer when you are not at the beach.
Ponce Inlet, Florida
Located in the same area as the Canaveral National Seashore, Ponce Inlet is another one of these Atlantic beaches less than an hour’s drive away from Orlando.
Within walking distance of Ponce Inlet, there is also a lighthouse. The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse was built in 1887, a well-known landmark in Central Florida.
You’ll have to pay a fee if you want to climb to the top of the lighthouse, but a view from there shows why it’s worth it.
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida
Another Atlantic beach that is only an hour away from Orlando is Indian Harbour Beach which can be found near the town of Melbourne.
This Atlantic beach has excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River.
It is a family-friendly place with restrooms, showers, picnic areas, grills, boat ramps, playgrounds for kids, volleyball courts, and even a skate park.
St.Augustine Beach, Florida
Located approximately 90 minutes north of Orlando, St. Augustine beach is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. It may not seem like a secret stop as millions of visitors go to St. Augustine every day.
However, what makes it a game is that you will feel like you’re transported to Europe when visiting St. Augustine. Get there early to enjoy the early morning hours on the beach. Then be sure to check out the fort and stroll through St. Augustine, where you find shops, restaurants, and even a winery.
There are also many free things to do in St. Augustine, making it a budget-friendly day trip.
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Located about 2 hours north of Orlando, Ponte Vedra Beach is a quiet and upscale beach town.
The beaches are beautiful, and the water is clear. It’s definitely a more low-key destination than some of the other ones on this list, but it’s still very popular with people who want to escape for a little while. If you’re looking for a nice spot that isn’t too far from Orlando, Ponte Vedra Beach is definitely worth checking out.
Playalinda Beach, Florida
Also located in the Canaveral National Seashore, the last Atlantic beach closest to Orlando is Playalinda Beach.
It may not be as well known due to its location in a national park that most people only visit to see rockets, but it’s actually one of the most excellent beaches along Florida’s east coast.
Does Orlando Have Beaches?
Orlando does not have beaches. But Orlando is lucky enough to be in an area of Florida where you can access beaches within an hour and springs and lakes that feature water activities.
Map of the closest beach to Orlando
The best beaches near Orlando.
Orlando is a hotspot for tourists and residents alike. With so many attractions to explore, it’s easy to see why people flock to Orlando from all over the country. Whether you’re looking for an Atlantic coast beach or one of the beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida, there are plenty of amazing beaches to choose from.
So which beach will you be visiting first?