Closest beach to Orlando


Playalinda Beach, Florida

 Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore


GPS Coordinates: 28.65478, -80.632033

Headquarters phone: 321-267-1110

Cost: $5 per car entrance fee.

Directions: Take S.R. 528 across the state toward Cocoa Beach. Take I-95 north toward Titusville. Take the S.R. 406 (Garden Street) exit into Titusville. Continue through downtown Titusville and onto the Titusville Causeway, over the bridge to Merritt Island. Follow the signs through Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to Playalinda Beach. There is a per car fee of $5 to enter the national seashore area. A ranger is stationed at the entrance to collect fees and provide information.

Hours: 6 am to 8 pm in summer; 6 am to 6 pm in winter. In other words, the seashore is open from 6 am to dusk.

Once you’ve reached the Atlantic Ocean (you won’t actually see the water yet, the dunes are too tall), there are 13 paved parking areas spread out over the next five or six miles as you drive north, with spaces for over 1,000 vehicles. Some lots have room for RV’s. Restroom facilities are provided, but they are chemical / composting type toilets. There is no water, so bring hand sanitizer or your own soap and water for hand washing. Each access has a wooden dune walkover with stairs to climb and cross the dunes.

Playalinda Beach, Canaveral National Seashore. Merritt Island, Florida

ADA accessible beach ramps are located at dune crossover/boardwalk #8, #10, #11 and #12. A beach wheelchair may be available. Check at the Entrance Station. You should call in advance to verify availability. The wheelchairs require assistance to use since they are not self-propelled.

As you may have heard, Playalinda Beach has a reputation for attracting nude sunbathers. However, nudity is prohibited (you’ll see the signs). Generally, you will not see any nudity unless you drive all the way north to access #13 at the very end of the public access portion of Playalinda. It seems to be general policy that as long as the naturists (nudists) stay at the most remote access, they will not be bothered by the authorities. If you don’t drive all the way up to access #13, you should not encounter any nudity. Playalinda is a popular beach enjoyed by many families, surfers, fishermen, beachcombers, birders, photographers, etc. It is truly a beautiful beach. Despite being remote, it does attract a good weekend crowd.

Although an unpaved road continues north beyond access #13, it is not open to the public. That means no bikes or hikers either, unfortunately. You can walk as far as you like on the beach, though you will need a backcountry permit to venture well past access #13 to Klondike Beach.

Playalinda has no lifeguards, no rinse-off showers, no food or drink concessions or any other amenities other than limited restroom facilities at each of the 13 beach accesses.

Pets and glass are prohibited on the beach. There are no picnic tables or shelters.

Metal detecting is NOT allowed on National Seashore beaches, pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 36).

Comparing Apollo Beach to Playalinda Beach:

  • Playalinda Beach is accessed from the Titusville/Cape Canaveral area (Brevard County).
  • Apollo Beach is accessed from New Smyrna Beach (Volusia County).
  • Playalinda Beach is more remote than Apollo Beach. You have to drive through Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to get to Playalinda. Apollo Beach is at the southern end of New Smyrna Beach. It’s still a very remote beach and both are adjacent to and separated by the more than 20 mile stretch of wilderness beach known as Klondike beach.

Playalinda Beach access road

Above: Driving along Canaveral National Seashore's Playalinda Beach. The beach and Atlantic Ocean are on the other side of the dunes, to the right of the photo.


Parking for Playalinda Beach

Above: One of the 13 paved parking areas for Playalinda Beach. You can see the restroom building at left, and the wooden dune crossover with wheelchair accessible ramp (center right). Note how tall the dunes are.


Surfers, fishermen and sunbathers at Playalinda Beach.

Above: Surfers, fishermen, sunbathers and beachcombers enjoy Playalinda Beach. The foreshortening effect of my telephoto lens makes the people look closer to each other than they actually are. There's plenty of space for everyone at this remote beach.


Brown-orange sand at Playalinda Beach, Florida.

Above: The sand on Playalinda Beach is light brown. The color comes from the tiny shell fragments and minerals mixed with quartz sand crystals.


Dune crossover at Playalinda Beach.

Above: I'm standing at the top of the dune crossover, looking back toward my car in the parking lot.


Surfing at Playalinda Beach

Above: You'll almost always find a few surfers in the ocean at Playalinda beach.

Toilet facilities at Playalinda Beach, Florida

Above: Since there is no running water on Playalinda Beach, the toilets provided are these chemical toilets.


No nudity sign at Playalinda Beach, Florida

A reminder that nudity is officially prohibited on Playalinda Beach.