We’ve all been cooped up for far too long this past year. But now that winter is over and spring has sprung, it’s no surprise all of us are day-dreaming (quite literally…) with an getaway, preferably somewhere where you get kick back, relax and enjoy nature’s wonders and sounds. New Smyrna Beach is the perfect place.
Nestled between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean, this little beach town sits next to the Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve, a marine protected area that is home to thousands of plant species, birds, and marine life. As a result, it has some of the best places to go on outdoor explorations. Whether it’s biking, kayaking, or boating you prefer, you choose your adventure.
While choosing a place to stay, why not go beachfront? You will see this area has plenty of options from hotels to vacation rental homes, but we fell in love with The Salty Mermaid. This oceanfront hotel right in the heart of the beach, just off of Flagler Avenue is a vacation dream. Not only do most of the suites have beautiful views of the ocean, but they are also packed with modern amenities and have a relaxing ambiance that will make you forget all about those winter blues.
They make it easy to rent beach bikes or luxury golf carts, so you can explore the white sandy coast outside. Salty Rentals carries 3-speed Electra Cruiser Bikes for adults and kids, so the whole family can ride along the beach dunes, or take a cruise down one of New Smyrna Beach’s serene trails.
Exploring By Land
One of our recommendations for where to ride is the New Smyrna Beach Pedestrian Trail, which spans over 2 miles in a lush landscape. You will cross a 125-foot bridge over Turnbull Creek, pass by Otter Park North, and hopefully see some turtles, birds, and other wildlife. It’s a true Florida outdoors experience.
Either to explore by bike or walking Smyrna Dunes Park at the very northern tip of the peninsula is a local favorite. It’s a natural area where you can ride on the boardwalk or the shores. The boardwalk extends to a 2.4 mile loop, with of amazing views to explore. Across the inlet, you can see the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, making this a lovely spot to spend the day, enjoy the beach and nature surroundings. Insider tip: Arrive early! The hike begins at the parking area, which closes when it reaches its max of about 50 cars.
Dogs are also welcome at Smyrna Dunes Park at the popularly called “Dog Beach” area, a walkable exit off the boardwalk close to the park entrance. Pets are not allowed on the boardwalks after 10 AM, nor are they permitted on the Atlantic Ocean beach. But there is still plenty of space to enjoy with your best furry-friend. And take plenty of Instagram-worthy pictures. We have a few captures displaying on our pet-friendly page.
Exploring By The Waterways
The place to start your water adventure is Paddleboard New Smyrna Beach. Here, you can rent paddleboards, single kayaks, or double kayaks to explore the coastal waterways with the best view point. This company also offers guided tours if you prefer to have an expert show you the ins and outs of the area. We have a list of all water rentals available here.
For fishing enthusiasts, the Indian River Lagoon Park is a must when it comes to launching your boat. It’s located right on the beautiful Brown’s Bay with docks for you to launch off from. This quiet sanctuary is the perfect place for wildlife viewing, especially at early or late hours of the day, and one of Florida’s richest fish estuaries, with multiple species. The park also has some great amenities for the family such as picnic tables and restrooms, which make it easy to spend the day here.
If traveling with the kids or if you just have a big interest for wildlife, Marine Discovery Center is a must-do. They offer bird walks, boat tours, and kayak tours with experts who have tons of information to share, as well as knowledge of the area and where to catch sight of some critters. You can explore oyster reefs and salt marshes, searching for pelicans, ospreys, eagles, egrets, and other birds. Or you can venture to off shore waters to spot some dolphins.
After a long day of exploring, you’ll definitely work up an appetite. Right on Flagler Avenue is one of our favorite local spots, The Flagler Tavern. The great part about this tavern is that it has many different areas inside to choose from. Our favorite areas are the decks since you can look out onto Flagler Avenue and the ocean.
The main bar area is always a fun place to be and a great place to settle down with the family. The Pilar Bar is a cozy rum bar with a nautical theme that is a great place to grab a frozen cocktail. And The Bounty, upstairs, is a unique 1920’s-style speakeasy with a full bar and dining area. Choose The Bounty for craft cocktails, knowledgeable bartenders and a trip back in time.
Their menu consists of wild-caught seafood dishes, yummy pasta, classic American cuisine, and more. The bar hosts great happy hours, such as build-your-own-burger for $4 on Mondays. And there's always great entertainment rain or shine. Since it is an outdoor getaway you're after, this is a great place sit on the porch, with a margarita in hand, of course!
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