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Best Beaches for Kids Near Orlando

Here are the top 10 best family beaches within a few hours drive from Orlando.

My family loves an afternoon at the beach, but with a 5-year-old and 8-year-old a day in the surf and sand can be a real hassle. One way to ease the stress a little bit is to make sure we pick a beach that has amenities the kids will appreciate. We look for clean bathrooms, outdoor showers to wash the salt off our bodies and beach toys, and easy access – meaning we don’t have to lug all of our towels and gear for blocks down the sand in order to find a place to lay for a few hours.


Brevard County (Space Coast) Beaches

Brevard County beaches are the closest and easiest to get to from the theme parks and tourist section of town, making them some of the most popular and family-friendly beaches around. But with those amenities come the crowds, so be prepared for company when visiting these Brevard County beachfront parks.

Lori Wilson Park | Photo: @only.bysally

Lori Wilson Park
Address: 1500 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: Free
What makes it great: Our family often opts for Lori Wilson Park because of its convenience to Orlando and easy beach access. There’s almost always plenty of parking. Plus, it has picnic areas, a playground and a bathroom with outdoor showers to rinse off the salt and sand. 

Jetty Park Beach

Jetty Park Beach & Pier
Address:
397 Jetty Park Rd, Port Canaveral
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: $15
What makes it great: This is the park I send people to when they come to visit our area and ask for the beach. It’s convenient to Orlando and popular with families. It has the added bonus of being close to the port and you can watch the cruise ships go out to sea in the afternoons. The fishing pier and bathrooms make this a top selections for families. Be sure to buy your parking day pass online here before you go.

Cocoa Beach, Florida: A sign for Alan Shepard Park, a beachside park named after astronaut Alan Shepard and located near the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. Photo: iStock

Alan Shephard Park
Address: 299 E. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: $5 for the first hour, $3.50 for additional hours or $25 for the day
What makes it great: This is one of the best spots to see a rocket launch up close! Our family loves to pull up early on a launch day and play in the sand before the crowds show up for the main event. Kids will love watching people fish from the pier. There’s also a playground and rocket garden where you can learn more about the local space history. Another great amenity is the Latch’s Umbrella & Surf Rentals set-up on the beach.

The Cove at Sebastian Inlet State Park

Sebastian Inlet State Park
Address: 9700 S. Hwy A1A, Melbourne Beach
Lifeguard Tower: No
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: $8 per vehicle
What makes it great: Sebastian Inlet is one of my favorite beachside state parks in Florida. I recommend starting your day watching surfers along the Atlantic beach, then driving over to the inlet side for swimming. The inlet waters are shallow and protected. Even toddlers can splash around in the water, which is a rare opportunity on the Atlantic coast. 


Volusia County (Atlantic Coast) Beaches

Volusia County beaches have a unique history. The Daytona 500 used to take place on the actual beach. And to this day, the county allows vehicles to drive along its white sandy shoreline. That’s great for some beachgoers, but doesn’t work well for all families, especially those with smaller children. All of the Volusia County beaches we list here are closed to vehicles. We highly recommend downloading the “Volusia Beaches” app to see which lifeguards are manned on any given day and which areas are closed to traffic. 

Winter Haven Park

Winter Haven Park
Address: 4589 S. Atlantic Avenue, Ponce Inlet
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: Free
What makes it great: This small park is popular with families for a reason. The coast is beautiful here and it is not nearly as crowded as Daytona Beach. Driving on the beach is prohibited inside this conservation zone. This quiet park offers picnic tables and BBQ grills. There’s also a handicap accessible boardwalk to the beach. When you’re done playing at the beach, check out the nearby Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum. 

Hiles Boulevard Beach Parking

Hiles Boulevard Beach Park
Address: 4516 S. Atlantic Avenue, New Smyrna Beach
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: Free
What makes it great: With free off-beach parking and fewer crowds than many other parks on this list, this small beach park is a winner! It’s located in a non-driving beach area. The only downside is that you have to park across the street from the beach, but there is a signaled crosswalk at the beach ramp.

Andy Romano Beachfront Park

Andy Romano Beachfront Park
Address: 869 S. Atlantic Ave., Ormond Beach
Lifeguard Tower: Yes 
Bathrooms: Yes
What makes it great: Kids love a splash pad, and this 4-acre beachside park has a fantastic one! Take a break from the surf and sand with a picnic near the playground and splash pad. There is also free off-beach parking, which is always a winner in my book!


Pinellas County (Gulf Coast) Beaches

If you’re looking for powdery white sand and brilliant shades of shallow blue water without many waves, then you’ll need to hop on I-4 and head south to the Gulf Coast beaches. The calm waters of the gulf are perfect for families of all ages. These are a few that we feel are worth the drive.

Indian Rocks Beach

Indian Rocks Beach
Address: 1700 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach
Lifeguard Tower: No
Bathrooms: Yes
What makes it great: This beach is a local favorite. It’s perfect for families that want to spend the day relaxing on the sand without the big crowds of Clearwater Beach. There are plenty of small beach access points, but you’ll want to park at Pinellas County Park Access Point for access to bathrooms and showers. 

Sand Key Park

Sand Key Park
Address: 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: $5 daily
What makes it great: Clearwater Beach is famous for it’s clear, calm waters. But with fame comes big crowds and lots of traffic, especially on weekends. Sand Key Beach is a little more low-key than many others in the area. It has all of the amenities a family could want, including concessionaires with ice cream!

Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park
Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde
Lifeguard Tower: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Parking: $5
What makes it great: While its a wonderful place to visit for the day, the best way to experience this park is by making a weekend out of it and camping here. There’s a historic fort to explore, 3 miles of undeveloped white sandy beaches, a 7-mile paved bike trail, and you can take a ferry ride to nearby Egmont Key.

These are just some of our favorite family beach spots. We also really enjoy pulling up to a small beach access area and taking a walk to find something new. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for rip currents, pay attention to the marine flags, and to obey all of the beach rules. Happy beachin’!

Written by
Amanda Green

Amanda Green is a native Floridian and mother of two. She enjoys writing about travel, family, adventure, and living the Florida lifestyle. Look for her next time you're outside exploring Central Florida's parks and trails.

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Written by Amanda Green

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