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Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

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Grand Blanc...
posts: 1
Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

We will be running out of snowy Michigan to visit FL/ Kissimmee in January for 2 weeks. We would like to visit maybe two white sand beaches while we are there (hope the weather helps!). I did some research and thought about Clearwater and Fort De Soto or Anna Maria Island- Which beaches are the nicest and could someone tell me the best spot to stay on the beach with little ones? 1 year ols, 4year old and 8year old. Can we bring our own food and coolers on the beach? Thanks!! =)

Orlando
posts: 6,448
reviews: 2
1. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

Anna Maria might be a bit of a drive. Ft DeSoto is a state park, and North Beach is nice there. If memory serves, you can't have alcohol on the beach. You also can't have glass containers. If your cooler does not include those two items, you should be fine.

Sometimes you have to cross tidal pools on North Beach, so a backpack might be better.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Clearwater
posts: 1,597
reviews: 82
2. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

What type of a beach do you want? Clearwater Beach is a small bustling area - only two blocks wide and a few miles long. You could stay in Clearwater Beach, park you vehicle and walk to some very good restaurants and things to do. Some of the restaurants would be directly on the beach with great sunset views. There are lovely beaches in Clearwater Beach, a playground for the little one and fun things for the older children to do at the beach. There are also cabanas or umbrellas and lounge chairs to rent right on the beach - so you could be comfortable, and be in the shade while the children play on the beach.

Ft. DeSota would make an excellent day trip. It is a state park with no hotels in the park. It has lovely, quiet beaches and would be a lovely place to get away from the hustle and bustle. It's about a half hour drive from Clearwater Beach.

If you wanted to stay close to Ft. DeSota and want a quieter place, St. Pete Beach has a more spread out beachfront so the beach isn't as busy as Clearwater Beach. It is about 10 minutes from Ft. DeSota Park.

Anna Maria Island is a quieter area with no high rises and no franchise restaurants. If you want to stay some place quiet - it might suit you.

One thing to keep in mind is that during the cooler winter - you might want to stay somewhere with some activities to keep the children busy - just in case it isn't beach weather. During the winter the weather is unpredictable and it could be nice beach weather or a cold front could blow in and it could be cool. We prefer the busier Clearwater or St. Pete areas when we have children with us and the weather isn't great because there are still activities to keep them entertained. Those communities are close to Tampa and it's aquarium, zoo or Bush Gardens, if the weather is cool, driving distance to Honeymoon Island and shelling and close to the Greek Village and Sponge docks of Tarpon Springs. The star of the movie the Dolphin Tale resides at the Aquarium in Clearwater Beach.

Berkshire, England
posts: 5,398
reviews: 61
3. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

We have done the drive from Clearwater Beach to Fort de Soto many times and it has taken us around an hour each time. It is a lovely State Park and well worth a visit.

Raleigh, NC
posts: 456
reviews: 104
4. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

Personally, I love Anna Maria Island. Not super developed with huge chain hotels and restaurants, no big high rises. The sand is like sugar. I think it's special.

That being said, if the weather doesn't cooperate, Clearwater or St Pete might have more for the kids to do, as the poster above mentioned.

Orlando, Florida
posts: 11
5. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

Hello!

Before I moved to the area, our family would come to WDW every year around the same time you mentioned. We would take a weekend and drive to Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Sebastian and Fort Pierce. The drive is beautiful and fun, and there are lots of great stops all along the way :)

The only bad thing is that the Atlantic side is sometimes/usually colder than the Gulf. But this has never really been too bad for us!

Hope you have a great time!

Vero Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Vero Beach
posts: 6,321
reviews: 42
6. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

Seasonal water temperatures for the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area and Cocoa Beach to Sebastian Inlet are similar. At the moment, Sebastian's almost 10 degrees warmer.

Here's data for Clearwater's Pier 60 (water temperature is at the bottom):

http://tidesonline.nos.noaa.gov/plotcomp.shtml?station_info=8726724+Clearwater+Beach,+FL#

And Sebastian Inlet south of Cocoa Beach, also near the bottom:

http://www.sebastianinletcam.com

Edited: 5:14 pm, November 28, 2013
Vero Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Vero Beach
posts: 6,321
reviews: 42
7. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

(yes, I copied the NOAA link correctly)

8. Re: Best beach near Orlando to go with baby and older kids?

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