Orlando’s Nearest Family Friendly Beaches
Are you planning a family vacation to Orlando and looking for the perfect beaches to visit? Look no further! In this article, we’ll be unveiling the top 5 family friendly beaches near Orlando, ensuring an unforgettable vacation for you and your loved ones.
Orlando may be famous for its theme parks, but it’s also home to some stunning coastal areas that offer endless fun in the sun. Whether you’re seeking calm waters for the little ones, sandy shores for building sand castles, or action-packed activities for the entire family, these beaches have it all.
From the tranquil and picturesque shores of Clearwater Beach to the vibrant and bustling Cocoa Beach, we’ve handpicked the best options to suit every family’s preferences.
So get ready to pack your beach essentials, slather on the sunscreen, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Join us as we dive into the top 5 family friendly beaches near Orlando, combining relaxation, adventure, and quality time with your loved ones. Get ready for a vacation you’ll never forget!
Why Orlando is a Great Destination for a Family Vacation
Orlando is an exceptional destination for a family vacation for numerous reasons:
- Theme Parks Galore: It’s home to world-famous theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and LEGOLAND Florida Resort. These parks offer a myriad of attractions suitable for all ages, ensuring there’s something thrilling for everyone in the family.
- Family-Friendly Accommodations: Orlando boasts a plethora of family-friendly accommodations, ranging from budget-friendly hotels to luxurious resorts with amenities catering specifically to families, such as kid’s clubs, pools, and entertainment options. For a look at hotel rates in Orlando check here.
- Year-Round Sunshine: With its sunny weather year-round, Orlando provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities, whether it’s exploring the parks, picnicking in gardens, or enjoying water sports at nearby lakes.
- Diverse Attractions: Beyond the theme parks, Orlando offers diverse attractions like the Kennedy Space Center, Gatorland, Orlando Science Center, and numerous museums, ensuring there’s plenty of educational and entertaining options for families to explore.
- Dining Options: Orlando’s dining scene is diverse and caters to all tastes and budgets. From themed restaurants within the parks to international cuisine options throughout the city, there’s something to satisfy even the pickiest eaters in the family.
- Family-Friendly Events: Throughout the year, Orlando hosts various family-friendly events, from seasonal festivals to holiday celebrations, ensuring there’s always something special happening during your visit.
- Accessibility: Orlando is easily accessible from major cities worldwide, with a well-connected airport and highways, making it convenient for families traveling from different parts of the globe.
- Memorable Experiences: Orlando offers opportunities for creating unforgettable family memories, whether it’s meeting beloved characters, experiencing exhilarating rides together, or bonding over shared adventures.
Overall, Orlando’s combination of world-class attractions, family-friendly accommodations, favorable weather, and diverse entertainment options make it an ideal destination for a memorable family vacation.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Family Friendly Beach Near Orlando
When choosing a family-friendly beach near Orlando, consider the following factors:
- Safety: Look for beaches near Orlando for families with lifeguards on duty, designated swimming areas, and clear signage indicating any hazards or currents. Safety is paramount, especially when children are involved. Look beyond just the beach. The places Florida Travel Blog has chosen are in some of the safest places in Florida.
- Cleanliness: Opt for beaches with clean sand and water, as well as facilities like restrooms and trash receptacles. A well-maintained beach enhances the overall experience for families.
- Shade and Amenities: Check if the beach offers shaded areas, picnic tables, playgrounds, and other amenities that cater to families. These facilities can make your beach day more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Water Activities: Consider the availability of water sports rentals, such as kayaks, paddleboards, or snorkeling gear, to add excitement to your beach outing. Make sure these activities are suitable for all family members.
- Crowds and Noise Levels: Evaluate the beach’s popularity and whether it tends to get crowded, especially during peak seasons. Some families prefer quieter, more secluded beaches for a peaceful experience.
- Accessibility and Parking: Ensure the beach is easily accessible and offers ample parking, especially if you’re traveling with young children and beach gear. Convenient access can streamline your beach day logistics.
- Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Seek out beaches with a family-friendly atmosphere, where rules are enforced, and visitors respect one another. A positive environment enhances safety and enjoyment for everyone.
- Nearby Attractions and Services: Check if the beach is close to restaurants, shops, or attractions that cater to families. Having options for dining or entertainment nearby can enhance your beach trip.
