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While you’re here in Orlando seeking the thrills of the many amusement parks and soaking in the Florida sun, you might have the urge to slow down for a bit and relax on a beach. Well luckily for you, Orlando is situated in a place where there are many options for beaches on both the Gulf and East Coasts, all within reach of a day trip from your Regal Oaks stay. 

We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 nearby beach destinations, so put on your sunscreen and flip-flops because it’s time to go to the beach!

Photo courtesy of Visit Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach | 1 Hour, East Coast

Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando and a great place for a family day trip. This beach is known as the small waves capital of the world and is a popular surfing destination. Be sure to check out the surf shops and maybe even get out on the waves with a surfing lesson!

Another fun feature of Cocoa Beach is that it’s on the Space Coast. Located just down the road from the Kennedy Space Center, this beach is perfect for getting your family together to watch a rocket launch!

Visit Cocoa Beach’s website for a rocket launch schedule and a live beach webcam.

Photo courtesy of Beach Catcher

Hightower Beach Park | 1 Hour, East Coast

Just south of Cocoa Beach, Hightower Beach Park is the perfect, quiet beach for anyone looking to avoid the high tourist areas. Just take a short, scenic walk over a boardwalk to feel as though you’ve escaped into a peaceful tropical paradise. This beach is clean, quiet, and has free parking and a public restroom where you can wash off your feet at the end of your beach day getaway. 

Hightower is a local favorite and wildlife safe haven, so be extra careful to leave it as clean as you found it!

Honeymoon Island State Park | 1.5 Hours, Gulf Coast

If you’re looking for a chance to find some beautiful seashells as a souvenir, Honeymoon Island is a great beach for you. This 4 mile stretch of beach allows for long walks where you’re bound to find lots of shells. Popular shells you can find include conchs, tulips, whelks, and occasionally a sand dollar! Just be sure to check your shells aren’t already homes to sea snails and hermit crabs before taking them. For a full list of common shells, you can find at Honeymoon Island, check here!

Wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers will also have a heyday at this beach. Honeymoon Island is a popular turtle and bird nesting spot so you’ll be sure to see turtle nesting markers and lots of local Florida birds!

*Author’s note – be extra careful with seagulls here, they will not hesitate to steal a sandwich right out of your hands. Rest in peace turkey sandwich of 2021.

Photo Courtesy of Trip Savvy

Smyrna Dunes Park | 1.5 Hours, East Coast

One of the most notable features of Smyrna Dunes Park is the 2 miles of sprawling boardwalks over the sand dunes. While exploring the boardwalks, you’re likely to spot gopher tortoises, plenty of birds, and other Florida wildlife. These boardwalks are also handicap accessible and the beach is dog-friendly, making it a great way to have fun with the whole family! 

Siesta Key Beach | 2 Hours, Gulf Coast

Even though this is the farthest location on the list, it is certainly worth the trip. Siesta Key Beach is world-famous for its soft sand and clear water. Once you’ve set foot in the fluffy, white sand in Siesta Key, you’ll never want to put your shoes back on. This is a great location for kids (and adults!) who will want to build sand castles and play in the crystal clear water. 

Though Orlando is known for its theme parks and adrenaline-filled fun, don’t forget to plan a beach day trip. It’s the perfect escape for a day of rest, relaxing and listening to the waves. So pack your favorite beach towel and we will see you at the beach!