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Best beach to travel to from Orlando?

Minneapolis, MN
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Best beach to travel to from Orlando?

Do you have any reccommendations for a good beach in the Tampa area? We are staying in Orlando, but hoping to make a day trip to Tampa to hit a beach or two.

Thanks!

Annapolis, MD, USA
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1. Re: Best beach to travel to from Orlando?

Just a bit farther....Tampa is kind of inland...St Pete has the beaches...and a lot of variety..re ambiance. Clearwater is all high rises lining the beach...Treasure Island/Redlington Beach is where it gets a bit beachier...a bit funkier...with cottages...just across the Skyway, I like Anna Maria...very quiet....

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Best beach to travel to from Orlando?

If your sole reason for a day trip to Tampa is to go to the beach, you are going in the wrong direction.

Tampa will be a minimum of a two-hour drive on highly congested Interstate 4 and you will end up at a miniscule beach on the Gulf of Mexico. There isn't any beach worthy of the name in Tampa; you will have to go on to Clearwater Beach or some other beach in that area. The beach is small and parking is a nightmare.

Go the other direction on I-4, for a one-hour drive to Daytona Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the United States. Miles and miles of broad sandy beaches await you, with a boardwalk and other facilities available. For a small fee you can drive on and park on the beach. It is a great place to sunbathe and picnic. (No campfires.) Take lots of sunscreen; the sun reflects mightily from the powdery white sand.

For an interesting drive, go south on U.S. A1A to Daytona Beach Shores. When A1A turns inland, don't turn; continue south on State Road 4075 to Ponce Inlet and visit the lighthouse. For lunch you can't beat the grouper sandwich at Inlet Harbor and Restaurant, a few blocks from the lighthouse. (It can be a little hard to find - it's on a back street and directly on the river. 133 Inlet Harbor Road.)

For either lunch or dinner, before returning to Orlando, go back to where A1A heads west across the Halifax River. As you approach land you will see Sweetwater's Restaurant off to your right on the shore of the river and Aunt Catfish's Restaurant on the left. Either is an excellent place to eat; both are seafood houses. Sweetwater's might be just a tad less expensive. It also has the attraction of dozens of catfish swimming in the river near the outdoor patio just waiting for you to toss in some bread or some fish food that you can buy from a nearby machine.

Actually, the Daytona area is worthy of a vacation of its own during some trip when you aren't going to Orlando, but this will give you a taste of the area.

Enjoy!