Orlando has many amazing beaches just 90 minutes away from the city, which comes as a surprise to many first-timers who don’t associate Orlando with a day at the coast. In fact, you can reach the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean in well under two hours, so the options of where to enjoy the sun, sea and sand are plentiful.
Soaking up the Floridian sunshine while lounging on the beach or strolling on the boardwalk are highly enjoyable alternatives to the attractions and amusements found in Orlando, so take a look at what we consider to be the best beaches in the Orlando area of Central Florida. Whether you are looking for miles of soft, secluded sand, big waves and beach breaks or a quaint seaside town with cafés and games arcades, we have the right beach town or coastal region for you.
TOP FIVE BEACHES, ORLANDO:
1. Cocoa Beach (1 hour from Orlando)
Cocoa Beach is on the east coast of Florida, just a 45-minute drive from Downtown Orlando. The beach is famous for its surf, laidback lifestyle and beautiful natural landscape. There are stunning (albeit inconsistent) waves to ride, and if you want to try surfing for the first time, you can take surf lessons. Cocoa Beach was home to Kelly Slater, the world’s most successful surfer ever, so it is a great place to pick up a board and ride the waves.
The well-maintained shores around Cocoa Beach are wonderful for relaxing as well as taking nature walks around the coastline. This quintessential beach town is great for leisure time, with watersports and deep-sea fishing both popular. Plus, if you want to venture slightly further you can also head to the nearby Kennedy Space Center
2. Clearwater Beach (2 hours from Orlando)
A resort area on the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach is an immaculate white sandy beach with beautiful, calm, blue waters that are excellent for swimming. Clearwater Beach is a popular spot for watersports, snorkeling, parasailing and jet skiing, and the beach is only two hours from downtown Orlando.
Regularly rated as one of the best beaches in the United States, the climate at Clearwater Beach is mild and warm throughout the year. With beautiful tropical plants and palms lining the beach, it really is a paradise for those who love the sun, sea and sand.
3. Daytona Beach (90 minutes from Orlando)
Daytona Beach is a fun and friendly seaside town in central Florida. The beach is long, with regular lifeguard stations, and a popular boardwalk. There is a lively ambiance here, particularly on weekends, with a funfair and games arcade overlooking the sand. There’s a nice collection of hotels in Dayton Beach if you decide to spend more than a day here.
4. Canaveral National Seashore (1 hour from Orlando)
One of the most secluded and pristine beaches near Orlando is the Canaveral National Seashore. It is home to many endangered species, including sea turtles that come to the beach to lay their eggs in the sand.
5. New Smyrna Beach (1 hour from Orlando)
Quiet and residential, the town of New Smyrna also has some important sites that should be visited during your time at the beach, including the New Smyrna Beach Sugar Mill Ruins and the historic downtown region with its quaint cafés and restaurants