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The Best Beaches

The Closest Beaches To Orlando

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When you think of a Sunshine State vacation, two things spring to mind, theme parks and beaches, and thanks to Orlando's central location in Florida, you don't have to choose, pretty awesome!

Orlando is practically in the middle of both the historic east coast beaches and the stunning gulf coast beaches in the west coast of Central Florida. So after spending lots of fun time at the theme parks, take time to yourself, and relax at the beach and soak up our famous Florida sunshine.

 

Here are our favorite Central Florida beaches, all within an easy two hour drive of Orlando.

Enjoy!

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East Coast Beaches

Daytona Beach

The world's most famous beach is just an hour from downtown Orlando, Daytona Beach is all about the cars, a place to catch a NASCAR race and even drive your own car right on the beach.

 

 Free summer concerts with movies and fireworks are offered May through October at the Bandshell, and there's plenty of entertainment and fun at the nearby boardwalk and fishing pier.

For a quieter corner, head to Ponce Inlet and climb to the top of Florida's tallest lighthouse, built in 1835. Plus, for shopping and dining, a visit to Beach Street is a popular choice.

 

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is a hot spot for surfing, quirky shops, and delightful eats, plus you can drive your car onto this beach’s wide, compacted smooth sand! A must do on your trip for sure!

 

New Smyrna Beach is known as the Shark Bite Capital of the World because it records the most shark bites anywhere across the globe, so just be careful!!

Despite its ominous acclaim to fame, New Smyrna Beach is a great beach for families and surfers hoping to catch some waves.

 


Cocoa Beach

Orlando's closest beach is well known for its surfing culture with Cocoa the home of the world's largest surf shop,

Ron Jon Surf Shop at 52,000 square feet.

 

Open 24 hours a day, the huge store features everything under the sun, from T-shirts and seashells to beach bikes, paddleboards, and of course, surfboards.

The Cocoa Beach Pier area is fun with lot's of beach activities, while many families like the quiet of Lori Wilson Park where you'll find free parking, restrooms and outdoor showers.

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach is located just 75.3 miles from Orlando toward the Atlantic coast, this beach is a great place to visit if you want to experience a more peaceful atmosphere away from the busy city life and vacation crowds.

The sand here is very soft and cinnamon-hued, and the water is crystal clear, making it perfect for swimming, bodyboarding and surfing. The clear water also makes it easy to spot some marine life, such as manatees enjoying their natural habitat.

There's also a wooden pier on this beach that serves as an optimal fishing destination and a perfect spot for sunset watching.

Canaveral National Seashore

This coastline is home to some of the best beaches near Orlando. Canaveral National Seashore is home to more than 24 miles of pristine beaches, dunes and lagoons.

There are no resorts, shops or high-rise buildings here, just miles of pristine beach and beautiful boardwalk dunes fringed with swaying palms. So, pack enough food and drinks when visiting this beach.

This beach is also great for bird-watching, as it is home to over 200 species of birds. It's also a refuge for about 14 species of animals that are either endangered or threatened. Plus, you can catch a great view of a rocket launch into space from the beach, thanks to its proximity to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.

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Gulf Coast Beaches

Clearwater Beach

America’s number one beach, Clearwater is definitely a renowned hot spot, complete with shopping, dining, live entertainment, and a revitalized downtown area. White sand and clear, shallow waters make this beach a destination that can’t be beaten for families. 

 

Don’t miss the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the awesome sunset celebration that is held nightly at the always fun Clearwater Beach Pier. Don't miss it!

 

Madeira Beach

At Madeira Beach, the sun, the white sand beaches and emerald turquoise waters invite swimming and sunning, be a beachcomber, or just sit and watch the world go by from the shade of a beach umbrella.

 

Set sail on a sunset cruise or a daylong fishing excursion or just stroll the wooden boardwalk and check out the waterfront shops and dining options. 

Treasure Island

The main draw here is three miles of sparkling white, sandy beaches on shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Go swimming, shelling, sunning, snorkeling, parasailing and more, or simply walk the beach and take in one of the most stunning and memorable sunsets that you will ever see.

Hang out at the world's longest waterfront bar, Gators Cafe & Saloon, to catch the sunset and enjoy the atmosphere at the surrounding beach bars, for live music and dancing.

St Pete Beach

With miles of beaches, surf shops and boutiques, along with dining and water sports for all ages, it's easy to see why St. Pete Beach is voted one of the best beaches in the U.S.

 

At the heart of St. Pete Beach is the historic pink palace, the Loews Don Ce Sar Hotel, built in 1928 at the heart of America's Jazz Age. It's worth a visit to soak up the nostalgic, Gatsby-like atmosphere.

Make time to see the Salvador Dali museum in downtown St. Petersburg, housing the largest collection of Dali's work outside of Spain. 

 

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