Visiting Walt Disney World and wanting to combine a beach vacation with The Most Magical Place on Earth?
Look no further, because, in this post, we’re covering the 11 best beaches near Disney World. Plus, how to choose the perfect one for you and your family!
How to Choose the Best Beach Near Disney World
So, with 11 of the best beaches to choose from near Disney World, you might be thinking, which is the best one for my family?
No worries, let me help you decide!
In case you’re not familiar with the state of Florida, Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, which is right in the center of the Sunshine State. ☀️
To the east of Orlando, you have the Atlantic Coast and to the west of Orlando, you have the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
The closest beach to Orlando is going to be Cocoa Beach, Florida. Cocoa Beach is on the Atlantic Coast; which is approximately 64 miles and about an hour’s drive from Disney World.
But, you may not be interested in going to just the CLOSEST beach, so we’re including 10 other amazing beaches here that are all within a two-hour drive of Walt Disney World.
All of these beaches offer something a little different, so keep reading to find the perfect beach for you and your family.
Gulf Coast Beaches vs Atlantic Coast Beaches
Gulf Coast vs Atlantic Coast! Which is the perfect coast for you and your family?
There are some pretty significant differences between the Gulf Coast beaches and the Atlantic Coast beaches in Florida.
The Gulf Coast beaches are known for their beautiful white sandy beaches and gorgeous clear water. And the waves on the Gulf of Mexico are calmer for the most part.
The Atlantic Coast beaches have sand with a more golden brown hue and the water is not as clear. (Now, the further you go down the east coast in Florida this changes, but these beaches are not the closest to Disney World, so we aren’t including these east coast Southern Florida and Miami area beaches in this post).
And the waves are bigger on the Atlantic Coast, making the Atlantic Coast better for those that want to surf.
- Are you looking to do a day trip? If so, an Atlantic Coast beach might be better for you because Orlando is closer to the Atlantic Coast.
- Are you looking to do some surfing? 🏄♀️ If, so an Atlantic Coast beach might be better for you because the waves are bigger. 🌊
- Are you looking for the most gorgeous clear water in Florida and the most beautiful white sandy beaches? If, so head to a beach on the Gulf Coast.
- Are you looking into visiting the Tampa area and maybe hitting the Florida theme park, Busch Gardens? If so, then a Gulf Coast beach is for you.
- Are you looking to explore the Space Coast and Kennedy Space Center in Florida? 🚀 If, so go to an Atlantic Coast beach.
- Are you looking to explore the culture of the oldest city in the U.S.? If, so go to the Atlantic Coast.
Map of the Best Beaches Near Orlando
To give you a better idea of where these 11 best beaches near Orlando are in relation to Walt Disney World, a map is included below.
All these best beaches near Orlando are marked along with the Most Magical Place on Earth itself. Once you click on the map, you can zoom in and out!
Best Gulf Coast Beaches Closest to Disney World
For those of you who want to visit one of the most stunning beaches in the world, then a Gulf Coast (Gulf of Mexico) beach is for you.
These Gulf of Mexico beaches are known for their beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.
And all of these beaches are within a 2-hour drive from the Disney Parks.
Here are the best Gulf Coast beaches closest to Disney World.
1. Clearwater Beach
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 89 miles; 1 hr 29 minutes drive
If you’re looking for one of the closest beaches to Walt Disney World with clear water and white sandy beaches, Clearwater Beach, Florida should be at the top of your list.
Clearwater Beach is approximately 89 miles and a 1.5-hour drive from the Most Magical Place on Earth. It has beautiful soft, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.
It’s a great family destination for relaxing, swimming, or playing in the sand. For those who like to be more active you can fish, jet-ski, paddleboard, kayak, or parasail at Clearwater Beach.
This beach has an amazing paved walkway that runs alongside the beach. This is perfect for walking, jogging, and biking while enjoying the stunning Gulf of Mexico views.
Clearwater also offers plenty of entertainment for the entire family including Pier 60 with nighty musicians, dancers, and crafts. For marine animal lovers, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must-see attraction in Clearwater. Here you’ll see dolphins, otters, and sea turtles.
2. St. Pete Beach
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 93 miles; 1 hr 28-minute drive
Another best Gulf Coast beach close to Disney World is St. Pete Beach. St. Pete Beach is located just south of Clearwater Beach.
It is approximately 93 miles and a 1 hour and 28-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
Just like Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach also has that gorgeous clear water and beautiful white sand.
While Clearwater Beach is busier, St. Pete is the quieter and more laid-back of the two. You’ll also find St. Pete to be a little more affordable.
St. Pete beach is an excellent destination for those looking to relax on the beach or swim in the beautiful clear water. A fun activity while at St. Pete Beach would be to go on a glass-bottom kayak tour.
3. Honeymoon Island State Park
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 90 miles; 1 hr 34-minute drive
Honeymoon Island State Park is a Florida State Park located just north of Clearwater Beach.
