Top Beaches near Orlando | Less than 2 hours drive

Beaches near Orlando. Treasure Island Beach on the Florida Gulf Coast

Orlando is the prime vacation destination for families searching for year-round sunshine and endless fun. Home to the famous Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort parks, it is an absolute dream to visit and there is so much to do.

With new attractions popping up every few years and plenty of development in the area, there is no wonder that visiting Orlando repeatedly is common for some families. Many families will visit on a yearly basis, so you may be wondering what there is outside of the hustle and bustle of the Orlando theme parks.

Luckily, Florida is the Sunshine State and is home too many stunning beaches, with beautiful sand and amazing wildlife. Most of the beaches near Orlando are famous for their miles of white sands, fantastic seafood, live entertainment, and amazing sunsets.

Watersports are also popular in Florida and when it comes to water temperature at these beaches, the water is warm anywhere in Florida between the months of April to October. During the colder winter months, the beaches that are located more southernly are slightly warmer. Beaches on the Gulf of Mexico in the summer will be five degrees or more warmer than those in the Atlantic Ocean. In the summer the Gulf Coast waters can reach over 92 degrees, compared to a (still very warm) 82 to 86 degrees in the Atlantic.

Orlando Beaches within 100 miles (2 hours drive)

Generally, you will not need a wet suit to swim in Floridian waters, as they are a comfortable temperature for most people throughout the year. But if you plan to surf in the winter months then it maybe a good idea to bring one. The sea temperature of the Atlantic in the winter can be a little chilly so a 3mm wet suit is a good choice and very needed. You can hire wetsuits at most Atlantic coast beaches in the local surf shops or if you are doing one of the surf schools they will give you one to use.

The Gulf coast is better known for kayaking in meandering river systems close by known at the Intracoastal waterways. The Atlantic coast is known for its roaring waves for excellent surfing opportunities!

Here is a list of just a few beaches near Orlando, all within a 2-hour drive (approximately 100 miles). We have included the distance in miles from Orlando (Kissimmee area) and have given an approximate driving time as estimated by Google maps. Additionally, we have described the accessibility of parking nearby and some approximate prices for the parking lots.

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Cocoa Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to Cocoa Beach

68 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 17 minutes.

To get from Orlando to Cocoa Beach the quickest way is using the 417 Toll Road (North), known as the Central Florida Greene Way. You may have travelled on this if you came from Orlando International Airport or Sanford Airport. You can access this from I4 (interstate 4) via Exit 62 if you are staying in the Davenport, Champions Gate area. If you are staying near Disney Springs then you would take I4 and get off at Exit 67 and follow the signs to 417 Tool North via 536 East.

Follow the 417 Toll road North for about 20 miles and then turn on to 528 Toll head East, it will be sign posted Cocoa, Kennedy Space Center. Follow this for about 30 miles until you reach the water. The road will then become the 528/A1A just keep going all the way, don't turn off, you will eventually drive in to the Cocoa Beach town. Once you see the Cocoa Beach Ale House take the next left on to Meade Ave and then follow this to the parking lot and you will see the Cocoa Beach pier.

Cocoa Beach Pier

Cocoa Beach is well known as being the closest beach to Orlando, and with a drive time of just over an hour, it makes for a great trip, even for little ones. Cocoa beach offers a wide range of water sports, deep-sea fishing, shops and restaurants, museums, and nightlife. The Cocoa beach pier offers a lively atmosphere with a mix of bars and restaurants.

You can also fish from the pier, they have a $7 fishing fee but you need to bring your own equipment. If you over 55 or under 12 then it's only $5. Pier fishing starts from 6am daily and you have the chance of catching over a dozen different types of fish from Tarpon to Snapper! They do offer rod hire at $20 for 4 hours with a $20 deposit and frozen bait for $5. You can also by weekly and monthly passes if you are going to be in the area for a long stay.

The Cocoa beach pier has 5 different restaurants to choose from. You have the classic Nathan's hotdogs available from SeaDogs to fresh seafood at Pelican's Bar & Grill. We have listed all of the Cocoa Beach pier restaurants below with links to the restaurant details and different menu options. They have live music at Rikki Tiki Tavern and Keith's Oyster Bar. The Pelican's Bar & Grill and Boardwalk Bar offer exactly the same menus, they also have a Gluten Free menu. If you are after breakfast then the Boardwalk Bar is the place for you.

