5 Best Beaches Near Disney World

5 Best Beaches Near Disney World

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World and looking for a beach close to Disney World, you’re in luck! Within a 1-2 hour drive, you can find some of  the Best Beaches Near Disney World to add to your next Disney trip! From sandy shores to cute oceanside towns, Florida has some of the best beaches in the U.S. And if you’re making a trip to Florida, why not add a day or two at the beach to help escape the Disney World crowds? Here is our lineup of the beaches closest to Disney World that are worthy of a day trip or a break from the parks. So, grab your beach towel, and settle in, sun and sand await! 

Disney Castle at Walt Disney World

Why add a beach trip to your Walt Disney World Vacation? Well, for one thing, Florida is hot, and for another, there’s nothing some Ocean breezes can’t fix! What’s more is that if you’re vacationing to central Florida for a Disney World trip, you’re close to not one, but TWO oceanside excapes; The Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico on the West Coast. As such, you can pick and choose which Beaches in Florida are best for a Disney Vacation. 

Another great reason to add a Beach Day Trip to your Disney Trip is that it can Save you Money on a Disney World Vacation! Yes, you read that right. By skipping park tickets, or pricier resorts a day or two of  your trip, you’ll be able to save some cash and get a really great vacation experience. And if you’re not staying on Disney property, say since you decided that the amazing Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg, seemed more fun, you can also Save Money on your Hotel with Priceline! 

Cocoa Beach

We can blame our love of Cocoa Beach on Disney Cruises and I Dream of Jeannie.  This east coast Florida Beach gets you sandy views of the Atlantic Ocean, Port Canaveral and a front row seat to the departing cruise ships at the Port Canaveral dock! We also love this for clean sands, and huge waves, and it’s not  as crowded as you think! As one of the classic 1950’s towns at the start of the Space Age, you can also find the Kennedy Space Center here. Check out the Kennedy Space Center Schedule and you may even get to see a space shuttle launch! As one of the Beaches Near Disney World this is one of our favorites. 

Watch the Disney Cruise Ships Leave

We have to say we get super excited seeing all the people wave us off as we leave on every Disney Cruise we sail from Port Canaveral. So why not be part of the portside action on your day trip break from Disney World? If you’re traveling to Cocoa Beach to see the Disney Cruise Ships leave the port, be sure to check the Disney Cruise Ship itineraries so you can align your visit with a departure. For the best views of the ships leaving, you can head to Jetty Park at Cocoa Beach which is the park seen just before the ships sail out sea!  And if you’re looking to grab lunch or dinner while you’re there, know that Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster bar is where the ships blow their horn! 

In addition to gorgeous beaches, you can also find a bunch of things to do at Cocoa Beach while you’re there! A Dinosaur Store, Wizard of Oz Museum and the Cocoa Beach Pier are all ways to add activities to your day if  you’re looking for something to do. For us though, we just love the sea and sand, so we’d most likely just be laying around on a beach towel somewhere. But if you’re looking to keep busy, check out the top 15 things to do in Cocoa Beach for ideas. Cocoa Beach can be accessed from four parks; Alan Shepard Park, Sidney Fischer Park, Lori Wilson Park and Robert P. Murkshe Memorial Park. And if you’re looking for even more to do, you can take surf lessons, rent a bicycle, kayak, boat or parasail, among other things. 

How to Get to Cocoa Beach from Disney World

  • Cocoa Beach Distance from Disney World: 74 miles
  • Travel Time from Disney World to Cocoa Beach: about 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Driving Directions from Walt Disney World to Cocoa Beach
  • Parking at Cocoa Beach: Provided at dead end streets along the edge of the beach with metered parking. 

Siesta Key Beach

Located on the West Coast of Florida, if you’re heading from Disney World to Siesta Key, you’re in for a treat, becuase these are some of the most crystal clear waters around. Another beach we would just visit for the “toes in the sand” time, there are also a few things to do in Siesta Key that can make your trip worth the drive. There’s a Farmers Market, if you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchen can can put fresh food to use. The Fudge Factory is always a good place to visit, and   there is a variety of little shops, restaurants and cafes worth the visit. 

Plus, if you’re looking for the beach town life, you can simply head over to Siesta Key Village for shopping, and food. There’s even a free trolley to get around the island. Streteching for 8 miles, Siesta Key Beach is one of the best in Florida, and be sure to keep an eye out for random shark teeth on the beach. Apparently they wash up onshore here!

