Did you know that no matter where you are in the state of Florida, you're never more than 60 miles from the coastline? Of course, how long it takes to get to a beach depends on traffic. And, it can be hard to decide which beaches near Orlando are the best. This local guide to Orlando area beaches will help you find the right beach for you.
One of the advantages of being in Orlando is the proximity to campgrounds on beaches nearby – so consider that into your plans too.
Updated February 2024 by Meghan Roth
Best Beaches Near Orlando
In our guide, we'll start with the closest beaches to Orlando. Beaches near the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Coast beaches are both close to Orlando, so we'll go over the differences between the two.
And if you'd rather avoid the crowds and traffic, we've got a list of quiet beaches near Orlando too.
Closest beaches to Orlando
- Cocoa Beach
- New Smyrna Beach
- Daytona Beach
Although Orlando is part of Central Florida, the majority of the Orlando area is a little closer to the east coast of Florida. Besides the slight lean towards the Atlantic Ocean, there is generally less traffic and congestion driving from Orlando to the Space Coast and the Volusia County beaches.
Location: 1300 N Atlantic Ave Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 puts you near the center of the stretch of Cocoa Beach
Best for: A great local beach with lots of nearby dining and shopping, and an easy drive
Parking and admission: Free at Lori Wilson Park (1400 N Atlantic Ave) and George McLeod Park Landmark (345 N Azure Ln)
For most people, Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando. It is one of the easiest beaches to get to thanks to the 528 toll road, lovingly known as the “beach line,” directly connecting Interstate 4 with the Atlantic coast. A visit to Cocoa Beach isn't complete without stopping at Ron Jon's Surf Shop. And, the Cocoa Beach Pier is a popular tourist spot for visitors (but beware of the pricey parking charge).
Check out all these things to do near Cocoa Beach.
I love the beach town feel of Cocoa Beach. Besides soaking up the sun, I love driving around the neighborhoods to see the classic coastal styles. You can find plenty to eat around town. Some of my favorites are 4th Street Filling Station, Florida's Fresh Grill, and Rusty's Seafood and Oyster Bar.
Besides a charming beach area, Cocoa Village is nearby. This historic downtown area has fantastic dining and shops and is wonderfully walkable.
Location: 30 minutes south of Cocoa Beach, with beach access along A1A from 1st Street to Surf Road
Best for: A quieter, more relaxing beach that's still close to Orlando
Parking and admission: There are free lots along Atlantic Avenue / A1A starting at Ocean Avenue down to Surf Road, but they are small
Situated along Florida's Space Coast, the city of Melbourne is located a little less than 90 minutes from downtown Orlando. Melbourne Beach is quieter and more relaxed than Cocoa Beach. It's one of our favorite hidden day trips from Orlando.
History Point Melbourne (194 Ocean Avenue) is a great place to start when visiting Melbourne Beach. Free parking along A1A fills up fast, so Melbourne Beach is best for early risers.
If you're coming from the Kissimmee / St. Cloud area, Melbourne Beach is closer to you than Cocoa Beach. And if you'd rather not get your toes sandy, Historic Downtown Melbourne and the trendy Eau Gallie Arts District are great to explore. Find more ideas in our guide for spending a day in Melbourne.
Playalinda Beach in Titusville
Location: Playalinda Beach is reached via Fla 402 (also known as Beach Road)
Best for: The ultimate Space Coast destination
Parking and admission: There is a park entrance fee of $20 for one vehicle, it is valid for 7 days
Not too far from Cocoa Beach is Titusville. It is about 30 minutes north of Cocoa Beach, so if you are coming from the north side of Orlando, towards Seminole County, it is convenient. Here you’ll find a smaller beach town with a charming historic downtown. Titusville celebrates the unique culture of the space program and is a very popular spot for viewing rocket launches. There aren’t as many public-access beaches here, but you will find a nice selection of restaurants and lounges. Make sure to also stop by Playalinda Brewing.
Playalinda Beach in Titusville is where to head for beach access. This beautiful beach is housed within a natural reserve, the Canaveral National Seashore. FYI: it is home to a nude beach (around parking lot 13, the farthest pier). If you wish to avoid this area there is plenty of space — just park at one of the lots before parking lot 13. And if you prefer to explore the nude beach, well, you know where to go!
Location: Volusia County, the closest beach to Seminole County and West Volusia County
Best for: Charming small-town feel with great local dining and shopping
Parking and admission: Free parking in select small parking lots along Flagler Avenue and side streets – walking involved, parking lots closest to the beach are $20 per day
New Smyrna Beach is small but mighty. Charming small businesses make up this town, and there are plenty of great restaurants for a delicious meal.
Locals call New Smyrna Beach “NSB” and you're sure to see “NSB” stickers on cars as you approach the area. Plentiful beachside parks give you another way to enjoy the beach. One of my favorites is 27th Avenue Beachfront Park, with its beachside playground and picnic facilities. There is also a dog-friendly beach at Smyrna Dunes Park (though it is very popular on the weekends and usually reaches capacity by 11:00 am).
Get more ideas with these 14 AWESOME Things to do in New Smyrna Beach (Besides the Beach).
Make a weekend getaway of it with our Three Perfect Days in New Smyrna Beach.
Important note: Driving on the beach is allowed through most of New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach. Please be extremely careful around children.