If the Cocoa Beach pier is very busy then there are a number of other restaurant options nearby. Just 1/2 mile down the beach is Captain J's restaurant and the Sandbar Sports Bar. Captain J's offers a rooftop bar with sea views and serves steaks, burgers, seafood as well as plenty of beer and cocktail options. The Sandbar Sports Bar is a surf style sports bar with TV's, live music and great happy hour deals. This is a lively bar so maybe not be great for kids after dark.

There are also lots of restaurants back out on the main road (North Atlantic Ave) from McDonalds, Waffle House and IHOP to the Shere Punjab Indian restaurant.

The Ron Jon Surf Shop located about a mile from the pier is the largest in the world at 52,000 square feet. You can buy everything from beach towels, t-shirts and sun cream to custom made surf boards and you get the world famous Ron Jon's sticker free with every purchase!

If one giant surf shop wasn't enough then the Cocoa Beach Surf Company is located opposite. Between the two they should have everything you will ever need for your trip to the beach. Both stores do surf board, bike, kayak and wet suit hire as well as surf lessons.

One cool thing about the Cocoa Beach Surf Company is that they have their own restaurant called the Shark Pit Grill. This has a 5,600 gallon aquarium with sharks and exotic fish. They do shark feedings on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The theme for the shark pit restaurant is historic surf memorabilia meets sports bar. Happy hour runs from 3-7pm every day and offers 2 for 1 drinks. The menu offers great selection of salads, tacos, sandwiches, burgers and pizzas. They also offer a seafood feast and my personal favourite the surf 'n turf. The kids menu has all the classics, hot dog, grilled cheese and chicken fingers.

Cocoa beach has nice gentle waves and is a good place for beginners looking to learn how to surf. There are a number of surf schools offering lessons and board hire. Ron Jon's is the obvious choice but there are also a number of other local options. Below is a list of the surf schools at Cocoa Beach.

Cocoa Beach Surf Schools


Check out the waves at Cocoa beach via their live webcam and see the up coming Cocoa Beach surf report.

If you are lucky enough and visit at the right time of the year, you might be able to camp out to get amazing views of space shuttle launches from Cape Canaveral. Here is a link to the rocket launch events calendar for Kennedy Space Center.

Cocoa Beach is a popular place for spring-breakers to hang out to play some volleyball and party on the beach, but the nearby Lori Wilson Park offers some tranquility for families who want a bit more peace and quiet.

Cocoa Beach Parking

In terms of parking, there are quite a few options nearby. The Alan Shepard Park on 216 E. Cocoa Beach Causeway offers 323 parking spaces for $2.50 an hour or $15 for the whole day. Sidney Fischer on 2200 N Atlantic Avenue with 109 parking spaces also offers spaces for $2.50 or $15 a day.

Daytona Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to Daytona Beach

75 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

There are a couple of different ways to get from Orlando to Daytona Beach. The first is via I4 East, just get on I4 and follow it all the way until you reach Daytona. It turns from the I4 into FL400 about 4 miles from the beach. This is a Free option but there can be a bit of traffic around downtown Orlando.

The second option is via the the I4 as well but you then take the 528 Beeline Express Way which is exit 72 on the I4. The 528 is a toll road and will cost you $5.25 each way as on today (March 2020). Make sure you have some cash with you or you have signed up for the Sunpass. Follow the 528 until you see signs for I95 North it should read Kennedy Space Center, Titusville. It's left at Exit 37 and you go via the 407 (Challenger Memorial Pkwy). Stay on the 407 for about 4 miles and then you should see signs for I95 North, take this and follow all the way to Daytona Beach.

If you are staying in the Davenport, Champions Gate area you can take the 417 Toll Road North at Exit 62 of I4. Follow this until you see signs for the 528 East, Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center, it's Exit 26 on 417 North, then use the directions above. This just cuts off a little bit of the corner and saves you driving all the way up to Exit 72 on I4.

