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Top Beaches From Orlando, Florida You Should Visit

Best Beaches Closest to Orlando
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Orlando is a top-rated destination for Disney fanatics and theme park enthusiasts. It’s also home to the Kennedy Space Center and some of Cirque du Soleil’s best acts. 

Because it’s away from the coast, many travelers tend to leave beach destinations out of their itineraries. However, you’ll be pleased to know that some of Florida’s best beaches are just a quick drive from Orlando.

If you want to check out the nearest beaches from Orlando, FL, this guide will tell you where you should go.

Where To Hit The Ocean Near Orlando

Whether you’re looking for a quick drive from Orlando to the beach or willing to take an entire day’s trip, consider these under-the-sun destinations.

Cocoa Beach

1300 N Atlantic Ave, Brevard County

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour

Just 45 minutes to an hour from Orlando, Cocoa Beach is home to some of the best views of Florida’s magnificent Space Coast. It’s also a hotspot for intermediate surfers who are skilled enough to dominate the area’s rough waves. Plus, it was a favorite of Kelly Slater, the world’s most successful surfer!

Just a stone’s throw away is the Cocoa Beach Pier, an 800-foot stretch of shops, seaside restaurants, live music shows, and other entertainment hubs.

Canaveral National Seashore

S Washington Ave, Titusville

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour

Secluded and pristine, Canaveral National Seashore is home to many of Florida’s endangered species. If you’re taking a dip, watch for sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand!

Outdoor enthusiasts might want to head to the Visitors Center to book activities like surfing, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, fishing, boating, and horseback riding.

New Smyrna Beach

Canal Street, Volusia County

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour

Only an hour’s drive from downtown Orlando, New Smyrna Beach covers 13 miles of glistening white sand. It’s a surfer and sunbather’s paradise, considering it’s mostly unspoiled. Because the sand along New Smyrna Beach is so fine and well-packed, you can also go beach cycling here.

Over eight championship-level competitive surfers come from the New Smyrna Beach area, so you can expect to catch some great waves here.

If you’re a nature lover, New Smyrna Beach is home to impressive Florida species like alligators, turtles, dolphins, and manatees. Considered the redfish capital of the world, it also attracts anglers from around the country and provides top-notch fishing experiences.

Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach, Volusia County

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour

Just north of Daytona Beach is the natural and rustic Ormond Beach. It’s dune-backed, quiet, and tranquil – perfect for more laid-back beachgoers. If you want to try an outdoor activity, you can go paddleboarding, dolphin watching, or sailing here.

There are also dozens of immaculate gardens and charming restaurants to hit up in the endearing beach town.

Daytona Beach

12 South Ocean Avenue, Volusia County

Distance from Orlando: 1.5 hours

Known primarily as a lively and fun Spring Break destination, Daytona Beach boasts 23 miles of lush, soft sand. It’s right next to a bustling boardwalk of bars and restaurants and just a few minutes’ walk away from dozens of five-star resorts.

Hit the Main Street Pier for a good fishing spot or grab a bite between waves. Visit during sunset hours, and you might even spot a few dolphins in the distance!

Hernando Beach

Orange Drive, Hernando

Distance from Orlando: 1.5 hours

Hernando Beach is a secluded oasis perfect for beachgoers who want to spend a quiet day in turquoise waters. The most popular Hernando Beach attraction is the Hernando Flats, which boast shallow sandbars ideal for boating and securing the best sunset views.

Avid anglers can also take a Fishdaddy Charter Tour or get on the Thunder Party Boat for deep-sea fishing. You’ll often find snook, redfish, flounder, and sea trout in these waters.

Another Hernando Beach crowd favorite is kayaking. Book one of its 2-hour clear kayak eco-tours, and explore the best that the Gulf of Mexico offers! Go with a guide, and you’ll likely encounter marine creatures like sea turtles, stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and dolphins.

Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach, St. Augustine

Distance from Orlando: 1.5 hours

South of St. Augustine is Crescent Beach, a versatile stretch of land where beachgoers can spend an entire day sunbathing or trying their hand at various water sports. 

Most people visit Anastasia Island because of its convenient parking. Butler Beach is a close second favorite, complete with amenities like barbecue grills and picnic pavilions. If you’re traveling with a dog, you’ll be pleased to know that Butler Beach welcomes them, so long as you keep them on-leash!

Crescent Beach, much like Hernando Beach, is rife with kayaking experiences. Link up with an expert guide from GeoTrippin Kayak Adventures, and explore lagoons filled with wildlife. 

Vero Beach

Vero Beach, Indian River County

Distance from Orlando: 1.5 Hours

For unforgettable experiences with wildlife, visit Vero Beach. During the summer, there are dozens of sea turtle nests along the shores and dunes. Catch them in the evening, and you might even witness a few hatchlings heading into the sea! Vero Beach is also home to pelicans and dozens of other bird species – you’ll find them in the aptly named Pelican Island and National Wildlife Refuge.

If you want to see more animals, visit the Environmental Learning Center, which rests on 60 acres of well-conserved natural habitats. Alternatively, go to the McKee Botanical Garden, which covers 18 acres of cultivated areas and features waterfalls, ponds, and over 10,000 native and tropical plants!

The Bottom Line

While a bit of a way from some of Florida’s favorite coastlines, the drive from Orlando, Florida to the beach won’t take long. If you’ve been Googling “closest public beach to me”, don’t fret – you’ll find them just an hour or two away!


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She was the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization. She is currently the Publisher of OutCoast.com and Producer of the OutCoast TV YouTube Channel, both of which highlight LGBTQ welcoming destinations in Florida.


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