20 Best Family-Friendly Beaches Near Orlando

two palm trees in orlando

Orlando is a popular tourist destination for a variety of reasons: its theme parks, nightlife, and shopping.

What many people don’t know is that Orlando is close to some gorgeous beaches!

In this blog post, we will list 20 of the best family-friendly beaches near Orlando.

Overview

  1. Best West Coast Beaches near Orlando
  2. Best East Coast Beaches near Orlando
  3. The Panhandle Beaches near Orlando
  4. Things To Do At The Beach With Your Family
  5. Beach Travel Safety Tips
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion
  8. Other Awesome Blogs

What I love the most about Florida is that you get the best of both worlds. What I mean by that is that you get to see the sunrises (east coast) and the sunsets (west coast)!

And these are pretty close to Orlando, though you may find the Panhandle Beaches a bit further!

So whether you want to rise and shine to catch the sunrise, then you can!

Or if you would look to see the gorgeous colorful sunsets then you have that option too.

So if you’re looking for a fun day trip or a weekend getaway, be sure to check out these beautiful beaches!

Best West Coast Beaches near Orlando


Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is a beautiful, sandy beach located on the west coast of Florida.

This beach is well known for its clear waters, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.

There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, so you can enjoy a day in the sun followed by a delicious meal or some shopping.

There are usually a lot larger crowds at this beach because of the popularity and you can find a lot more happening here!

Here you can find, a children’s playground, and many activities for families.

They have a water park nearby, putt-putt golf, and many more things to help keep your kiddos entertained.

Dunedin, FL

In Dunedin, FL you have access to two gorgeous beaches. They are Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi State Park.

Here in Dunedin, you can take the ferry to these gorgeous islands of undeveloped land.

Along the Osprey Trail on the undeveloped 385-acre barrier island off Dunedin, there are four miles of sandy beaches, hiking trails, and bird-watching possibilities.

Visit the Rotary Centennial Nature Center upon arrival to learn more about the island. Swim, hike, bike, kayak, or simply unwind in this area.

Honeymoon Island State Park

Honeymoon Island State Park is a beautiful state park located on the Gulf of Mexico.

This park is known for its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.

There are also plenty of activities available in the park, including hiking, kayaking, and nature trails.

What I love about Honeymoon Island State Park is that you can bring your pet to the beach!

There’s a designated beach just for dogs! So you don’t have to leave your pup home on your next beach vacation!

If you arrive early there is plenty of parking available as the summer months do get a bit crowded.

  • Location: 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698
  • Hours: 8 am-Sundown
  • Fees: $8 vehicle

Caladesi Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park is a beautiful state park located on the Gulf of Mexico.

This park is known for its white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush vegetation.

Caladesi Island State Park can be accessed from Honeymoon Island.

There is a ferry boat that can take from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi for a small fee.

It is worth it to experience this wonderful island for you to visit!

In 2008, Dr. Beach named this one of the top beaches to visit in the US.

Some of the most popular experiences you can do here include boating, hiking, paddling, picnicking, swimming, shelling, and fishing.

At Caladesi Island State Park you can find all kinds of wildlife such as sea turtles, shorebirds, gopher tortoises, and more!

  • Location: Offshore island, Dunedin FL 34698
  • Hours: 8 am- Sundown
  • Fees: $6 per boat

Shell Island and Outback Island

If you looking for that remote paradise or even enjoy shelling then there is only one place you should think of going…Shell Key!

Shell Island is a 700-acre island that can only be reached by boat.

It is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, and it also has a nature trail that leads to the island’s lighthouse.

What a love about shell island is the variety of different shells you can pick up.

There are perfect for collecting.

If you are looking for a gorgeous remote island for some perfect relaxation, then Outback may be what you’re looking for!

Both of these places are beyond stunning.

They give you a bit of Keywest paradise without all the crazy crowds.

It is gorgeous relaxing and beautiful -a perfect quiet beach vacation you are craving with your loved ones!

Best East Coast Beaches near Orlando, Florida


Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is a beautiful beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This beach is known for its surfing and its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center.

A lot of people know this beach as a surfing beach, but it is also a great place to swim, sunbathe, and fish.

There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby.

There is a pier at Cocoa Beach where you can go fishing, though the majority of the pier is restaurants so there is only so much you can walk.

