Closest beach to Orlando

 

Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park

Bethune Beach, New Smyrna Beach, FL

 

GPS Coordinates: 28.950742, -80.839271

Location: 6656 S. Atlantic Avenue, Bethune Beach

Directions: Drive south on Atlantic Avenue from New Smyrna to Bethune Beach. The beach access is at the intersection of South Atlantic Avenue and Kingfish Avenue.

Cost: Free entrance and free parking.

Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Bethune Beach Park access, New Smyrna Beach, FL

ADA Access:

The restrooms and at least one picnic pavilion are wheelchair accessible, as is the boardwalk along the beach. There is a wheelchair friendly ramp down to the sand, but as far as I can tell there is no beach wheelchair available.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Covered picnic pavilions with grills
  • Beach boardwalk with steps and ramp to beach
  • Free unpaved parking
  • Lifeguards during posted hours

Rules:

  • Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the beach. Glass containers are not allowed on the beach.
  • Animals are not allowed on the beach, except for service animals.
  • Animals are allowed in the park but must be on a leash.

Though named after an accomplished black American educator and civil rights leader who started a school for black students in Daytona Beach, which later became Bethune-Cookman University, this is a rather unremarkable beach access with no shade, other than a few covered picnic pavilions and restrooms. The beach has no dunes or beach vegetation, but sports a sea wall, which is a familiar theme along the New Smyrna/Bethune Beach shoreline.

There is no decorum or design to the beach front, except an aging wooden boardwalk several hundred feet long with steps and a ramp to the beach. You can park with your front bumper against the boardwalk and you are just feet from the ocean.

Bethune Beach

The sand in the Bethune area is more of a reddish/golden color, much like the Daytona or Ormond Beach sand. Further north at the 27th Ave, Flagler and Jetty Park access the sand is more of a white quartz makeup.

The restrooms are modern and clean and, along with at least one of the picnic pavilions, are wheelchair accessible.

This is not an access that I would recommend as a destination, but if everything else is full, why not?

Here’s a great tip: Notice that the cross streets in Bethune Beach are named after fish. Just south of Catfish Avenue, A1A jogs toward the Atlantic Ocean and takes a short scenic detour before dead-ending at Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park. Be sure to enjoy that scenic detour. It’s easy to miss because Turtle Mound Road continues south as the main through road before once again merging into A1A (South Atlantic). Also, one of the area’s best restaurants, J.B.’s Fish Camp, is in the area at Pompano Avenue (GPS: 28.946744,-80.837864).

Bethune Beach boardwalk

Bethune beach access ramp

Picnic pavilion at Bethune Beach Park, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Bethune Beach Park restroom facilities

Clean restrooms at Bethune Beach Park