The 20 Best Beaches Near Orlando for Families
Orlando has about a million things to do, from theme parks, zoos and botanical gardens, gator encounters, slingshots (yikes), etc. One thing Orlando does not have? Beaches! However, there are plenty of beaches near Orlando if you are willing to drive a little bit.
Today I am creating a list of the best beaches near Orlando for families. Notice I didn’t say the best beaches in Orlando because there are no (natural) beaches in Orlando! The “pool” beaches at Disney and Universal Orlando Resort are still fun, though! You can also check out Volcano Bay, Universal’s amazing water park!
Orlando is in the middle of the state, so you’ll have to go to either coast to find a beach. Thankfully, Orlando is centrally located, which means you can access beaches on either the Atlantic Coast or Gulf Coast without a problem.
My best tip is to choose beaches on the Gulf Coast. Yes, it’s a longer drive, but these are some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire country! The Atlantic Coast can be a bit colder, and the beaches aren’t quite as nice, but if you’re in a hurry, they’re a great option.
You’ll definitely need a rental car if you’re flying into Orlando. I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental. I use Discount USA Car Rental whenever I need to rent a car, whether I fly into MCO, SFB, or even Tampa. They have the best prices, and you don’t have to pay until you pick it up!
The 20 Best Beaches Near Orlando for Families
Here are 20 beaches near Orlando that are great for families. If you’re looking to escape the business of Orlando (and maybe see some manatees!) check out 16 things to do in Crystal River with kids.
You’ll find the closest beaches to Orlando about an hour east on the Space Coast. Cocoa Beach is a fantastic beach near Orlando. It is perfect for families, romantic vacations, and even friends hanging out surfing.
When you are not relaxing on the sand, swimming or surfing in the water, or building a sandcastle, there are plenty of other fun activities to choose from at this beach. You can even watch the bioluminescent comb jellies glow on this sunset paddleboard tour.
One of the most popular options is walking along the Cocoa Beach Pier. There are restaurants and shops near the pier, which is perfect when you get hungry or want to purchase a few souvenirs.
The Ron Jon Surf Shop is also practically right on the edge of the sand of Cocoa Beach. This is an excellent place to shop for surfing gear. And if you want to learn more about surfing, you can venture to the Florida Surf Museum.
New Smyrna Beach
Driving to New Smyrna Beach from Orlando will take a little more than an hour. This beach is just to the south of Daytona Beach, which I will share more information about in a minute.
If you do not like crowds, I recommend choosing New Smyrna over Daytona when you want to enjoy a little time in the sand with your family.
As you sit on the sand, you will see dolphins frolicking out in the water. Your family may not be able to swim out too far to see the dolphins up close. However, you can paddleboard or kayak to get out closer to them. New Smyrna Beach is also a great place to take a fishing trip.
After a day of swimming and watching the dolphins, it is best to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on Flagler Avenue. There are many restaurants to choose from, so your family shouldn’t have difficulty finding one that serves the foods you are currently craving.
Daytona Beach is approximately 58 miles from Orlando. While this beach near Orlando is always perfect for families, it becomes the destination of choice during spring break. The soft white sand continues along the shoreline for more than 23 miles.
There is so much more to do than swim at this Florida beach. Your time at this beach near Orlando can be spent parasailing, paddleboarding, jet skiing, or playing a rousing game of beach volleyball. Your family can also learn how to surf.
The waves usually do not get any higher than five feet at this beach. This is good for anyone who is learning to surf. And since there is a sandbar break, no one in your family will need to wait for the waves to roll in. They are always pretty consistent.
The best time to visit Daytona Beach is between the middle of May and the end of October. These months are when sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand. The eggs then hatch, and the baby sea turtles make their way back to the ocean.
If you’re traveling during Spring Break, I would avoid Daytona Beach, although all Florida beaches are crowded during March and early April.
Ormond Beach is only an hour’s drive from Orlando. I recommend visiting Tomoka State Park before or after spending time on Ormond Beach.
The park is along the Tomoka River. Therefore, you can spend a few hours paddling and fishing in the river or even hiking the nearby trails.
While on the beach, your family can go swimming, surfing, or simply walk along the sand looking for seashells.
Indialantic Beach is located in the town of Indialantic, which is just over an hour from Orlando. An entire day can be spent swimming in the water or playing on the playground.
There are many other activities to keep your family busy, though. You may want to consider watching a beach volleyball game in the stadium or walking along the Indialantic Boardwalk.
The views from the boardwalk are incredible, so make sure you have your phone or camera ready to take some pictures!
This is also one of the 10 best places to see sea turtles in Florida.
Ponte Vedra Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach is a beach surrounded by plenty of family-friendly activities. When your family is on the beach, you must spend some time near the forty-foot dunes.
When you’re not on the beach, you may find yourself golfing at TPC Sawgrass or dining at one of the fantastic restaurants.
Vero Beach is 106 miles to the southeast of Orlando. It will take your family approximately an hour and a half to drive to this beach near Orlando. There are more than 26 miles of sandy coastline to explore at this beach on the Atlantic Ocean.
This beach is never that crowded, probably thanks to the miles of shoreline. It is a favorite beach for those looking to expand their seashell collection.
And when you are done with the sand and water, you can venture over to Oceanside Park. You will find pavilions, a playground, and even a few walking trails.
Flagler Beach is a short 76 miles from Orlando. This beach does not see the massive crowds other beaches near Orlando do. This makes it the perfect option for many families on vacation (especially during travel busy months!)
The six miles of sand go along the Atlantic Ocean. While you can walk along the pier, most families choose to do a little fishing from it as well. At night, numerous activities are held on or near the pier.
