Nestled between the Indian River Lagoon and 17 miles of white sand beaches, New Smyrna Beach, located on Florida’s East Coast, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, sun lovers and fun-seeking travellers.
Located an hour’s drive from Orlando, the town offers an authentic experience and makes the perfect destination for a standalone holiday or as part of a wider Florida road trip. Close to, and yet very different from, the state’s famous theme parks, New Smyrna Beach offers an idyllic getaway to discover the natural beauty of Florida.
Walking and water trails pepper the area, making it prime for cycling, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding and other sporting adventures. Beachside, holidaymakers will find ample opportunities for surfing, fishing and scuba diving. Those with a taste for the highlife can even go for a spin in the clouds in a vintage plane.
Whether visitors want to dive deep or fly sky high, they can make it happen in New Smyrna Beach.
Pedal, Paddle or Amble Along NSB’s Trails and Blueways
Active travellers can roll or walk along the East Coast Regional Trail, a paved 12-foot wide path that will one day span 52 miles. This wooded trail is a great place to spot wildlife like deer and birds. Visitors can also take to the water and rent a kayak to explore the Mosquito Lagoon paddling trail. Perfect for first-time paddlers, the blueway is just over two miles long. Kayakers should keep their eyes peeled as they weave around the mangrove wetlands as curious and friendly dolphins and manatees call this area home.
Surf the Waves
Surfing reigns supreme in NSB, with the barrier island recognised worldwide for its incredible surf. Surfer magazine touts it as one of the “Best Surf Towns in America” and National Geographic (US) magazine named NSB as one of the “World’s Top 20 Surf Towns”. Whether a beginner or experienced, visiting surfers should get on board with friendly locals for the experience of a lifetime. Lessons with a popular instructor can be booked, such as the team at Nichols Surf Shop, who have been providing surf lessons to people of all ages and abilities since the 1980s. The Jimmy Lane Surfing Academy is another surf school offering lessons as well as extended surf camps. Jimmy Lane is a local surfing legend, with over 38 years of diversified surfing experience.
Get on Board
Visitors will have an illuminating experience as they glide across the Indian River Lagoon, North America’s most biologically diverse estuary, at sunset, guided by the neon glow of a colour-changing LED-lit paddleboard. Offered by Pure Island Tours, the excursion gets guests up close to dolphins, manatees and birds. Tours are led by an experienced guide and include an introductory lesson to paddle boarding, making this perfect for beginners.
Fly the Skies in a Vintage Plane
New Smyrna Beach looks even more heavenly with a bird’s eye view of the sparkling blue water and white sand beaches. BiPlane FunFlight offers 10, 20, 30 and 70-minute tours in a vintage open-cockpit aircraft. For those feeling fearless, flight packages can be upgraded to include heart-pumping performance manoeuvres like steep turns, lazy eights, steep climbs and chandelles. NSB is known for its incredible sunrises and sunsets that set the sky ablaze with colour, and there is no better way to see this than an early morning or late afternoon tour with BiPlane FunFlight.
Dive Below the Surface
Divers can head below the surface for a peek at New Smyrna Beach’s artificial reefs and abundant sea life. Created out of sunken ships and concrete culverts, these vessels are now home to species like marlin, amberjack and more. Beginners can get certified at Sea Dogs Dive Center in NSB, which offers a variety of courses. For those with some experience, Sea Dogs’ local boat trips will take divers right out to the action.
Reel in a Big One Truly an angler’s paradise, New Smyrna Beach is home to some of the best saltwater and freshwater fishing in Florida. Snook, redfish, flounder and black drum can be found in the lagoon, while redfish, Pompano and flounder are common closer to NSB’s inlet. Offshore fishing is also plentiful, thanks to the artificial reefs. The area produces sizable catches of triggerfish, snapper, grouper and lobster. Fishing trips can be charter for an expertly guided adventure on the water.
Holidaymakers to New Smyrna Beach will discover an eclectic mix of old and new; of subtle sophistication and bohemian soul that is as “real” as Florida gets. NSB occupies a notable place in history as the second oldest city in Florida, site of the largest single attempt at British colonisation in the new world.
Accommodation ranges from charming B&Bs to family-size condominium rentals and oceanfront hotels. Two distinct downtowns along Flagler Avenue and Canal Street, connected via the Waterfront Loop, welcome visitors with independent restaurants, unique shops, artisanal coffee shops and art galleries.