The best beaches from Orlando

Amy Rosoman for British Airways

Title photography by Gina Pricope

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April 2018

Combine a city stay in Orlando with a sunshine beach break. Picture surfing waves, ivory sand, colourful piers, dreamy weather and balmy palm trees. Hop on a jet-ski, stroll along the promenade, or simply lounge about with a fruity smoothie in hand.

For the beach buzz: Daytona beach

You can expect a whirlwind of activities at Daytona Beach, nicknamed ‘the world’s most famous beach.’ Savour 23 miles of white sands along the east coast, paddle board on the glistening water, or cycle the beautiful beach scenery. For more adrenaline, hit the rides at Screamer’s Park with ocean views all-year-round, and discover the excitement of the NASCAR racing at Daytona International Speedway. Order tantalising fish dishes at Caribbean Jack’s, and make sure to taste the state classic – equally tart and sweet key lime pie.

Where to stay: Hyatt Place Daytona Beach

Simple and sleek, Hyatt Place Daytona Beach offers a comfortable stay. Catch sunrise from the pool or pop down to the beach, which is on your doorstep, for an early morning walk. Catch waves with water sports along the coast, or simply sunbathe your days away. After exploring Daytona town and pier, you may just want to relax in the outside pool or hot tub, and sip your favourite tipple from the poolside Tiki Bar.

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Whether you are a wave master or completely new to surfing, grab a board and catch great breaks on the water.

  • Daytona Beach skyline aerial view. ©Arrangements-Photography.

    Sparkling coastlines – it doesn't get much better

    Cruise along the white sands of Daytona or paddle along the waves, then catch a ride on the Ferris wheel.

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For surreal surfing: Cocoa beach

Whether you are a wave master or completely new to surfing, grab a board and catch great breaks on the water. Ron Jon’s, the world’s biggest surf shop, will provide you with all the kit and help you to glide through the shimmering waters with surf lessons. For more fun on the water, kayak around Cocoa Beach’s Thousand Islands to see dolphins, manatees and sea turtles. Stroll along the Cocoa beach pier, with a hot dog in hand or nibble on nachos as you sip an ice-cold beer from Sea Dogs. For a space exploration adventure, visit the nearby Kennedy Space Centre – and try to catch a live launch from the beach.

Where to stay: Hilton Cocoa Beach

Savour the Hilton Cocoa Beach’s prime location, where you can walk straight out onto the beach. Enjoy the day with a boogie board rental, or book yourself surf lessons through the hotel. For low-key aquatic fun, lazily paddle around the outdoor pool. You can explore the lively hub of Cocoa pier or stroll through town. To end your day in the best way, lounge around the fire pits with a cocktail in hand.

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For magical sunrises and more: Vero beach

Catch an almighty Instagram moment as enchanting colours light up the morning sky on Vero Beach; then head to The Lemon Tree for a delicious breakfast. Choose from buttermilk pancakes, waffles, fresh eggs and more. Chill out during yoga sessions on the beach, or take to the water on a paddle board or kayak. In the need for speed? Skim the waters on a boat, enjoying sparkling views with the wind in your hair. To get your floral fix, wander around the subtropical McKee Botanical Gardens, for an enticing landscape with cascading waterfalls.

  • A beautiful morning on Clearwater Beach. ©luvemakphoto.

    Rise and shine

    Start your day right, with a refreshing stroll along powder-soft sands.

    Stay at Hilton Cocoa Beach
  • View from the 360° Rooftop bar at Castile Restaurant. ©Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group.

    Soak it all up – drinks with a view

    Rooftop bars are always a winner, but when you can look out to surreal ocean views, it's that much better.

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  • Play along Vero Beach, Florida. ©Gary John Norman.

    The best kind of family time

    Buckets and spades, picnics, bouncy balls, it's the small things that make for family beach days.

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For all the activities: St. Pete beach

Make tracks to the west coast for stretches of sandy beaches and an abundance of water sports. Take your pick, from whipping across waves on a kiteboard, to reaching for the sun as you parasail through the skies. Or just kick back and relax on powder sand. When you emerge from the shimmering waters, you can grab drinks from some of the best beach bars around. Enjoy the retro feel to this beachfront town, with its dusting of motels, funky galleries and shops. You will not want to miss a glowing sunset at 360° Rooftop, complete with sundowner cocktails that carry on with happy hour drink deals.

Where to stay: Sirata Beach Resort

Unwind on the 13 acres of pearly white sands at Sirata Beach Resort. Here, you can lazily swing in a hammock, or lounge about in a cabana. For more action, play a game of beach volleyball, then dip your toes into the warmth of the sea. At the end of the day, indulge in sunset drinks at Harry’s Beach Bar with mesmerising views next to glittering firepits.

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For fun in the sun: Clearwater beach

A sunshine-filled day at Clearwater Beach will make everyone smile. Tread on milky sands, alongside shallow turquoise waters. You can rent a cabana to relax in style, and when you’re well-rested, you can meander along the palm-shaded Beach Walk Promenade. Work up an appetite on a bicycle or roller-skates, and enjoy a meal at Salt Cracker Fish Camp. The restaurant offers an all-day happy hour, and you can soak up the sun on their outside deck. When evening rolls around, head to Pier 60 for the daily sunset festival to revel in the energetic atmosphere with perfect views and street performers.

Where to stay: Sandpearl Resort

You can soak up a piece of paradise on the private beach at Sandpearl Resort from dusk ‘til dawn. When you need a break from the sun’s rays, enjoy some quality “you time,” with pampering treatments in the lavish spa. Couples will enjoy sipping cocktails, as the sun disappears below the horizon; and families will relish a relaxed s’mores night on the beach by a flickering fire.

Book a stay at the Sandpearl Resort

For treasured moments: Amelia Island

Head to northeast Florida for more sunshine state magic. Build sandcastles with the family, or opt for a romantic horse-ride along pristine shorelines with your partner. Learn how to surf, or watch as pros rip through the water during competitions. Don’t forget to watch out for Amelia Island’s fabulous wildlife, including a variety of birds and a hot spot for sea turtle nesting. For a leisurely day, walk around the pretty marinas, poke your head into boutiques or bookshops, then savour afternoon drinks with a view. For an unforgettable evening experience, kayak along gentle, moonlit waters.

Where to stay: The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island

Luxuriate in the opulence of a lavish stay on a beautiful beachfront at The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island. Unwind in one of four pools, surrounded by palm trees. Or tee-off on the golfing greens before a serene spa treatment. After spending the day on an eco-excursion, basking on the beach or practicing yoga, dine upon delicious cuisine in the hotel’s award-winning Salt restaurant.

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