If your perfect vacation day includes soaking up the sun, playing in the sand, or swimming in the ocean, then our Orlando guide is just what you need. Our 10Best list highlights the best places to soak up the sun, with Canaveral National Seashore being a favorite of our editors and readers. Turn off the laptop, pack your beach attire, and get ready for a relaxing day of taking in rays.


New Smyrna Beach

Voted the best beach in the state by readers of the "Orlando Sentinel," New Smyrna is truly one of the region's most beautiful seaside stretches. Whether visitors choose to sail, fish, surf, swim or simply soak up the sun along the sublime, 13-mile white sand coastline, a day spent on New Smyrna sands is always a joy. Plus, this beach is one of the few on which driving is allowed.

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Melbourne Beach, just 76 miles from Orlando, is a welcome change from the overly busy beaches found in nearby areas. In contrast, this coastline is secluded and strikingly beautiful, offering a much-needed escape for post-Disney visitors. Parents can lounge while children build sand castles or look for manatees floating serenely in the surf. Those who visit during warmer months can even watch sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs at night.

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One of the region's most popular oceanfront playgrounds, Cocoa Beach offers six miles of sunny coastline and wide, sandy stretches perfect for seaside strolls. The closest beach to Orlando, only an hour away, this shoreline also boasts some of the East Coast's best surfing spots. Deep-sea fishing, parasailing and ecotourism opportunities are readily available, and several oceanfront parks feature picnic pavilions with spectacular views of the space launches at Kennedy Space Center.

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A short, 76-mile drive from the tourist-driven hustle and bustle of Orlando, Canaveral National Seashore offers weary travelers 24 miles of pristine paradise alongside the sparkling Atlantic. Perfect for a peaceful seaside getaway, this undeveloped coastline features gently sloping dunes, a gorgeous lagoon and lovely, quiet beaches. Visitors can fish, canoe, surf and hike, or simply rest amongst the palmettos while listening to the lapping tide and watching for graceful wood storks or playful manatees.

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