More than 13 miles of pristine, white beaches greet visitors to New Smyrna Beach, its appealing, small-town atmosphere providing a counterbalance to the allure of the beautiful Atlantic coastline. The area offers an endless range of water sports and outdoor activities in addition to excellent accommodation and nightlife. As one of the first cities settled in Florida, it also offers insight into the past, from the Native American inhabitants who fished its waters for thousands of years to the settlers who made it the city it is today.
Main Attractions in New Smyrna Beach
More than 70 acres of New Smyrna Beach is dedicated to coastal preservation in this ecological park. Local wildlife is on display, and the elevated walkways, comprising more than two miles in total length, allow visitors to stroll the area without impacting the dunes. There’s an observation tower, picnicking tables, swimming, fishing and leashed dogs are allowed.
Enjoy spying bottlenose dolphins, sea birds, flowers and plants from the decks of a tour boat dedicated to exploring the Indian River lagoon. There are also kayak nature tours and educational camps for children.
Explore the origins of the city and enjoy perusing collections that highlight the prehistoric tribes who peopled the area before Europeans arrived. Visitors will enjoy seeing the historic dugout canoe and Civil War items that allow a greater understanding of the city’s heritage.
While this idyllic lighthouse is located in the nearby town of Ponce Inlet, the lighthouse is situated on a peninsula that offers beautiful views over Mosquito Bay and New Smyrna Beach. Scaling the lighthouse tower, which is open to the public, is the best way to enjoy the 360-degree views over the town and water.
Other Things to Do in New Smyrna Beach
Water sports are the main highlight of the Florida coastline; New Smyrna Beach offers a range of fun activities, from sport fishing to whale watching to scuba diving, surfing, and snorkeling. Walking the miles of beach and enjoying the sunshine and sea air is a year-round activity. You can also enjoy swimming, although it should be noted that shark warnings must be taken seriously.
The area around Canal Street where it meets the Indian River is a historic district that includes fun shops, cafes, bars, spas and other services. Strolling these palm-lined streets while window shopping and enjoying an ice cream on a balmy evening is a nice way to take in the city. There are also city parks nearby with play equipment for little ones.
There are three golf courses within city limits for those who love the fairways. With the excellent weather throughout the year, horseback riding and tennis are popular outdoor pursuits. Several places of historic interest are a fun way to spend an afternoon. These include Eldora State House, an early example of Florida colonial architecture. Turtle Mound National Historic Site is another, located just nine miles from the city center. It details the lives of the Timucuan Indians, and visitors can scale the mound for pretty views.
Where to Stay in New Smyrna Beach
With free Wi-Fi, ample parking, an outdoor pool and convenient access to local attractions and the beach, this budget accommodation choice offers good value. Pets are welcome, making it a good option for those traveling with their four-legged friends.
Located right near the beach, this mid-range hotel offers excellent access for water sports. Furthermore, it also includes an outdoor pool for guests. It has a bar, free Wi-Fi, an exercise room and a restaurant. This hotel is ideal for those who are looking for ocean views and convenient amenities.
Another mid-range choice perfect for families or groups, these condo rentals offer a private balcony with sea views, a full kitchen, T.V. with DVD player and an outdoor pool. Units can be rented by the day or week.
Splurge with a room right on the water. Enjoy luxury amenities and access to a private beach. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, ocean views, three swimming pools and laundry services. Certain rooms also offer kitchens. The resort offers an activities department that can hook guests up with jet ski rentals, scuba lessons, and golf or fishing outings.
How to Get to New Smyrna Beach
Three airports service the New Smyrna Beach area. Jacksonville International Airport is a two-hour drive along I-95. Daytona Beach International Airport is the closest. It’s just 27 minutes along I-95, taking the 249-A exit to Highway 44, which leads right into the city. Orlando International Airport is just over an hour away, taking FL-528 to FL-407 north where it meets with I-95 northbound.
International flights may land either in Orlando International Airport or Miami International Airport. Popular routes from Europe include connecting flights in London at either Gatwick or Heathrow that land in Orlando. Flights originating in Asia may have a layover in Los Angeles before continuing on to Miami.
New Smyrna Beach has great appeal for a range of visitors, from those who love water sports to those who appreciate art and history to those who enjoy shopping or lounging by the water. It’s an ideal destination for golfers, families, art lovers and those looking for quaint nightlife. Its climate and friendly atmosphere are inviting at any time of year. The next time you’re wondering where to go on vacation, let New Smyrna Beach draw you in with its wealth of attractions. If you’ve already been, tell us what you liked most about it in the comments below.