The first route via I4 East is about 75 miles but as I said the traffic around downtown Orlando can be very busy so maybe a good idea to check Google Maps before you leave (Orlando to Daytona Beach). The second route is just over 100 miles but should have a lot less traffic but there are tolls on the 528. Personally I normally take the 528 > I95 route but it's up to you, again get Google maps before you leave (Orlando to Daytona Beach).

Daytona International Speedway

If you are into NASCAR then taking a trip a little bit further up to Daytona Beach may be worth your time. Daytona Beach is home to the Daytona 500, which has been running since 1959 and brings thousands of tourists to the area. You can visit the Daytona International Speedway and take a tour of the track which I have personally done and the slope on of the banks is quite incredible (31 degrees). You can take a 90 minute tour which starts at $26 for adults and $20 for kids aged 5-12. Tours run hourly and start at 9.30am and can be booked online. Why not get up early and take the 9.30am tour and then spend the rest of the day on the beach.

Daytona International Speedway Track Tour

The beach itself is hard-packed sand and is one of the only places where driving and parking is allowed on the sand itself. Additionally, the beach holds outdoor concerts that are sure to be lively and exciting! Similarly to Cocoa Beach, there is an excellent choice when it comes to fishing, surfing, and water activities. You can also enjoy eating and drinking on Beach Street.

Daytona Beach has plenty of entertainment including the boardwalk amusements. These are located on the Daytona Beach pier and offer fun and games for all the family. Additionally, the Daytona Lagoon water park has lots of fun slides and laser tag which kids will be begging to have a go at!

With an easy drive of less than 90 minutes Daytona Beach is on of the closest beaches to Orlando. Offering plenty of parking on the beach, fun and games on the pier and surfing all year round it's a great day out and something very different from the Orlando theme parks. It's definitely one of the best beaches near Orlando!

Daytona Beach Parking

Daytona Beach has a unique parking situation compared to other beaches in the area as they allow parking on the beach. There are plenty of public parking spaces adjacent to Daytona Beach, around 3500 to be exact. These include Bicentennial, North Shore and Tom Renick parks, Andy Romano Beachfront Park, Sun Splash and Breakers Oceanfront parks, and Frank Rendon, Van Avenue, and Larry Fornari parks. You must park perpendicular to the shoreline for safety reasons and you should not put yourself or umbrellas between cars.

Clearwater Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to Clearwater Beach

88 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 40 minutes.

  • Take I-4 West towards Tampa for 63 miles
  • Use the left 3 lanes and exit towards Tampa International Airport
  • Merge onto I-275 South
  • Use Right lane and take exit 39
  • Merge on to FL-60 West towards Clearwater / Tampa Airport
  • Take exit 2A for FL-60 West towards Clearwater
  • Follow FL-60 West to Coronado Drive in Clearwater for 18 miles
  • Cross the Clearwater Memorial Causeway and follow until you reach Pier 60

Clearwater Beach and Pier 60

True to its name, Clearwater Beach provides tourists with beautiful blue oceans and sandy white beaches to explore. With a wide-spanning beach and year-round sunshine, you can relax and enjoy the warm water. The beach has an excellent reputation and was named Number 1 in the US on trip advisor in 2019, 2018 and 2016!

You can rent a cabana or a beach chair and umbrella and really bask in the Floridian sunshine! Clearwater Beach's waters are perfect for a bit of jet skiing or parasailing, for the more adventurous types. Clearwater Beach offers a huge amount of buzzing bars and nightclubs, as well as live music and amazing eats! Additionally, you can visit the famous Clearwater Marine Aquarium and see Winter the dolphin as well as other amazing aquatic creatures.

Clearwater is just 20 minutes from Tampa, where the popular Busch Gardens theme park lies a little bit outside of the Orlando theme park bubble. Busch Gardens is popular for its hugely thrilling hyper coasters and the new Tigris coaster which opened in 2019. Although you may be seeking respite from the theme parks in Orlando, Busch Gardens does provide a uniquely thrilling experience. Additionally, Busch Gardens has its own zoo with many different animal species from parrots to tigers and lions. Your children will enjoy amazing animal experiences and for a small fee you can even get hands-on with them and feed a giraffe- just watch out for the big black tongue! 

