Florida’s beaches are as diverse as its population and visitors. With approximately 1,200 miles of coastline, there’s a spot for everyone, whether you prefer sandy solitude or a high-energy experience. Here is our quick guide to the best beach destinations in the state so that you can easily incorporate some beach time into your next Central Florida vacation.
Best for a Disney Day Trip
If sneaking in some time in the sand is only a small part of your vacation itinerary, consider heading to Cocoa Beach for the day. Just over an hour away from the Disney resort complex, Cocoa Beach checks all the boxes for fun in the Florida sun without requiring a lot of planning. You can visit the iconic Ron Jon surf shop on your way to the beach to enjoy more than 52,000 square feet of merchandise and stock up on everything you may need for a day at the waves. Shopping and dining also abound in downtown Cocoa Beach where you can find more than 130 businesses ready to serve you.
Most Family Friendly
If you’re looking to build some teachable moments into your beach day, look no further than St. Augustine beach. This historic stretch of land located just 2.5 hours away from the Disney area is home to Spanish forts, the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the United States, and a host of other remarkable sites. St. Augustine is a great choice to enjoy a change of pace from the theme parks and take in some history as well as some sun. The beach itself offers free parking, a covered pavilion, and has a splash pad that is perfect for entertaining little ones.
Biggest Party Spot
Close to the thrills and attractions of Central Florida, Daytona Beach is known for its 23 miles of white-sand beaches and its light-hearted, high-energy atmosphere. Fitting a day at Daytona into your Disney vacation is a breeze because Daytona Beach is just over an hour away from the resort complex. One of the most notable aspects of this part of the Florida coast is that automobiles are allowed to drive in designated areas along the beach, thanks to its hard-packed sand. In fact, Daytona Beach has been allowing vehicles on it since 1902. This area is also a popular spring break destination and offers a vibrant nightlife and club scene.
Best for a Beach Read
Ranked number two on US News and World Report’s “Best Florida Beaches” list and number three for “Best Beaches in the US,” Sanibel Island has a reputation for being a calm, quiet locale that is perfect for soaking up some sun and diving into a good book. Incorporating this spot into your Central Florida vacation will require an overnight jaunt as Sanibel Island is approximately four hours south of the Disney World area. But working a day or two of peaceful relaxation into the end of an exciting theme park vacation may be just the thing to recharge for your travels home.
After a day of fun in the sun, head back to Central Florida and grab some sleep at a comfortable Orlando resort. Close to Disney World, Marriott Orlando offers TownePlace Suites by Marriott Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Fairfield Inn Orlando Lake Buena Vista, and the Residence Inn by Marriott Orlando at SeaWorld. Convenient to shopping and dining on International Drive you will find Aloft Orlando International Drive, Comfort Inn International, Element Orlando International Drive, and Best Western International Drive. Or check out Orlando resort options like Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center/Celebration, Staybridge Suites Orlando Royale Parc, or Fairfield Inn Orlando Airport.