What I like about Cocoa Beach is that one of the closest beaches to Orlando.

It is about an hour’s drive.

The waves are usually gentle and good for swimming.

The sand is soft and white.

Parking can be a little difficult to find on weekends but if you arrive early enough, it’s not too bad.

You can park directly on the pier parking which is directly in front of the pier.

There are smaller lots away from the beach too.

You can check out our guide on how to have an amazing time in Cocoa Beach here.

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is a beautiful, white sand beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This beach is known for its beach-like vibe.

The New Smyrna Beach’s vibe is more chill and less crowded than some of the other beaches near Orlando.

The drive is about an hour and can be a little bit longer on weekends due to traffic.

It’s definitely worth it once you get there though!

There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, so you can enjoy a day in the sun followed by a delicious meal or some shopping.

Check out our cheat sheet of what to expect when visiting New Smyrna Beach here.

Also, we have a video of the best parking spots if you plan on going!

Check out the ultimate guide to New Smyrna Beach shopping, for those looking to explore a bit more!

Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach is another beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This beach is known for its quiet crowds and locals’ favorite spot.

If you are looking for a tranquil place to stay where you will find more locals than tourists then this place may be what you are searching for.

It isn’t as busy and you’ll definitely find more locals walking these beaches.

If you are looking for places to eat, then Ormond beach has plenty of restaurants and shops nearby.

Enjoy a day in the sun followed by a delicious meal or some shopping.

You have to make your way across the bridge on W Granada Blvd over the Halifax River and find more places to eat.

You can check out our Ormond Beach Review right here.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is a nice beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This beach is known for its amusement park vibe and a variety of activities.

There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby so you can enjoy a day in the sun followed by a delicious meal or some shopping.

During the summer, you can find a lot of events such as concerts, and even rides and entertainment.

You can find the popular Indy 500 races which draw crowds every year.

In addition, I came across a couple of summer concerts at the open amphitheater that you can check out.

The Daytona Beach Pier is perfect for checking out and eating.

St Augustine Beach

st. augustine lightner museum

St Augustine Beach is a beautiful, white sand beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

St Augustine Beach is known for the historical vibe of the city.

The Castillo de San Marcos is a must-see when you can visit.

If you love history or want to learn more about it then this is the beach for you!

St Augustine has a lot of historical sites that you can visit.

The Castillo de San Marcos is a must-see when you are in the area.

You can learn more about the city and its history by taking a walk around or even going on one of the many tours that are offered.

The trolley ride is one of the most popular when visiting this city because it takes you to the famous historical sites including Castillo de San Marcos, the Old Jail, The Fountain Of Youth, the oldest house, and more!

During the holiday season in December, the city of St. Augustine transforms into a fully lit Christmas show!

A must-see!

At the beach, you can experience St. Johns Pier which is the perfect place for photography!

St. Augustine even has a dog beach area where you can bring your furry friend along with you.

You can check out our blogs if you want to learn more about St. Augustine Beach

What to expect from St. Augustine Beach in Florida

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to St. Augustine Beach in Florida

Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore is a beautiful National Seashore located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This seashore is known for its wildlife and its unspoiled beaches.

The Canaveral National Seashore is home to many different types of wildlife including birds, turtles, alligators, and manatees.

You can also find some plant life such as sea oats, palmettos, and mangroves.

The beaches here are unspoiled and natural so you can enjoy the beauty of the Florida coastline.

Although be sure to plan accordingly and double-check if the site is open, when there are rocket launches off from the Kennedy Space Center, they close down the national seashore.

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach is a beautiful, white sand beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This beach is known for its crystal clear waters and variety of activities, including swimming, snorkeling, fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby so you can enjoy a day in the sun followed by a delicious meal or some shopping.

There is even a pier you can check out!

I love checking out the colors during sunset here!

Be sure to check out Melbourne Beach Pier with its irresistible view.

We also wrote this Melbourne Beach Guide for those wondering if Melbourne Beach is really for you.

Here’s what you need to know.

Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach is a beautiful, white sand beach located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This beach is known for its dunes, sea turtles, and bird life.

Satellite beach has access to 16 beach crossovers, which are three beach parks.

They include parking, restrooms, picnic tables, and even showers.

These are the only places where you find these amenities.

