The last parking lot after you go into the National Park is where you need to park to get to the nude beach area. A word of warning, the parking lot fills up on weekends by 6:30 or 7AM at the latest---folk usually sit in their cars and eat breakfast or sleep until 9 or so when the sun gets up a bit more. The next parking lot is probably a mile or more away--a long walk in the sun. From your car, just go down to the beach, hang a right and walk until you see the sign saying nude beachgoers from here on.....A nice bunch of folks, friendly to newcomers with a mix of families, singles and couples----kite flying and frisbee throwing folk as well..... also some naked fisherfolk, too!
Updated September 2012-----same great beach and friendly folk, there-----Got there on saturday
at around 7ish and could have stayed in bed a bit---lot did not fill up til around 10, when the no-see-ums took over and we had to leave, since we forgot the bug spray!!!!
located at old fort park is the foundation of the jane sheldon hotel. this fourty room hotel was built in 1859 and was shelled by union gunboats on july 26 1863. the shelling destroyed the hotel and all that exists today is it's foundation.
old fort park is located on n. riverside drive across the street from the new smyrna beach city hall. this park is on a man made fortified hill that is believed to built in the 1500's by menendez de aviles. some historians think that this site was foundation of the andrew turnbull house who was the founded of new smyrna beach. even though it's exact purpose is unknown still an interesting place to visit in downtown new smyrna.
Close to New Smyrna is located this great National Park, a big park of more than 140,000 acres. Very rich in plants, birds, reptiles and mammal species, some of them listed as endangered by the the Us Federal governement. The place is great for observing wildlife without causing disturbance to the animals.
the mosquito lagoon is a body of water between the mainland and new smyrna beach. the lagoon offers great fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing opportunties when in new smyrna beach. you can rent kayaks at j.b.'s fish camp. see their website for more information.
located at the cape canaveral national seashore is the turtle mound archeological site. turtle mound is a timucauan indian mound that dates back thousands of years. at fifty feet high it is one of the highest timucuan mounds in florida. the mound covers two acres and has 33,000 cubic feet of oyster shells. this mound was used as a navigational landmark by early european seamen. you can walk to the top of the mound for a beautifil view of the atlantic ocean and the mosquito lagoon.
located 7 miles south of central new smyrna beach on USA1A is the cape canaveral national seashore. there are 5 parking areas at the seashore to access the beach. the incorporated areas of new smyrna beach has been highly developed since the early 1970's and is lined with high rise condos. the national seashore shows the visitor what new smyrna beach looked like prior to it's development. the seashore offers swimming, surfing, fishing, and the turtle mound archeological site. also the seashore allows beer drinking on the beach which is rare in florida. on summer weekends arrive early because there is limited parking at the seashore.
of course the main attraction in new smyrna beach is it's beautiful beach. new smyrna beach is one of the few beaches in florida that you can drive on. there a number of beach ramps in town were you can access the beach for a small fee. pictured is the beach pavillion at the flagler ave. beach ramp.
this is a small facility where veterinarians and volunteers care for injured birds and sea turtles and later release them back into the wild. it is about 30-45 mins from new smyrna beach.
NOTE that this is the marine SCIENCE center, which is different from the marine DISCOVERY center in new smyrna beach.
the parking lot has a very short boardwalk on each side. the left boardwalk leads to the injured birds. each bird area has a sign describing the bird, its injuries, and its prognosis.
the right boardwalk becomes an overlook into the area for the injured sea turtles. each one is in a separate tank/pool, and a sign describes the turtle, its injuries, and its prognosis.
you get to the museum ($3 admission) thru the gift shop, but the place where you get a ticket for the museum is BEFORE you get to the gift shop. i did not go into the museum, but asked the museum people if i could walk thru the gift shop. it is terrific. it has a very large selection and a good variety in prices (some things are under $1, and many things under $5!). it has items for both adults and children.
across the street from the center is a very well-shaded concrete path that wanders through plants/shrubs/trees commonly found in florida. these had labels and nice descriptive cards with them.
one part of the path has a branch leading to an observation tower. there are three or four SHORT sets of steps, and you can see a fair amount of the area.
the path is roughly a semi-circle, so it eventually ends north of its beginning but on the same street. my guess is that the path is probably less than a mile.
open tues-fri, 10 am to 4 pm, but i would advise calling ahead, b/c i saw several different "open" days in various tourism publications!
this is a good trip to take in conjunction with a visit to the lighthouse (see my separate "things to do" tip).
This site is best known for its "old fort" ruins (a misnomer for the massive, intact coquina stone foundations of a building constructed by 18th-century colonists at New Smyrna's Turnbull settlement). Those people that don't actually know the history of the site think it is an old Spanish fort built in the 1500's by Menendez de Aviles (this was the speculation of John Detwiler, historian and first editor of the New Smyrna Breeze newspaper). Some say that Turnbull had started building a "palace" on a shell mound but only got as far as the "coquina" block foundation. Or was it the beginnings of a Catholic Church, or a Turnbull period warehouse?
"Coquina", composed of millions of fused together tiny shells was the Florida coastal building material of choice in those days...
An "elegant" hotel built on the original Turnbull foundation was shelled to oblivion by Union sailors. After the Civil War the hotelier Sheldon rebuilt his hotel which served as the local "shopping center" until 1896.
you can see the lighthouse from everywhere, but getting to it requires a little drive. it is about 30-45 mins from new smyrna beach.
this was a working lighthouse for many years; it is 175 feet tall. if you are feeling energetic, you can climb its 203 steps to a balcony where you have a view of the whole area.
there are several buildings as part of the lighthouse grounds, including houses where lighthouse keepers and their families lived, a museum with information about different kinds of lighthouse lenses, and various other relevant exhibits. i did not go into the lighthouse and grounds, but i think the admission fee is about $5.
i did walk around the gift shop, and it has very nice items for adults and children. many of the things for sale are fairly expensive, i thought.
i forgot to notice what the days and hours are, so it might be wise to call ahead!
this is a good trip to take in conjunction with a visit to the marine science center (see my separate "things to do" tip).
One of the most beautiful bird i saw in the park is the Roseate Spoonbill. A big bird of the Ibis and Spoonbill family that nests in mangrove trees and is very common in Florida.