When you adventure over to the east coast of Florida, there are tons of oceanfront towns that deserve the utmost recognition. Take New Smyrna Beach, Florida as the quintessential example. This delightful small town is known for a few things – being a surfing hub for beginners and pros alike, having miles upon miles of beautiful, well-maintained beaches, plus the palm-lined Canal Street Historic District, filled with shops, restaurants, and more.

From the Hawaiian Island of Oahu to the coast of Massachusetts and everywhere in between, come along with me as I introduce you to the best Small Town Getaways you can take this year. From nature lovers and foodies to history buffs and shopaholics, there’s something for everyone within these unforgettable, two-day itineraries curated by our local travel experts just for you.

Is New Smyrna Beach Worth Visiting?

There are plenty of reasons why New Smyrna Beach should be on your radar when it comes to planning your next weekend adventure or summertime getaway. To start, NSB is one of the most family-friendly areas along the coast, while still retaining much of that small-town charm. Spending long, sunny afternoons splashing in the surf and then walking around Downtown New Smyrna Beach at night while meeting the locals, it’s a dreamy vacation destination for all ages. There are seemingly a never-ending amount of things to do in New Smyrna Beach, especially when it comes to families and groups.

Another reason to visit New Smyrna Beach is for surfing. NSB is one of the top surfing destinations in the country thanks to the beautiful wave breaks along Ponce Inlet. You don’t need to be an avid surfer to shred either, there are plenty of surfing schools in the area that will provide excellent instruction in order to get you out on the water, standing on your board in no time at one of the best beaches in Florida.

For anyone who loves an impressive and underrated culinary scene, New Smyrna Beach should be on your list. With minimal chain restaurants in the area, you’ll find more mom-and-pop shops, each highlighting a different food experience. 

Plus, New Smyrna Beach has a wide assortment of both indoor and outdoor attractions. So, even on those rainy vacation days, you can still pop into art galleries, restaurants, museums, and more. In fact, New Smyrna Beach was even named one of “America’s Top Small Cities for the Arts” holding significance in terms of history and cultural prowess! It’s one of the best getaway towns in Florida.

Many people often ask, “what is New Smyrna Beach known for?” While the answer usually involves the stunning expanse of coastal beauty, the rolling waves, the delightful weather, and the friendly locals, there is another NSB fact that should be mentioned – New Smyrna Beach is known as the shark bite capital of the world. Volusia County leads the world with the number of shark bites every year totaling 17 last year alone.

However, it should be mentioned that while the chances of getting bit by a shark, usually a baby shark at that, are ten times higher than anywhere else in the nation, the probability of being bitten is still extremely small. Because of the strong tidal flow in the Ponce de Leon inlet, there are more baitfish that come to the area. This in turn brings more sharks.

How To Get To New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is a coastal town about 30 minutes south of Daytona Beach. As one of the premier beaches in the area, people will often spend weekends driving from Orlando to set up shop with their beach chairs and umbrellas and toes in the sand. At just a few miles from Interstate 95, visitors can hop off the highway and head east until they cross the Intracoastal and reach the town’s center. Additionally, US 1 rides straight through New Smyrna Beach, so anyone taking the more leisurely route can find this small town with ease.

Getting Around New Smyrna Beach

When visiting, it isn’t entirely necessary to have a vehicle in New Smyrna Beach, especially if you’re staying close to the beachside. New Smyrna Beach was hailed as one of the most walkable towns along the coast, making it easy for vacationers to avoid having to rent a car to get around. In fact, many residents within the New Smyrna Beach area prefer to either ride their bikes around town or drive a golf cart! Since the town itself is relatively small, golf carts make it easy to hop around, especially when you’re adventuring along the main strip near the ocean.

The Best Time To Visit New Smyrna Beach

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With New Smyrna Beach being a coveted coastal town, many people flock to the area during the warmer months in order to work on their tans as well as splash in the surf. From February to September, the temperatures in New Smyrna Beach are ideal, fluctuating from around the low 70s to the high 80s depending on the month. While visiting during the springtime will allow for beautiful weather and crisp nights, the summer will certainly bring about warmer temperatures in the water, which means you can swim all day long without catching a chill.

Some travelers might also want to plan their trip to New Smyrna Beach depending on what’s happening around town. There are quite a few annual events that take place not to mention monthly events too, that have become a beloved part of the calendar year. Enjoy the sip-&-stroll wine walks or the Canal Street vintage car shows which take place every month. Or plan for the annual NSB Shrimp & Seafood Festival which takes place every August or Biketoberfest in nearby Daytona, in which NSB also participates every year.

Where To Stay In New Smyrna Beach

Staying in New Smyrna Beach means you’ll have your choice of accommodations depending on your preference. For some, a simple, elegant bed and breakfast is ideal. Whether you’re cozying up by the beach or enjoying a homemade breakfast on the front porch, a B&B can add a certain amount of elegance to your trip. A few different bed and breakfast spots to consider include The Black Dolphin Inn, The Inn on the Avenue, as well as Anchor Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Hotels and motels are also great options if you want to be mere steps from the ocean and the action. There are six flagship hotels in New Smyrna Beach, including Springhill Suites by Marriott, Hampton Inn, two Best Westerns, Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, and La Quinta. However, also make sure to check out the independent hotels and motels too, like the Oceanfront Salty Mermaid Hotel, recently featured in Southern Living!

As always, Airbnbs are a popular choice for many visitors who want to experience a vacation without losing the comforts of home. Anyone perusing the Airbnb listings for New Smyrna Beach can find a perfect blend of waterfront condominiums and beachfront cottages. If you want a little more room to stretch with the family, this is an excellent option.

