Florida Travel Blog

Travel destinations, beaches, attractions and fun things to do in Florida. 

Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

Orlando to the Beach: A Guide to the Sandy Shores of Florida

Orlando to the Nearest Beach

Welcome to the sunshine state, where the magic of Orlando meets the allure of sandy beaches. Are you ready to trade Mickey ears for flip-flops? Many theme park visitors ask how far from Orlando to the beach.

In this guide, we’ll take you from the thrilling rides of theme parks to the tranquil waves of Florida’s stunning coastline. From Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach and Clearwater Beach, we’ll explore the best beach destinations within driving distance of Orlando.

Whether you’re seeking family-friendly shores, vibrant nightlife, or a peaceful retreat, we’ve got you covered. Discover the soft white sands, crystal-clear waters, and endless recreational activities that await you.

But wait, there’s more! We’ll provide insider tips on where to stay, what to do, and how to make the most of your beach getaway. So, buckle up and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey from the enchantment of Orlando to the beach of your choice.

Orlando to the beaches
Florida beaches are an attraction much like the theme parks like Disney World and Universal. So if you are wondering how far are the beaches from Disney World, we have the answers to the closest beaches to Disney.

Top Beaches Near Orlando

You’ll be spoiled for choices when it comes to the best beaches near Orlando. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly destination or a secluded spot to relax, there’s a beach for everyone.

We will also reveal our choices for:

  • The Closest Beach to Orlando
  • The Best Beach near Orlando (within driving distance)
  • The Best Family Beach Near Orlando
  • The Best Remote Beach Near Orlando (less crowded!)
  • Best Beach near Orlando for Couples

 Here are the best beaches near Orlando that you should consider visiting:

closest beach to orlando - ormond beach
Ormond Beach is a good family beach because it is a little less crowded. Orlando to the beach is just a little over an hour.

Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach, Florida, is a picturesque coastal city located just north of Daytona Beach, renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and scenic beauty. Nestled along the Atlantic Ocean, Ormond Beach offers sparkling, uncrowded beaches perfect for relaxation and water activities.

The city is steeped in history, with landmarks such as the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens and the historic Rockefeller’s Ormond Beach home, The Casements.

Its scenic A1A highway provides stunning views and easy access to parks, nature trails, and the Tomoka State Park, where visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, and observing local wildlife. With a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities, Ormond Beach is a charming and serene getaway on Florida’s east coast.

Distance to Ormond Beach from Orlando – 62 miles – mainly freeway except for last 5 miles.

Our Thoughts – Ormond Beach is more laid back that Daytona Beach and some of the others. Good for families and people who want to see the beautiful coastal communities of Florida. One of our favorite beaches our family has enjoyed.

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Places to Stay in Ormond Beach (always book in advance, cancellations are easy)

Things To Do in Ormond Beach (book trips and tours in advance)

orlando to Daytona beach - Joe's Crab Shack
One of the fun places to eat is Joe’s Crab Shack on the pier at Daytona Beach Florida. Only a little over an hour from Orlando to the Beach.

Daytona Beach

Located just an hour’s drive from Orlando, Daytona Beach is famous for its wide sandy shores and iconic boardwalk. This beach offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages.

Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and amusement rides. If you’re a motorsport enthusiast, be sure to visit the Daytona International Speedway, where you can witness thrilling races and even take a tour of the track.

Distance from Orlando to Daytona Beach – 57 miles – mainly four-lane super highway. Northeast on I-4.

Our Thoughts – If you are into stock car racing and cars, this is the place to go. One of the original spring break locations in Florida.

Places to Stay in Daytona Beach (always book in advance, cancellations are easy)

Things To Do in Daytona Beach (book trips and tours in advance)

how far is it to the beaches from orlando - Clearwater beach
This is just a portion of Clearwater Beach. This family-centric beach is a little further from Orlando but there is something for the whole family to do. Clearwater Beach is the best beach near Orlando for the family.

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is known for its crystal-clear waters and pure white sand. It’s the perfect destination for those seeking a relaxing beach getaway.

Enjoy a leisurely swim in the warm waters or take a sunset cruise to admire the breathtaking views. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at water sports like paddleboarding or jet skiing.

Don’t forget to visit Pier 60, where you can catch live entertainment and browse through local vendors selling handmade crafts. A must-visit is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where the original Winter the Dolphin movie was filmed.