- Reviews and Recommendations: Read reviews from other families who have visited the beach to gain insights into their experiences and any potential concerns. Personal recommendations can help you make an informed decision.
- Weather and Seasonality: Consider the weather conditions and seasonal factors, such as water temperature and marine life sightings. Choose a time of year that aligns with your family’s preferences and comfort level.
By considering these factors, you can select a family-friendly beach near Orlando that meets your needs and ensures a memorable seaside experience for everyone.
Beach #1: Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach, located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is renowned for its stunning white sandy shores, clear turquoise waters, and vibrant atmosphere. We live in Clearwater Beach and suggest you make this your first family friendly beach near Orlando on your list.
Distance from Orlando to Clearwater Beach is 108 miles and driving time is 2 hours. Easy direct route.
Here’s an overview of what makes Clearwater Beach a popular destination:
- Beach: Clearwater Beach’s main draw is its pristine shoreline, which consistently ranks among the top beaches in the United States. The soft, powdery sand and calm, shallow waters make it ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and sandcastle building.
- Pier 60: Pier 60 is a central hub of activity at Clearwater Beach. Stretching 1,080 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, it offers fishing opportunities, breathtaking views, and a lively atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy daily sunset celebrations featuring street performers, artisans, and vendors.
- Water Activities: The beach offers a wide range of water sports and activities, including parasailing, jet skiing, paddleboarding, and dolphin-watching tours. There are rental facilities and tour operators along the beach, making it easy for visitors to enjoy aquatic adventures. You can find tours around Clearwater Beach here.
- Dining and Entertainment: Clearwater Beach boasts an array of waterfront restaurants, bars, and cafes serving fresh seafood and tropical drinks. Visitors can indulge in waterfront dining while enjoying panoramic views of the Gulf. Additionally, the area offers live music, beachside bars, and nightlife options for those seeking evening entertainment.
- Family-Friendly Attractions: Families will find plenty to do beyond the beach, including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to the late Winter the Dolphin from the movie “Dolphin Tale,” and nearby attractions like Captain Bligh’s Mini Golf and the Clearwater Beach Marina.
- Accommodations: Clearwater Beach offers a variety of accommodations, from luxury resorts and beachfront hotels to vacation rentals and cozy bed-and-breakfasts. Many properties offer direct beach access and amenities geared towards families and couples alike. Check out the hotels on Clearwater Beach.
- Events and Festivals: Throughout the year, Clearwater Beach hosts various events and festivals, such as the Clearwater Beach Taste Fest, Clearwater Super Boat National Championship & Festival, and the Clearwater Beach Chalk Art Festival, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.
- Accessibility: Clearwater Beach is easily accessible from Tampa International Airport, located approximately 20 miles away. It’s also within driving distance of other popular Gulf Coast destinations, such as St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
Overall, Clearwater Beach’s natural beauty, recreational opportunities, dining options, and family-friendly atmosphere make it a beloved destination for beach lovers and vacationers seeking a quintessential Florida experience.
Beach #2: Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach, located on Florida’s Space Coast, is a charming coastal town known for its beautiful beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and proximity to Kennedy Space Center. Cocoa beach gets a lot of traffic from Orlando since it is one of the closest family friendly beaches near Orlando.
Distance from Orlando to Cocoa Beach is 60 miles and the driving time is 1 hour from Orlando.
Here’s a comprehensive overview of what makes Cocoa Beach a notable destination:
- Beach: Cocoa Beach features a wide stretch of soft, sandy shoreline along Florida’s Atlantic coast. The beach is popular for activities such as sunbathing, swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, and sandcastle building. It’s known for its consistent waves, making it a favorite spot for surfers of all skill levels.
- Surfing: Cocoa Beach is often referred to as the “East Coast Surfing Capital” due to its legendary surf culture and world-class waves. The iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, one of the largest surf shops in the world, is located here. The town has produced several surfing champions and hosts events like the Ron Jon Beach ‘N Boards Fest.
- Ron Jon Surf Shop: Founded in 1959, Ron Jon Surf Shop is a must-visit destination for surf enthusiasts and beachgoers. Spanning 52,000 square feet, the flagship store offers everything from surfboards and beachwear to souvenirs and surfing memorabilia.
- Kennedy Space Center: Just a short drive north of Cocoa Beach is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where visitors can learn about the history of space exploration, see space shuttles and rockets up close, and experience interactive exhibits and attractions. It’s a fascinating destination for families and space enthusiasts.
