Cocoa Beach is the closest saltwater beach to Orlando Florida or Orlando Airport. Daytona Beach is probably the next best known saltwater beach but there are some other saltwater beaches near Orlando like Vero Beach etc.
Just north of Cocoa Beach Florida and south of Daytona Beach are New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater Beach, Cape Canaveral National Seashore, Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral National Seashore. Although that sounds like a lot all of these locations are within an hour or so of most of Orlando FL.
Why Clearwater Beach? As for beaches near Orlando Airport this one is certainly not the closest beach. However is is one worthy of consideration and my personnel favorite. The Gulf Coast has soft white sand and by that I mean better sand than on what most people consider the Atlantic Coast or Florida's east coast. There is every activity here from deep sea fishing, fresh seafood restaurants nearby, busy marina and you can take any type of boat ride you can imagine. The calm gulf waters await you.
Nearby Beaches to Clearwater Beach include St Pete Beach aka St Petersburg Beach also in the Tampa Bay area. Apollo Beach and Madeira Beach is about an hour south and is also a white sand beach, Honeymoon Island State Park and many more. While not the closest beaches these are among the best of Florida beaches you will ever experience.
One of those places people say they want to visit and never take the time to. Yes Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral both on the Atlantic Coast right beside the Atlantic Ocean. Some say these are the best beaches near Orlando and they are certainly the closest beaches. Let's cover them and the area just a little.
Ron Jon Surf Shop should be part of every quintessential beach town as it is the world's largest surf shop. After all we all need supplies. Well there is one on the north side of Cocoa Beach just an hour's drive from Orlando in good ole Central Florida. While not a world famous beach it is on a barrier island and Vero Beach is just a few minutes south. To the west is Indian River Lagoon. Cocoa Beach pier is amazing.
You can always grab your beach gear and head to the closest beach to Orlando downtown which is just over an hour north next to Daytona International Speedway. You guessed it Daytona Beach. To the north is Smyrna Beach and Ormond Beach followed eventually by St Augustine Beach. In Central Florida beaches near Orlando are everywhere.