If you are planning a vacation to Florida’s famed Space Coast to enjoy some sun, sand, and seaside bliss without having to bear the traffic in Cocoa Beach or the vibrant and loud vibe in Daytona Beach, then New Smyrna Beach naturally comes to mind.
Renowned as a surfing hub and go-to beach destination, thanks to 17 miles of soft white sand coastline with consistent waves and the amazing Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna Beach is definitely worth visiting if you are looking for a tranquil beach vacation coupled with plenty of biodiversities and fascinating history.
Is New Smyrna Beach Worth Visiting?
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World Class Beaches
If you’re getting tired of amusement parks, the good news is that New Smyrna Beach is only an hour away from Orlando. That’s right, you can pack up the car and make your way to the beach.
New Smyrna Beach is known as a surfers’ hub for a good reason. With consistent surf breaks and plenty of sunshine throughout the year, New Smyrna is the go-to destination for surfing enthusiasts after Cocoa Beach for an amazing surfing experience.
Non-surfers might ask what’s in it for us.
Apart from the excellent surf breaks, the beaches in New Smyrna Beach are known for their laid-back old Florida charm with soft white sand that disappears into turquoise blue-green waters of the Atlantic, a common sight in places like Destin and Panama City Beach on the Emerald Coast.
Alongside the beaches here, you’ll see the Canaveral National Seashore which is a barrier island park. It protects the ecosystem and you’ll often see turtles that are resting here! Perfect for pictures!
If you haven’t seen a manatee before, you’ll find them near the shallow waters. Remember, if you are operating the boat, to go slowly in this area so that the manatees don’t get scared.
The New Smyrna Dunes Park
The New Smyrna Dunes Park is definitely a “must-do” thing on your trip to New Smyrna Beach.
The New Smyrna Dunes Park is a gateway to the picturesque Ponce inlet and its lighthouse and provides easy access to both, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River.
The Park features miles of soft white sand and calm and consistent waves making it a great spot for swimming for kids and adults alike.
The highlight of the park is the amazing boardwalk that stretches 2 miles (3.2km) over the blue-green waters of the Atlantic providing spectacular views of the surroundings without harming the fragile dune vegetation.
From the refreshing nature walks, and wildlife spotting adventures with a spectacular view to an amazing waterfront park with plenty of restaurants, shops & cafes, the Smyrna Dunes Park is the perfect destination for a day of outdoor family fun.
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
How about a visit to the tallest lighthouse in the US?
Located just across Smyrna Dunes Park and just an hour’s drive away from the beach, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is a blend of Florida’s rich history and true natural charm.
Being the tallest in the US, the views from the top are just incredible and this alone makes it worth a visit on your day trip to New Smyrna Beach.
The museum is home to some of the most interesting exhibits about the area’s shipwrecks, fishing industry, and Native American culture.
The main highlight of the 175 feet tall Ponce de Leon lighthouse tour is the splendid spiral staircase with 175 steps that leads up to the lantern room providing a glimpse of the early 19th-century architecture.
It’s the shark bite capital of the world
You’ll want to be careful of course, but if you’re into sharks and hoping to see one, this is the place to be.
There are a lot of younger bull sharks that are usually in the area. Your best bet is to be on a boat or something if you would like a picture of these sharks and be careful!
The fascinating history
If you are a history buff, you’ll definitely enjoy being in the New Smyrna Beach area. You may be interested in the Eldora State House.
It showcases what was once a booming Eldora community in the area.
You can also visit the New Smyrna Museum of History, which has exhibits and displays that tells the history of the region.
It has been around since 2003 to help educate visitors about the area.
The Old Fort Park Archaeological Site is worth visiting as well. You can see what is left of the 18th-century of Smyrna settlement.
Lots of hands-on learning
If you have children with you, there is no shortage of hands-on learning in New Smyrna Beach.
You’ll want to check out the Marine Science Center. It’s a compact aquarium that has educational activities on site that people of all ages can take part in.
If you want something more exciting, there is the New Smyrna Beach Escape Room. This is where you’ll have to solve puzzles in order to get out of that escape room.
You can choose from the many timed puzzle challenges that are fun to solve! There is an art workshop if you want to explore your creativity. There are original Bob Ross products and paintings on the site.
There are also Floral and Wildlife instructors that can tell you more about those paintings.
When you go to the Bob Ross art workshop, a certified trainer will provide an amazing and fun tour in the true Bob Ross style.
Explore the amazing art museums
There is so much art and culture in the New Smyrna Beach area. For starters, you can visit the Atlantic Center for Arts. It is a theater, painting exhibit, and museum all wrapped up in one.
This is also a place to go to see local artists’ creativity. Clay Gallery is another place where local artists show off their creativity by showing off their stained glass creations, unique pottery creations, and more.
It’s a beautiful site here and this place is often used as an event venue, including weddings and parties.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Not everyone is a beach person, but some people enjoy wildlife and recreation. The good news is that there are a lot of places you can visit to enjoy the weather.
Head on over to Mary McLeod Bethune Beach park, where you can partake in land and water activities.
There are multi-purpose courts there and fishing areas if you feel like fishing. If you have children with you, there is a playground on site for the kids to play on.
Riverside and Sugar Mills Travel Park is a campground where you can stay for a night. They provide unique fishing opportunities if it’s more up your alley.
Grace K. Barck North Community Beach has grassy areas, fire pits on the beach, and change rooms with showers on site. This area also connects to nature trails, where you can see a good deal of wildlife as you walk the trails.
Do you like to kayak?
You can go on the New Smyrna Dolphin and Manatee tour. You will be with a tour guide and have ample opportunity to see a lot of wildlife, including dolphins, live conch, manatees, birds, and more.
As you see, there is more than just the beach in New Smyrna Beach. You can enjoy the outdoors without lying on the beach all day.
It has many local restaurants and bars that are worth visiting
Every city and town has its own share of local restaurants, but New Smyrna Beach has a ton of local restaurants. When you visit here, you should at least visit once.
If you feel like having a juicy burger after a long day at the beach, you’ll want to hit up Breakers. They make some of the best burgers in town and it’s right on the beach.
After a long day of either surfing or playing in the water, it will sure make your tummy full.
How about a tasty sandwich called Holy Crap?
It’s a turkey sandwich that has a lot of toppings on it and it’s a fan favorite. You can find this sandwich at the Yellow Dog.
Does visiting a treehouse bring out the kid in you?
Believe it or not, there is a treehouse bar in New Smyrna Beach called Norwoods. Whether you’re there for a drink, food, or catching some live entertainment, the fact it’s a treehouse makes it Instagram-worthy.
New Smyrna Beach is often referred to as the best-kept secret in Florida. This is because it has all of the features that people love about Florida without the crowds that flock to places like Orlando and Miami.
New Smyrna Beach has thirteen miles of pristine beaches, world-class fishing, unique shops and boutiques, and a thriving arts scene. In addition, the town is located just a short drive from some of Florida’s best attractions, including Daytona Beach and Kennedy Space Center.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed getaway, New Smyrna Beach is sure to please. So come and see why this little town is quickly becoming one of the most popular vacation destinations in Florida.
So, pack your bags and head to New Smyrna Beach this summer.