It’s an “interesting” feeling when you spend months planning a Disney vacation and then your family comes to you at the last minute and says, “We want a beach day.” It’s not really a big deal since I had planned three days at MK. We’ll just do two days instead. DS7 could dig in the sand for hours. Anyone have any tips or suggestions for nearby beaches? I have Cocoa, Cape Canaveral, New Smyrna and St. Augustine on the list to research. Our must-haves:
Not a lot of driving time (60 minutes preferable, 90 minutes max) which rules out the Gulf side.
The less crowded the better…we’ll be going on a Friday and staying all day.
Easy with the kids. Easy parking. Easy walk to schlep the kids to the water.
Comfortable place to lounge all day without a lot of rocks or sharp things to sit or walk on. We’ll walk in the water a little but we won’t be swimming.
Dang it b/c gulf side beaches are SO MUCH BETTER! The sand is nicer (although St. Augustine is pretty dang nice, but more than 60 min. away… oh yeah, Daytona is pretty too.) @ThorKat has regular beach days so she should chime in here.
We just normally go to beach next to Patrick AFB… and it’s blah. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Oh, Blizzard Beach has lots of sand you can just take the resort bus to get there
I must say, you two are doing the BEST job of convincing me. Now I’m rethinking it. My only reservation is having the baby in the car a long time since we have a long plane ride the next day. It might be a last-minute decision depending on if the kids are being squirts.
Indian Rocks looks lovely. I was just looking at Lido Key which looks beautiful as well. Are these beaches crowded? Are they easy to navigate with kiddos?
Doesn’t the Poly have a beach of sorts…? Travel in the middle of vacation with kids sounds stressful to me. My crew travels best when we are close-ish to our home base and I would worry about being so far from our hotel all day especially if our activity required changing, multiple bathroom breaks, etc. I would aim for an epic pool day or water park (do any of the Universal area water things have sand?). Or make the beach part at the end and stay in a hotel for a night or two. Maybe your family is more adventurous than mine though!
Doesn’t the Poly have a beach of sorts…?
Both the Poly and Yacht/Beach Clubs have beaches. Great if you want to lounge and let kids play in the sand. They’re next to the water, but the water is roped off because of critters. I don’t know if they check whether or not you’re a guest at that resort. Pre-covid we sat on the beach at the Poly waiting for the water parade and we weren’t staying there.
Gulf beaches are more soft white sand while the Ocean beaches are a harder packed sand. I personally prefer the Gulf beaches but for ease of access and convenience the ocean beaches are better. Gulf beaches typically require you to park your vehicle and haul your stuff over dunes to get to the beach. Many ocean beaches let you drive your vehicle right onto the beach and you can tailgate right on the beach
Ocean beaches are much easier with kids because of that
It’s been several years since I’ve hit the beaches close to Orlando so if things have changed please correct me
Thank you for this info! I keep circling back to this as well. If we were spending 2 or 3 days, we’d be drawn to the gulf side. The sand and water look beautiful. But we only have one day and then need to drive back to our Disney hotel. I keep coming back to the ease of Cocoa Beach. 75 mins away. Looks like it’s not hard to find a bathroom and parking. It doesn’t look like a difficult walk to the beach with the kids. I was also looking into Satellite Beach and Canaveral National Seashore.
I love Pine Island, especially if you have little ones. If we are talking about the one north of Weeki Wachee? the Pine Island in Lee county was demolished by Ian. Oh, if you want to see a bit of “old” Florida stop by Weeki Wachee springs to see the Mermaid show.