St. Pete Beach and Clearwater on the Gulf of Mexico are less than two hours from Orlando. The Atlantic coast is just an hour’s drive from Orlando, and the Gulf of Mexico lies 90 miles to the west. After spending time at Walt Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld, take a day to relax at the beach and soak up our famous Florida sunshine.
Less than two hours southeast of Orlando lies the resort town of Vero Beach. The area is known for its posh downtown, gorgeous nature preserve on the Indian River Lagoon, and of course, the Atlantic Ocean.
Orlando’s closest beach is also known for its surfing culture. Cocoa is the international headquarters for Ron Jon Surf Shop, and its flagship store is the world’s largest surf shop at 52,000 square feet.
Whether you have a free morning before your cruise or are coming over for a day trip, there is lots to discover on the Space Coast. The Kennedy Space Center is the birthplace of the U.S. space industry, with amazing exhibits like the Saturn V rocket that sent man to the moon, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and even thrilling rocket launches you can experience in person.
The Canaveral National Seashore and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are ideal for spotting bald eagles, sea turtles, dolphins and manatees.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH
Just to the north of Port Canaveral is “the locals beach” for many . Before hitting the sand, visit Flagler Avenue from the river to the ocean for Old Florida shops, local boutiques and casual eateries. Third Wave Cafe and Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille are a few favorites.
For local shopping and dining, Beach Street in downtown Daytona is popular, and nearby Ormond Beach is home to John D. Rockefeller’s former beach house in addition to local dining hotspots on Granada Boulevard.
ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH
Just up Interstate 95 from Daytona Beach is the charming coastal town of St. Augustine. Popular attractions along the coast include the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Marineland, where you can swim with dolphins.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH
Take a short, scenic drive up the ocean on the famous state Road A1A, and you’ll find the upscale beach community of Ponte Vedra Beach.
If you long for the calm and clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico, then Clearwater is your paradise. Just 20 minutes from Tampa.
Travel south from Clearwater to arrive at the ever-popular John’s Pass Village, where the calm waters of the bay meet the Gulf of Mexico.
ST. PETE BEACH
At the heart of St. Pete Beach is the historic pink palace, the Loews Don Ce Sar Hotel—built in 1928 at the heart of America’s Jazz Age. It’s worth a visit for dinner or cocktails to soak up the nostalgic, Gatsby-like atmosphere.