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Which beach would be best for us?

Saint Louis...
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Which beach would be best for us?

We are heading to Orlando next week and have one day of our vacation set aside for a trip to the beach. This will be the first time our ten year old has EVER seen the ocean, so we're pretty excited. We're having a hard time narrowing down which beach we should go to. We've heard that Clearwater is really pretty and clean, with white sand...sounds good but I wanted to check here first! Where would you go if you were in our shoes?

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Altamonte Springs...
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1. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

It's true that the beach at Clearwater is more pretty, but the Atlantic has better waves which may be of interest to your 10 y/o. Consider Cocoa Beach, specifically Lori Wilson Park beachhunter.net/cocoa-beach/lori-wilson-park…

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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2. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

I suspect your 10 y.o. would want to see the Atlantic Ocean, with waves, not the Gulf, which has very little surf. Additionally, the cruise ships, including Disney's, leave from the port there, around 4-5 p.m. most days. Get an outdoor table at one of the restaurants along Glen Cheek Drive, and wave as the ships pass nearby.

Browse for one of the famous t-shirts at Ron Jon's flagship store. Also visit the Dinosaur Store. Watch the surfers at the Cocoa Beach Pier. Go kayaking or take an airboat into the swamps to see alligators. The Kennedy Space Center is there, but that takes the better part of a day. The Brevard Zoo can occupy a half day -- feed the giraffes or try the zip line. Of course, there's the beach.

Cocoa Beach is about 45-60 minutes from Orlando via the Beachline Expressway. Have a great time!

Edited: 28 May 2013, 02:49
Vero Beach, Florida
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3. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

For a day trip to the beach, you might check the weather the evening before to see whether one coast or the other is more likely to have rain, and for the wind direction. Right now, we're having an unusual spell of relatively cool east wind, which is making for poor beach conditions. The National Weather Service's Melbourne office (which handles Orlando) has become good at predicting rip current problems. The Tampa office provides similar warnings for the Gulf coast.


That said, June is almost always nearly surf-free, and anyway, any beach with lifeguards is a safe one.

Lori Wilson Park has a good deal of natural beach vegetation, including a bit of the local oak scrub that used to cover the area, outfitted with boardwalks and protected by a fence. It's a tree museum. Cocoa Beach is also a good place to have a peek at the world of surfing. There's a statue of native son Kelly Slater, a phenomenally successful competitor on the pro tour (he's now over 40), two monster surf shops and some smaller ones. The most atmospheric, in a way, is Neilson's little place at the south end of Cocoa Beach, on the ocean. It's worth visiting just for their beachfront backyard. Just south of Neilson's is Patrick Air Force Base, with parking lots open to the public. If there's any surf at all, there will be surfers. A usually-operating beach camera for the Patrick area is at:


Farther south, the website for Sebastian Inlet State Park has lots of photos, weather and water information, and fresh movies of the beach.


That's probably farther south than you'd want to go, but it's a popular park, complete with a protected no-surf swimming area.

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4. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

I really REALLY wish I had a dollar for every time this question is asked on Trip Advisor. I could quit my job

Kissimmee, Florida
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5. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

i would stick to the west coast beaches like clearwater, as the atlantic is haveing alot of rip tides right now and high waves,but if you choose to go to the atlantic stick close to a life gard stand at least that is what news 13 is stating tonight.

i don't mean to step on anyones toes. i'm just saying be carefull and have a great time!!

Montreal, Canada
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6. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

Its a 3 hour drive to the Gulf beaches,Lots of potential traffic on the way and parking problems when you do get there, if you do decide to go west head for John's Pass or Pass-a-Grill.

An hour east is Daytona where you will be on the ocean and at low tide driving your car down the beach.Yes there are plenty of other beaches south and north of Daytona but if you are just going for a quick look-see it checks all the boxes for Atlantic beach experience.

Edited: 28 May 2013, 08:20
Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

The mileage from Orlando to Clearwater Beach is a little over 100 miles and takes about 2 hours to drive it - not 3 - so keep that in mind as you make your plans.

If you are driving to the beach and back in one day - I would choose the closest beach ( if the riptides settle downdown). If staying over night - then Clearwater Beach is a beautiful place with clean beaches, and beautifully soft sand. During the summer the locals flock to the beaches on the weekend - so if you do go to Clearwater - go on a weekday - NOT on the weekend. There are lots of restaurants right on the beach, umbrellas and lounge chairs for rent, and fun things like dolphin siting tours or pirate cruises at the marina. The main beach area gets busy - so if you like things quieter - head to the north beach - and sit back and enjoy. If you stay for sunset - get a table at one of the ocean view restaurants - like the Palm Pavilion - and watch the stunning view. On a good day - the sunset is beautiful. At dusk there is a nightly celebration at Pier 60 with street performers and booths set up - a nice way to end the day.

There are people that post on this forum that dislike bustling Clearwater Beach. Personally I think it is one of the nicest beaches in Florida - clean, nice sand and great services - and many people agree with me - it was voted best beach town in Florida. Some of the other west coast beaches are nicer - but they don't have the food and services that make Clearwater such a great destination for all ages.

If you want more information on Clearwater - post on their forum and we'll try to answer any questions you have. Hope you enjoy your time in Orlando and your trip to the beach. Florida is a lovely place to visit.

Edited: 28 May 2013, 11:43
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8. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

Fort DeSoto, one of the top beac hes in ALL the USA is only 1 hour 45 mins from orlando area. I don't know why anyone woulkd say the west coast beaches are 3 hours away, takes me only 2.5 hours to my house from LBV and I pass a lot of beaches on the way.

Anyway, you need to choose between proximity and surf (ie the East Coast) or white sands and sunsets (the Gulf Coast (although CLearwater would not be my choice as I prefer less built up beaches).

Orlando, Florida
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9. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

Heather, you should consider the east coast too! The main difference between the east and west coast of Central Florida is that the gulf has greener but much calmer water. The east cost has awesome beaches too but usually much more choppy. Daytona Beach is a great place just 1.5 hours north east of Orlando or you can go to Cocoa Beach - mostly famous for surfing. Great waves and lots of restaurants and family activities such as bike rentals, big slides etc. Cocoa is probably just an hour straight east.

I have been to St. Pete and the beach down there is gorgeous too with its white sand and nice resorts. If you go down there, don't miss out on a lunch in the Spinning Restaurant! Awesome views and the food is just amazing. Hope this helps!

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10. Re: Which beach would be best for us?

yes, everyone has certainly narrowed it down for you