Clearwater is another one of the closest beaches to Orlando and has lots of things to do for the whole family not just sunbathing on the beach. You will probably need a few days to take it all in so maybe do this as a mini break and book one of the many hotels/motels on the beach. Just what you need after a week of walking around the Orlando theme parks.

Clearwater Beach Parking

You can avoid parking congestion near the beach by looking for a spot north of the roundabout at Memorial Causeway. You can park here at the North Beach Parking Plaza, or at two metered lots near the beach, which total around 200 spaces overall. You can also park at the Pier 60 parking lot which costs $3 an hour and has 139 spaces. A cheaper option is a small parking lot between Devon Drive and Hamden Drive that costs $1.25 an hour. If you don't mind parking a bit further out at Sand Key you will find it a lot easier to find a spot, as there are 700 spaces, with the daily rate costing $5.

St Pete Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to St Pete Beach

93.7 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 35 minutes.

  • Take I-4 West towards Tamps for 63 miles
  • Use the left 3 lanes and exit towards Tampa International Airport
  • Merge onto I-275 South and follow 21 miles
  • Take exit 23B for FL-595 West
  • Turn left onto 28th Street North
  • Turn right onto 1st Ave North, follow for 3.6 miles
  • Turn left onto Pasadena Ave South, follow for 1.9 miles
  • Turn right on to Blind Pass Road and follow to the beaches

St. Pete Beach is located on the warm Gulf of Mexico and is a beautiful sandy white beach. St Pete Beach is the craft beer capital of the world, so if you are a connoisseur of beers, this may be the place for you. Taking advantage of the quieter crowds compared to the more popular Cocoa, Daytona, and Clearwater beaches, you can enjoy a beautiful Floridian sunset, lay back, and relax. The beach is filled with lots of restaurants and pubs and you can even find a DJ playing outside during some times of the year. It is a fantastic place for an outdoor picnic, as it is clean and pleasant. St Pete Beach is also closeby to the Salvador Dali museum, which is just out of town.

St Pete Beach is one of the best beaches near Orlando and a guest favourite, take a picnic and swim in the warm Gulf waters.

St Pete Beach Parking

Free parking is available near the beach at the Belleair Beach Marina, east of Gulf Boulevard. Once you have parked your car, walk about 200 feet south to find access to the beach.

Madeira Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to Madeira Beach

92.3 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 45 minutes.

  • Take I-4 West towards Tamps for 63 miles
  • Use the left 3 lanes and exit towards Tampa International Airport
  • Merge onto I-275 South and follow 16 miles
  • Take exit 28 for FL-694 West towards Pinellas Park/Gandy Blvd
  • Follow FL-694 West on to Park Blvd North for 3.6 miles
  • Turn left onto Seminole Blvd
  • Keep left and continue on Tom Stuart Causeway
  • At the beach turn left on Gulf Blvd

Another beach located along the Gulf Coast is the beautiful Madeira Beach, which describes itself as the place where the term "paradise was created". Amazingly, Madeira Beach can provide an amazing wildlife opportunity during April-October, when Turtle Season is occurring. You will not be allowed to touch the turtles or get too close, but you may be able to spot a little turtle making its way back into the ocean. There are strict rules during this season about keeping the beach clean, dark and flat for the turtle's annual migration, but it truly is a spectacle to see!

Madeira Beach Parking

As of August 2019 at Madeira Beach you are no longer allowed to use coins as a method for parking, instead, you need to download an app on your smartphone. The city accepts either the WaytoPark or Parkmobile apps. Some of the places you can park are John's Pass Park, John's Pass Parking Village, and Gulf Boulevard at a cost of $2.50 per hour.

Treasure Island

Driving directions from Orlando to Treasure Island

93.6 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 43 minutes.