There is plenty of pedestrian access to the beach but won’t have parking or bathrooms.

The three beach parks are called Hightower Beach Park, Pelican Beach Park, and Crotty Park.

In addition, the other place you can find restrooms and some parking is Shell Street Beach.

Vero Beach, Florida

Vero Beach Florida is probably one of the more known beaches.

Vero Beach in Florida is known for its art, culture, and of course beautiful beaches.

There are plenty of things to do in Vero Beach.

You can go to the art museum or one of the many theaters.

You can also spend a day shopping on Ocean Drive.

If you love being outdoors then you will enjoy all the parks that Vero Beach has to offer.

Or you can simply spend a day lounging on the beach sipping on a refreshing drink.

Many people love going to Vero Beach Florida because of the popular Disney Vero Beach Resort.

This resort allows you have the Disney experience while relaxing on the soft Atlantic Sands.

You can experience sea turtle nesting grounds while enjoying the Atlantic coast.

This Resort also offers a spa, the perfect part for relaxation.

The Panhandle Beaches of Florida


Though the beaches of the panhandle are a bit far from Orlando (6 hr drive), they are great options if you plan to stay longer in Florida.

Let’s not forget they have gorgeous beaches that you must see!

The Panhandle is a great place to find some of the best beaches in Florida.

From sugar-white sand beaches to emerald green waters, there is something for everyone in this region.

Here are our top picks for family-friendly beaches near Orlando.

St. George Island State Park – Apalachicola, FL

This beautiful state park offers visitors over 12 miles of unspoiled beach to enjoy.

There is plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax, and the park also features a nature trail, picnic area, and playground.

St. George is a popular beach-going, bird-watching, and fishing spot in the Gulf of Mexico, with spectacular sunsets and excellent stargazing in the Panhandle.

The park’s miles of unspoiled beaches provide the ideal environment for sunbathing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, and camping.

You can even do some geocaching.

Alas, another wonderful park with abundant wildlife such as sea turtles and shorebirds end up laying their nest in the parks.

  • Location: 1900 E. Gulf Beach Drive, St. George Island FL 32328
  • Hours: 8 am to sundown
  • Fees: $6 per vehicle

Henderson Beach State Park

This state park is a great place to enjoy the sugar-white sands and emerald waters of the Gulf Coast.

The park features over 2000 feet of beachfront, as well as a nature trail, picnic area, and playground.

What makes this state park unique is the 30-foot sand dunes overlooking the gorgeous relaxing Floridian waters.

The highlight of this park is the mile-long beach with a walking trail, 60 primitive campsites connected to it by the boardwalk, and fishing.

The park has lovely campsites, and it’s a wonderful location for gatherings like weddings and family get-togethers.

  • Location: 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin FL 32541
  • Hours: 8 am- Sunset
  • Fees: $6 per vehicle

Grayton Beach State Park – Santa Rosa Beach

Grayton Beach State Park is another great option for those looking for some natural beauty in their beach experience.

This park offers stunning dune formations and overlooks Choctawhatchee Bay.

The beautiful and untouched beaches of Grayton Beach are consistently rated among the most beautiful and pristine in the United States.

Fishing and paddling can be enjoyed on Western Lake, which has a 4-mile hiking trail through a coastal forest.

An overnight trip provides its own distinct experience with a stay in one of Grayton’s cozy campgrounds or one of the well-equipped cabins at one of the myriad little towns dotting the area. Cabins range in price.

  • Location: 357 Main Park Road, Santa Rosa Beach FL 32459
  • Hours: 8 am- Sundown
  • Fees: $5 per vehicle

Wakulla County Public Beach – Crawfordville, FL

Wakulla County Public Beach is perfect for those who want to get away from the crowds.

This secluded beach offers stunning views of the St. Marks River and is a great spot for fishing, kayaking, and swimming.

There are also picnic areas and restrooms available on site.

This natural getaway is known as a place to be where you can get away from all the crowds and bustle.

In addition, Wakulla has a rich history starting with the Spanish explorers and houses the second oldest lighthouse in Florida.

Pensacola Beach

If you are looking for a beach with plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy, Pensacola Beach is the place for you.

This popular spot offers swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, and parasailing.

There is also a variety of restaurants and shops available in the area.