Additionally, many RV travelers come through this area, especially since New Smyrna Beach is one of the few places along the coast where you can actually drive on the beach! While you won’t be able to set up shop overnight on the compact sand, you can find a bevy of RV and camping areas worth checking out. For instance, the New Smyrna Beach RV Park and Campground has more than 200 sites available. Meanwhile, Nova Family Campground also offers comfortable sites for travelers.

Planning A Trip To New Smyrna Beach

 

You don’t need to have a comprehensive New Smyrna Beach travel guide in order to get the most out of this small town. In fact, as long as you have a general idea of some of the best New Smyrna Beach attractions, you can easily plan an itinerary that will delight the whole family. We’ve come up with a detailed two-day itinerary with tons of activities in New Smyrna Beach worth checking out.

Day One: Sun, Fun, & Surf

Start by planning your trip with a stay at the delightful Black Dolphin Inn. This award-winning inn is a boutique inn overlooking the stunning Indian River. This historic restored estate features 14 different private guest rooms and suites, plus it’s located just a few minutes from the beach. The average cost per night at The Black Dolphin Inn is around $200.

Next, it’s time to start planning some things to do around town. With a bevy of laid-back adventures at your disposal, it’s easy to spend nearly every waking minute outdoors in nature. So, let’s start with a trip to the actual beach! The spacious and clean beaches in NSB are worth setting up shop on, whether it’s for an entire day of fun in the sun or simply a walk to find the best seashells that have washed ashore.

Day Two: Waterways, History, & Global Wines

Enjoy the creeks, causeways, and bays of New Smyrna Beach from the comfort of a boat! Many outfitters along the Indian River offer rentals and tours for guests of all ages. Enjoy the dolphin and manatee tours from Ponce Inlet Watersports – Manatee & Dolphin Boat Tours, which are scheduled almost daily, or try your hand at kayaking or paddle boarding the coastal waterways.

Visitors should head over to the New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins off of Old Mission Road for a trip back in time. With a glimpse of Old Florida, guests will be able to enjoy an oak-forested canopy of trees surrounding the ruins of a steam-operated sugarcane mill erected back in the early 1800s. While the ruins are small, guests can learn about the area while simultaneously taking a jaunt through nature.

So, tell us, will you be planning a trip to New Smyrna Beach? We’re sure you’ll love it as much as we do!

Not Your Average Bucket List Podcast

Only In Your State’s podcast Not Your Average Bucket List takes a deep dive into New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and everything it has to offer. Our hosts, Marisa Roman and Sara Heddleston discuss what their “Perfect Day” in New Smyrna would consist of. Take a look at the infographic below to get your own suggestions for the perfect day exploring this small town.

To discover even more about New Smyrna Beach in a fun, easily-digestible manner, tune in to OnlyInYourState’s brand new podcast, Not Your Average Bucket List, where we talk all about this charming Florida town. Listen now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

More to Explore

New Smyrna Beach

Is New Smyrna Beach worth visiting?

New Smyrna Beach, located on Florida's Central East Coast, is a popular destination with various attractions and activities to offer visitors. Here are some reasons you might consider visiting New Smyrna Beach:

  • Beautiful Beaches: New Smyrna Beach boasts miles of sandy shores, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. The beach is consistently recognized as one of the best in Florida.
  • Surfing: The waves at New Smyrna Beach are known to be consistent, making it a top destination for surfers. It's often called the "Surf Capital of the East Coast."
  • Arts and Culture: The town has a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, festivals, and events throughout the year. For instance, the Atlantic Center for the Arts is a notable artists' residency.
  • Historic Downtown: The Canal Street Historic District and Flagler Avenue are lined with boutiques, eateries, and galleries, offering a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.
  • Outdoor Activities: Apart from beach-related activities, you can go fishing, kayaking, or paddle boarding in the Indian River Lagoon or visit nearby parks and nature trails.
  • Close Proximity to Other Attractions: New Smyrna Beach is conveniently situated near popular destinations like Daytona Beach and the Kennedy Space Center. It's also just an hour's drive from Orlando, making visiting theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld easy.
  • Unique History: The area has a rich history that dates back thousands of years, from the indigenous Timucuan Indians to Spanish settlers. The New Smyrna Museum of History offers insights into the area's past.
  • Wildlife: The nearby Canaveral National Seashore is a haven for wildlife, including sea turtles. During nesting season, visitors might even get a chance to witness sea turtles laying eggs on the beach.
  • Friendly Atmosphere: Many visitors comment on the welcoming and laid-back vibe of New Smyrna Beach, which is less touristy than some other Florida beach destinations.
  • Diverse Dining: From fresh seafood to international cuisines, New Smyrna Beach offers a variety of dining options for food lovers.

 

New Smyrna Beach is worth visiting if you love beaches, arts, history, and a more relaxed atmosphere than some of Florida's busier destinations.

Is New Smyrna Beach safe to swim?

New Smyrna Beach, often dubbed the "Shark Bite Capital of the World," is known for its relatively high number of shark bites. These incidents typically involve smaller sharks mistaking hands or feet for prey, often resulting in minor injuries. Apart from sharks, swimmers at New Smyrna Beach should be cautious of rip currents, which can swiftly pull even experienced swimmers out to deeper waters. Additionally, other marine creatures like jellyfish can be a concern. Before swimming, it's also wise to check for any water quality advisories from local authorities. For a safer experience, visitors should swim in lifeguarded areas, avoid swimming during early morning or late evening when sharks are most active, and always remain vigilant to their surroundings.