- Dining and Entertainment: The town boasts a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars serving fresh seafood, international cuisine, and classic beach fare. Visitors can enjoy waterfront dining, live music, and nightlife options along the Cocoa Beach Pier and in the downtown area.
- Accommodations: Cocoa Beach offers a range of accommodations, including oceanfront hotels, vacation rentals, and beachside resorts catering to families, couples, and budget-conscious travelers. Check out Cocoa Beach hotels and rates here.
- Events and Festivals: Throughout the year, Cocoa Beach hosts events and festivals celebrating its surf culture, space heritage, and community spirit. Highlights include the Cocoa Beach Easter Surf Festival, Space Coast Art Festival, and Cocoa Beach Air Show.
With its blend of sun, surf, space exploration, and coastal charm, Cocoa Beach offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors seeking relaxation, adventure, and exploration along Florida’s Space Coast.
Beach #3: New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach, located on the east coast of Florida, is a charming seaside town known for its beaches, vibrant arts scene, and historic charm.
Distance from Orlando to New Smyrna Beach is 55 miles and driving time to New Smyrna from Orlando is 1 hour.
Here’s an overview of what makes New Smyrna Beach a special destination:
- Beach: New Smyrna Beach is renowned for its beautiful, wide stretch of sandy shoreline stretching along the Atlantic Ocean. The beach offers excellent conditions for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, kiteboarding, and beachcombing. It’s consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in Florida.
- Surfing: With consistent waves and a laid-back atmosphere, New Smyrna Beach is a popular destination for surfers of all skill levels. It’s often referred to as one of the best surf towns on the East Coast, with numerous surf breaks along its coastline.
- Arts and Culture: New Smyrna Beach has a thriving arts community, with galleries, studios, and cultural events scattered throughout the town. The Atlantic Center for the Arts, a renowned artists’ residency program, attracts artists from around the world and hosts exhibitions, workshops, and performances.
- Historic Downtown: The historic downtown area of New Smyrna Beach is brimming with shops, restaurants, cafes, and art galleries housed in charming historic buildings. Visitors can stroll along Flagler Avenue and Canal Street, explore boutiques, dine at local eateries, and soak in the small-town atmosphere.
- Water Activities: In addition to surfing and beachcombing, New Smyrna Beach offers a variety of water activities, including fishing charters, boat tours, paddleboarding, and kayaking in the nearby Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.
- Events and Festivals: The town hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including the New Smyrna Beach Food Festival, Images: A Festival of the Arts, New Smyrna Beach Jazz Festival, and various surf competitions, attracting visitors from near and far.
- Accommodations: New Smyrna Beach offers a range of accommodations, including beachfront hotels, vacation rentals, bed-and-breakfast inns, and campgrounds catering to families, couples, and solo travelers. Check New Smyrna Hotels here. More intimate setting at VRBO’s in New Smyrna Beach.
- Accessibility: Located just south of Daytona Beach and within easy driving distance of Orlando, New Smyrna Beach is accessible via major highways and airports, making it a convenient destination for visitors traveling from other parts of Florida or beyond.
With its natural beauty, cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and relaxed atmosphere, New Smyrna Beach offers a quintessential Florida experience for visitors seeking sun, surf, and small-town charm along the Atlantic coast.
Beach #4: St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach, situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a vibrant beach community known for its bright white sandy shores, turquoise waters, and an array of recreational activities.
Distance from Orlando to St. Pete Beach is 113 miles and the driving time from Orlando to St. Pete Beach is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Here’s an overview of what makes St. Pete Beach and its beaches special:
- Beach: St. Pete Beach boasts miles of soft, white sand lapped by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The beach is consistently ranked among the top beaches in the United States for its beauty and amenities. Visitors can relax on the sand, swim in the gentle waves, or partake in various water sports such as parasailing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding.
- Sunsets: St. Pete Beach is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets over the Gulf. The nightly spectacle draws crowds to the shoreline, where visitors gather to witness the sky ablaze with vibrant hues as the sun dips below the horizon.
- Pass-a-Grille Beach: Located at the southern end of St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille Beach offers a more secluded and serene setting. This historic neighborhood features charming beach cottages, local eateries, and a laid-back atmosphere. Pass-a-Grille Beach is perfect for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.
