Looking for the best things to do in New Smyrna Beach? Great – you have come to the right place!
New Smyrna Beach is such an amazing place to vacation in Florida as there is a tonne of fun activities to enjoy for all age groups and interests.
From the incredible nature to the stunning beaches and fabulous restaurants and coffee shops the city has to offer, you will honestly never get bored. Here are the 22 best activities and attractions in New Smyrna Beach you can’t miss.
22 Best Things To Do In New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is the native home to thousands of species of plants and animals, beautiful beaches and waterways and tons of marine habitats. Spend some of your trip to New Smyrna Beach exploring nature with these fun and educational activities.
1. Cape Canaveral Seashore
Just south of New Smyrna Beach is the Canaveral National Seashore, a national park with 57,000 acres, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River. The Canaveral National Seashore is one of the longest stretches of pristine, undeveloped coastline in the United States.
It is an awesome park to visit with so many fun things to do including horseback riding, hiking trails, a museum and information center. You can also go camping at the Park if you wish!
If you love animals, make sure you check out the Mosquito Lagoon at the Canaveral National Seashore. It is possible to see Florida manatees as well as dolphins, birds and sea turtles here who use this area as their source of food, shelter and breeding. You are sure to catch a glimpse of many different species in their natural habitat while visiting the park. A great way to explore the area is on a kayak tour.
Please Note: If you are interested in riding horses you must first obtain a Special Park Use permit and a valid coggins certificate for each horse.
2. Flagler Ave Beach
The East end of Flagler Avenue is home to one of the most popular beach access ramps in Volusia County. The packed sand allows for locals and tourists to drive right on the beach, something you can only do at a few beaches in the state.
Spend the day on the beautiful sandy beach or have a family picnic under the pavilion. Amenities include the pavilion, a brick courtyard, restrooms, showers and off-beach parking. There is a $20 parking fee from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Parking is free for Volusia County residents with a City of New Smyrna Beach Parking Pass.
3. Marine Discovery Center
New Smyrna Beach is home to the most biologically diverse estuary in North America. The Indian River Lagoon, located on the coast of Central Florida, boasts more than 4,000 species and spans 156 miles down Florida’s east coast. It provides countless ways to enjoy your time on the water in New Smyrna Beach.
The local Marine Discovery Center has spent over 20 years informing and educating citizens and guests about the biodiversity of marine life and plant life in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. If you or your kids are interested in marine life, this is the place for you. Explore with them by signing up for one of their guided tours.
They offer kayak tours, pontoon boat tours, and walking tours. They also offer educational programs for all ages throughout the year. Check their website to see what they have going on during your visit to New Smyrna Beach as well as any fees. Get your feet wet and learn about the local marine life and the conservation efforts that go into protecting the natural beauty of New Smyrna Beach.
4. Smyrna Dunes Park
Located on North Peninsula Drive in New Smyrna Beach, Smyrna Dunes Park is 73 acres of nature trails, sand dunes, and water-front land.
You can sit back and enjoy the relaxing view of the sand dunes. The park has 1.5 miles of elevated walkways to ensure guests don’t disturb or destroy the dunes. You can also experience birds, reptiles, and plants that naturally live and thrive here.
The park is surrounded on three sides by water which gives you the opportunity to enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming here as well. This happens to be one of the few Dog Friendly parks in the area. Just remember to keep your canine companion on a leash the entire time.
5. Lighthouse point park
This beautiful, historical park found at the southern tip of Ponce Inlet on South Atlantic Avenue, is definitely worth checking out during your visit to New Smyrna Beach.
The park includes 52 acres of nature trails where you can see various forms of wildlife. Some animals you may catch a glimpse of are armadillos, different bird species, and even dolphins that often visit the shoreline.
Observe the park and all its glory from an observation deck and tower, eat lunch at one of the numerous pavilions and then go for a swim. Dogs are also welcome at this park as long as they are leashed. There is a fun filled day waiting for you and your whole family at Lighthouse Point Park!
Your visit to New Smyrna Beach is the perfect time to squeeze in a few outdoor sports adventures. From water sports to golf there are so many local options you won’t be able to choose what to do first.
New Smyrna Beach offers nine paddling trails launching from four sites around the city. From backwater paddles to routes along the Intracoastal Waterway, these trails are all great options.
For beginners or first time paddlers, we recommend Mosquito Lagoon Paddling Trail, Bird Rookery Paddle, and Bird Rookery Paddle High Tide Route. For more experienced paddlers, the city offers Callalisa Creek Paddle, Indian River South Tour Paddle, and Hunter Creek Paddle. For all the expert paddlers out there, you will want to check out Sleepy Hollow to Rose Bay Paddle, Sleepy Hollow to Light House Paddle and Indian River to Smyrna Creek Paddle.
