We never really went to Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore when I was a kid. Mostly because it wasn’t considered by locals to be family friendly due to the… umm… “lack of proper attire” of some of the sunbathers. I suppose I can see why it would have been a popular destination for those who want to be a bit less inhibited. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere as far as beaches go, and there are never very many people around. But in recent years, Playalinda has (almost) completely turned around. (See my tips at the end for why I say “almost”). Here’s why we think it’s the best beach near Orlando. And if you’re looking for other awesome things to do in Orlando, I’ve got you covered there too!
You’ve got to drive several miles down a causeway once you get through Titusville, but it’s a nice drive in untouched Florida.
The water isn’t muddy like the aptly named Cocoa Beach.
The coastline is pretty straight along the stretch that makes up Canaveral National Seashore, so that means fewer shells, waves that aren’t crazy (usually), and clearer water. We’re not talking water like in Miami where you could probably see the other side of the world if you looked hard enough, but it’s nice for Central Florida.
Most of the people who go there are local families.
It doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. There are no vendors of $5 hot dogs or $20 beach chair rentals, and that’s kind of nice for a change.
Parking is plentiful.
There are multiple lots once you’re inside the gate. We went to lot 7 on our most recent trip.
Here are a few photos!
Recommended Age: All!
Cost: $5 per car for entry
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
- If you like access to a real toilet, Playalinda may not be for you. Their bathrooms are glorified port-a-potties.
- Make sure you bring toys, food, and all beach stuff you think you might need – you’ll be a car ride away from all of that once you get there.
- Pack baby powder! There are no showers (because there’s no running water) so you’ll want baby powder to get some of the sand off of you and your kids before you load up the car to head home.
- There are not always lifeguards, so make sure you and your kids use caution when deciding how far out to go and how strong the undertow is on any given day.
- According to one of my readers, the farthest access point to the beach (#13) seems to have less enforcement of the laws banning nudity, so stick to the access points closer to the gate and you should be just fine!
What do you think is the best beach near Orlando?