  • Take I-4 West towards Tamps for 63 miles
  • Use the left 3 lanes and exit towards Tampa International Airport
  • Merge onto I-275 South and follow 21 miles
  • Take exit 23B for FL-595 West
  • Follow 5th Ave North
  • Turn left on to 28th Street North
  • Turn right on to 1st Ave North and follow for 3.6 miles
  • Turn left onto Pasadena Ave North
  • Turn right at 2nd cross street onto Central Ave North
  • Continue onto Treasure Island Causeway until you reach the beach

Treasure Island, located next to St.Petersburg along the Gulf of Mexico is home to pristine beaches and clear waters. The name comes from an early hotel owner who buried and subsequently found buried treasure on the beach. The name just kind of stuck. It is a perfect destination for families as it hosts a range of unique restaurants and family-friendly attractions. It's one of our guests favourite beaches near Orlando to visit for a weekend.

Gators Cafe and Saloon in Treasure Island, Florida

Here you can find Gators Cafe and Saloon, which is named the world's longest waterfront bar. This entertainment venue has all you would want from a tiki lounge to a tasting room, also accessible by boat. You can dock your boat right next to Gators and pop in for some lunch and drinks.

Kayaking is a popular activity on the gulf coast and you will have plenty of opportunities to hire Kayaks at the Treasure Island beach. Check out Hubbards Marina just across the road at John's Pass for Kayak and Paddle board rentals. They also offer fishing trips, dolphin watching tours and sunset cruises!

Treasure Island Parking

For parking, at Treasure Island, you can find a parking lot with 62 metered spots just south of the Bilmar Beach Resort.

John's Pass

Driving directions from Orlando to John's Pass

94.9 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 46 minutes.

  • Take I-4 West towards Tamps for 63 miles
  • Use the left 3 lanes and exit towards Tampa International Airport
  • Merge onto I-275 South and follow 21 miles
  • Take exit 23B for FL-595 West
  • Follow 5th Ave North
  • Turn left on to 28th Street North
  • Turn right on to 1st Ave North and follow for 3.6 miles
  • Turn left onto Pasadena Ave North
  • Turn right at 2nd cross street onto Central Ave North
  • Continue onto Treasure Island Causeway until you reach the beach
  • Turn right on to Gulf Blvd and follow for 1.3 miles
  • As you cross the lifting bridge John's Pass in on the right

John's pass is located on Madeira Beach and is home to the extremely lively village and boardwalk. Here you can enjoy fishing, dining, entertainment, shopping, and more! There is even an opportunity to see dolphins in the area. The pass was created by a hurricane in 1848 and was first passed through by pirate, John Levique. Since then it has had a lively atmosphere and unique shopping, restaurants, boat rentals, parasailing, and jet skiing. Some of the restaurants include the famous Hooter's and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, which serve delicious fresh food throughout the year. The pier has amazing waterfront views, so you can enjoy the blue waters whilst you dine and look for dolphins!

John's Pass Parking

John's Pass has plenty of parking spaces, including a public lot at 129th Avenue and lots of on-street parking in the John's Pass Village and Boardwalk complex.

Anna Maria Island

Driving directions from Orlando to Anna Maria Island

108 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 52 minutes.

  • Take I-4 West for 54 miles
  • Use right lanes and merge on to I-75 South towards Naples for 33 miles
  • Take exit 228 for I-275 North 1 mile
  • Take exit 2 off I-275 for US-41 South then turn left on to Tamiami Trail
  • Follow US-41 South for 6 miles
  • Turn right onto FL-64 Manatee Ave West
  • Stay on FL-64 Manatee Ave West for 9 miles until you reach the sea!
  • You will be at Manatee Public Beach on Anna Maria Island

Bridge Street on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is another one on this list for families that are seeking a more tranquil experience. A trip to Anna Maria Island will guarantee that you beat the crowds that the more popular beaches tend to attract. Anna Maria Island is special due to sugar-soft sand that is made from fine quartz crystals. There is an amazing trolley service that will transport you around the island, allowing you to explore local artisan shops, where you can purchase delicious cheeses and olive oils. The sunsets on this west-facing coast are also stunning and can make for an amazing evening picnic.

This is one of my favourite beach areas as it offers over 7 miles of pristine beaches. Visit the historic Bridge Street with its boutiques, restaurants as well the Bradenton street pier. These beaches near Orlando as some of the best Florida has to offer.

Anna Maria Island Beaches

Anna Maria Island Parking

Anna Maria Island benefits from free public car parking at the Anna Maria Island Public Car Park. It is easily accessible and is right on the beach, so you can easily walk to the beach from your vehicle.

