When it comes to spending the day at the beach, Orlando doesn’t seem to have much to offer on the surface, but if you can rent a car or hop on a tour bus, you can get to some of the most magnificent beaches in the world. Visiting the beach is something that everyone wants to do on vacation when they come to Orlando. In fact, many people have not even seen the ocean in real life. Seeing the ocean for the first time is an experience that you will not soon forget. Plus, glittering white sand, fun games with the family and a beach picnic can make for a perfect day. This is something that you will undoubtedly want to do during your vacation. Below are the top 6 Florida beaches to visit during your next Orlando trip and a bit of useful information about each one.
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
Just over 100 miles from Orlando
Drive Time: Less than 2 hours
If you want a great place to take your family, Indian Rocks Beach is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Intracoastal Waterway on the east. This is a small community that you will love being a part of even if it’s just for a few hours. The town knows how to treat their visitors, and tourists that come around to hang out on the sand are considered basically royalty. You get plenty of parking and the most incredible white sand that you will find in all of Florida. The beach is absolutely gorgeous and it is surrounded by all kinds of eateries, stores and other venues that will make your experience complete. Most of them are locally owned and you can find some of the best food in the southern part of the United States at the stores. There are lots of fun things to do for families at Indian Rocks Beach. For example, you might enjoy adventure golf at Smuggler’s Cove, which is a mini golf course that cannot be rivaled anywhere. This is perfect for any age, but it is not the only thing that the beach offers. You can also rent marine vehicles, take a boat out for a couple of hours enjoy the open sea and do lots of other stuff that you cannot find anywhere else in Orlando. There is more to do here than just hang out in the sand, but if you want to bring a picnic and do exactly that, there is plenty of space for it as well. Visit Indian Rocks Beach if you happen to be in the area and want a real adventure.
Clearwater Beach, Florida
107 miles from Orlando
Drive Time: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes
One of the best views can be found at Clearwater Beach, surrounding an amazing resort area on the Gulf of Mexico. Clearwater is famous for its crystal clear waters and immaculate beaches, and lots of people go there to vacation, sail, snorkel and do lots of other water activities. The beach is a couple hours away from Orlando, and it is rated pretty much across the board as one of the top beaches in all of the United States. The climate is always warm and the sun is always shining, and the beach features a huge number of tropical plants that are representative of some of the most beautiful areas of Florida. Hanging out at Clearwater will definitely make for a perfect vacation. There is even more good news though. If you get tired of hanging out on the sand, there is plenty to do right around the beach that will keep you entertained and make sure that you have a memorable experience. For example, you can attend one of the many music festivals that are held near Clearwater, go on a fishing excursion, go shopping in the town that is only a few minutes away and hang out in the numerous restaurants and bars that all have something different to offer. No matter what, make sure to check out Pier 60, which is full of vendor selling custom jewelry and other souvenirs and street performers. Clearwater Beach is definitely one of the best beaches to visit if you are in the Orlando area, with fun things to do for the entire family and lots of peace and quiet for you to relax on the sand with a good book.
New Smyrna Beach is a tiny little beach in comparison with some of the other beaches that we have been discussing here. It consists of 13 miles of coastline and there are some major benefits to this including the fact that it’s only a little bit farther than Cocoa Beach – about an hours drive from downtown Orlando. This is an absolutely gorgeous beach where you can view the picturesque sunrises and sunsets, bask in the emerald water or spend your day laying on a beach chair on the white sand where you will sometimes have entire stretches of the beach all to yourself. This is another beach that is perfect for surfing, with waves that people come from miles around to ride. The famous Eastern waves have garnered high ratings and made plenty of “best of” lists around the country. There are also attractions like the sugar mill ruins, the amazing restaurants and cafés, the Smyrna Dunes Park and a whole lot more.
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St. Augustine Beach, Florida
Just 100 miles from Orlando
Drive Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
The beaches of St. Augustine are quite numerous, and since this area is so well-known, there is plenty of tourist accommodations that will allow you to have a great time no matter what. This beach is very popular among the retired population of Florida due to the accessibility throughout the network beaches for wheelchairs and ramps. In fact, many of the beaches in St. Augustine have beach wheelchairs that can be provided as a courtesy, or you can arrange to rent a beach wheelchair in advance. This beach may not be for everyone, but it certainly is one of the most tourist-friendly beaches out of all of the ones on this list. Something else that you may not realize about St. Augustine beach is that there is a great deal of history there. That exact beach is the location where Spanish explorers first came ashore and found the rich, unspoiled land of Florida. With more than 40 miles of coastline, and lots of parks in the area as well as activities like swimming, sunbathing and water sports, you are sure to have a great time in St. Augustine. Some of the beaches that comprise the St. Augustine network include the South Ponte Vedra Beach, the Vilano Beach, the Anastasia State Park, the actual St. Augustine beach at Anastasia Island and Butler Beach.
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Just 60 miles from Orlando
Drive Time: 45 Minutes – 1 Hour
Another great beach is Cocoa Beach, and it is really popular among Orlando natives and travelers visiting Orlando because it is only about 45 minute drive from the city. This beach is famous for lots of things, but mostly for surfing. The waters near this beach make it the perfect place to learn how to surf or catch some really great waves if you are already an experienced surfer. There are plenty of lessons available for first timers, and if this is not your style, then you may want to take some of the incredible nature walks around the beach area. This beach doesn’t get too busy unless you go during peak times, which is why it’s one of the favorite beach spots among the locals. Something else that might interest you is the town of Cocoa Beach itself. It is the perfect little beach town with lots of shopping and specialty stores that anyone on vacation will enjoy visiting. Besides, there are plenty of places to go around Cocoa Beach as well. For example, the Kennedy Space Center is just a few miles away and the Ron Jon Surf Superstore is always worth a visit, even if you’re not into surfing. You do want to make sure that you go during the week because since this beach is the closest one Orlando it gets completely packed on the weekends both by tourists coming in from Orlando and by the locals themselves.
There is a lot to do in Daytona, but visiting Daytona Beach should certainly be at the top of your list. Daytona Beach is less than an hour away from Orlando. If you head northeast from the Orlando international Airport, you will get there in about 45 minutes. Daytona Beach, despite how famous the area is for motorsports and Spring Break, is one of the most peaceful beaches in the entire Orlando area. As long as you stay away during the big annual event you won’t generally find the noisy crowds that you will find at the other beaches in the area. There are definitely going to be people there but it is a lot lower key than some of the other beaches on this list. Daytona Beach has more than 10 beachfront parks and the coastline is 23 miles long which means that there is plenty of room to find a fairly secluded spot for your day at the beach. If you want something fun to do, Daytona Beach offers things like parasailing, dolphin watching, kayaking, surfing, fishing, boating and more. In some areas you can even park on the beach, so it eliminates the long walk with all your food and beach gear. You just have to know where to look. Plus, there is plenty of shopping, golf, and day spas nearby, too. If you’re traveling with kids, or if you’re a big chocolate and/or coffee fan, you will definitely want ot make time to visit Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory in Daytona. They offer AWESOME tours of the whole facility, explain their long history, and go into great detail about their unique chocolate making process. Watch the workers as they fill the chocolate molds with care. They even give out FREE samples and, if there’s something special you want, you can even place custom order from their own original molds! Daytona Beach might be the perfect beach spot for you and it is well worth the drive from Orlando.
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Since Orlando is located in Central Florida, and not directly on a beach, it’s very common that travelers that come here also head out to a nearby beach for one of the days they’re visiting. If you’re looking to come to Orlando, and are considering visiting the beach, too, give us a call at 1 (888) 407-3849 (Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM EST) and we’ll see what we can do for you. We do offer quite a few “Orlando & Beach” package options.
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