It is a widely known fact (and something of which our residents are very proud) that New Smyrna Beach is the nesting destination of choice for three species of sea turtles, including the loggerhead, the green turtle and the leatherback. 

What you may not know, however, is that the temperature of the sand on the beach determines the sex of sea turtle hatchlings. Warmer nest temperatures produce female sea turtles and cooler nests yield male sea turtles. Amazing, right?

What is even more amazing is that the pristine beaches of Volusia County are especially vital to the survival of our treasured sea turtles. Because our beach sand is unique in that it is slightly cooler than Florida’s more southern beaches, it provides the crucial sanctuary that produces so many of the male sea turtles which play a critical part in ensuring the survival of their species.

Other interesting sea turtle facts include their nesting habits. Sea turtles nest in two to four year intervals and may lay three to seven nests per season. Healthy sea turtle nests typically yield 115-135 eggs and the incubation phase lasts about 50 to 75 days.

When it comes to nourishment, loggerhead sea turtles generally order up yummy menu items such as crabs, shellfish and conchs. While the green turtle species tends to prefer to munch on seagrass and algae and loggerhead sea turtles feed on a diet rich in jellyfish.

These amazing sea creatures also grow to pretty enormous lengths and, in a safe, healthy environment, can live very long lives. For instance, loggerhead sea turtles reach maturity at 30 to 35 years of age, a point where they might have grown up to approximately 3 1/2 feet in length and weigh up to around 375 pounds! Wait, it gets better. Green sea turtles reach maturity between 20 and 40 years of age and can grow to reach 4 feet and approximately 420 pounds. Leatherback sea turtles are even bigger, reaching maturity at around 9 to 20 years of age and up to 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and 1100 pounds!

It’s an exciting time when hundreds of sea turtles emerge from the sea to nest and lay their eggs on the pristine beaches of New Smyrna. New Smyrna Beach welcomes our sea turtles in May and their nesting season lasts throughout October. Their gestation period lasts approximately two months, at which time, all those tiny sea turtle hatchlings break free of their shells and begin making their way to their new ocean home. 

It’s a long and arduous journey for those little “guys” with dangers on land including predators such as dogs, birds, crabs, raccoons and armadillos that can end that journey long before it even begins. Additionally, any garbage or holes in the sand can hamper their travels; and the ocean also presents its own set of potential dangers, with a throng of sea creatures that are higher up in the food chain and looking for a tasty snack.

Believe it or not, artificial light can also be a detriment to the survival of sea turtles, as it can potentially prevent adult sea turtles from nesting and disorient baby sea turtles on their way to the sea. 

As residents and visitors of New Smyrna Beach, we try to do our part to improve their chances of survival. Our motto is, “Leave no footprint behind and let the night provide the light.” So, we respect the beach by leaving it as clean as we found it and we are careful not to shine lights from our condos or homes, our cars, flashlights, phones or anything else during sea turtle nesting season. We are also careful not to disrupt the sea turtles by touching or disturbing their nests, and we don’t disturb the dunes or sea plants – which should always be protected for all the wildlife that lives there, as well as to help protect our beautiful beaches from erosion. 

New Smyrna’s dedication to threatened and endangered sea turtles is also evidenced by government permitted volunteers – reorganized as the New Smyrna Beach Turtle Conservancy and named New Smyrna Beach Turtle Trackers – who have protected the New Smyrna Beach sea turtle nesting habitat and sea turtle hatchlings from beach driving and other threats since the 1980s. The Marine Science Center, located in neighboring Ponce Inlet, is also wholly committed to sea turtle conservancy and provides sea turtle rehabilitation as well as public education programs.

New Smyrna Beach is also, of course, the preferred nesting spot for humans as well, with The Inlet topping the list! The Inlet at New Smyrna Beach neighbors 24 miles of pristine coastline along Canaveral Seashore Park and is safely nestled within the 65 meticulously maintained acres of the exclusive Minorca community, located at 257 Minorca Way. 

The Inlet guests enjoy resort-style amenities such as a beautiful pool deck for lounging, which includes a heated pool, a large unheated pool and a spa, four Har-Tru tennis courts and an on-site tennis pro, as well as a fitness center, men’s and women’s saunas and, for those who would like extra space to enjoy time with friends or family, a casino clubhouse with a pool table, kitchen, bar, entertainment center, comfortable seating and free wireless Internet access. 

Guests of the gated condos at The Inlet may choose from one-, two- or three-bedroom condo units, each just steps from the beach and offering a spectacular waterfront view and each well-appointed with style and all of the comforts of home, including a fully-equipped kitchen, its own washer and dryer and cable TV.

For more information about The Inlet, in New Smyrna Beach, call 386-409-9212.