Vero Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to Vero Beach

105 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 44 minutes.

  • Take I-4 exit 62 for FL-417 North (Toll Road)
  • Follow 417 North and take exit 12 for the Florida Turnpike South Toll Road
  • Stay on the Florida Turnpike for 55 miles
  • Take exit 193 for FL-60 towards US-441 (Toll Plaza)
  • Turn left on to FL-60 and follow for 32 miles
  • Follow signs to the beach!

Vero Beach is a classier option, located on Florida's Atlantic coast and is known for having amazing golf, water sports and fishing. The beach is peaceful and you can visit amazing museums, take nature tours and explore a fine selection of shops in both the historic downtown area and the larger shopping malls. Vero Beach is a great place for culture and you can indulge in many art galleries and museums. Vero Beach is closeby to a meandering network of rivers in which wild manatees roam. You can also kayak in the nearby Indian River Lagoon, which provides an incredibly immersive nature experience. This is an amazing opportunity for any animal lovers in the family!

This beach is so luxurious that even Disney themselves have opened a resort here, where you can take part in sing-alongs, campfires, kayaking, and surfing lessons.

Vero Beach Parking

There are plenty of public parking lots for access to Vero Beach including a free public car park closeby. You can also park at 1033-1099 Easter Lily Lane or 1704 Ocean Drive if there are no free spaces available.

Siesta Key Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to Siesta Key Beach

120 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 2 hours

  • Take I-4 West for 54 miles
  • Use right lanes and merge via exit 9 on to I-75 South towards Naples for 56 miles
  • Take exit 205 for FL-72 West towards Sarasota/Arcadia and follow for 5.7 miles
  • Turn right on to Midnight Pass Rd and follow for 1.5 miles until you reach the beach
  • You will see the public beach parking on the left

Siesta Key Beach is another beautifully sandy beach, which may be more suitable for parents seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway. Just outside the beach is a village of outdoor dining, cafe, and shopping. Siesta Key is home to the Siesta Key Drum Circle on a Sunday night that plays sensational beats, alongside belly dancers. Other activities include Zumba on the beach, Eco Tours and Rentals, as well as massage therapy. The beach and surrounding area really do have the essence of a spa getaway and it is just absolute bliss!

You can try some snorkeling as the sea life here is incredible. The best place to snorkel is between the Point of Rocks at the South end of Crescent Beach. You will be able to see lots of amazing wildlife in these clear waters. If you want a break from the sandy beach then you can hire a bike and explore the relaxing Siesta neighborhoods nearby.

Siesta Key Parking

Siesta Key has a free parking lot on 988 County Road, but you can also check out the Siesta Key Village Municipal Parking lot which boasts 1300 parking spaces.

St. Augustine Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to St Augustine Beach

103 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 55 minutes.

  • Take I-4 East for 56 miles
  • Take I-95 North to Jacksonville for 36 miles
  • Take exit 298 onto US-1 North (Dixie Hwy) towards St Augustine
  • Turn right onto FL-206 East, follow for 3.8 miles
  • Turn left onto A1A North and follow for 5 miles
  • St Augustine Beach in on the right
  • Just follow the A1A North to reach the St Augustine city.

If you are searching for a little bit of historic European charm then St Augustine beach is the place to visit. Just up Interstate 95 from Daytona Beach, this quaint coastal town delivers a fantastic historical experience. The city is famous for the Fountain of Youth and was the first permanent settlement established in the United States of America in 1565. Once you have had the opportunity to explore the cultural history the town provides, you can enjoy attractions such as the St Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park as well as the St Augustine lighthouse.

You can also visit Marineland Dolphin Adventure and Oceanarium where you will have the opportunity to swim with dolphins! They have 3 different Dolphin swim experiences as well a meet and greet and trainer for a day. General admission starts at $22.95+tax for adults and $13.95+tax for kids 5-11.

Marineland dolphin adventure in St Augustine, Florida

St Augustine Parking

Public parking in St Augustine is available on East Pope Road and SJC Pier Park. There is also a range of on-street parking spaces for a small fee. Vehicles are permitted on some designated areas on St. Augustine beach.

