Canaveral National Seashore | BEACHES

Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

While the Canaveral National Seashore beach stretches continuously from the northern park boundary to the southern park boundary, it is divided into three sections for managerial purposes. The northern section, Apollo Beach, and the southern section, Playalinda Beach, are accessible by vehicle. A park road runs the length of each, and there are various beach access locations, all complete with parking areas. The beach in the middle, Klondike Beach, can only be reached on foot, and a backcountry permit is required to enter. Get your permit at the entrance stations at Apollo Beach or Playalinda Beach. There is a small fee, and only 25 permits are issued each day on a first come, first served basis. See Canaveral National Seashore’s Backcountry Hiking Day Use web page for the current prices. There is no camping on Klondike Beach, so you must return from your journey by the end of the day.

For those who have never visited a National Seashore, this is a rare opportunity to spend time on a beach that is as pristine today as it was thousands of years ago. There are no hotels, homes, restaurants, or other tourist amenities lining the shore. This means you must bring your own drinks, food, and beach equipment. The only development is the road through the park and the parking areas, each of which has a small building that houses a chemical toilet (no water) and a boardwalk that leads over the sand dunes to the beach.

Due to its proximity to the Kennedy Space Center—a large tourist draw—Playalinda Beach is much more popular than Apollo Beach. The increased popularity can also be attributed to the fact that Playalinda has nearly 1,000 parking spaces as compared to a little more than 150 at Apollo Beach. People head to Playalinda simply to avoid the hassle of trying to find a parking spot at Apollo.

Unexpected at a National Seashore are two nude beaches. Access to these is from the very last parking area at both Apollo and Playalinda Beaches. The National Park Service follows state and county laws in regards to nudity since there is no federal law addressing the subject, and both nude beaches were established before Canaveral National Seashore was created. At Apollo Beach, which is in Volusia County, nudity is legal and an agreement was made between the nudists and the National Park Service to keep suits on until 150 yards south of the last parking area (though not everyone follows the rules). At Playalinda Beach in Brevard County, nudity is illegal, and while arrests have been made over the years, law enforcement tends to turn a blind eye to the matter unless complaints are made. In either location, you can be arrested for lewd behavior or photographing naked children—yes, whole families are known to enjoy the beach. The largest nude crowd is at Playalinda, though this is mainly due to the limited parking at Apollo Beach.

APOLLO BEACH

PLAYALINDA BEACH

KLONDIKE BEACH

I did not visit Klondike Beach for two reasons. One, beach is beach, so I didn’t see much reason to spend time walking on Klondike Beach only to see the same sand, dunes, and waves that I can see at Apollo or Playalinda beaches. However, the main reason I refrained from visiting Klondike is because access requires a walk through the nude beaches. I have no problem with nudity, but I was apprehensive about being a clothed guy with a camera on a nude beach. On top of that, there is also the small hassle of stopping at the entrance station and getting a permit. However, if you want to get away from the crowds, Klondike Beach is definitely the place to visit.

Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

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Last updated on April 18, 2022
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