The Marine Discovery Center is a non-profit organization that conducts ecological and historic boat tours of the estuary. They also do the Sunset Inlet Tours which include wine and cheese and are $2.00 more than the regular tours.
I think the historical tour might be the most interesting (I feel that we do our own ecological tour on our own boat when we motor through the area). I took this picture of their boat as we motored by.
ECOLOGICAL TOUR SCHEDULE
Tuesday through Saturday
HISTORIC BOAT TOUR
Once a week on alternating Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m.
This tour starts with the early Indians, and covers the first settlers.
Directions I-95 to S.R. 44 (249A) to Live Oak L to Canal R. to Riverside left to N. Causewy.
Admission Price: Adults $20 - $22, seniors $18 - $20, children $10 - $12, children under 4 free.
Approximate time required: 2.5 hours
the "pavilion" (a building) by the parking lot has restrooms. there is a boardwalk just to the left of the pavilion, but there is also one just to the right immediately BEFORE the parking lot. both circle around, so it doesn't really matter which one you take.
the boardwalks go through some very interesting plants/shrubs/trees that are apparently typical of florida vegetation. the boardwalks also circle close to the ocean, with relatively short walkways off to the side where you can get to the beach.
the total circuit is 1.5 miles, but there are shaded places and benches for rest along the way, and if you go fairly slowly, it is not really tiring (or you can just go as far as you want and then turn back!).
you can see the ponce inlet lighthouse from everywhere, but to get to it, you need to take a very manageable drive of 30-45 minutes (see my "things to do" tip on the lighthouse).
if you take one of the walkways to the beach, there is lots of space to wander, and the water is very shallow there.
at walkway 3, which is closer to the beginning of the boardwalk to the left of the pavilion, you can bring dogs to the beach.
i very much enjoyed my afternoon at this park.
i'm not sure when it opens, but it closes at 8 pm.
on the "island" side, take 3rd avenue (also called SR 44, the south causeway, and A1A, at various points) to its intersection with peninsula avenue; turn east (toward the ocean).
stay on peninsula avenue until you see a coast guard facility directly in front of you; don't go in there! instead, turn right at the "park" sign, then stop at the park entrance booth ($3.50, well worth it, i think), then straight ahead to the parking lot. the actual address is 2995 north peninsula avenue, new smyrna beach, FL, 32169.
this interesting historical site is missed by most visitors to new smyrna beach. the mill was built by willaim kembile in 1830. he grew sugar cane on several thousand acres near the mill. he milled the cane with a steam engine and a mule drawn press. in 1835 seminole indians attacked the mill and destroyed it. an interesting site to visit when in new smyrna beach. the old sugar mill park is located at 600 mission drive on the mainland side of new smyrna beach. from the west take SR44 into downtown symrna beach then turn right on mission drive. the park is about an 1/8 of a mile on the right. be very carefull when entering and exiting the park because the road to the mill is single lane.
pictured is the walking trail just behind the sugar hill ruins. this trail takes you through a florida palmetto hammock which gives you an idea of what the new smyrna beach area looked like in the mid 1800's.
I took this photo as we drove into New Smyrna. It seemed to be an early style building. It is actually Dunn Lumber, which has the Original Overhead Door of Daytona Beach and has been "Serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange, and Flagler Counties with building material needs since 1905.
• Commercial Hardware
• Pre-Hung Doors
• Millwork - UL Approved
• Hollow Metal Doors & Frames