While you are at it, check out one of the more famous food places called Peg Legs Petes Oyster Bar.

It’s a local’s choice for food and drinks.

The pirate theme restaurant is perfect for families too since it offers a children’s play area.

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach is another excellent option for a family beach vacation.

This beach offers something for everyone, with activities including swimming, fishing, sunbathing, and kayaking.

There are also a variety of restaurants and shops available in the area.

I definitely enjoyed visiting Ripleys Believe it or not and there were countless mini-golfing areas for you to bring your family!

However, be sure to avoid the spring break times in March, this place does get pretty hectic during those times.

It will not be a quiet beach vacation during spring break, so plan accordingly.

Destin Beach

Destin Beach is a popular beach in the Florida Panhandle.

This beach is known for its white sand and crystal clear waters, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.

There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, so you can enjoy a day in the sun followed by a delicious meal or some shopping.

All of this is why the history of our lovely Destin dates back to 1845, when Leonard Destin, the town’s founder, was a fisherman.

Since then, the “little fishing village” has become a vacationers’ paradise known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” Our region has evolved into one of the most popular destinations.

There are both county state beaches and state beach parks! Some of the popular beaches include June White Decker Beach Park, Norriego Point Beach Park, Shore at Crystal Beach Park, and James Lee Park.

Things to do At The Beach with your Family

-Build a sandcastle

-Play in the waves

-Collect seashells

-Sunbathe

-Read a book

-Have a picnic lunch

-Take a walk on the beach

-Ride bikes or go for a jog

-Watch the sunset.

-Relax

-Enjoy family time

Beach Travel Safety Tips

-When traveling with your family, always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your children.

-Make sure to research the area before you go and be familiar with the beaches and surf conditions.

-Always swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards and never swim alone.

-Be cautious when swimming in open water, as rip currents can be dangerous.

-Avoid swimming near piers and jetties, as they can create strong currents.

-Never drink and swim – alcohol impairs your judgment and can make you more susceptible to drowning.

-Make sure to have a plan in case of an emergency and know where the nearest hospital or clinic is.

-Pack plenty of sunscreens, water, and snacks for the day.

-Be sure to bring a change of clothes and towels for everyone

-Have fun and stay safe!

Some other tips to keep in mind when traveling with your family:

-If you are going to be driving, make sure to take frequent breaks and rotate drivers.

-Pack a first aid kit for any minor injuries that may occur.

-Make sure everyone in your group knows how to get in touch with each other in case of an emergency.

-If you’re visiting a new area, be sure to have a map handy.

-Stay together as a group and keep an eye on each other.

-Have a great time and be safe!

FAQs

What is the closest nicest beach near Orlando?

The closest nicest beach near Orlando is Cocoa Beach.

It’s about an hour’s drive from Orlando and it has beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters.

What is the best family-oriented beach in Florida?

There are many great family-oriented beaches in Florida, but the most popular seems to be Daytona Beach.

It has a wide variety of activities for all ages and is perfect for spending a day at the beach.

Which beach is most kid-friendly?

The most kid-friendly beach is probably Daytona Beach again.

It has a wide variety of activities for all ages and is perfect for spending a day at the beach.

But, any of the family-friendly beaches near Orlando would be great for kids!

I also recommend Clearwater Beach since there is a lot of entertainment for children and adults!

Are there any beaches with no waves?

There are plenty of beaches in Florida with no waves.

Some of the calmer beaches are located near Orlando, such as Clearwater Beach and Daytona Beach.

What is the closest ocean beach near Orlando?

The closest ocean beach near Orlando is Cocoa Beach.

It is located on the Atlantic Coast and is about an hour’s drive from Orlando.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a beach to visit near Orlando, look no further.

We’ve compiled a list of 20 of the best beaches for families, complete with all the information you need to know before making your decision.

You can choose from east coast beaches and those found on the west coast of Florida.

There is plenty to choose from! Definitely worth a visit.

Have you visited any of these beaches?

Let us know in the comments below.

And if you’re still looking for more ideas, be sure to check out our other posts on the best beaches in Florida and the best things to do in Orlando.

Other Awesome Blogs

Jess and Jeanette
About Jess and Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who created Unseen Beaches. This beach travel site was inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Helping you discover the best U.S. beach destinations worth visiting, staying, and eating.

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Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️

 

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