West Orange County may be about as far from the ocean as you can be in Florida, but that’s not saying much. If you live in Windermere, Winter Garden, or in the vicinity of these fabulous, family-friendly cities, you’re still just a short drive from some stunning beaches—east coast and west.
But today’s topic is east coast beaches. Here’s some information about three of the best beaches along Central Florida’s Atlantic coast. After your move to your new home in the area, it probably won’t be long till you’re well acquainted with these seaside destinations if your family’s full of beach enthusiasts.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is only a little over an hour’s drive northeast of Windermere and Winter Garden. Enjoy 13 miles of white-sand coastline and world-famous surfing; in fact, Travel & Leisure Magazine recently named New Smyrna Beach one of the top 15 “World’s Coolest Surf Towns.”
This Volusia County locale also regularly appears on various lists of the best beaches in Florida and the US, and it’s ranked one of “America’s Top Small Cities for the Arts.” The city’s downtown district is a pleasantly walkable area with lots of excellent eateries and fun, funky shops.
Also, don’t miss the chance to climb around and investigate the mysterious Turnbull Ruins. Learn about the theory that New Smyrna Beach—and not St. Augustine, as is officially said—is actually America’s oldest city.
Canaveral National Seashore
This national park is a perfect beach escape if your family wants a quiet, nature-oriented experience along 25 miles of undeveloped coastline. This is the longest expanse of untouched oceanfront land on Florida’s east coast. More than 300 species of birds live here full or part time.
Nestled between New Smyrna Beach to the north and Titusville to the south, there are three beaches on this barrier island park: Apollo, Klondike, and Playalinda Beaches. The drive from Winter Garden or Windermere takes about an hour and a half.
Again, there’s no development here, so bring all the supplies you’ll need. Just know ahead that you have to carry it all several hundred yards from the parking area to the beach. Check out Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge while you’re here, too.
Here’s another great Central Florida east coast beach if your family prefers a more built-up destination with dining and shopping options to go along with the sand, surf, and sun. Located in Brevard County, Cocoa Beach is about 1.25 hours east of Windermere and Winter Garden.
There are 6 miles of beautiful beaches, as well as three well-equipped oceanfront city parks and a fishing pier. A number of cafes, restaurants, bars, live music venues, and other dining, retail, and entertainment establishments line the beach. It’s easy for any family to find plenty to do after heading off the sand, and everyone’s sure to appreciate the truly mellow beachfront vibe of the area.