New Smyrna Beach is a dichotomy of beachside bliss and cultural charm. Its streets are made for meandering and on them you will find everything you expect from a majestic waterside town. Dig just a little deeper and you’re sure to be impressed by the impossible to resist allure of its hidden gems…
Fun on the Water
Sure, there are fishing charters and traditional boat tours in the charming waterside oasis of New Smyrna Beach, but if you’re looking for a unique adventure on the water, an excellent alternative is a Marine Science Center full moon kayak tour.
The Culture of Racing Seeps into New Smyrna Beach
Of course, the World Center of Racing and its seemingly never ending schedule of racing events including the Daytona 500 can be found in nearby Daytona at its International Speedway, but if you enjoy a good race, there’s also New Smyrna Speedway – a ½ mile, high banked, asphalt, oval short track sanctioned by NASCAR. Race fans get to enjoy bigger races there, but the smaller stock car races are great fun to watch from the stands or infield too.
And for an unparalleled combination of racing memorabilia, an extensive photo library and even a few race cars on-site, as well as dining with a gorgeous oceanfront view, don’t miss out on Racing’s North Turn in Ponce Inlet, the charming beachside community adjacent to New Smyrna Beach. There’s live music on the weekends too.
Great Eats in New Smyrna Beach
Speaking of great places to eat, everyone loves New Smyrna’s River Deck on Riverside Drive, JBs Fish Camp, The Garlic, Norwood’s Restaurant and Treehouse Bar and tried and true Flagler Avenue institutions like the Flagler Tavern, but delve just a bit deeper and you’ll discover The Corkscrew restaurant on Canal Street with a scallops sauteed in garlic spinach appetizer to die for. It may not be a waterside venue, but al fresco dining and people watching from your bistro table on charming, historic Canal Street can be delightful.
Have you been dreaming of your favorite pasta dish cooked to perfection from scratch; grilled mahi mahi on a bed of sauteed spinach and drizzled with a balsamic reduction; walnut gorgonzola salad topped with Faroe Island salmon…any of which can be impressively topped off with homemade tiramisu or ricotta cheesecake fresh from the oven? It’s yours for the taking because there is also an interesting restaurant option on N. Orange Street called Via Canaletto, which offers fine Italian dining. Just be warned. Via Canaletto is gaining quite a bit of momentum, so don’t forget to make reservations (386-410-2220).
If you happen to have a sweet tooth, you may want to indulge at Simply Sweets in Venetian Bay, which is full of tantalizing chocolates, pastries and desserts that are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Keep this one in mind for Valentine’s Day!
A Good Old Time
It may not be the first thing you think of when someone says New Smyrna Beach, but – with lots of antique shops such as Coronado Antiques and the Vintage Mermaid on Dixie Freeway, Antiques & Art on Canal and the Washington Street Consignment Depot – this beachside gem brimming with historic charm is a great place for antiquing!
The Arts in New Smyrna Beach
What you may know about this thriving art community is that New Smyrna Beach is home to several art galleries, but what you may not be aware of is that the Bob Ross Art Gallery and Workshop is also located in New Smyrna Beach. Bob Ross, made famous by his Joy of Painting Public Television series, opened his art workshop and gallery in 1993 right here in New Smyrna Beach. The site is host to a large collection of Bob Ross’ original works of art; it is a premier training center for guest artists from around the world as well as certified Ross landscape, seascape, floral and wildlife instructors; and it is also where you will find paintings, instructional art guides and novelty items available for purchase…a fun place to visit for anyone interested in art or with fond memories of Bob Ross.
New Smyrna Beach is also packed with enjoyable events – some are of the large, street closing variety, but the smaller ones can definitely be worth attending too, including live music performed in local venues. For instance, Beachside Tavern on Atlantic Avenue hosts the Annual Harmonica Championship which is always a good time. Looking to immerse yourself in the tapestry of musical talent? The Hub on Canal, nestled in the heart of New Smyrna’s Historic District, provides an intimate music venue. Or maybe you’d like to enjoy handcrafted libations while listening to acoustic music. Sugar Works Distillery on Orange Street has got that in spades.
The Natural Beauty of New Smyrna Beach
In need of a serene escape? You can find it on the little islands which surround New Smyrna Beach and are just perfect for exploring. New Smyrna Beach is a magical world full of fun and beauty, but when you visit its tiny islands, a whole new world of recreation is open to you. It’s hard to believe, but there are over 40 islands off the coast of Volusia County alone. Here are two excellent examples:
One great place to drop anchor is an island that is sometimes there and sometimes not, depending on the tide. Talk about a hidden gem! Disappearing Island can be found just off the Ponce Inlet jetties where the Halifax River, Ponce Inlet and Indian River intersect. You obviously need to plan your exploration excursion based on the tides, but slack tide will provide several glorious hours for sunbathing, grilling or playing beach games on this island hideaway.
However, if you like to fish, Chicken Island offers some of the area’s best fishing. So set a course for the spot between the North and South Causeways and Daggett and Piddler Islands, which are a little over a mile off Ponce Inlet…much like the booty smugglers of yesterday who are said to have frequented Chicken Island and its surrounding waters.
Shopping with a Twist
New Smyrna Beach also offers all sorts of unexpected shops for an incomparable shopping experience. For example…Forget your flip flops? Believe it or not, one of the fun shops on Flagler Avenue is wholly devoted to flip flops!
Or maybe you have a furry “child” or know someone who does. If so, you’ll want to pay a visit to Silly Willie’s Pet Boutique, also on Flagler. First, stop outside to snap a photo in front of the mural. You’ll love it, because if you position your dog right in front of it, your little angel will look like he’s sporting his own set of angel wings! Then go on in with your best buddy for eclectic goodies from fancy, one-of-a-kind collars and leashes, to all sorts of yummy treats for pets and funny t-shirts, mugs and cards for their humans!
Beachside Condos in an Idyllic Setting
…and tucked away along New Smyrna’s pristine coastline within the exclusive gated community of Minorca is The Inlet, promising luxurious seaside accommodations with a host of resort-style amenities.