Ocala is an amazing place when you want to experience clean air, country living, and unspoiled nature. The freshwater streams are famous nationwide and it’s a great spot to visit or live in. The town is, however, landlocked. Join us to explore all the best beaches near Ocala, FL, for those days when you just want to do a beach day.
If you look at the map, the obvious place for beaches near Ocala, FL would be the west coast of Florida. Although the west shoreline is closer it’s actually not a great place for beaches. The shore is dotted by small islands and marsh areas.
This means your best bet is the east coast of Florida. It has great beaches but you’ll need to drive in order to visit them.
We have carefully selected the best options for a beach day from Ocala. We tried to keep driving as short as possible and select beaches with pretty direct routes.
1. Lake Weir Beaches
First, on our list, we are not even going as far as the ocean yet. Although there aren’t a lot of lakes in Florida that are suitable for beach days there is one nearby.
There are a total of two beaches at Lake Weir both with water access.
The lake is around 20 miles from Ocala so it’s very close you can visit it anytime you want.
A laid-back beach location that has a small entry free. You can swim, grill, and enjoy a day out on the lake.
Great for families and gatherings with friends. Prepare some beautiful meats and do a BBQ day at the lake for a fun time.
Eaton’s Beach is both a restaurant and a beach at the same time. We’ve found that the kids love to play around in the sand and water while the parents can get a nice meal.
The restaurant is okay. It’s a little all-over-the-place with both good and bad experiences depending on the food ordered.
2. Bird Creek Beach
Before we had over to the famous beaches on the east coast of Florida we’ll stop at the west coast. Bird Creek Beach is a great location if you want to have some fun with your friends.
It’s not a beach in the traditional sense. There is a very small shoreline and it’s mostly similar to the marshland features present in Florida.
You can still get into the water if you really want but it’s more of a grab a beer, be near the water, grill some meats, and talk the day away kind of place.
It’s also a great spot for fishing and launching boats onto the water. The beach has a nice local feel and it’s very secluded so it’s unlikely that you’ll meet any crowds here.
Once again don’t expect a traditional beach experience but it’s a great place if you want to gather your friends and have a little fun.
The distance is around 50 miles from Ocala, FL and it is an easy drive with little traffic.
3. Daytona Beach
Finally, it’s time to head to the east shoreline of Florida. In fact, Daytona Beach is probably the most famous among the beaches near Ocala, FL. According to them, it’s the most famous in the world at the very least.
Daytona Beach is famous for allowing cars on the beach as well. If you ever see those funny videos of cars being washed away by the tide, you are probably watching Daytona Beach.
Now let’s get one thing straight. This beach is not that awesome as a beach. The cars and their engines do make the beach experience a little bad.
However, it’s a truly unique experience that’s hard to replicate elsewhere. We recommend a visit at least once to see if you like this beach. Maybe you’ll even get to make some funny videos of cars getting stuck or washed away.
In case you are looking for more than just swimming and relaxing there are multiple great restaurants and amusement parks nearby. You can easily spend a day on Daytona Beach.
The distance is around 80 miles or around 1 hour and 45 minutes of driving in good traffic conditions.
4. Peacock Beach
Ocala is not far from the Kennedy Space Center so why not choose a beach that’s right next to the space center? You might catch a Space X launch while swimming in the water.
Peacock Beach is kind of a hidden gem. Even during the busiest hours, it’s not crowded. The beach is nice and clean with beautiful sand and clear waters.
It’s a completely public beach but it doesn’t have any amenities. No food, water, showers, or even toilets are available.
Apart from a beach day people love to come here for some windsurfing and other watersports.
Also, as the name suggests, you might actually meat peacocks. It’s not just a novel name for the beach.
The distance from Ocala is around 135 miles or just over two hours of driving. It’s far but it’s not too bad, especially if it’s rocket launch day.
5. Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach is another awesome beach on the east. There is free parking and always place on the fine white sand.
It’s a beautiful beach and it’s an especially good choice for families. There are some picnic areas on the beach, there are restrooms, and there are also showers available.
The beach is not that popular so it’s a great choice for those who are looking to get away from other people.
Don’t let Daytona Beach believe it’s the only one with cars allowed. You can drive on this beach too. Whenever you are laying on the sand you’ll see people drive by, walk by, and bike by, all enjoying the weather and the ocean.
It’s around 85 miles from Ocala so it’s not a terribly long drive, but you’ll need to be in the car for some time.
6. Wilbur Beach
The final pick of the beaches near Ocala, FL, is Wilbur Beach. Honestly, this is our favorite beach in the area as it’s a hidden gem and luckily no cars are allowed on this beach.
The sand is always fine and white and the waters are inviting. It’s like a less touristy version of Daytona Beach without the added cars.
Of course, there are no amusement parks here but when you are looking for a simple beach day you won’t miss them.
It’s the perfect beach if you want to avoid crowds, sunbathe, swim, and relax. Many consider this one a hidden gem.
The distance from Ocala is around 55 miles.
Beaches Near Ocala, FL – FAQ
The closest great beach to Ocala is around 80 miles.
No, there is no local beach.