Location: North Volusia County
Best for: Exciting atmosphere and lots of activity
Parking and admission: Driving on the beach access is $20, free parking at 834 N. Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, free parking at 611 S. Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, you can also park for free at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach as long as you dine at the onsite restaurant or have a spa appointment
Perhaps the most well-known beach on Central Florida’s Atlantic coast is Daytona Beach. Home of Daytona International Speedway and the famous Daytona 500 race, this beach allows cars to drive and park right on the sand, in honor of the original Daytona 500 races taking place on the beach itself. It is one of the most visited beaches near Orlando.
Personally, I find Daytona Beach to be too busy and congested. However, Daytona Beach is a must-do if you're new to Florida or you're showing people around Central Florida. If you want to enjoy the excitement of Daytona Beach and experience a romantic atmosphere, the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach should be on your list. Whether you do a weekend getaway at the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach or stop by for brunch, it is one of the best features of this area.
Do you want to take your dog with you to the beach? You are in luck – for the first time in 30+ years, there is a section of beach in Volusia County that is dog-friendly. The newly designated dog beach is located between the northern boundary of Rockefeller Drive and the southern boundary of Milsap Road in Ormond Beach. The section is open between dawn and dusk seven days a week.
When at the beach, officials are asking owners to follow the following rules:
- Pet owners must promptly clean up after their dogs, ensuring all feces are properly disposed of.
- Dogs must be on a leash at all times. The leash must be no longer than 6 feet.
- Dogs must not disturb or harm the dune areas or wildlife inhabiting the beach.
- All dogs entering the beach area must have a current rabies vaccination.
In addition to these rules, there are a few other things to keep in mind when bringing your dog to the beach in Volusia County:
- Be aware of the weather conditions. If it is hot or humid, make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade.
- Watch out for other beachgoers and vehicles. Keep your dog on a leash and under control at all times.
- Do not allow your dog to harass wildlife.
- Be respectful of the environment. Pick up after your dog and leave no trace.
What is the nicest beach near Orlando?
The answer to this is certainly subjective and open to opinion. Still, there's no denying there are a few favorite beaches among locals.
New Smyrna Beach is my favorite among the Atlantic coast beaches near Orlando. A small, coastal town feel exudes from the New Smyrna Beach area. Flagler Avenue is full of great local restaurants and shops, with the beach itself at the end.
On the Gulf of Mexico side, St. Pete Beach is considered to be among Florida's nicest beaches. The surrounding area is more metropolitan than natural relaxation but offers plenty of options including art museums, breweries, eateries, and more.
Plus, the St. Pete Pier is a must-do attraction with dining, local artisans, and a fantastic playground.
What beach is closest to Disney World?
- Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Walt Disney World. From the attractions area, you can head down Toll Road 528, known as the Beach Line, and be on the sand just about an hour. It is a unique beach town because of Port Canaveral and its beautiful cruise ships, as well as its proximity to Cape Canaveral, former home of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program and current home of the SpaceX and ULA private space initiatives.
Disney Cruise Line's main port is here because of Port Canaveral is so accessible to Walt Disney World Resort.
FYI: If you're visiting from out of town and do not have your own transportation to Cocoa Beach. there are a few options. Cocoa Beach Shuttle is a great option, with the ability to make reservations in advance.
If you're booked on a Disney Cruise and staying at Walt Disney World, there is dedicated bus transportation from Disney World to the Disney Cruise ships. You'll need to arrange this with Disney Cruise Line directly.
Alternatively, Melbourne Beach is 30 minutes south of Cocoa Beach and still relatively close to Walt Disney World.
What is the closest Gulf Coast beach to Orlando?
- Clearwater Beach
- St. Pete Beach
- Siesta Key
Although Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Walt Disney World, and the most direct route, some of the beaches on the Gulf Coast aren't too far either. Soft, lapping waves and warmer waters on this coast make for pleasant splashing any time of year. Be aware, traffic can get very congested.
The most famous beach on this side of the state is Clearwater Beach, whose calm waves and sugar-soft sand make it a very desirable destination. It is the most popular of beaches near Orlando. A nightly sunset celebration takes place on Clearwater’s Pier 60, where live entertainers and vendors line the pier as everyone gathers to watch Mother Nature put on a show. Just be aware that traffic can be very congested here, especially on the weekends.
Affordable parking can be hard to come by; there are ample parking garages that run about $15 for three hours. (Sand Key is right next to Clearwater Beach and is a nice alternative for a quieter spot, though you will have to contend with Clearwater traffic.) Overall, it is a great destination and is where I recently celebrated my anniversary with my husband.
Have the perfect beach day with Florida beach gear from Bealls.
Alternatives include St. Pete Beach and Siesta Key. Both have vibrant food scenes, white sand beaches, and crystal clear waters.
What to Pack for a Day at the Beach
Sunshine, sand, and endless ocean waves await! But before you hit the best beaches near Orlando, make sure you're packed for a day of fun in the sun. Here's a quick checklist to ensure you have everything you need for an unforgettable beach adventure:
Sunscreen, shades, and a smile: Florida's sun is no joke, so pack SPF 30+ sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses for ultimate protection.
Beach essentials: Quick-drying swimsuits, comfy flip-flops or water shoes, and a microfiber towel are your beach bestie trio. Don't forget a reusable water bottle and healthy snacks to keep you fueled!
Beachside bonus: Elevate your beach day with a portable umbrella, foldable chairs, and a good book (waterproof, of course!). Packing a first-aid kit and aloe vera gel ensures you're prepared for minor mishaps.
Remember: Pack light, check the weather, and leave no trace behind. Now go forth and conquer those Orlando beaches! ️
Feature image credit: Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier