New Smyrna Beach is on Florida’s east coast and often gets overlooked in favor of its neighbor to the north, Daytona Beach. However, we love New Smyrna Beach, or NSB, because it has a flavor of an old surf town. It’s very laid back and relaxed and reminiscent of the old Gidget movies.
The surfing theme dominates the beach’s historic area — the culture of stock car racing rules at New Smyrna Speedway. If you are a fan of car racing, then you’ll love splitting your time between this racetrack and Daytona International Speedway during race weeks!
New Smyrna Beach is an authentic Florida beach town filled with a thriving collection of local businesses. It is also worth noting that NSB is very pet-friendly, making it a perfect place to bring your pooch. New Smyrna offers so much! You can spend time relaxing on the beach, surf fishing, taking an eco-tour, or just shopping.
My trip was hosted by Visit New Smyrna. All opinions remain my own.
Things To Do In New Smyrna Beach
NSB offers 17 miles of hard-packed sand beaches, perfect for a walk in the morning to see the sunrise, cyclists, or runners. Of course, New Smyrna is a mecca for surfers.
Spend a day watching the surfers ride the waves, or try your hand at surfing at one of the many surf schools in the area. The waves at New Smyrna are consistent, and they break far enough offshore, providing a good long ride. It’s an excellent ride for all skill levels, whether surfing, SUP surfing, or boogie boarding.
1. New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is located at the end of Flagler Avenue. For $20, you can drive your vehicle on 5 miles of wide, hard-packed sand. When you find the perfect spot, stop, park your car, set up your beach chairs and towels, and enjoy your day! New Smyrna Beach is an expansive and long stretch of beach that is one of the best on Florida’s east coast.
2. Smyrna Dunes Park
Smyrna Dunes Park is located along the southern side of Ponce de Leon Inlet and offers 2 miles of boardwalk. The walkway is accessible, which is a bonus. Walking the boardwalk, you’ll find multiple scenic outlooks offering incredible views of Ponce Inlet, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian River. There is also a 300-foot fishing pier that is also accessible. If you are planning a day of fishing, you can access information on requirements and licenses here.
Smyrna Dunes Park also offers a dog-friendly beach, so bring your four-legged pals and spend a day swimming and cavorting. Restrooms and picnic pavilions are available.
The entrance fee for Smyrna Dunes is $10 per vehicle. You can purchase an annual inlet parks pass for $20. Entrance is free for handicapped and disabled veteran-registered cars.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for sharks if you get in the ocean. New Smyrna Beach is part of Volusia County, which is the Shark Bite Capital of the World.
3. Canaveral National Seashore
Directly to the south of New Smyrna, Canaveral National Seashore boasts the “longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida.” In addition to pristine shoreline, the barrier island preserves Turtle Mound National Historic Site, an ancient Timucua Native American mound, and serves as a sanctuary for several species of flora and fauna.
Pro Tip: Canaveral National Seashore is a great vantage point for watching shuttles soar into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center which is located to the south on Merritt Island.
4. New Smyrna Speedway
Car racing has gained a large following over the years and continues to grow each year. The origins of stock car racing go back to the 1920s and Prohibition (January 17, 1920, to December 5, 1933).
During this period, bootleggers or moonshine runners were continually looking for ways to outrun the cops. As a result, they modified their cars to run faster and longer and kept the stock look of the car’s exterior so it didn’t call attention to the vehicle. The hooch runners would compete against each other, which grew into the stock car racing that we know today as NASCAR.
The New Smyrna Speedway is a mere 12 miles from the famed Daytona International Speedway.
The raceway is a half-mile paved oval track that is high banked. During the Daytona International Speedway’s Speedweeks and the Daytona 500, New Smyrna Speedway hosts the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. This event is held over nine nights and offers some intense stock racing.
Like many of the grassroots stock car tracks across the country, New Smyrna Speedway started as a dirt track, but six months later, it was paved. Today the New Smyrna Speedway has weekly NASCAR grassroots racing from March through Mid-November.
5. Atlantic Center For The Arts
Art lovers will fall in love with New Smyrna Beach’s art scene. The beach town is home to the Atlantic Center for the Arts, an interdisciplinary artists’ community that hosts exhibits and events. There are loads of small boutique shops that offer a selection of art on Flagler Avenue and Canal Street.
6. The Hub On Canal
The Hub on Canal is a gathering place for working artists to come together. It’s also an artistic incubator, allowing more than 70 artists to showcase their work, offer impromptu artist talks, and space to offer classes and workshops.
The gallery is the centerpiece of Canal Street. It brings the community together to experience the beauty and joy of art. The Hub has helped revitalize the community and foster economic growth through opportunity.
You’ll find various art media types at The Hub. Music, painting, photography, sculpture, fiber works, and jewelry are just a few of their offerings. If you are an art lover, this is a must-visit.
