Top 10 Things to Do in New Smyrna Beach
In Florida’s New Smyrna Beach, life moves a little slower. Perhaps it’s the fresh sea air, the popularity with surfers or the historic buildings dotted around the area, but New Smyrna beach dials it back a gear, allowing visitors to escape the hustle and bustle for the quintessential beach break with old-fashioned charm.
That’s not to say that there’s little to do in New Smyrna Beach – far from it. In New Smyrna, you can wake up overlooking the glorious beaches, before wandering down to do some shopping along quirky Flagler Avenue. Spend the day being entertained and educated at cultural institutions including the Marine Discovery Centre and New Smyrna Historical Museum, or explore the nature trails at the Canaveral National Seashore. Finally, see off the day with a delicious meal or perhaps some evening drinks in the bustling downtown area – all enjoyed at at a relaxed pace, and with a smile.
Here are ten of our favorite things to do in New Smyrna Beach.
1. Beach Life
Of course, New Smyrna is first and foremost a beach town and you couldn’t possibly leave without enjoying the sun, sand and surf. Whether you’re a serious surfer or simply looking to relax on the sand, the beaches around New Smyrna are spectacular. The city’s flagship beach, New Smyrna Beach, is delightful, although other offerings including Apollo Beach, the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park and the Smyrna Dunes Park mean there are many different experiences on offer.
2. Marine Discovery Center
A fun and educational experience, the Marine Discovery Centre in New Smyrna Beach is devoted to conserving the area’s diverse ecosystem through conservation and education. They offer visitors the chance to learn about all of the amazing wildlife in the region through experiences including dolphin cruises, kayaking trips, live aquariums (which are especially exciting at feeding times) and public lectures.
3. Nature Trails
New Smyrna Beach is an outdoor lover’s paradise, both on the shore and in-land. There are dozens of great hiking trails, including many within the Canaveral National Seashore. Over 58,000 acres of land is protected, and visitors can enjoy a network of trails through the thick foliage and overlooking the dramatic coastline. One of the most popular trails is Castle Windy which snakes from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mosquito Lagoon.
4. Turtle Mound National Historic Site
Another fascinating place within Canaveral National Seashore is the Turtle Mound National Historic Site. The site is prehistoric, thought to have been created by Timucuan people somewhere between 1000 BC and 1400 CE. The site draws its name from its turtle-like shape, and archaeologists have found a variety of historic objects including 1200-year-old pottery at the site. It is certainly a great thing to do in New Smyrna Beach if you love history!
5. New Smyrna Museum of History
The city of New Smyrna’s history stretches back over 250 years since early settlement in 1768 – not to mention thousands of years of Native American history before that. Visitors of all ages can learn about this fascinating and varied history at one of the city’s most popular museums, the Museum of History. With various permanent and temporary exhibitions, unlock New Smyrna’s many secrets before stopping to pick up a souvenir of your trip from the Gift Shop.
6. Shopping Along Quirky Flagler Avenue
One of the best things about New Smyrna is its quirky, laidback atmosphere that can certainly be felt along its main street. Perhaps due to its popularity around surfers or emphasis on arts and culture, the town has many diverse and creative boutiques and shops. Shopaholics will certainly adore spending a few hours along Flagler Avenue in the Historic Business District and stopping in at the many cafés if a caffeine pick-me-up is required!
7. New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins
Located along the Old Mission Road, the Sugar Mill Ruins are all that remain of a steam-operated sugar mill and saw mill that were first built in 1830 by prospectors from New York. The mills were made from tiny seashells, a technique borrowed from the Spanish coquina style. Today, the mills have been largely reclaimed by the elements, however the ruins continue to offer an insight into New Smyrna’s historic past.
8. Canal Street Historic District
While Flagler Avenue is perhaps the best-known street in New Smyrna, Canal Street is the place to be if you are looking for arts and cultural institutions, as well as an enviable selection of boutiques and cafés. The street retains a historic charm, offering numerous attractions including art galleries, antique stores and the Museum of History. There are also regular themed walks that visitors are welcome to join.
9. Eldora State House
Go back in time with a visit to Eldora State House, and get a feel for what life must have been like in the early days of settlement in the New Smyrna Beach area. Featuring a beautiful porch (complete with rocking chairs for sitting and thinking about days gone by), and a selection of historical objects and antiques, a visit to Eldora State House is a great addition to your trip to New Smyrna Beach.
10. Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
There is something so charming about a historic lighthouse – and the area around New Smyrna Beach offers one of the best-preserved examples in the country. Built in the mid 1880s, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse was in use until the 1970s when it was handed over to the newly formed Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Society. They have done a great job in maintaining the lighthouse, and it continues to be one of the top attractions near New Smyrna Beach more than 45 years later.
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