Last Updated on July 10, 2024

Looking for a beach getaway close to Lakeland, Florida? Clearwater Beach, located just an hour and a half drive west, offers the perfect sandy escape. 

Clearwater Beach is known for its soft, white sand and stunning sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.

This popular destination provides a mix of family-friendly activities, water sports, and a fun nightlife. 

With plenty of nearby restaurants and shops, it’s easy to spend an entire day enjoying what this beautiful beach has to offer.

Although Clearwater Beach is the closest beach to Lakeland, Florida (worth visiting), we look at several other nearby beaches in this post! 

Exploring Beach Options Near Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland, Florida is centrally located, offering several attractive beach destinations within a two-hour drive.

These beaches are known for various amenities, family-friendly environments, and scenic beauty.

aerial view of Siesta Beach in Siesta Key Florida

Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach, roughly 90 minutes from Lakeland, is popular for its sugar-fine, white quartz sand, and consistently ranks among the top beaches in the U.S.

Water activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling are great to do here.

The beach also features amenities like picnic areas, volleyball courts, and lifeguards.

Nearby Siesta Key Village offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and nightlife options, making it an all-inclusive destination for relaxation and entertainment.

aerial view of Clearwater Public Beach in Florida

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is about an hour and a half drive from Lakeland.

It’s known for its extensive amenities, including a bustling boardwalk, numerous restaurants, and Pier 60, which hosts nightly sunset festivals.

Clearwater Beach provides ample parking and public transportation options.

The soft, white sand and clear waters make it ideal for swimming and laying out in the sun.

Additionally, visitors can enjoy dolphin-watching cruises, fishing charters, and the marine aquarium.

Aerial view of St Pete beach and resorts during sunrise

St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach is a family-friendly option approximately 90 minutes from Lakeland.

Families can explore the Gulfside parks, playgrounds, and the historic Pass-A-Grille with its unique shops and dining options.

St. Pete Beach also offers water sports activities such as parasailing, jet-skiing, and speedboat racing.

Accommodations range from luxury resorts to budget-friendly motels, ensuring options for every traveler.

Looking for a place to stay near St Pete Beach? Check out this blog post 👉 Where To Stay In St Petersburg: The Best Areas & Hotels! 👈

Reason to love Anna Maria Island Florida

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island, about two hours from Lakeland, provides a more laid-back beach experience.

The island is known for its pristine beaches, clear waters, and charming, Old Florida atmosphere.

Visitors can enjoy local eateries, boutique shopping, piers, and art galleries.

Outdoor activities include fishing, kayaking, and bicycling along the scenic coast.

The Island’s seven-mile stretch of beach is ideal for those seeking a scenic getaway.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is approximately two hours from Lakeland on Florida’s east coast and is well-known for its surf culture.

It’s home to the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop and features the Cocoa Beach Pier, offering dining, shopping, and entertainment.

The beach is popular for water sports such as surfing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing.

Kennedy Space Center is nearby, adding an educational and historical aspect to your beach visit.

Looking for things to do in Cocoa Beach? Check out these 20 Best Cocoa Beach Beaches & Activities! 👈

Photo credit – Wikimedia

pristine beach scene in Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore, around a two-hour drive from Lakeland, offers untouched natural beauty.

The seashore includes 24 miles of undeveloped beach, providing a serene environment for relaxation.

Nature enthusiasts can explore hiking trails, observe wildlife such as sea turtles and shorebirds, and enjoy the tranquility of less-crowded shores.

The lack of commercial development ensures a peaceful and authentic beach experience.

Aerial drone photo Vero Beach Pier

Vero Beach

Vero Beach is another option about two hours from Lakeland, situated on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

It features beautiful Atlantic beaches, and upscale dining and shopping venues.

The area is known for its cultural attractions, including the Vero Beach Museum of Art and Riverside Theatre.

Visitors can partake in activities like fishing, sailing, and scuba diving.

The scenic beauty and calm atmosphere make it an appealing choice for those seeking a more refined beach escape.



Downtown Lakeland, Florida on Lake Mirror

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people in Lakeland, Florida, often seek information about nearby beaches and travel times.

What Is The Distance From Lakeland, Florida To Clearwater Beach?

The distance from Lakeland to Clearwater Beach is approximately 65 miles.

This makes it one of the closest beach destinations to those staying in Lakeland.

How Long Does It Take To Travel From Lakeland, Florida To The Gulf Coast?

The travel time from Lakeland to the Gulf Coast usually ranges between 1 and 1.5 hours by car.

This depends on traffic conditions and the specific beach destination.

What Are Some Popular Beaches Within A Short Drive From Lakeland, Florida?

Some popular beaches within a short drive from Lakeland include Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Siesta Key Beach.

Each offers unique attractions and amenities suitable for day trips.



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the closest beaches to Lakeland Florida that you might want to visit


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Booking a last-minute trip to Central Florida?  

If so, we have you covered.  Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!

Top Tours in Central Florida

Everglades Airboat and Wild Florida Tour (Florida Wildlife Tour With Optional Lunch)

Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour (2-Hour Tour Perfect for Nature Lovers!)

Kennedy Space Center Adventure with Transport (Enjoy NASA’s Kennedy Space Center)

Helicopter Night Tour (Scenic Helicopter Flight Over Orlando’s Theme Parks)

Manatee Adventure, Everglades Style Airboat (With Lunch, Wildlife Park, And Transport)

Top Hotels In Central Florida

Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas (Perfect For Couples)

Ette Luxury Hotel & Spa – (High-Rated Luxury Hotel)

Barefoot Suite By Capital Vacations – (Budget Apartment In Plaza Boulevard)

Buena Vista Suites Orlando – (High Rated Hotel Near Walt Disney Resort)

 Looking To Get Around In Central Florida

Check out rental car rates here! 🚗