Before heading out, we advise you to check out the city’s website which describes each of the nine paddling trails as well as safety instructions and tips. If you prefer a guided tour check out these family friendly kayaking tour services located right in New Smyrna Beach
- Calypso Kayaking Daytona
- Marine Discovery Center
- Paddleboard New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is a classic surfing town, with narrow streets, wide sprawling beaches a laid back attitude. It also features one of the most consistent surf breaks on the East Coast.
The waves are usually only a few feet high but they attract some of the best surfers in the entire country. The American Professional Surfing Association holds one of its premier contests here every single year and National Geographic Magazine recognized New Smyrna Beach as “one of the world’s top 20 surf towns.”
The top spot to surf in New Smyrna Beach is Ponce Inlet. This is where the Intracoastal Waterway, Indian River North and Halifax River empty between stone jetties into the Atlantic Ocean. When there is a South Swell many of the locals head to an area near the Canaveral National Seashore, called Bethune Beach. The breaks are cleaner here and less crowded.
New Smyrna Beach surf shops offer surfboard rentals and lessons. Some local places to check out that offer these services are:
- Inlet Charley’s- the closest surf shop to the beach at 510 Flagler Avenue. They rent boards and also provide lessons with an experienced surfer.
- Nichols Surf Shop- Located at 411 Flagler Avenue, they also rent boards and offer lessons. Nichols is the city’s oldest surf shop, opening in 1969.
8. Scuba diving with Sea Dogs diving center
If you are into scuba diving or want to try it for the first time, you are in the right place. The Gulf Stream courses through the Florida Straits south of Key West and moves north along the entire east coast of Florida.
It’s a mighty tropical river spanning 25 to 40 miles in width. Its temperature varies depending on the time of year and the location but year round it offers a large variety of underwater life and scenery for you to explore. The New Smyrna Beach area has over a dozen world famous wrecks and beautiful reefs. This area also has some of the largest lobsters on the East Coast.
We recommend checking out Sea Dogs diving center. Sea Dogs is a full service PADI Dive Center with over 25 years of experience and is located right in New Smyrna Beach. They offer a full range of Certifications from beginner to Dive master.
9. Kiteboarding at New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is a beautiful wide sandy beach where kiteboarding is a very popular activity. As it is an exposed beach break, it offers consistent waves that work all year round.
New Smyrna Inlet is suitable for indeterminate and advanced kite boarders. The best season to kite is from November to April. Note that during weekends the beach is much more crowded so it may be best to try kiteboarding during the week. Kite boarders should be careful of sharks, rip currents and jellyfish. The local surf shops listed above also offer kiteboarding rentals and lessons.
10. New Smyrna Speedway
If you’re into racing then you most likely know about the world famous Daytona International Speedway. Daytona is a 20 or so minute drive from New Smyrna, depending on where you are in the city. For those race fans that don’t want to spend their precious vacation time driving, New Smyrna Beach offers it’s very own speedway.
Though the New Smyrna Speedway isn’t as famous as the Daytona International Speedway, it holds many nationally recognized races. It’s famous for its steep bank and high average speeds. The facility holds several races throughout the year. Since many of the races are regional events, it’s usually easy to get tickets.
11. Go Golfing at the Preserve at Turnbull Bay Golf Course
Florida offers countless options when it comes to golfing. If you’re visiting New Smyrna Beach, the Preserve at Turnbull Bay Golf Course is one of the most popular courses in the area.
At just 6,400 yards, it is slightly shorter than many other courses in the state but that makes it perfect for golf enthusiasts interested in getting in a world-class round without dedicating four or five hours to it. Play a round of golf here and the par-72 course’s 18 holes will lead you right through a tranquil nature preserve that does not disappoint.
With over 30 miles of fishable shoreline, access to the Gulf Stream, and plenty of fishing piers to cast a line from, New Smyrna Beach is an excellent destination for visitors interested in fishing. There are many ways you can fish in the beautiful city. Here we have listed the different fishing options New Smyrna Beach offers.
12. Charter a boat
Chartering a boat will definitely give you the most freedom when it comes to fishing on your visit to New Smyrna Beach. Not only will you be able to explore more than one fishing spot, but you’ll also have a knowledgeable guide with you. Your rods, reels, and tackle will be provided and, on saltwater charters, you will fish under the captain’s license.
13. Party Boat Fishing
Chartering a boat can be a bit pricey so anglers on a budget will be happy to know that party boat fishing is a popular choice in New Smyrna Beach. The boat will be shared with dozens of other like-minded anglers, which is always a good time.
You won’t have as much freedom or one-on-one attention from your captain, but you won’t need to worry about gear or licenses, either. If you’re hoping to spend a couple of hours in the nearshore reefs and wrecks, this is a great choice for you.
14. Pier Fishing
Pier fishing in New Smyrna Beach is easy and accessible. The town offers two causeway bridges to choose from as well as plenty of piers. The hardest part is choosing which pier to fish from.
Pier fishing can allow for a variety of catches including Snook, Trout, and Black Drum. The locals also enjoy chumming for Sheepshead. You will have the best luck pier fishing if you head out early in the morning or after dusk. This will be before the tide changes when there are plenty of bait fish present to draw in the bigger fish. Pack your gear, pack a lunch and pick a pier. Get those lines in the water and you’re bound to catch some fish!
15. Surf Fishing
As mentioned previously, New Smyrna Beach is one of the few locations where you are permitted to drive a vehicle on the beach. This makes gearing up for surf fishing a breeze. Pack up your gear, pick a spot and get your line in the water! You will catch a variety of fish including Pompano, Redfish, Bluefish, Flounder, and Sharks. Fishing in the surf requires a lot more weight on your line, so be sure to gear up with more weight on your line.
If you are a resident you will need a Recreational Saltwater Shoreline fishing license which is free of charge. Non-residents, unfortunately, aren’t eligible for this license and must purchase a Saltwater Fishing license ahead of time. For more information we advise checking out Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website for more information on obtaining a license.
16. Go Kayak Fishing at New Smyrna Beach
Kayak fishing is a popular choice for anglers looking to explore the Mosquito Lagoon or any of the other paddling trails in New Smyrna Beach.
Mosquito Lagoon is the most popular trail for sight fishing where you can catch plenty of Redfish and Seatrout. The key to sight fishing in shallow water is being stealthy which is why your paddles will give you an advantage over a motor.
Always remember when Kayak Fishing, to prepare for anything, especially if you plan to head into open water. We recommend bringing a radio, GPS and phone as well as an extra paddle since things don’t always go as planned.
Cultural / Historical
There are plenty of activities in New Smyrna Beach that allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture or learn about the area’s interesting history.
17. Atlantic Center For The Arts
If you love art, we would highly recommend a visit to the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Inside you will see amazing art work as it is a studio for artists from all around the world.
One of the coolest things about this center is you can see the artists in action and watch them create their masterpieces as you watch. There is also occasionally other community events held at the center throughout the year.
18. The Hub on Canal Street
The Hub on Canal Street is a super fun place to visit as it is home to a large range of shops, galleries and studios. It is an an interesting place with a cool vibe to it.
This is a great place to go to get a unique souvenir to take home with you from a local artist. Keep an eye on their website as the host a number of events throughout the year, especially in winter.
19. Annual Seaside Fiesta
One of the best things to do in New Smyrna Beach is to go to the Annual Seaside Fiesta that takes places in Flagler Avenue in downtown new Smyrna Beach. Of course, you will have to be in the area in June to enjoy this fun festival.
It is actually one of the biggest drawcards of tourists to the area as it’s a really fun event which has a different theme every year. At the festivals, people can enjoy lots of fun entertainment including live music, street vendors and carnival style games.
It is run by local civic and business development organizations in the area which have an interest to share the area’s history and culture.
20. IMAGES: Festival of the Arts
Ranked number 16 in the nation for Fine Art Festivals by Sunshine Artist Magazine, The event attracts over 53,000 arts enthusiasts, and has one of the best Patrons Programs in the Southeast, with 240 members who spend over $200,000 yearly on art purchases at the Festival. They also give out $30,000 in prize money to artists featured in the festival. The event is free to attend and is held yearly at the end of January.
Enjoy the work of over 200 artists along with food trucks, fabulous live music, free art projects for the kids and an exhibit of student artwork. Walk through the park, buy some art, enjoy some great local food and have a great weekend with your family.
21. New Smyrna Museum of History
If you are interested in learning about the area’s fascinating, local history, there’s no better place to do it than the New Smyrna Museum of History. The museum’s exhibits take you all the way through the ages.
Starting from when Native Americans were the only humans to inhabit the area into the era when the region was explored by settlers from Europe. There are a number of exhibits that document the lives of the first colonists in the area, who were led by a doctor from Scotland. Let the New Smyrna Museum of History take you on a walk through time.
22. Sugar Mill Ruins
The New Smyrna Beach Sugar Mill Ruins are listed on the National Register of Historic Places because they are located on the grounds of a historic sugar plantation. The mill offers visitors an interesting look into the past. It was built more than two centuries ago when the area was still undeveloped.
According to historians, in the 1830s the Seminoles were not happy that their ancestral lands had been stolen from them and they raided the mill, destroying it. Because of this, the Mill stopped operating. There are not many amenities here but it’s still an interesting place to check out during your trip to New Smyrna Beach.
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