One of the best perks of sunny Orlando living is the many beaches within driving distance. Whether you are planning a weekend beach getaway or have a spur of the moment urge to dip your toes in the water, there are plenty of options nearby.
Here are our top five favorite beach destinations within 2 hours from Orlando:
Cocoa Beach –
Just 45 minutes away, you can’t beat the convenience of Cocoa. It is easy to turn into a weekend getaway! It’s easy to get to and there’s plenty of convenient free and paid parking options. Cocoa is home to the famous Kelly Slater and Ron Jon Surf Shop, which is the world’s largest surf shop. If surfing isn’t on your list of activities to try, there are several deep-sea fishing options nearby, plenty of ice cream shops and lots of fun to be had on the Cocoa Beach Pier. But the best part? It’s right by Kennedy Space Center so you just might catch a rocket launch while relaxing on the beach!
Paradise Beach –
Nestled in Melbourne, FL is pretty little Paradise Beach, one of our favorite places to go. This beach is much quieter than Cocoa, but still family friendly with lifeguards on duty. We generally park at Howard E. Futch Memorial Park at Paradise Beach and take advantage of the many amenities including a great playground, grills and picnicking areas, pavilions and bathrooms. Melbourne is home to several other well-loved beaches, including Melbourne Beach, Canova Beach Park and Eau Gallie Beach – all about an hour and 15 minutes from Orlando.
Daytona Beach –
Also about an hour away, Daytona Beach is one of the most famous beaches nearby. You’ve likely heard of the Daytona 500 and bike week – it’s definitely a bustling beach town and tends to be a little touristy (we made the mistake of going over Spring Break once!) At Daytona, you can drive your car onto the beach – awesome for Dad, who’ll get out of lugging that heavy wagon full of beach stuff. It’s also known to be a safer spot for swimmers due to the gradual slope of the beach. If you go a little north, you’ll run into a little gem called Ormond Beach, which is where we go when visiting Daytona. It’s quieter and has a nice area called Ormond Bicentennial Park, complete with a fishing pier, boardwalk nature trail, picnicking area and even tennis.
New Smyrna Beach –
Clocking in at about an hour away is New Smyrna Beach. It’s hands-down a local favorite and has been named a top beach town in Florida many times over. NSB boasts 24 miles of coastline and like Daytona, you can drive your vehicle in designated northern beach locations. It is also famous for surfing, so if that’s your jam then you’re going to want to check it out. New Smyrna Beach also has some great food! The Ponce de Leon Inlet hosts surfing championships throughout the year, and there’s no shortage of places to rent boards and take lessons.
Vero Beach –
We discovered Vero Beach a couple of years ago when family came to visit and stayed there. About 1.5 hours away, you won’t find many big hotels and Airbnb’s at Vero, so it tends to be a little quieter and quainter than some of the more touristy beaches around. Do you sense a theme here? Clearly I like quiet, chill spots. Located in the heart of the Treasure Coast, there are many options for public beach access including Jaycee Beach, Humiston Park, Treasure Shores Park and Wabbaso Beach. Vero is also a great spot for golfing, fishing, museums and art galleries. About 20 minutes from Vero, you’ll find Sebastian Inlet State Park, which is a must-visit place for shell collecting and fishing. The calmer waters make it a good option if you have little ones.
This list barely scratches the surface – there are tons of other beaches near Orlando that you can visit on a whim. If I missed your favorite local beach spot, feel free to drop it in the comments!