by Melissa Puppo | March 19, 2024

Discover New Smyrna Beach: Florida’s Ultimate Outdoor Adventure Destination

Dive headfirst into the heart of adventure at this quaint beach town

Known for its amazing coastline, New Smyrna Beach takes you on a journey of all its best activities from the sandy shores to the wildlife trails. Photography courtesy of New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau.

As wanderlust beckons, many beachgoers gravitate to bustling cities along Florida’s east and west coasts, but plenty of smaller yet vibrant towns offer a comparable blend of culture and adventure. New Smyrna Beach, about an hour northeast of Orlando, is a quaint seaside haven with an abundance of natural beauty and diverse landscapes waiting to be explored. For years, its endless miles of sun-kissed shores, lush national parks, meandering waterways, and relaxed atmosphere have captivated many, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in the town’s splendors year-round. You’ll find everything from adrenaline-pumping surf hotspots to leisurely river cruises perfect for spotting manatees. Whatever your speed, New Smyrna Beach caters to every adventurer’s interest. Journey with us as we uncover the greatest outdoor adventures that define this easygoing town.

Sun & Surf

The Atlantic Ocean waves are a paradise for surfers looking for a consistent spot to practice their skills. Photography courtesy of New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau.

Surfing in Florida doesn’t get much better than New Smyrna Beach, where the rock ledges off the coast and consistent swells throughout the day create an unparalleled surfer’s paradise. While the waves aren’t usually higher than several feet, they’re still the most reliable and have given rise to some of the best surfers in the nation. If you’re not as experienced as the locals, seize the opportunity to learn from the pros by taking a lesson at the iconic Ponce Inlet for some of the best waves or paddling out at at Smyrna Dunes Park, also known for its network of boardwalk trails traversing a vast field of dunes and dog-friendly beaches.

For a serene, car-free beach experience, Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park is just the spot. Spend the afternoon picnicking with family, fishing on the pier or taking a stroll along the beachfront sidewalk. Or, head south to the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline at Canaveral National Seashore. Dotted with ancient Timucua shell mounds, the barrier island has a reputation for being a prime location for watching rocket launches from nearby Cape Canaveral. 

Aquatic Adventures

Breaming with wildlife, the Bird Rookery Paddling Trail is perfect for nature lovers to soak in their surroundings. Photography courtesy of New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau.

A phrase you’ll likely hear while traveling to New Smyrna Beach is “blueways,” otherwise known as the seaside town’s intricate waterways. The Smyrna Creek Blueway, a scenic paddling trail through coastal wetlands, offers a loop of over five miles and is a great launch site for paddleboarding or kayaking adventures. Bird Rookery Paddling Trail offers a 2.9-mile blueway perfect for beginners and teeming with water birds in mangroves that nest year-round, while Mosquito Lagoon is home to 4,000 Florida flora and fauna species. 

The waterways set the stage for a spectacular display of bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and other marine life. Hop on a paddleboard with Turtle Mound River Tour or shove off beneath the canvas of a watercolor sky with NSB River Tours, also known for captivating bioluminescence excursions. Another way to explore the waters is by booking a boat charter, like an offshore jaunt to the Gulf Stream, brimming with yellowfin tuna and cobia or an inshore excursion to the tidal marsh flats for redfish. 

In New Smyrna Beach you can take guided cruises as the sun sets. Photography courtesy of New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau.

Curious to learn more about the Indian River Lagoon—one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the world—and its delicate ecosystem? Climb aboard 40-seat pontoon boat for a two-hour tour at the Marine Discovery Center and listen as certified Florida Master Naturalists share insights about the abundant marine life in the lagoon.

Beyond the Beach

With over one thousand miles of trails, your family can find the perfect path to cycle together. Photography courtesy of New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau.

Like its intricate blueways, New Smyrna Beach beckons with inland greenways worth exploring to immerse yourself in vibrant nature. Canaveral National Seashore stands out as the area’s most popular, but New Smyrna Beach is dotted with other cherished parks. Doris Leeper SpruceCreek Preserve spans 1,637 acres and offers nature trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, connecting seamlessly to the area’s blueways. The East Central Regional Rail Trail, Florida’s lengthiest railroad-to-trail conversion, spans 52 miles across Brevard and Volusia Counties. It caters to casual riders and avid cyclists seeking uninterrupted mileage through Old Florida’s natural beauty.

Fuel Up

No discussion about outdoor adventures would be complete without mentioning al fresco eateries. Whether grabbing a bite to eat before you gear up for fun or looking to relax post-adventure, New Smyrna Beach is home to a slew of casual waterfront eateries. Stop by JB’s Fish Camp for one of the best river views in town and an epic sunset. Enjoy live entertainment every weekend and locally caught seafood. Outriggers embraces ocean-fresh catches and Angus steaks, while the dog-friendly River Deck promises a laid-back atmosphere, featuring everything from bucket drinks to great burgers and seafood. Create lasting memories by visiting Off the Hook Raw Bar & Grill, where you can bring your catch from the day’s fishing excursion and have them prepare it just as you like. Talk about straight from the sea to your plate! 

In New Smyrna Beach, every wave, trail, and sunset becomes a part of a vibrant and immersive journey into nature’s playground. Why not step away from the typical hustle and bustle and embrace the allure of laidback luxury? Whether you want to explore all action or prefer simply to dip your toes, New Smyrna Beach invites you to savor the simple pleasures and forge unforgettable memories in this unique blend of leisure and excitement.

For more information go to