Millions of Beaches, Beaches For Free

Catherine Walters

Orlando Magazine Publisher

After exploring some of the Northeastern coasts this summer, it occurred to me just how much beach we Floridians have at our disposal. With 825 miles of sandy beaches surrounding our peninsula, Florida offers a variety in experience and accessibility not found anywhere else. Growing up, we went to three beaches consistently: Cocoa Beach for its proximity, the Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville (I wasn’t aware about Pier 13 until much later) for its picturesque dunes and natural shoreline, and Sanibel Island for its seashells, calm waters, and abundant aquatic wildlife, and all were equally wonderful in their own way. Many years later, we’ve explored nearly every beach, island, inlet, and key our great state has to offer, and they are WONDERFUL. There are so many fabulously spectacular beaches, we ask you, our readers, to write in about your favorite beaches as well!  

Where else can you visit a bustling Clearwater Beach where visitors can climb aboard a pirate ship, wade in crystal clear waters, and the next day head to Little Gasparilla Island, where sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, and marine life abound, and cars, shops, and crowds are non-existent. This month we’ll look at ten beaches in Florida, and an additional six beaches on, discovering their features, accessibility, amenities, and facilities to help YOU find the perfect beach. 

September is also our annual Arts Season Preview, where acclaimed writer and Rollins professor Michael McLeod guides us through several outstanding shows coming to our City Beautiful. McLeod told us the arts are truly, finally BACK. “There’s an energy this year I had not felt.” From the Orlando Ballet’s big birthday to Orlando Shakes’ take on Romeo and Juliet … set during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, these should be added to your bucket list. 

Writer Cynthia Van Gaasbeck delves into the history and celebrates the 25th anniversary of A Gift For Teaching, a local nonprofit whose contributions to Orange and Osceola County public school children and teachers has been instrumental in their success. For the 2022 – 2023 school year alone, more than $11 million worth of supplies were distributed and more than 18,000 teacher shopping visits were made.  

For readers looking for some food-focused content, check out our EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival food and drink recommendations. There are no wrong choices at this festival, but we’re spotlighting some exceptional options and new flavors from pickle milkshakes to dandan noodles and everything in between. And then head to our food column where Brendan O’Connor ventures to Disney Springs with an appetite, a penchant for cocktails, and some insight for a great crawl at Disney Springs. 

Categories: News and Features