View Full Version : One day at a beach....
12-17-2011, 01:35 PM
Can someone recommend a good beach for us (DH and I plus DS6 and DS4 who've never seen the ocean) for a one-day excursion while we're at Mickey's? We're thinking of doing our usual eight-night stay at WDW then checking out, renting a car, heading to a beach for the day, spending the night there, and flying out of MCO the next day.
I haven't been to a beach in FL in 10+ years and then I was with friends and not involved with (or paying attention to) where we were headed. All I know is it was on the Atlantic coast. Just looking at a map, we were thinking of heading to Cocoa Beach but have no idea if that's a good, family-friendly area or not.
Ideally, I'm looking for a decent, clean beach to spend a few hours with a decent, clean, not-too-expensive hotel within walking distance. Any ideas for us? TIA for help!!!!
12-17-2011, 06:12 PM
Well, I would recommend the Gulf Coast....specifically Siesta Key which is about 2 hours or so from Disney. There are several small hotels on Sara Sea Circle where you can walk to the beach. Sand is beautiful...water is the clearest around...and the small village area is charming. If you can fly out of Tampa or Sarasota that would work better. Others might have Atlantic Coast suggestions that would work better for you......but we always head to the Gulf for a beach day.
12-17-2011, 07:08 PM
Have been to both the Atlantic (Cocoa Beach) and the Gulf...for kids who want to be in the water, would highly recommend the Gulf...much warmer water year-round, WAY better beaches ("sugar sand" instead of rocky/pebbly Atlantic beach sand) Less wild-crowds on the Gulf, too.
Our favorite beach is at Honeymoon Island State Park, just north of Clearwater, FL on the Gulf of Mexico. Will cost you $8 to get into the park (per car price, not per person) but that covers your parking too. There are bath houses, picnic areas, concession stand selling snacks, soda, burgers etc. Not crowded, lovely beaches...you can rent beach chairs/umbrellas if you'd like. There's little store there to pick up sunscreen, beach toys, souvenirs, etc. And gorgeous Gulf views...great shelling at the far end of the island, too.
We have a condo just 5 minutes away from that park, and when we drive to Disney it's about 1 hour 45 minutes door-to-door (we stay at Disney hotels like French Quarter, Beach Club, etc.)
For an overnight stay, I would fly into MCO for the Disney part, then drive to beach hotel in Tampa metro...and get plane tickets home from TPA. Would be a lot less hassle to fly home from Tampa. Our favorite true-beach hotel is the Doubletree in N Redington Beach, FL (this is a little south of Clearwater, so still in Tampa metro.) The Doubletree is actually right on the beach (not across the street...so there's not a "walk" to the beach.) Also a nice pool, a restaurant on property too, as well as a lot of shops & restaurants in the area) Last time I checked you could get a Gulf-view room for $200 a night...gorgeous, unobstructed sunset view. And the beach there is very nice.
12-17-2011, 07:46 PM
I also would recommend you head west. For the few minutes difference in driving time, it is well worth it. I like the beaches much better and they are more suited to children.
We stayed at Cocoa Beach about a year ago and it was fine for families, but from Orlando, I'd definitely go west.
Clearwater Beach is nice with a playground and rest rooms. There are many other nice places in the area.
12-17-2011, 07:57 PM
My wife and I have gone to Clearwater and St. Petersburg Beach. Both are great and less than Two hours away all highway. I far more like St. Pete's and I could recomend The Alden Resort for cost and benefits, two pools, two hot tubs and the best beach with dolphins seen many times from our balcony. The cost is reasonable for what you get. Because I snore (or maybe it's really my DW and can't say?) we get a suite in the Luani. Complete with galley style kitchen. Two doubles and a living room sofa sleeper with two TVs. Google it and they also have pre booking discounts. I don't know at your time slot but we usually get in at $127.00 night for three nights. I think its worth the look and anything else in that area. Have fun!
12-17-2011, 08:24 PM
I also suggest Siesta Key! There is a reason this beach is constantly voted in the top three beaches in FL. We love it here! It's a great family beach.
12-17-2011, 10:34 PM
We also love the gulf coast but, we also enjoy visiting Daytona Beach as it's just an hour away from Orlando.
On the way to/from the beach you can stop by the Daytona Int Speedway and check it out. We own at Wyndham so we stay at Ocean Walk Resort but there's also nice Hilton right next door with a Johnny Rockets, Bubba Gumps, SBUX, Cold Stone, movie theatre at the Ocean Walk Shoppes right on the beach.
12-17-2011, 10:46 PM
We LOVE Anna Maria Island! The beaches are just beautiful.
12-18-2011, 07:42 AM
The Gulf is not the ocean proper. Head east to the Atlantic and let your family enjoy the waves and the full beauty of the Atlantic ocean.
There are several decent hotels in Cocoa Beach, so do a quick google search and pick the one you like best. Be sure they advertise that they are "on the ocean" and not just ocean access.
Coca Beach is a lovely, well kept beach and is fine for everyone. It can be a bit "slow" but if you are going to the beach, that's what you want.
Don't be lulled into the Gulf! LOLOL. I used to live in SW Florida and yes, the gulf is very nice, but it's not the Ocean proper.
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