Distance from Orlando to Clearwater Beach – 108 miles – Drive Time 2.5 hours – Mainly freeway and major roads.

Our thoughts – This is the best family beach near Orlando Florida. More things to do on Clearwater Beach than any others. Overall, we consider this to be the best beach within driving distance of Orlando. However, we may be a little prejudiced since we live here!

Places to Stay in Clearwater Beach (always book in advance, cancellations are easy)

Things To Do in Clearwater Beach (book trips and tours in advance)

orlando to cocoa beach florida
If your family is into surfing, Cocoa Beach is the place to go. Cocoa Beach is very close to Orlando just an hour away.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, Florida, is a charming coastal city known for its beautiful sandy shores and vibrant surf culture. Located on Florida’s Space Coast, it’s a popular destination for beachgoers and surfers, thanks to its consistent waves and warm waters.

The city is also a gateway to the Kennedy Space Center, offering a unique blend of sun, sea, and space exploration. With a laid-back atmosphere, Cocoa Beach boasts a variety of attractions including the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier, numerous waterfront dining options, and the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop.

Whether you’re looking to catch a wave, witness a rocket launch, or simply relax by the ocean, Cocoa Beach offers a quintessential Florida experience.

Distance from Orlando to Cocoa Beach – just over 1 hour – 60 miles on four-lane highway for much of the way.

Our Thoughts – The closest beach to Orlando. Great place for teenagers and people who want to visit Kenedy Space Center as well as the beaches.

Places to Stay in Cocoa Beach (always book in advance, cancellations are easy)

Things To Do in Cocoa Beach (book trips and tours in advance)

miami beach - beaches near orlando florida
The beach at Miami Beach spreads several miles and there are many sightseeing things to do in Miami Beach.

Miami Beach

If you’re looking for a vibrant beach destination with a lively atmosphere, look no further than Miami Beach. Known for its stunning Art Deco architecture, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches, Miami Beach offers something for everyone.

Take a walk along Ocean Drive and soak in the lively atmosphere, or relax on the soft sands and soak up the sun. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Miami, such as Little Havana and Wynwood, where you’ll find delicious food, colorful street art, and unique cultural experiences.

Distance from Orlando to Miami Beach – 240 miles – On the Florida Turnpike mainly four lane freeways until you reach Miami. Sometimes congested near beaches.

Our Thoughts – Best beach near Orlando for couples and extended stays for sightseeing. Lots of things to do in Miami. There will be crowds.

Places to Stay in Miami Beach (always book in advance, cancellations are easy)

Things To Do in Miami Beach (book trips and tours in advance)

orlando to the beaches - Caladesi Island
This is Caladesi Island and in the distance is Clearwater Beach. Caladesi is an all-day experience for a family looking for a remote beach in Florida.

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island, located off the coast of Dunedin, Florida, is an untouched barrier island renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty and stunning beaches. Accessible only by boat or ferry, Caladesi Island State Park offers a secluded paradise with powdery white sand, clear turquoise waters, and lush coastal vegetation.

The beach is consistently ranked among the best in the United States and one of the best beaches near Orlando which is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, shelling, and beachcombing. Nature enthusiasts can explore the island’s extensive trail system, which winds through mangroves and maritime hammocks, providing opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

With its tranquil ambiance and untainted landscapes, Caladesi Island offers a perfect escape for those seeking a serene and authentic Florida beach experience.

Distance from Orlando to Caladesi Island – 110 miles – 2.5 hours driving time mainly on freeways (just 5 miles north of Clearwater Beach).

Our Thoughts – This is the most remote beach near Orlando. If you want to really give your family a beach experience, plan a trip to Caladesi Island reachable by ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park. Great experience for young families or make this trip on an alternate day at Clearwater Beach Florida.

Places to Stay near Caladesi Island (always book in advance, cancellations are easy)

Things To Do near Caladesi Island (book trips and tours in advance)

Best Times to Visit the Beaches

Florida is known for its warm weather and sunny skies, making it a great destination for beach lovers year-round. However, there are certain times of the year when the beaches are particularly crowded or when the weather may not be as ideal. Here are some tips on the best times to visit the beaches near Orlando:

Spring and Fall

Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November) are considered the best times to visit the beaches near Orlando. During these months, the weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to the 80s, making it perfect for enjoying outdoor activities. Additionally, the beaches are less crowded during these times, allowing you to have a more peaceful and relaxing experience.

