These are the best beaches in the Orlando area

Stunning piers, delicious eateries and more

By Paola Peralta - Digital Intern

Photo courtesy of Pass-a-Grille Beach on Facebook

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando may be landlocked, but that doesn't mean locals have to miss out on hitting the beach.

With warm weather year-round, planning a trip to visit the sandy shores is almost always a good idea, which is why News 6 compiled a list of the best beaches in the Central Florida area. 

Prepare to sit back and relax at any of these seaside destinations near you.

Playalinda Beach

Photo courtesy of Canaveral National Seashores

It's hard to believe a beach day could be less than an hour away, but the Florida Space Coast makes it possible. Playalinda Beach is the most popular of the Canaveral National Seashore's 13 undeveloped beaches, preferred by Central Floridians for offering a quiet getaway for the entire family, including dogs -- kind of. According to the National Parks Services, pets are welcome on the lagoon side, but not on the beach.

Distance from Orlando: 45 minutes

For more information, click here.

New Smyrna Beach

Photo courtesy of New Smyrna Beach official website

Just an hour out from Orlando, this next beach is well-known in Central Florida. New Smyrna Beach’s quaint but quirky waterfront town is the perfect weekend getaway destination while staying close to home. Browse the colorful storefronts or stop at one of many delicious seaside eateries during your visit. Got a pup? No problem. A dog park can be found on the north side of the jetty at Smyrna Dunes Park. 

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour

For more information, click here.

Cocoa Beach 

Photo courtesy of Cocoa Beach Pier on Instagram

Also an hour away from Orlando, Cocoa Beach is a dependable destination for city dwellers searching for an easy escape. Grab a bite, order a drink and enjoy the gorgeous view from the beach’s iconic pier. Watch out for fishers, though; nothing ruins a relaxing evening like accidentally getting hooked. 

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour

For more information, click here.

Ponce Inlet Beach

Photo courtesy of @maleehafatima14_ on Instagram

Ponce Inlet offers the perfect way to work up a sweat before a swim by climbing to the top of Florida's tallest lighthouse. If 175 feet and 203 steps isn't in the itinerary, Ponce Inlet Beach also offers more low-key activities such as a marine science center, complete with interactive exhibits, a boardwalk, an observation tower and nature trails. 

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour, 11 minutes

For more information, click here.
 

Flagler Beach

Photo courtesy of Flagler Beach official website

Located between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, Flagler Beach is known for its long, not to mention free, expanse of sand and sea. Eat, shop and be merry at any of Flagler’s oceanfront restaurants and beachside shops. For something a little more sporty, make use of the fishing pier and surf-friendly waves.

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour, 30 minutes

For more information, click here.

Vero Beach 

Photo courtesy of Vero Beach official website

Vero Beach is a jack of all trades. From peaceful beaches, art galleries and museums to a variety of water sports, nature trails and an array of fine dining selections, it’s no wonder they call Vero Beach the Treasure Coast.

Distance from Orlando: 1 hour, 40 minutes

For more information, click here.

Pass-A-Grille Beach

Photo courtesy of Pass-a-Grille Beach on Facebook

Take a break from the East Coast and test out warmer waters on the Gulf of Mexico. Located on the southernmost end of St. Petersburg, Pass-a-Grille is a quieter alternative to Clearwater Beach. Fill your day with sunbathing, roaming the outdoor art market and boutique hopping. While you’re there, do yourself a favor and order the shrimp tacos at Hurricane Seafood Restaurant; you won’t regret it. 

Distance from Orlando: 2 hours

For more information, click here.

Clearwater Beach

Photo courtesy of Clearwater Beach official website

Like its namesake suggests, Clearwater Beach is the best the Gulf Coast has to offer, with white sand beaches and crystal clear water making it a staple Florida beach destination. Liven up your beach day with a stroll down the Beach Walk, a visit to the pier or by checking out the Cleveland Street District for some shopping. Caladesi State Park and Sand Key are nearby if you’re in the mood for a change of scenery.

Distance from Orlando: 2 hours, 17 minutes

For more information, click here.

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