If you're looking for the Central Florida beaches where the locals go – you've found it. One of the best features of this area is its proximity to Orlando: situated southeast from the University of Central Florida, Cocoa Beach is only 40 minutes to an hour away. Because of this, the "Space Coast" tends to be a local hangout for students, so it has a more youthful vibe. This area is well known for its surfer community, the most famous of which is world champion Kelly Slater.
Just north of Cocoa Beach is Cape Canaveral, whose Kennedy Space Center is on all visitors' lists of top things to do when visiting Orlando. What many don't know is that some of the most tranquil nature and beach activities in all of Florida are in this area. Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville is a wonderfully uncrowded beach that has great bird watching.
About an hour's drive farther down the state is the south end of Florida's Space Coast – to include Melbourne Beach and Indialantic. Here you will find Sebastian Inlet, which is home to some of the best saltwater fishing on the east coast, as well as several major annual surfing competitions.