Closest beach to Orlando

 

Lori Wilson Park Beach

 Lori Wilson Park Beach, Cocoa Beach, Florida

 

GPS coordinates: 28.335170, -80.608488

Location: Lori Wilson Park is located on A1A 1.4 miles south of S.R. 520. There are two entrances to the park. The south entrance is at “I Dream of Jeanne” Lane and is closest to the dog park.

Hours: After sunrise to dusk.

Cost: Free

Lori Wilson Park is the only beach park with amenities that provides plenty of free parking as well as a dog park. The dog park does NOT have beach access.

This 32 acre park has two large parking areas (north and south) separated by a maritime hammock with a very shady 3,000 foot nature trail / boardwalk. Another 1,000 foot boardwalk parallels the dunes and provides access to the beach via 6 dune crossovers.

Lori Wilson Park beach access

This is my favorite beach access in Cocoa Beach. It is one of the largest beach parks. Almost every time I visit this park there is a wedding (or two) being set up out on the beach in the late afternoon. If you prefer a more natural landscape without the overpowering presence of tall condominiums and hotels, Lori Wilson Park provides that, though it is certainly not a remote beach. It is quite popular.

Boardwalk at Lori Wilson Park beach, Cocoa Beach, FL

Amenities:

  • Free parking.
  • Lifeguards year-round, 10am to 5pm.
  • Restrooms and changing areas.
  • Outdoor rinse-off showers.
  • Three covered picnic pavilions with grills along the boardwalk overlooking the dunes and beach.
  • 2 off-beach picnic pavilions. Each seats 60.
  • Fenced dog park.
  • ADA accessible parking, restrooms, pavilions, playground, boardwalk and dune crossovers, nature boardwalk and paved walkways.

Rules:

  • No animals on beach or in park (service animals allowed). Dogs are allowed in the dog park, which does not have beach access.
  • No glass containers on beach.
  • No open alcohol containers on the dune crossovers.
  • No fireworks.

 Covered picnic tables on the boardwalk at Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, FL

Above: Many beaches do not have picnic tables that overlook the ocean, they are usually overlooking the parking lot. Lori Wilson Park does, and they are right on the boardwalk.

Lori Wilson Park is a popular surfing spot

Above: Free parking, restrooms and lifeguards make Lori Wilson Park an attractive place to go surfing.

Lori Wilson Park beach, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Above: A long stretch of greenery and wooden boardwalks marks the location of Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Shells at Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Above: A smattering of shells (mostly old or broken) come to rest on Cocoa Beach at Lori Wilson Park. The sand on Cocoa Beach is brownish-gray, not because it is "dirty," but because it has tiny shell and mineral fragments mixed in with the quartz crystals.

Lori Wilson Park is a very popular place for weddings.

Above: Almost every day you'll see a wedding ceremony being set up at Lori Wilson Park. The park is right next to the Hilton Hotel (below), which is very convenient for wedding guests.

Hilton Hotel Cocoa Beach, Florida

Lori Wilson Dog Park

Above: Lori Wilson Park has one of the nicest dog parks I've seen. Dogs are not allowed out on the beach though.

Maritime hammock trail at Lori Wilson Park

Above: If you'd like to do some birding, study the coastal plant life, or just take a relaxing walk on a shady boardwalk, Lori Wilson Park's 3,000 foot long nature trail is a great little natural oasis right in the middle of busy Cocoa Beach.