If you are planning an Orlando vacation, chances are, one of the amazing theme park destinations is your goal. However, you might be surprised to find out how easy it is to add some beach time to your Orlando vacation!
There are a few ways to do this and do it seamlessly. However, there are some things to consider as you’re planning so that you get the best of both worlds – time in the theme parks and the opportunity to put your toes in the sand!
Where To Go
First, let’s talk about what beaches to go to. You can go east to the Atlantic side or west to the Gulf Coast and be at either in two hours or less. Check out these recommendations:
Clearwater Beach is located approximately 90 minutes west of Orlando, just north of Tampa Bay. This beloved beach is well-known for its white sand and beautiful water. I love Clearwater because it’s family-friendly and there is something for everyone. If you are looking to just relax, you can plop yourself down and do exactly that! There are several beautiful resorts located right on the beach too. If you are looking for things to do, you can grab a bite at one of the many locally-owned restaurants or even head to Pier 60 for some family fun! You may also want to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This is a great place for kids to have a hands-on learning experience and if you are familiar with the movie “Dolphin Tale” or “Dolphin Tale 2”, stop and see Winter and Hope the bottlenose dolphins!
Siesta Key is located south of Tampa Bay and approximately 2 hours from Orlando. This beach has been consistently voted one of the best beaches in the country and if you take a look at the views, it’s not surprising why! Whether it’s a round of golf or exploring the local aquarium with little ones, there is plenty to do for the day or longer!
Vero Beach is located on the east coast, less than two hours from Orlando. Often referred to as the Atlantic Treasure Coast, the beaches are unspoiled and there is a state park nearby. For the nature lover, the Indian River Lagoon is home to many rare or endangered animals and some of the beaches are nesting grounds for sea turtles. This area also features options for golf, watersports, and shopping. In addition, there are some great parks for little ones to enjoy! For a longer visit, consider adding a stay at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort or another beachfront option.
Cocoa Beach is located directly east of Orlando, near Cape Canaveral. This beach is a great choice because it’s about an hour away, making it perfect for a day trip. There are several fun things to do, in addition to that beach time. For example, kids may get a big kick out of watching ships come into Port Canaveral or stopping by the Kennedy Space Center for a tour! There are four parks with public beach access. Parking and other amenities including restrooms and picnic tables are also available.
A Beach Day vs. A Split Stay
Once you decide on the beach, you will need to choose whether you would like just a beach day or a split stay. What does this mean? Well, if you plan to spend most of your time in Orlando and want to head to the beach for literally just the day, you can rent a car and go! Depending on your Orlando destination, there are opportunities to rent a car and pick it up right at the resort. You can also make arrangements for shuttle pick-up. Depending on the time of day though, you may need to arrange private transportation back to your resort.
Alternatively, you may consider adding a beach stay to the front or back of your Orlando vacation. How would you do this? It’s actually pretty easy! You can rent a car to drive to the beach of your choice either before or after your theme park stay. I suggest at least two or three nights at the beach so that you can soak up that sun and sand and explore the area. If you are flying, you can still choose to fly in and out of the Orlando International Airport. You may also consider flying out of whatever airport is closest to the beach destination. A travel advisor is particularly helpful with booking this kind of vacation to ensure that all goes smoothly for you. That way, you can just relax and enjoy ALL that Florida has to offer and get your toes in that sand!
Are you considering a trip? This is a great time to plan your perfect vacation! Having a travel advisor means someone there to have your back in any occurrence. There is no additional cost to you and you have peace of mind knowing that your vacation is in good hands.
Contact our friends at Key to the World Travel® for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip. Click here. If you love following along for the most up to date park information and news, follow us on Instagram, too: @themeparkprofessor