It is approximately 90 miles and a 1 hour and 34-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
Honeymoon Island State Park has 4 miles of beautiful beaches to explore. It’s a great place for relaxing, hiking, swimming, and fishing. Oh, and there are plenty of seashells here! 🐚 So, if you’re looking for a beach near Disney World with seashells, Honeymoon Island State Park is an excellent choice.
But besides relaxing, hiking, swimming, fishing, and collecting seashells, Honeymoon Island State Park is also a great place for spotting wildlife. Some wildlife you might see here include bald eagles, tortoises, armadillos, and owls.
4. Treasure Island
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 93 miles; 1 hr 31-minute drive
Treasure Island is one of Florida’s hidden gems located just north of St. Pete Beach and south of Clearwater Beach.
It is approximately 93 miles and a 1-hour and 31-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
Treasure Island has wide, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear water. Because of its unusually wide beaches, Treasure Island has plenty of room to spread out. This makes it great for sunbathing, flying a kite, or throwing a football on the beach.
This hidden gem on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico has a very relaxed atmosphere with many cute cafes and shops.
Treasure Island is also referred to as the Sand Sculpture Capital of Florida. If you happen to be in Florida in mid-November, you must visit Treasure Island for its annual event, Sanding Ovations. This is a sand sculpting exhibition and competition where master sand sculptors from all around the world come here to create the most amazing sand masterpieces on the beach.
5. Anna Marie Island
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 106 miles; 1 hr 46-minute drive
Anna Marie Island is another one of the best Gulf Coast beaches closest to Disney World.
It is approximately 106 miles and a 1 hour and 46-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
This beach is excellent for those looking for that Old Florida beach feel. You will not find any high rises here on Anna Marie Island and the closest major city, Sarasota is a 40-minute drive away.
Anna Marie Island has 7 miles of sugary white sandy beaches and stunning emerald-green water.
It’s perfect for those looking for a relaxing beach vacation spent lounging on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing.
Historic Bridge Street on Anne Marie Island is a great place to browse art galleries, shop and dine.
6. Siesta Key
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 118 miles; 1 hr 51-minute drive
Siesta Key, located off the coast of Sarasota, Florida is the furthest beach on this 11 best beaches near Disney World list.
It is approximately 118 miles and a 1-hour 51-minute drive from Walt Disney World. You might have heard about this beach town from the MTV show Siesta Key.
Siesta Key has beautiful white quartz sand and clear turquoise water great for swimming, jet skiing, and spotting dolphins.
The town of Siesta Key is also a fun place to explore because of its thriving arts and culture scene. Here in Siesta Key, you’ll find many great boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, a pier, and a farmer’s market.
Best Atlantic Coast Beaches Closest to Disney World
Walt Disney World is slightly closer to the Atlantic Coast, making the Atlantic Coast the closest coast for a beach getaway from Disney World.
The closest beach to Walt Disney World is Cocoa Beach, which is about a 1-hour drive. The other best Atlantic Coast beaches listed here are all within a 2-hour drive from Walt Disney World.
The Atlantic Coast beaches differ from the Gulf Coast beaches in the color of the sand and water. The beaches on the Atlantic Coast have sand with a more golden hue and the water is not as clear.
However, the waves are more prominent on the Atlantic Coast making it a much better place to surf.
If you’re interested in exploring the Space Coast and Kennedy Space Center while in Florida, you’ll also want to visit one of these Atlantic Coast beaches.
Here are the best Atlantic Coast beaches closest to Disney World.
7. Cocoa Beach
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 64 miles; 1 hr 2-minute drive
Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando and Walt Disney World.
It is approximately 64 miles and about a 1 hour and 2-minute drive from Orlando. You can leave straight from your Disney hotel and arrive at Cocoa Beach an hour later.
Cocoa Beach would make for the perfect day trip from Disney World if you just want to dip your feet in the sand and water before leaving the Sunshine State. ☀️
The city of Cocoa Beach is located on the Space Coast and is about 15 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center. This makes it the perfect beach to visit if you are also looking to visit the incredible Kennedy Space Center while in Florida.
Cocoa Beach is famous for its beaches, surfing, and surf shops. In fact, Cocoa Beach is called the East Coast Surf Capital of the U.S.
Visiting the surf shop Ron Jon is a must while in Cocoa Beach, even for you non-surfers. This place is massive, with 52,000 square of merchandise and souvenirs, it is the World’s Largest Surf Shop! You’ll also find the Florida Surf Museum here inside.
There are many fun family activities in Cocoa Beach. Walking the Cocoa Beach Pier is a must while at this east-coast Florida beach. Near Cocoa Beach Pier you’ll find many great shops and places to eat.
For more information on everything you need to know about getting from Orlando to Cocoa Beach, check out Orlando to Cocoa Beach: Essential Travel Tips, Must-See Spots & Day Trip Ideas!
8. New Smyrna Beach
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 73 miles; 1 hr 12-minute drive
New Smyrna Beach is a great Atlantic Coast beach near Disney World.