How to Get to Siesta Key from Disney World

Vero Beach

Home to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, this East Coast beach is a favorite of Disney fans. And it’s one of the best places to visit during a trip to vero beach. Did you know if you choose to stay at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort you can link your reservation in the My Disney Experience app? Plus, staying at the resort means you get access to the pools, private beaches, special events, and more. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort also offers sailboat rental, jet skies, kayaks and beach amenities.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Day Passes

If you’re visiting Vero Beach, know that while Disney’s Vero Beach Resort DOES NOT offer Day Passes, it still has a public lobby, gift shops and a variety of Disney Restaurants that are avaialble for reservations. 

Parks Near Vero Beach

A unique opportunity you get in Vero Beach is in the wide array of public parks available for hiking and education. The Indian River Lagoon Preserve Park, for example, is home to 36 rare and endangered species, and 1/3 of the manatee population in the U.S. Check out all the details about this Florida State Park including what it costs to enter, park and camp there. 

And if you’re visiting between April- September, you head to the Sebastian Inlet State Park  to see the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nesting Grounds. Hosted walking events are typically held in June and July, so you can learn about these endangered species and get close to the action without affecting the conservation efforts  in the area. 

Parks with access to Vero Beach are almost all located along the A1A. Humiston Park is one of the easier parks to get to, with a variety of amentities, and parking, plus beach access. Others to consider are Round Island Riverside Park, which has a boardwalk that offers manatee viewing. And Golden Sands Park is another Vero Beach area that offers park amenities, picnic areas, shower rooms, and parking. 

How to Get to Vero Beach from Disney World

St. Pete Beach

One of the West Coast Florida Beaches near Disney World filled with activities, and a touch of the city lifestyle is St. Petersburg, or St. Petes! These barrier island beaches at St. Pete Beaches offer white sands and sparkling waters. Featuring miles of beaches, many of the St. Petersburg beach sands are only avaialble on certain hotel properties. As such, if you’re looking for Public Access Beach in St. Petersburg, Florida, you can head to Upham Beach Park. This park, offers sands on the Gulf Coast and volleyball nets.  

Activities in St. Petersburg include things like the Dali Museum, visiting the Orange Groves and Winery, and seeing the nighttime light show at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This light show is best seen from the Skyway South Rest Area, Fort De Soto Park’s easternmost point, Bay Pier, and the Skyway North and South Fishing Pier State Park.

The Don Cesar

We also love any reason to visit a fancy pink hotel, and in St. Petersburg, that’s The Don Cesar. This fancy Florida resort has a variety of restaurants, and waterside views worth the visit. Even if you’re not staying at this deluxe hotel, you can head to Uncle Andy’s Market for some nostalgia from an old fashioned soda shop experience. Here you can grab drinks, ice cream, and snacks. And you don’t need to be staying at the hotel to visit. 

How to Get to St. Petersburg from Disney World

st augustine lighthouse

St. Augustine Beach

If you’re looking for a quaint beach town to visit, look no further than St. Augustine! We recently did a road trip from Disney World to St. Augustine during a busy weekend at Disney World, and were pleasently surprised by how easy a drive it was! 

St. Augustine offers a variety of maritime and historical activities that can really enrich your Disney World vacation. We highly recommend adding a tour of the Castillo de San Marcos to your trip, as well as a tour of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Even if you aren’t keen on heights, there is plenty of history located in the museum area of the lighthouse that is worth a look.

And if you’re staying late, or planning to stay in town the St. Augustine Ghost Tour is always a treat. With a town as compact as St. Augustine you’ll want to plan for time spent visiting shops, restaurnats and historical locations. For this we highy recommend the hop on hop off trolley to help you get around town. 

St. Augustine Beach is great for surfing, and offers a variety of water activities and tours to help make the most of your beach day at St. Augustine. On our trip it was all about the little things; Hyppo popsicles, a coffee shack place and a random taco stand we passed on the drive over made the short road trip feel extra adventurous. 

How to Get to St. Augustine from Disney World

Beaches Near Disney World

There you have it our top 5 Best Beaches Close to Disney World. While these are just some of our favorites, you really have so many options to choose from! Anna Maria Island has fantastic beaches, and  Clearwater Beach is a popular beach for many Disney vacationers. But we also like New Smyrna Beach,  Daytona Beach and Navarre Beach as other options to consider. 

Where to find the best beaches close to disney world

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website

Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.