Summer
beach near orlando - summer beach tips
Keep Cool in Summer

Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in Florida, so expect larger crowds and higher temperatures. If you don’t mind the heat and enjoy a lively atmosphere, this is a great time to visit. Just make sure to pack sunscreen, stay hydrated, and arrive early to secure a good spot on the beach.

Winter

Winter (December to February) in Florida is relatively mild compared to other parts of the country, with temperatures ranging from the 50s to the 70s. While the weather may not be warm enough for swimming on some days, it’s still a great time to visit if you prefer a quieter beach experience. Plus, you’ll often find lower hotel rates and less crowded attractions during this time.

How to Get from Orlando to The Beaches

Getting from Orlando to the beaches is relatively easy, thanks to the well-connected road network and proximity to major highways. Here are the different transportation options available:

Car Rental

Renting a car is the most convenient way to get from Orlando to the nearby beaches. There are several car rental companies located at the Orlando International Airport and throughout the city. Having a car gives you the freedom to explore different beaches at your own pace and visit nearby attractions. Check your available car rental options here.

Shuttle Service

If you prefer not to drive, there are shuttle services available that offer transportation from Orlando to the beaches. These services typically operate on a scheduled basis and pick up passengers from designated locations. While this option may be more affordable, it may also be less flexible in terms of timing and destinations.

Public Transportation
orlando to the beach - brightline train
The Brightline Train system that runs to many communities from Orlando. Check for availability and rates.

Public transportation options, such as buses and trains, are available for those looking for a budget-friendly way to reach the beaches. Lynx, the local bus service, operates routes to some beach destinations from Orlando. Additionally, Amtrak offers train service to certain coastal cities in Florida. However, keep in mind that public transportation may have limited schedules and may not be as convenient as other options.

Ride Share

All the ride-share companies can offer trips to the beaches including Uber, Lyft and private limousine services.

Beach Safety Tips and Guidelines

While the beach is a beautiful and fun-filled destination, it’s important to prioritize safety and follow certain guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some beach safety tips to keep in mind:

Swim Near Lifeguard Stations

Always swim near lifeguard stations, as they provide an added layer of safety. Lifeguards are trained to spot potential dangers and can quickly respond in case of an emergency. Additionally, they can provide valuable information about current beach conditions and any potential hazards.

Be Aware of Rip Currents
closest beach to orlando - beach safety flags
Be aware of safe beach conditions by watching for one of these signal flags at Florida beaches near Orlando.

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water that can pull swimmers away from the shore. It’s important to be aware of their presence and know how to respond if you get caught in one. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

The Florida sun can be intense, so it’s essential to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF, wear a hat and sunglasses, and seek shade during the peak hours of sun exposure (usually between 10 am and 4 pm). It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Beach Amenities and Facilities

Florida’s beaches are well-equipped with amenities and facilities to enhance your beach experience. Here are some common amenities you can expect to find:

Restrooms and Changing Facilities

Most beaches have restroom facilities where you can freshen up and change into your beach attire. These facilities are usually well-maintained and easily accessible. Some beaches also provide outdoor showers for rinsing off saltwater and sand.

Picnic Areas and BBQ Grills
orlando to the beach - life guard station
Be aware of lifeguard stations and the flags flying on beaches near Orlando.

If you’re planning a beach picnic or cookout, many beaches offer picnic areas equipped with tables, benches, and BBQ grills. This allows you to enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the beautiful beach views. Just remember to clean up after yourself and dispose of trash properly.

Beach Rentals

If you didn’t bring your own beach gear, don’t worry. Many beaches offer rental services where you can find beach chairs, umbrellas, and even water sports equipment. This allows you to enjoy the beach without the hassle of carrying bulky items.

Final Thoughts on Orlando to the Beaches

From the enchantment of Orlando to the sandy shores of Florida, a beach getaway is the perfect complement to your theme park adventures.

We love all the destinations we have chosen for your consideration. Our family has lived in Florida for over 40 years. We know the beaches, the highlights of Florida living and the fun traveling the state of Florida.

Whether you choose to visit Daytona Beach, Clearwater Beach, or others, each destination offers its own unique charm and attractions. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and get ready to experience the magic of Orlando and the beauty of Florida’s sandy shores.  We even have a beach packing list you may want to consider.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or family fun, these beaches will leave you with unforgettable memories and a longing to return. So, trade your Mickey ears for flip flops, and embark on an unforgettable journey from Orlando to the beaches of Florida.

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