- Activities and Attractions: Beyond the beach, St. Pete Beach offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Nearby, you’ll find the iconic Don CeSar Hotel, known as the “Pink Palace” for its distinctive pink facade and luxurious accommodations. The hotel offers dining options, spa services, and beach access.
- Waterfront Dining: St. Pete Beach boasts a variety of waterfront restaurants and bars where visitors can dine with views of the Gulf. From casual beachfront cafes to upscale seafood restaurants, there are options to suit every palate and budget.
- Shopping and Entertainment: The beach town offers shopping opportunities ranging from beachwear boutiques to art galleries and souvenir shops. Additionally, St. Pete Beach hosts live music events, festivals, and art shows throughout the year, providing entertainment for locals and visitors alike.
- Nearby Attractions: St. Pete Beach is within easy reach of other attractions in the Tampa Bay area, including the Salvador Dali Museum, Fort De Soto Park, and downtown St. Petersburg’s vibrant arts and dining scene.
- Accommodations: St. Pete Beach offers a wide range of accommodations, from beachfront resorts and hotels to vacation rentals and cozy bed-and-breakfast inns. Many properties feature amenities such as pools, spas, and beachfront access. Check hotels and rates on St. Pete Beach.
- Family-Friendly Environment: St. Pete Beach is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, with shallow waters and lifeguard-patrolled beaches ensuring a safe environment for children to swim and play.
- Accessibility: St. Pete Beach is easily accessible from Tampa International Airport and other nearby airports. Major highways provide convenient access for visitors traveling by car, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers.
Overall, St. Pete Beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, cultural attractions, and hospitality, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing beach getaway on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Beach #5: Canaveral National Seashore Beach
You won’t find this beach on most lists of beaches near Orlando Florida. This is Mother Nature at her best without all the hustle and bustle normally surrounding the beaches of Florida. This family friendly beach near Orlando is part of a preserve that is uncrowded and a learning experience for the family.
The beach at Canaveral National Seashore offers visitors an unspoiled coastal experience along the eastern coast of Florida.
Distance from Orlando to Canaveral National Seashore is 50 miles and the driving time from Orlando to Canaveral National Seashore is under one hour.
Here’s what you can expect when visiting the beach at Canaveral National Seashore:
- Natural Beauty: The beach at Canaveral National Seashore is characterized by its natural beauty, with miles of undeveloped shoreline, dunes, and native vegetation. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and immerse themselves in the serene and untouched coastal landscape.
- Secluded Atmosphere: Unlike many other of the best beaches near Orlando, the beach at Canaveral National Seashore is known for its secluded atmosphere and lack of commercial development. This makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a quieter and more peaceful beach experience away from crowds and distractions.
- Pristine Environment: As part of the National Park system, Canaveral National Seashore is dedicated to preserving and protecting its natural resources. The beach is kept clean and pristine, with strict regulations in place to ensure the conservation of sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
- Outdoor Recreation: The beach at Canaveral National Seashore offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. These include swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, birdwatching, fishing, and surfing (in designated areas). The uncrowded and expansive shoreline provides ample space for relaxation and exploration.
- Wildlife Viewing: The national seashore is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including shorebirds, sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees. Birdwatchers will especially appreciate the opportunity to observe nesting seabirds and migratory species along the beach and within the adjacent marshes and lagoons.
- Educational Opportunities: Canaveral National Seashore offers educational programs and interpretive exhibits that provide insight into the area’s natural and cultural history. Visitors can learn about the barrier island ecosystem, indigenous peoples, maritime heritage, and space exploration at the park’s visitor centers and ranger-led programs.
- Cultural Heritage: In addition to its natural wonders, Canaveral National Seashore preserves traces of human history, including ancient shell middens left by Native American inhabitants and remnants of early European settlements. Visitors can explore historic sites and archaeological artifacts that provide glimpses into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
- Accessibility: The beach at Canaveral National Seashore is accessible via multiple entrances along State Road A1A. There are parking areas, restroom facilities, picnic areas, and boardwalks leading to the beach, making it convenient for visitors to access and enjoy the coastal environment.
- Accommodations: Hotels near the Canaveral National Seashore beaches are here. Many families look for homes and cottages to rent in the area like VRBOs.
Overall, the beach at Canaveral National Seashore offers a tranquil and immersive coastal experience where visitors can reconnect with nature, explore diverse ecosystems, and appreciate the beauty of Florida’s Atlantic coast in its purest form.
