Closest beach to Orlando

 

Apollo Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

 Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna Beach, FL

GPS Coordinates: 28.936874,-80.830345

Visitor information phone number: 386-428-3884 ext 0.

Hours: Summer, 6 am to 8 pm; Winter, 6 am to 6 pm.

Cost: $5 for cars and motorcycles; $1 for bicycles and pedestrians.

Apollo Beach is reached by driving south on Highway A1A (S. Atlantic Ave) for 8 or 9 miles to the entrance of the National Park. Five parking lots behind the dunes are widely spaced and only have room for about 300 cars. It’s just a few steps to the dune walkover and then to the beach. Once the spaces are full, the park gates are closed and no more cars are allowed into the park. This means that if you really want to visit Apollo Beach, you’d better arrive early on weekends and holidays. Each parking area has basic bathroom facilities just like Playalinda Beach.

Apollo Beach is part of Canaveral National Seashore. It is managed by the Federal Government, rather than the state or local authorities.

Parking and restrooms at Apollo Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

 

Driving on the beach is not permitted. If you see vehicle tracks on the beach they generally belong to the turtle patrol or state park four-wheelers.

At the most remote #5 southern access point you may encounter a few nudists. They park at the access point and then walk south for several hundred yards so as to be very discreet. They are generally so far away from the access that you really can’t tell they are nude unless you have a telephoto lens or binoculars. The largest percentage of the nudists seems to be gay men.

Rules:

  • Metal detecting is NOT allowed on National Seashore beaches, pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 36).
  • You may consume alcoholic beverages in the park as long as you are of legal age (21). However, glass containers are not allowed on the beach or on the dune crossovers.
  • Pets are not allowed on the beach or on the dune crossovers.

Lifeguards: There are no lifeguards or beach patrol.

Beach Camping

There are 2 campsites at Apollo Beach (directly on the beach), available by reservation from November 1 through mid-April. A $10 permit is required. This is one of the best and quietest real primitive and remote beach camping spots in Florida. Reservations can be made up to 7 days in advance. There are no facilities or utilities, and no car camping is allowed. Call 386-428-3384 ext. 10 for information. Go to the Canaveral National Seashore official web site and type “camping” in the search box to get to a document on backcountry camping. At the time of this writing, here is the link: http://www.nps.gov/cana/index.htm

ADA access

Accessible ramps are located in parking areas 1A, 3 and 5. Restroom facilities are handicap accessible. A special beach wheelchair may be available. Inquire at the Visitor Information Center. It’s always best to call ahead and verify. The wheelchairs are not self-propelled, so require assistance.

Other Amenities

This is a remote National Seashore beach. The only amenities are paved parking areas, trash cans and toilets. Since there is no running water, there are no drinking fountains or rinse-off showers. You’re on your own. Enjoy!

Beach access and handicap parking at Apollo Beach

Above: Handicap parking next to beach ramp over dunes.

Crossing the dune at Canaveral National Seashore, Apollo Beach.

Above: Dune crosseover at Apollo Beach.

Ramp to the beach at Apollo Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

Above: Beach ramp, Apollo Beach. The tide is quite high in this photo, so the beach is narrow.

Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore.

A hot summer day at Apollo Beach, Canaveral National Seashore.

Above: Low tide at Apollo Beach. Plenty of beach to play on.

Late afternoon on Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore.

Above: Late afternoon with a high tide and a stiff breeze off the Atlantic Ocean.

Scenic drive along Canaveral National Seashore.

Above: Scenic drive along Canaveral National Seashore's Apollo Beach. Ocean is to the left, on the other side of the vegetation.

Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore. Ocean foam.

Above: Heavy surf whips up thick sea foam. (It's not soap or pollution.)

Sand on Canaveral National Seashore

Above: The sand on Apollo Beach is light brown because of a high content of shell and mineral fragments.