Best Places to Visit in New Smyrna Beach
Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Daytona Beach, want to visit the Redfish Capitol of the World, or simply want to experience one of Florida’s many beautiful, small beach towns, New Smyrna Beach should be on your Florida destination list. Once you’re here, you’ll want to check out these can’t-miss spots and stop at some of the best New Smyrna Beach restaurants along your journey. Here are our top ten favourite places to visit in New Smyrna Beach.
Tip: These locations are listed in an order that will allow you to go from one to the next without passing another. Your journey will start off in Downtown New Smyrna Beach, on the mainland, and end near the southernmost point of the barrier island that is accessible to vehicles. If you have enough time during your visit, there are plenty of additional noteworthy things to do in New Smyrna Beach along this route.
New Smyrna Beach: Mainland
The mainland side of New Smyrna Beach is where the cozy, small-town vibe meets a beachside community. Here you’ll find the expected amenities for shopping, fuel, and fast-food chains. But once you move towards the coast, you’ll uncover some of New Smyrna Beach’s mainland hidden gems.
1. Canal Street Historic District
- Canal Street
- Historic District in Downtown New Smyrna Beach
- Shopping, Art, History, and Restaurants
Canal Street is one of the first places you’ll want to go when you visit New Smyrna Beach. In sunny Downtown New Smyrna Beach, you’ll find the welcoming tree-lined roads of Canal Street. Home to specialty shops, unique eateries, art galleries, historic buildings, and more, there is something here for everyone to enjoy. Free parking is available along Canal Street and nearby roads, which are open to the public unless Canal Street is closed to traffic due a pedestrian-only event, such as the Craft Beer Walk or the Canal Street Classic Cruise Car Show.
2. New Smyrna Museum of History
- 120 Sams Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Just off of Canal Street, tucked neatly into the Historic District is the New Smyrna Museum of History. The museum is located in the town’s “Old Post Office” building, which was constructed in 1923. At the Museum of History you’ll find exhibits depicting the history of New Smyrna Beach, one of Florida’s oldest cities, and the start of guided walking tours that will bring to light other historic wonders that make New Smyrna Beach such a unique town.
3. Marine Discovery Center
- 520 Barracuda Blvd, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169
Located between the mainland and the barrier island is the Marine Discovery Center, a nonprofit institution dedicated to educating and informing locals and visitors about the Indian River Lagoon’s amazing and essential biodiversity, as well as conserving that exceptional ecosystem. Here you’ll find live aquariums, wildflower and butterfly gardens, a salt marsh and kayak launch, and a host of other exhibits and educational opportunities. For the more adventurous, they offer guided boat tours, kayak tours, and walking tours of the beautiful Indian River Lagoon.
New Smyrna Beach: Beachside
There are no chain restaurants on New Smyrna’s beachside streets. Instead, you’ll find delicious local mom-and-pop eateries, unique beachside shops, and the works of local artists. Like Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach is one of the only places in Florida that allows people to drive on the beach. If you’re looking for a quieter beach scene, there are traffic-free zones as well.
The only way to access the barrier island from the mainland via foot, bike, or vehicle is by taking the North or South Causeway bridges, located just north and just south of Canal Street. Once you head south of the South Causeway bridge, you will have to turn around to get back to the mainland.
4. Smyrna Dunes Park
- 2995 N Peninsula Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169
Hidden at the northernmost tip of New Smyrna Beach’s barrier island is the Smyrna Dunes Park, called affectionately by locals with four-legged friends as “The Dog Beach.” You read that right―dogs are allowed to enjoy this beach with their humans, as long as they are leashed for the duration of their trip. In addition to the dog beach, this park is home to a variety of wildlife, ecosystems, and nature trails.
5. Flagler Avenue
- Flagler Avenue
- Beachside District in New Smyrna Beach
- Shopping, Art, Restaurants, and Inns
From the bridge to the beach, Flagler Avenue is lined with charming, locally-owned boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and more. The only big names you’ll find on this street are for surf shops and modern hotels, which are few and far between. There is free street parking on Flagler Avenue, but the parallel spots are notoriously small for the already tight street, and not recommended for trucks or other wide and long vehicles. Flagler Ave is known to close to vehicle traffic for pedestrian-only events such as the monthly Wine Walk, art walks and art shows, and various other events.
6. Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
- 6656 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169
Looking for a traffic-free beach zone with free parking? You’ve found it! This quiet piece of beach is perfect for those with children (since you don’t have to worry about beach traffic while they play) and is a great option for those wanting to visit the beach without paying for parking or on-the-beach driving privileges. In addition to beach access, Bethune Beach has public restrooms, picnic areas, a playground for children, and a number of other amenities that are open to the public.
7. Turtle Mound River Tours
- 859 Pompano Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169
Just south of Bethune Beach is the starting point for the Turtle Mound River Tours. They have a variety of public and private boat tours, including a sunset tour and a “family fun fishing adventure,” all of which journey through the Indian River Lagoon Estuary. Small, well-behaved pets are welcome aboard private tours. All of their boats have a cover for sun protection, but we recommend bringing some sun screen, a hat, and plenty of water to be safe.
8. Canaveral National Seashore
- S Washington Ave, Titusville, FL 32796
At the southernmost end of the barrier island, you’ll find the Canaveral National Seashore. All you have to do to get there is drive south on A1A until you arrive at the guard station (as this seashore and its amenities are managed by the National Park Service, there is a fee to enter). Home to protected wildlife, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and other outstanding features, the Canaveral National Seashore is a sight to see in person. There are five sections for oceanside beach parking within the National Seashore (we recommend sticking to 1, 2, or 3 if you are visiting with children) and several access points to the Indian River Lagoon. Note that the only restroom with electricity and running water is located at the Visitor Center, which typically closes at 5:00pm, and your cellular reception may be spotty the further south you go.
9. Turtle Mound at Canaveral National Seashore
- Inside the Canaveral National Seashore
Located on the west side of the main road, just south of the Visitor’s Center, is the historic Turtle Mound site―the earliest evidence of humans inhabiting the area. Keep your eyes peeled for the parking area as it is an easy one to miss. As a protected archeological site of national historic significance, you’ll journey up a boardwalk, through the trees, until you reach the top. Standing above one of the last remaining archeological sites of its kind, you’ll be able to look out over the trees for a 360º view of the Canaveral National Seashore and its unique, diverse environment. Just below and around the topmost section of the boardwalk, you’ll see the highest points of the Turtle Mound.
10. Eldora State House
- Inside the Canaveral National Seashore
Continuing south, you’ll find a road that leads to the west. Towards the end of that road, before it rejoins the main road of the Canaveral National Seashore, is the Eldora State House. Once part of a thriving village, the Eldora State House is the last remaining home from the community that was established there in 1876. During a brief stroll and tour of the premises, you can learn about the history of Eldora and imagine the community that has not yet been forgotten by time.