Tips for a Safe and Memorable Family Beach Trip
Planning a safe and memorable family beach trip to Florida involves careful consideration of various factors. Here are some tips to ensure a fantastic experience:
- Choose a Family-Friendly Beach: Select a beach with lifeguards on duty, designated swimming areas, and amenities such as restrooms, showers, and shaded areas. Popular family-friendly beaches in Florida include Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Cocoa Beach.
- Stay Hydrated and Sun-Protected: Florida’s sun can be intense, so make sure everyone stays hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Apply and reapply sunscreen with a high SPF regularly, wear hats, sunglasses, and UV-protective clothing, and seek shade during peak sun hours.
- Pack Essentials: Bring beach essentials such as towels, beach chairs or blankets, umbrellas or shade tents, a cooler with snacks and drinks, beach toys for the kids, and a first-aid kit. Don’t forget to pack extra clothes, hats, and sunglasses.
- Be Water-Wise: Educate children about water safety rules, including swimming near a lifeguard, staying within designated swimming areas, avoiding strong currents or rip currents, and never swimming alone. Keep a close eye on children at all times, especially in the water.
- Stay Informed: Check weather forecasts and beach conditions before heading out, and be aware of any advisories or warnings regarding water quality, jellyfish, or marine life. Stay informed about local regulations, such as leash laws for pets and alcohol restrictions.
- Practice Beach Etiquette: Respect the beaches near Orlando for families and fellow beachgoers by disposing of trash properly, following designated pathways, and avoiding sensitive dunes or wildlife habitats. Teach children about the importance of environmental conservation and leaving only footprints.
- Be Prepared for Emergencies: Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest lifeguard station, emergency services, and medical facilities. Carry a fully charged cell phone and know how to dial 911 in case of emergencies. Consider taking CPR and first-aid training.
- Stay Together: Establish a designated meeting spot in case family members get separated. Teach children what to do if they become lost, such as finding a lifeguard or approaching a uniformed park ranger for help.
- Enjoy Activities Together: Plan fun activities that the whole family can enjoy, such as building sandcastles, flying kites, collecting seashells, playing beach games, or going for a leisurely walk along the shoreline.
- Capture Memories Safely: Take plenty of photos to preserve memories of your family beach trip, but be cautious when using electronic devices near water to avoid damage or accidents. Consider using waterproof cases or bags for cameras and smartphones.
By following these tips, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable family beach trip to Florida that everyone will cherish for years to come.
Final Thoughts on the Top 5 Family Friendly Beaches near Orlando
Absolutely! Here are some final thoughts on the top 5 family-friendly beaches near Orlando:
- Clearwater Beach: With its powdery white sand, calm waters, and abundance of family-friendly amenities, Clearwater Beach offers a quintessential Florida beach experience. Families can enjoy a variety of water sports, beachfront dining, and entertainment options while soaking in the stunning Gulf Coast scenery.
- St. Pete Beach: Known for its wide sandy shores, stunning sunsets, and laid-back atmosphere, St. Pete Beach is a haven for families seeking relaxation and outdoor fun. This is one of the top family friendly beaches near Orlando. offers opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, and water sports, as well as nearby attractions like the historic Don CeSar Hotel and Pass-a-Grille Beach.
- Cocoa Beach: Located on Florida’s Space Coast, Cocoa Beach combines sun, surf, and space exploration for a unique family beach experience. Families can enjoy swimming, surfing, fishing, and exploring nearby attractions like the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Ron Jon Surf Shop, and Canaveral National Seashore.
- New Smyrna Beach: Offering a mix of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural attractions, New Smyrna Beach is an ideal destination for families looking for a laid-back beach getaway. Families can enjoy swimming, surfing, birdwatching, and exploring historic downtown New Smyrna Beach, as well as nearby attractions like the Atlantic Center for the Arts and Canaveral National Seashore.
- Canaveral National Seashore: For families seeking a secluded and unspoiled beach experience, Canaveral National Seashore offers a pristine shoreline, natural beauty, and abundant wildlife. Families can enjoy swimming, beachcombing, birdwatching, and exploring the park’s hiking trails, historic sites, and educational programs.
Overall, each of these family friendly beaches near Orlando offers its own unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and family-friendly amenities, ensuring a memorable beach experience for families of all ages. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or exploration, you’re sure to find it at one of these top beach destinations.