Orlando is one of the top family vacation destinations, but most visitors don’t know that they can easily combine their Disney World trip with soaking up the Floridian sunshine. Prime shorelines, mainly on the Atlantic Coast but even on the Gulf Coast await you with so much fun. To find the best beaches near Orlando for families, here are the top 10 spots just 1-2 hours’ drive away.
The closest beach to Disney World only about an hour away from Orlando is Cocoa Beach. This family-friendly destination is situated near many different eateries and shops, making it easy to explore the surrounding area while enjoying a day at the beach.
Your kids will surely love this location because the waves are calm and peaceful, making it ideal for small children to spend time in the water. Known as the East Coast Surfing Capital, surfing is also a must-try activity here and if you arrive in the winter season you can even set up a fire at the beach since Cocoa is one of those Florida beaches that allow bonfires.
The beach even has an 800 feet long boardwalk where you can shop at different boutiques and find a place to grab a bite to eat. If your kids are science nerds, make sure to visit the nearby Kennedy Space Center too where they can learn about space exploration and rocket launches.
With a wide variety of apartments and a heated year-round outdoor pool, Chateau by the Sea directly on the oceanfront is the area’s top accommodation.
New Smyrna Beach
A pedestrian-friendly Florida beach town located just an hour from Orlando, New Smyrna is known for its white sandy shoreline and makes a popular surf hub where there’s a lot of activity. You can walk along 13 miles of sand where you can find plentiful wave breaks any time of the day to surf or boogie board.
The wide, quiet beach is perfect to build sandcastles and playing in the surf making New Smyrna one of the top kid-friendly beaches in Florida. The picturesque views of Ponce Inlet and its lighthouse in the distance make this location excellent to take family photos. Whether you plan a day trip or extend your vacation here, New Smyrna Beach won’t disappoint!
Looking for a nice resort to stay nearby? Check out the Coconut Palms Ramada by Wyndham!
Those who look for the best beaches near Orlando for families where there is always something going on should visit Daytona Beach. Well-known for its Daytona International Speedway, you can get the chance to drive on some areas of the beach where hard-packed sand is present, making it a fun experience for the whole family.
Daytona is thought of as a Spring Break beach when the main pier area turns into a crazy party scene, so we don’t recommend going those weeks if you want to avoid crowds. This seaside town is the best to visit during summer when free concerts are hosted where you can listen to live music in a beautiful setting.
You can spend the day surfing in the water and hitting the boardwalk in the evening where a lively ambience is guaranteed with arcade games available. The Daytona Lagoon water park is also a popular attraction only a few feet away. For an adventure-packed family vacation, Daytona ranks high among the best beaches near Disney World!
Flagler Beach is one of the best beaches near Orlando for families with good reason: it has calm, warm waters, soft sand, never gets too crowded and allows visitors to have free access to the location. This quiet Florida beach is only an hour’s drive from Orlando but offers you to have an escape to a setting that is serene, peaceful and feels like a remote paradise.
A variety of eclectic shops are situated near the sand, making it easy to shop and meet some of the friendly locals. There are also plenty of open-air restaurants that allow you to grab a bite to eat while enjoying the beautiful ocean views with your family.
Flagler Beach Motel and Vacation Rentals is a budget-friendly accommodation just steps away from the beach.
Canaveral National Seashore
Situated between Titusville and New Smyrna Beach, Canaveral National Seashore is a great place for a beach vacation in Florida. This beautiful park with several miles of scenic shoreline is among the best family beaches near Orlando with good reason: it is a hidden paradise where you can escape the crowds and spend quality time with your family while reconnection with nature.
Featuring many hiking trails and having a variety of native plants present, you can reconnect with nature here. Multiple waterways and boat launches make it easy to participate in different types of water activities for added fun. And the best is, Canaveral National Seashore also has proximity to the Space Coast, which makes it possible to see launch viewings at different times of the year.
Should you decide to spend a little longer time here, check out the Holiday Inn Club which is an excellent family-friendly resort with a water park and children’s play area.
When arriving with kids, be aware because one section of this seashore (Apollo Beach on the north) is clothing optional.
St Augustine Beach
This lovely beach town situated on St Anastasia Island deserves to be mentioned among the family beaches near Orlando. The area has a wonderful coastline with lifeguards on duty making it a safe place to enjoy the ocean, moreover, there are playgrounds and splash zones available too for children to enjoy.
You can take a trip to the pier to enjoy a day spent fishing or stop by the volleyball courts at this location which is just 100 miles from Orlando. Picnic areas and nature trails also make it easy to stay busy. When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, there are many family-friendly restaurants and eateries that are located within walking distance of the beach.
Just minutes away from the shore, Courtyard by Marriott is a clean and comfortable accommodation at St. Augustine Beach.
The soft white sand and calm waves make Clearwater a top kid-friendly beach not so far from Orlando on the Gulf Coast. Whether you want to spend the day sunbathing on the beautiful soft sand, swim in the azure, calm waters or stay active with water sports such as paddleboarding, snorkeling or jet skiing, Clearwater Beach has something to offer for all types of beachgoers!
This white-sandy resort area is not only beautiful and well-kept (there is lifeguards on duty all day every day and the beach is regularly groomed) but is one of the most affordable Florida beach towns on the Gulf because of the area’s various free and inexpensive activities.
You can bike or rollerblader on the promenade with your family and enjoy watching street performers at night on Pier 60, moreover there are often free movies on the lawn. If you get hungry, there’s an abundance of seafood cafes and restaurants where you can indulge in fresh food that has local ingredients.
St Pete Beach
Located on a barrier island on the Gulf, St. Pete Beach is famous for its pink hotel, The Don Cesar that stands out and is a well-known landmark since 1928. As one of the best Florida beaches near Orlando, St Pete offers something for everyone. You can find wonderful beaches and interesting wildlife; your kids will enjoy observing turtles and seabirds!
It’s also convenient to walk a few blocks and explore the surroundings, where there are museums, eateries, and art galleries that offer insight into the culture of the local area. The emerald-green waters, soft sand and laid-back vibes make it easy to feel like you’re in paradise.
Residence Inn St. Petersburg Tierra Verde is just 1 mile from St. Pete Beach and features various facilities to make your stay comfortable.
Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park is an over 1100 acres park area including five interconnected islands you can explore. The options are endless with how you spend your time at this location, whether you want to rent a canoe, hike its many trails or take photos at some of the historical battle sites on the grounds.
The location dates back to the Civil War and has many artifacts of interest, making it an educational experience for children. To explore Florida’s unique flora and fauna, Fort De Soto must be one of the best Gulf beaches near Orlando which takes about 2 hours to get to making it a great choice even for a day trip. What’s more, it is even pet-friendly so you can bring your furry friends too!
Anna Maria Island
A quiet beach town, Anna Marie Island near Tampa is a hidden gem where many locals spend their time. It offers miles of white sandy beaches and always has calm waters, making it an ideal place for little ones to play in the surf.
As a low-key destination, many families enjoy visiting this spot because it’s laid-back and doesn’t attract too many crowds. Our personal favorite section is Bean Point Beach where the sand is super soft and the water is exceptionally clean and warm; you will feel yourself here like in the Caribbean!
At the north end of the bayside of the island, Bayfront Park offers playgrounds and several covered picnic areas available. There are also plenty of restaurants with authentic cuisine in the surrounding area. Although Anne Maria Island is about 2.5 hours from Orlando, it definitely counts as one of the best Florida beaches for families you should plan to visit!
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