There are historic ruins nearby waiting for your family to explore. Your family will also love shopping for souvenirs at the beachside shops.
Canaveral National Seashore
The Canaveral National Seashore is only 66 miles from Orlando. A quick one-hour drive will have your family walking along this sandy shoreline.
There is so much more to do on this beach than relaxing and swimming. I recommend taking the time to walk along the Scrub Ridge Trail. Your family may spot manatees, alligators, and sea turtles along this trail.
You must purchase a parking pass when your family arrives at the Canaveral National Seashore. The passes can be purchased at either the Playalinda Beach entrance or the Apollo Beach entrance.
St. Augustine Beach
St. Augustine Beach is 103 miles from Orlando, an hour and a half car ride. In addition to the sand, your family will fall in love with the pavilions, fishing pier, and splash park.
Participating in water sports is a must at this Florida beach. And since the sand is really packed down, you can rent a bike to ride along the shoreline.
Melbourne Beach is 76 miles to the southeast of Orlando. This is a beautiful beach to choose if you are looking for miles of sandy shoreline without a lot of the hustle and bustle from a busy area. Since this beach is located on a barrier island, there are excellent waves for surfing.
After visiting the Kennedy Space Center, your family can easily spend a few hours at this beach near Orlando. Visiting Melbourne Beach during the summer months can be exciting because it is one of the largest nesting grounds for sea turtles.
If you plan your visit right, you can watch sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Sebastian Inlet State Park is near both Vero and Melbourne Beach. It is an hour and a half drive from Orlando. The beaches within this state park are all undeveloped. That means you won’t need to worry about massive resort crowds during your visit.
A few things your family can do at Sebastian Inlet State Park include swimming, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
Satellite Beach is approximately one hour from Orlando, making it a simple day trip for families. This beach is on a barrier island, so it will not be as crowded as some of the other beaches in Florida. The water is always welcoming, and new surfers can learn a few skills while catching some waves. There is also a playground and beach volleyball courts if your family tires of swimming.
Treasure Island Beach
Treasure Island Beach is 113 miles from Orlando, a two-hour drive. This is one of the farthest beaches from Orlando on the Gulf Coast. The water at this beach is crystal clear.
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So, make sure you take snorkeling gear with you to check out the marine life. You can also charter a boat and head out onto the water to do a little fishing.
This is one of the quieter beaches near Orlando. So, if your family is looking for peace and tranquility, this beach should be near the top of your list.
Fort de Soto Beach
Fort de Soto Beach is located within Fort de Soto Park. It takes approximately two hours to drive to this beach near Orlando. If you don’t want to swim in the Gulf, there are a few tidal pools near the beach. When your family is not swimming, you can spend a little time exploring the history within the park and hiking the trails.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is a laidback area in Florida, just south of Tampa. There aren’t any high rises, drive thru restaurants, or lots of traffic. But there are six beaches on the island that your family will fall in love with.
If you want a day filled with swimming and water sports, I recommend heading over to Coquina Beach. Manatee Beach is another fantastic option thanks to all the amenities there.
Sometimes we go to the beach and forget sand toys, but we make it work!
When you are not on the beaches on Anna Maria Island, your family may want to spend a little time riding the Manatee Trolley. This trolley travels the entire length of the island. It is the best way to see the entire island without having to drive the route yourself.
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach is approximately two hours from Orlando. It is located on the Gulf Coast, which means the water is warmer throughout the year. I recommend arriving at this beach near Orlando early in the day, because finding a parking spot can be near impossible later on.
This is one of the best beaches in Florida for water sports. A few family friendly options include a sunset cruise, kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, parasailing, and canoeing.
Your family may want to rent a beach cabana, so you can find a little reprieve from the hot sun. You can also ride the “Freebee” green energy shuttle that makes stops along St. Pete Beach to cool down.
Indian Rocks Beach
Indian Rocks Beach is near Tampa. This accessible beach is three miles long. Plenty of restaurants and shops are located near Indian Rocks Beach. This means your family can easily find something to eat or do a little shopping when you need a break from the sand and the water.
Caladesi Island State Park
There are only a couple undisturbed barrier islands in Florida and Caladesi Island State Park is one of them. A two hour drive from Orlando will have you walking along this remote island in no time at all. Once you arrive at Honeymoon Island, you simply board the ferry to ride over to the park.
On the island, your family will love the soft sandy beaches and turquoise water. When you are not swimming, you may find yourselves kayaking through the mangroves or walking along the nearby nature trails.
This beach, along with several others on this list, are also some of the best beaches for shelling in Florida!
Clearwater Beach is another beach on the Gulf side of the state. This beach is 108 miles from Orlando. Therefore, you should expect a two hour drive to reach this beach near Orlando. Clearwater Beach is our families favorite beach near Orlando and one of our favorite beaches in all of Florida!
One of our favorite beaches in Florida, Clearwater Beach!
The water at Clearwater Beach sparkles under the sun and the sand will feel soft under your feet. The sand gets raked early each morning to ensure it stays soft, white, and clean.
You will love the safety factor when visiting this beach during your Florida vacation. This is one of the few beaches in Florida that has lifeguards on duty all year long. So, everyone in your family can go out swimming and you know they are being carefully watched.
When you are planning a beach getaway at Clearwater Beach, you may want to combine it with a visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Don’t forget to check out 30 Things to do in Clearwater with kids for even more things to do in Clearwater.
The best beaches near Orlando for families
These are the 20 best beaches near Orlando for families. You may have already discovered your favorite or you may be thinking you must visit them all with your family to find out which one you all love the most.
Are you planning an Orlando vacation? Make sure to check out Star Wars Land vs. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, 7 things to know about the Disney Skyliner, and Where to find Dole Whip at Disney World!
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here.
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