daytona beach
Central Florida,  Nature

Best Beaches Near Orlando

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Orlando, Florida, is known for its world-class theme parks, but did you know that it is also close to some of the best beaches in the state? 

Even though Orlando is landlocked, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, there are plenty of options for beachgoers looking for sun, sand, and surf. 

The beaches near Orlando are ideal for day trips with your family or long weekends away with a special someone. 

Here are some of the best beaches near Orlando, distance from Orlando, and where to eat when in that area.

New Smyrna Beach

Distance from Orlando: 55 miles northeast

New Smyrna Beach is a family-friendly beach with wide, sandy shores and gentle surf. This beach is one of the closest day trip areas to Orlando, and you can be there in a little over an hour. 

Visitors can swim, surf, paddleboard, or simply relax in the sun. The nearby Canaveral National Seashore is also worth a visit, with its undeveloped beaches and natural beauty. They also a have wheelchair accessible boardwalk and fishing pier and accessible beaches with beach wheelchairs.

Canal Street has beach-front shopping, dining and art galleries. Parking is available at various public lots and there is also street parking.

Where to eat: The Garlic Italian Restaurant, or Norwoods Eatery & Treehouse Bar

Cocoa Beach

Distance from Orlando: 57 miles east

Cocoa Beach is a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Known as the “Surfing Capital of the East Coast,”  Cocoa Beach has consistently good waves and a laid-back beach town vibe.

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Cocoa Beach is often referred to as the surf capital of Florida, and there is a large Ron Jon Surf Shop at the beach that is a fun place to visit. 

If you need lessons, there are beach shacks and surf houses that offer lessons on a variety of watersports. 

Visitors can also check out the nearby Kennedy Space Center, which is a must-visit for space enthusiasts. Parking is available at various public lots and there is street parking.

Where to eat: Coconuts On The Beach or Florida’s Fresh Grill

Daytona Beach

Distance from Orlando: 57 miles northeast

When you think of Daytona, you might think of spring break crowds and the Speedway, and you would be right. Unless you like rowdy crowds, choose a time other than spring break to visit this location.  

Daytona Beach is known for its hard-packed sand, which allows for driving on the beach. 

Visitors can also enjoy swimming, surfing, and fishing, as well as exploring the nearby Daytona 500 International Speedway. 

In the summer, the Daytona Beach Bandshell hosts free concerts that feature a variety of musical acts. Parking is available at various public lots and there is street parking. 

There are also a lot of waterfront restaurants and ice cream shops in the vicinity of the beach. 

Where to eat: Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Club or The Cellar Restaurant

Canaveral National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service)

Distance from Orlando: 59 miles

This is the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida. A barrier island just south of New Smyrna Beach, this protected seashore spans 25 miles. 

This is also a great spot for those who need accessible access, with a multitude of access available, including beach wheelchairs. 

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As this is a national park, there are entrance fees. Check the link above for those fees and pass information. 

There are five parking areas along a six-mile long road.

This area is tranquil, secluded and pristine. The area is home to over 14 species of threatened or endangered animals. You can swim, kayak, canoe, fish or even ride horseback in this area.

Where to eat:  Goodrich Seafood Restaurant and Oyster House or Mi Mexico Mexican Restaurant 

Ormond Beach

Distance from Orlando: 72 miles northeast

Located just north of Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and Ormond-by-the-Sea offer a more laid-back beach experience than their more touristy neighbors. 

Bordered by the Tomoka River on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, this is an ideal location for a variety of water sports. The beach itself is wide and uncrowded, with plenty of room to spread out and relax.

Visitors can also explore the nearby Tomoka State Park, which offers hiking trails, fishing, and kayaking. After you have spent time in the water, try visiting the historic downtown along Granada Boulevard.  

Parking for the beach is available at various public lots and there is also street parking.

Where to eat: Hull’s Seafood Market & Restaurant or SoNapa Grille

Indialantic Beach

Distance from Orlando: 75 miles

You can do all of the quintessential beach activities at Indialantic Beach, from body surfing to shelling. 

Located in a small beach town between Satellite Beach and Melbourne Beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast, Indialantic Beach is about 20 minutes south of Cocoa Beach. 

The nearby Indialantic Boardwalk and Park spans five blocks, making for a great place for a walk that gives you lovely views of the water. 

Where to eat: Long Doggers or Islands Fish Grill

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Clearwater Beach

Distance from Orlando: 106 miles west

Clearwater Beach is one of the top-rated beaches in the United States, and for good reason. With its sugar-white sand, clear water, and lively atmosphere, it’s a great destination for families and couples alike. 

Visitors can also check out the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is home to Winter the dolphin, star of the movie Dolphin Tale. You can rent a shaded cabana for the day, just choose your cabana, settle in and an attendant will come by. 

There is a large playground for the kids at the base of Pier 60.  Parking is available at various public lots and there is also street parking.

Where to eat: Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill or Badfins Restaurant

Siesta Key Beach

Distance from Orlando: 137 miles southwest

Siesta Key Beach is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the world, with its soft, powdery sand and clear turquoise water. 

Just a short drive from downtown Sarasota, the barrier island of Siesta Key is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. 

The eight-mile-long island offers shopping, resorts and dining. Visitors can also check out the nearby Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, which features exhibits on marine life and conservation. 

Parking is available at various public lots and street parking.

Where to eat: The Old Salty Dog or The Cottage Siesta Key

In Conclusion

While Orlando has all the theme parks you could ever want, it is nice to take time away from the bombardment of entertainment and spend some time by the water. 

No matter which beach you choose, there are plenty of nearby attractions and delicious restaurants to make your day trip or weekend getaway even more enjoyable. 

So pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and head to one of these top beaches near Orlando for a fun and relaxing time in the sun.

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Ian, his wife, Heather, and two collies live in Central Florida and try to enjoy just about everything the Sunshine State has to offer, especially if it involves being on the water or out enjoying nature.

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