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Old 07-09-2013, 02:04 PM   #1
conniehar90
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Day trip to beach - where to go?

We always hit the beach for a day during our trip - everyone loves the break from the parks. We always go to Daytona but it seems like there are a lot of recommendations for Cocoa Beach. I was thinking it was closer than Daytona but when I google mapped it, it shows an hour and 15 compared to an hour and 20 for Daytona.

So, which is better? Any other suggestions for a close beach? Just looking for some sun, sand and waves without a super long drive.

Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by conniehar90 View Post
We always hit the beach for a day during our trip - everyone loves the break from the parks. We always go to Daytona but it seems like there are a lot of recommendations for Cocoa Beach. I was thinking it was closer than Daytona but when I google mapped it, it shows an hour and 15 compared to an hour and 20 for Daytona.

So, which is better? Any other suggestions for a close beach? Just looking for some sun, sand and waves without a super long drive.

Thanks!
All beaches in Florida are good. Just in different ways.

Daytona as you know you can drive on the beach and there is a boardwalk and pier with games,rides, places to eat etc with a large area of gift shops and hotels along the beach. More of a commercial beach.

Cocoa Beach is a lot smaller and a lot more natural. There is a pier with a few shops, restaurants, and bars. There is also Ron Jons and a few other surf shops . Cars are not allowed on the beach. You might see more surfers in Cocoa Beach. Bottom close to shore pretty level so good for kids. Does get surfable waves though. We like Erna Nixon Park for my nieces when they come down.

Another idea is Ponce Inlet- even more natural than Cocoa Beach- whiter sands and you can drive on the beach. There will be surfers there, too. There is also a lighthouse park that is cool and costs something like $5 to go to the top.

Another idea is New Smyrna Beach. One area of shops at the end of Flagler Ave( think that is the street) and my favorite hamburger/beach bar are there-The Breakers.

Or just come straight to the beach on Rt 192. You will end up in Indiatlantic. Good NY Pizza at that beach in Bizzarros (cash only) or just down the street at Big Island Burrito(cash only) . Even more natural-no piers, but you might find more shells. There are sand bars and more drop offs where you could be in ankle deep and next step is to your waist or even higher.

Or you could go west to Treasure Island in St. Pete area. There is a shell island you can take a boat to, that is cool over there too. One of my favorite beaches is over a few bridges down to Pas-e-grille.
Clearwater is a great spot for shallow water with no or little waves where kids can actually walk out a ways and still be able to sit on bottom and just play in the water. It has the softer white sand beach.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
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We love Cocoa Beach, and Melbourne Beach is just south of there and it also really nice but not as crowded. No cool surf shops either.

But honestly our favorite beaches are Clearwater, Indian Rocks, Treasure Island, and St Pete. All have mellow waves, and at St Pete and Clearwater you can go out quite a ways on a floatie and you can look down and see fish and shells because the water is so clear. We were at the north end of St Pete Beach a few weeks ago and were just amazed at how many shells there were, we could have brought buckets of shells home. And a few days before that we were at Clearwater swimming right next to Pier 60 and we had a dolphin swimming with us. Then that evening we road the SeaScreamer dolphin tour and had maybe 20 dolphins following our boat. That was one of our best beach days ever. As long as you avoid rush hour in Tampa we get to the gulf beaches in under 1 hour 45 minutes.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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My favorite (if you have small children) is Andy Romano park in Ormond Beach. (just a couple blocks north of Daytona beach)
It's a no-drive zone part of the beach which means there are no vehicles on the beach in front of this park.
Video of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1uJfrm5xhI

It has a splash pad, a LOT of picnic tables, free parking onsite, and everything is new & clean (it just opened this year.)
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:07 AM   #6
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We really want to go to Clearwater for a day trip during our WDW vacation. Is there special places or tips that anyone can give me? Thanks!
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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We really want to go to Clearwater for a day trip during our WDW vacation. Is there special places or tips that anyone can give me? Thanks!
If you leave Orlando by 8 or 8:30 then you miss the morning rush hour in Tampa. You can park in the parking lot right by Pier 60, its like 1.50/hour. Then you can walk across the street to the marina and pick out a dolphin tour if you want to (or any other boat related thing), or you can just do the beach thing all day. At night small vendors set up little booths and sell some interesting home made jewelry and other fun stuff.

I would plan it in the middle of your trip because it is a really nice, relaxing day after being at the parks. I would also either leave by 3:00 or wait til 6:00 to avoid rush hour on the way back to Orlando.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:42 PM   #8
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My favorite (if you have small children) is Andy Romano park in Ormond Beach. (just a couple blocks north of Daytona beach)
It's a no-drive zone part of the beach which means there are no vehicles on the beach in front of this park.
Video of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1uJfrm5xhI

It has a splash pad, a LOT of picnic tables, free parking onsite, and everything is new & clean (it just opened this year.)
That looks beautiful - so nice and new and clean!

Great suggestion - Thanks for posting!
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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Space Coast River Tours

Last year I went on the Space Coast River Tour with Captain Mark and First Mate Michelle. It was very relaxing and enjoyable!

Travel time from Walt Disney World east on Rt. 528 towards Merritt Island and Cocoa Beach was approximately 1 hour. We paid $8 in toll (total for round trip). You park at Kelly Park (public park with restrooms) for free and the boat picks you up at Kelly Park pier at approximately 1pm. The tour is two and a half hours and cost approx. $29 per person. Snacks and beverages are served. You will see Dolphins, Florida birds, possibly an alligator or two and manatees, along with the cruise ships and the Kennedy Space Center from a distance.

Tip: Wear or carry a jacket with you. You can always take it off if you get hot but it is breezy on the water.

Here's the website.
http://spacecoastrivertours.com/

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Old 07-11-2013, 08:22 PM   #10
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:55 PM   #11
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Subscribing...love all of the suggestions!!
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:47 PM   #12
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Me too!!

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Old 07-22-2013, 01:32 PM   #13
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Any suggestions for a beach day on the way home? We live in Louisiana. I'm looking at Daytona right now, but does anyone know of a gulf beach (other than Pensacola) that is on the way home, that isn't too much of a detour.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
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We really want to go to Clearwater for a day trip during our WDW vacation. Is there special places or tips that anyone can give me? Thanks!
If you go, check out the Little Toot dolphin seeing boat. We didn't have a chance to go on it, but it has great reviews!! If you have a Winter the Dolphin fan, check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. My DD LOVED our experience there. Clearwater beach itself is amazing, soft sand, clear warm water, gentle waves, we loved it!
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:00 AM   #15
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I dI'd Clearwater as a child and wanted to take my kids there. My local friends say we should go elsewhere :-(

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