7. Beachy Chic
Beachy Chic in the Beachie Bean’s Coffee Shop offers art of another kind. Sherri Williams, the owner and designer of Beachy Chic, gathers her inspiration for her coastal surroundings’ designs.
I am a jewelry fanatic and fell in love with her designs, and of course, I had to buy something! Sherri creates unique handmade necklaces, bracelets, wrap bracelets, and earrings.
8. Marine Discovery Center
Head over to the Marine Discovery Center to learn more about the sea life that lives in and around the Indian River Lagoon. The Marine Discovery Center offers the opportunity to see fish, snails, horseshoe crabs, turtles, a shark, and seahorses.
Take an eco-tour by kayak, boat, or walking tour of the center’s marshland. The Indian River Lagoon is a diverse marine ecosystem that more than 4,000 plant and animal species call home.
9. New Smyrna Museum of History
Founded in 1768, New Smyrna Beach is one of the oldest cities in Florida. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the New Smyrna Museum of History. Located in New Smyrna Beach’s historic Canal Street district just around the corner from unique shops and restaurants, the longtime museum is housed in a former post office that was built in 1923. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While you’re in the area, explore Mysterious Old Fort Park and Riverside Park on the Indian River.
Best Restaurants In New Smyrna Beach
You’ll find a mix of casual, fun, and upscale dining options on both Flagler Avenue and Canal Street. Scattered among the shops and restaurants, you’ll find coffee bars, tiki bars, and wine bars.
Outriggers Bar And Grill
Outriggers Bar and Grill was a complete surprise! With a relaxed upscale atmosphere, incredible food, and an excellent wine selection, I was pleasantly surprised. The food presentation was stellar. If you are a fan of ceviche, don’t hesitate to order that at Outriggers — it was fantastic!
Clancy’s Cantina is fresh and fun Tex-Mex. Grab a cold beer or frosty margarita and enjoy a delightful meal at Clancy’s. The fajitas are amazing, and the serving size is perfect for one.
Sugarworks Distillery is crafting small-batch spirits that are something special. Most moonshine is quite harsh, but Sugarworks New Smyrna Shine is surprisingly smooth. Take a tasting tour and learn about the distillery. While you’re there, taste a selection of spirits.
Beachie Bean’s Coffee House
Beachie Bean’s is a small coffee shop with a huge eclectic atmosphere and is hands-down one of our favorite hangouts when we visit New Smyrna Beach! Where else could you have coffee under surfboards as a larger-than-life Elvis strikes a pose? And the coffee? Fresh deliciousness every time!
Little Drug Company
The Little Drug Company opened its doors in 1922 and is a slice of history and nostalgia in the center of historic Canal Street.
Walking through the double glass doors of the Little Drug Company takes you back in time to the simpler days when life was slower, people would meet at the corner store and chat about the goings-on in town, and kids would wander the aisles in search of their next toy or favorite candy.
Stop into the Little Drug Company and head to the soda fountain for a milkshake, ice cream soda, sundae, or a quick bite. The menu offers standard fountain fare: sandwiches, burgers, and hotdogs with a few surprises mixed in.
Norwood’s Restaurant & Treehouse Bar
Located just over the South Causeway, Norwood’s Restaurant & Treehouse Bar specializes in seafood, but you can also find salad, steak, and pasta on the menu. Its whimsical Treehouse Bar makes for a great date night spot.
Best Hotels In New Smyrna Beach
The Salty Mermaid
The Salty Mermaid Oceanfront Hotel is just south of Flagler Avenue. This small, privately owned boutique hotel oozes luxury.
The inn has five oceanfront suites. Each suite is decorated with an eye toward modern design and accented with bright green, orange, and turquoise pops of color.
The hotel understands their guests’ needs, whatever you need. From restaurant suggestions and reservations to planning activities and finding the perfect spa treatment, ask and you shall receive!
The Salty Mermaid strives to make each guest’s stay simple, relaxing, and totally stress-free.
Black Dolphin Inn
Straddling the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, New Smyrna Beach boasts both beachfront and riverfront accommodations. The Black Dolphin Inn overlooks the Indian River. The inn has 14 rooms with contemporary furnishings and windows that let the sunshine in.
Amenities include breakfast each morning, a fishing pier, boat docks, and a porch. The inn is located on the riverside and is a 12-minute walk to historic Canal Street.
SpringHill Suites is perched right on the beach. Walk out to the pool area, down the steps, and you are right on a gorgeous wide span of beach. There are fire pits and seating scattered around the patio area.
The lobby is bright and airy and welcoming and has a bar and a Starbucks. The rooms are expansive and comfortable, and the view over the beach is spectacular.
Prefer to have a whole place to yourself? New Smyrna also has a number of beachside vacation rentals. Browse beach condos on Vrbo.
With the laid-back casual beach vibe, New Smyrna Beach is an excellent choice for visitors looking to relax, shed the cares of their daily lives, and just live in the moment. New Smyrna Beach makes for a delightful, relaxing central Florida beach getaway.