This beach town is approximately 73 miles and a 1-hour 12-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
It is located south of Daytona Beach and north of the Kennedy Space Center. So, for you race car lovers, you just might want to visit the Daytona International Speedway while visiting New Smyrna Beach.
New Symrna has 17 miles of beaches and is highly rated for surfing. Some parts of the beach even allow cars on it.
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is a must-visit while at New Smyrna Beach. This is a historic lighthouse located right across from New Smyrna Beach and is the second-tallest masonry lighthouse in the country.
While at New Symrna Beach you have a good chance of seeing dolphins, but dolphins are not the only marine you might see while here. You might even see a Florida manatee at New Smyrna Beach.
The best time of the year to see manatees in New Smyrna Beach is in the fall and winter. Take a scenic manatee boat tour for your best chance of seeing this gentle, incredible marine animal up close.
9. Vero Beach
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 100 miles; 1 hr 28-minute drive
Vero Beach is a small, elegant city in Florida on the Atlantic Coast.
It is located approximately 100 miles and a 1-hour 28-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
Vero Beach is a great beach on the Atlantic Coast of Florida for water sports and fishing. It’s also a popular town for golfing. In Vero Beach, you’ll also find many shops, museums, and art galleries.
Vero Beach is also home to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. 🏖️ So, you can combine a Walt Disney World vacation, with a Disney beach vacation right here at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort!
➡️ If you need help planning your Disney vacation or booking Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, contact me! I’m a travel agent who specializes in all things Disney!
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is an elegant hideaway located on a quiet, tranquil beach. This beach has natural preserves including nesting habitats of sea turtles. 🐢
This resort has lots to do to keep families entertained including a Mickey-Mouse-shaped swimming pool, crafts, campfire sing-a-longs-, kayaking, a spa, tennis courts, and more!
10. St. Augustine Beach
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 118 miles; 1 hr 47-minute drive
St. Augustine Beach is a popular Atlantic Ocean beach located approximately 118 miles and a 1 hour and 47-minute drive from Walt Disney World. It is the northernmost Florida beach on our list of the 11 best beaches near Disney World.
St. Augustine’s beaches are wide and great for walking, relaxing, or playing. St. John’s County Ocean Pier area is a great spot for fishing and playing volleyball. There is also a great playground and a splash zone here for children.
There are many delicious restaurants and shops in St. Augustine Beach. And what attracts a lot of people to St. Augustine is that it is a wonderful, family-friendly Florida city to explore.
St. Augustine is known for being the oldest city in the U.S. It also has gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture.
Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th-century fortress worth exploring while in St. Augustine. Other fun things to do in St. Augustine include riding the St. Augustine Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, St Augustine Alligator Farm, St George Street, and the Fountain of Youth.
11. Canaveral National Seashore
Distance from Walt Disney World Resort: approx 86 miles; 1 hr 33-minute drive
Canaveral National Seashore is the final beach on our list of the best beaches near Orlando.
It is approximately 86 miles and a 1 hour and 33-minute drive from Walt Disney World.
It is located between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida. This east coast national seashore is the longest expanse of undeveloped land along the East Coast of Florida.
There are many great things to do at this east coast central Florida beach including sunbathing, swimming, canoeing, fishing, surfing, hiking, camping, and exploring all the nature and historical trails.
The closest clear-water beach to Disney is Clearwater Beach or St. Pete Beach. These beautiful Gulf Coast (Gulf of Mexico) clear-water beaches are located about a 1.5-hour drive from Disney World.
The closest beach to Disney World is Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach is located on the Atlantic Coast of Florida approximately 64 miles and a 1 hr drive from the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida which is in the center of Florida. Because it is not on the coast, there are NO beaches. The closest beach, Cocoa Beach is about a 1-hour drive from Disney World.
However, if you’re looking for a hotel with a “beach” Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a fabulous choice. This resort gives you all the beach feels without having to leave your Disney Resort. It even has a sand-bottomed pool and beach buckets and toys for the kids to play with.
Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Walt Disney World. It is approximately 64 miles and about a 1-hour drive from Disney World.
Clearwater Beach is approximately 89 miles and a 1 hr 29-minute drive from Walt Disney World. It is a beautiful beach with clear water and white sandy beaches.
Disney World is not too far away from the beach. The closest Atlantic Coast beach is about 64 miles and a 1-hour drive. The closest Gulf Coast beach is about a 1.5-hour drive.
Siesta Key is approximately 118 miles and a 1 hr 51-minute drive from Walt Disney World. This beach has clear emerald water and beautiful white sandy beaches.
There are lots of great beaches to choose from near Disney World!
Which one is best for you and your family depends on many factors including whether you want to do a day trip or an extended vacation in addition to Walt Disney World.
If you’re looking for a beautiful, white sandy beach and some of the clearest water in Florida, go to a Gulf Coast beach. If you’re looking to visit Kennedy Space Center, St. Augustine, or looking to surf, go to an Atlantic Coast beach.
✨ Enjoy your time at the Most Magical Place on Earth and one of these beautiful Florida beaches!