New Smyrna Beach

Driving directions from Orlando to New Smyrna Beach

76.7 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 31 minutes.

  • Take I-4 East for 50 miles
  • Take exit 118 A - B towards New Smyrna Beach (FL-44 East)
  • Follow FL-44 for 20 miles until you cross the causeway
  • Turn left on to South Peninsula Ave (Dunkin Donuts on the right)
  • Follow for South Peninsula Ave for 1.2 miles until you reach the Free Parking

New Smyrna Beach is popular among the local Orlandoans, who dub it NSB. You'll be pleased to find paradise in Orlando's best-kept secret. The historic Canal Street is the best place for beach-themed shopping and restaurants. You can enjoy food, from a casual lunch to fresh oysters. Whatever takes your fancy!

The nearby Smyrna Dunes Park is also an interesting natural landscape and provides an amazing opportunity to explore nature trails and do some fishing.

New Smyrna Beach Parking

There is a free parking lot at 1098-1000 N Peninsula Avenue but you can also find parking at Marianne Clancy Park and the Canal Street Parking lot further into town.

Ponce Inlet

Driving directions from Orlando to Ponce Inlet

82 miles from Orlando. Approximate drive time: 1 hour and 38 minutes.

  • Take I-4 East for 56 miles
  • Take exit 132B follow signs for I-95 South Miami for 4 miles
  • Take exit 256 for FL-421 East towards Port Orange
  • Follow for 5 miles then turn right on to South Atlantic Ave
  • Follow for 5 miles until you reach the lighthouse

The Ponce Inlet has an amazing wide beach with sand thick enough to drive on (access via Beach Street). There are also a number of other beaches from Light House Point Park on the ocean side. To Ponce Inlet Dog Beach which is more sheltered and has the sea on one side and the river on the other. Once again these beach offer a range of watersports and activities such as jet skiing, speed boat rentals, and parasailing. The Ponce Inlet is also home to Florida's tallest lighthouse which gives you fantastic views over the stunning Ponce Inlet Preserve!

The Ponce Inlet Preserve offers nature trails from the Atlantic Ocean side to the Halifax River via boardwalks and trails. Head to the look out tower for views over the preserve. A great place to explore and try to spot some pelicans diving for fish. You can also kayak around the preserve and they have a launch area near the car park.


The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, built in the 1880s and at 175 feet it's the tallest lighthouse in the state of Florida. Be brave and climb the lighthouse with its 203 steps and visit the museum which houses educational exhibits. General admission for Adults (age 12+): $6.95, Children (age 3-11): $1.95 and infants under 2 are Free. They also offer a 20% military discount for former and active personnel on daily admission and you can visit free on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Proof of services is required. The lighthouse and museum is open every day from 10am except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There is Free onsite parking and only service animals are allowed. If you have pets it's best to leave them home, please don't leave them in the car as it gets extremely hot in the summer months.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Florida

If you fancy a spot of lunch while at the lighthouse why not walk across the street to the Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill. It's on the river side near the Lighthouse Marina & Storage. This waterside Tiki bar offers fresh seafood, steaks and pasta as well as daily dinner specials like a 1lb Prime Rib and happy hour drinks specials.

Ponce Inlet Parking

The Ponce Inlet beach is natural and quiet with lots of privacy, visiting the area can really give you a sense of a small-town lifestyle outside of the nearby busy Orlando. There is a free public access car park right near the beach.


Overall, there are a plethora of beaches near Orlando for you to explore, with a wide range of activities on offer. Whether you are interested in kayaking on the Gulf Coast on surfing on the Atlantic Coast, there is so much off the beaten track outside of Orlando for you to see and do!

These beaches near Orlando offer relaxation and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks. You can also find so many amazing food and drink options on the Floridian coastline. Kids and adults alike will love exploring these beautiful coves and sandy shores, enjoying a bit of relaxing time away from the crazy theme parks! Hopefully, this list has given you an introduction to some of the amazing beaches near Orlando.

Maybe you will take the plunge and go off the beaten track a little bit on your Floridian vacation, after all, it is the Sunshine State and Floridians love to bask in the beautiful warm weather!

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