Top 5 Family-Friendly Florida Beaches Near Walt Disney World


While the theme park itself is enchanting, these five family-friendly Central Florida beaches offer more fun in the sun.

Surrounding Orlando, numerous family-oriented beaches near Walt Disney World provide groups an opportunity to ditch the theme park crowds. Walt Disney World is a magical destination offering fun-filled adventures for multi-generational family gatherings, but sometimes you’re looking for a change of scenery. Especially in the heat of summer, long days at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Center wear on everyone’s patience. While WDW’s water parks offer some reprieve, you’re still within the confines of theme parks.

The Sunshine State is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and many of them are just a short drive from theme park thrills.  Listed in order by mileage, here are the top 5 family-friendly Central Florida beaches within driving distance of WDW. 

Cocoa Beach – 62 miles E

Cocoa Beach near Walt Disney World. Photo credit to Rusty Clark/Flickr.

Located just 62 miles east of Walt Disney World, Cocoa Beach is a popular destination for families looking for a beach day. This 6-mile-long stretch offers soft sand, gentle waves, and a pier that’s perfect for fishing and strolling. If you have kids who are interested in space, you can also visit the nearby Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Here, you can learn about NASA’s space program and see rockets and other space artifacts up close.

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New Smyrna Beach – 70 miles NE

New Smyrna Beach offers active and leisure activities. Photo credit to Gary J. Wood/Flickr.

Located just 70 miles northeast of Walt Disney World, New Smyrna Beach is a laid-back destination that’s perfect for families who want to escape the crowds. This beach is known for its beautiful sand dunes and natural wildlife, including sea turtles and dolphins. Families can enjoy surfing, fishing, and kayaking. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, you can visit the Marine Discovery Center to learn about the local ecosystem and take a boat tour. For active groups, rent beach bikes and take a spin around town. 

Clearwater Beach – 90 miles W

Clearwater Beach, Florida. Credit to naql/Flickr.

Clearwater Beach is located about 90 miles west of Walt Disney World and is known for its white sand beaches and clear waters. This beach offers a wide range of activities for families, including parasailing, jet skiing, and dolphin watching. There’s also a playground and a pier that’s perfect for fishing. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, you can visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter, the famous dolphin from the movie “Dolphin Tale.” Tampa is also just a short drive away which offers a plethora of dining and entertainment options.

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St. Pete Beach – 95 miles W

St. Pete Beach sunset. Photo credit to Joiseyshowaa/Flickr.

St. Pete Beach is located about 95 miles west of Walt Disney World and is known for its soft white sand and warm waters. Families can enjoy swimming, boating, and snorkeling. There’s also a playground and a concession stand. If you have grandparents in your group, they’ll enjoy the beautiful views and the opportunity to relax in the shade. After a day at the beach, you can visit the nearby Salvador Dali Museum to see some of the artist’s most famous works.

Siesta Key Beach – 120 miles SW

Groups will enjoy the calm warm waters of Siesta Key Beach. Photo credit to psyberartist/Flickr.

Sarasota boasts many fine beaches including Lido and Longboat, but Siesta Key Beach is its most famous. Located roughly 120 miles southwest of Walt Disney World, it is known for its powdery white sand that’s cool to the touch. This beach is perfect for families with young children as the water is shallow and calm. Siesta Key Beach also offers a playground, volleyball courts, and picnic areas. If you have grandparents in your group, they’ll enjoy the beautiful views and the opportunity to relax in the shade.

You’re Not Far from a Family-Friendly Beach

If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, don’t miss the opportunity to explore some of Florida’s beautiful beaches. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back day in the sun or an adventurous day of water sports, there’s a beach near Walt Disney World that’s perfect for your family. Cocoa Beach, Clearwater Beach, Siesta Key Beach, New Smyrna Beach, and St. Pete Beach all offer family-friendly activities for kids and grandparents. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect beach for your family group adventure.

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