I am so lucky to call this place home, and I’m thrilled you’re planning a trip to this sweet little beach town.
I grew up just north of here and purchased my dream beachside home last year. Getting to live here throughout the majority of the year (we spend some of the year over in Bulgaria), I’ve learned a lot about this charming beachside town. I’ll cover everything from nearby airports, the best places to stay, things to do indoor and outdoor, and some of my favorite restaurants! Be sure to check out some of the TWF Tips sprinkled throughout this post and at the bottom.
And with that said, I think I’ve pulled together a great New Smyrna Beach travel guide. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your 20th, I hope you’ll dive into something new!
How to Get to New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Nearby Airports: This east coast town located in Central Florida is easy to get to from almost anywhere. We have the Orlando International Airport (MCO) just 70 minutes away and the Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) about 25 minutes away.
If you’re driving here, we’re right off the well-known interstate, I-95. We’re just under a 90-minute drive to Walt Disney World, a one-hour drive to the Kennedy Space Center, and less than 3 hours from the border of Georgia.
TWF TIP: Once you’re in town, a great way to see the area is by renting a golf cart! If you’re staying on the beachside, you can access a ton of different spots on street legal golf carts.
Where to Stay in New Smyrna Beach
We aren’t renting out our NSB home anytime soon otherwise I’d say stay at my house! However, my top picks for places to stay for this New Smyrna Beach travel guide include (in this order):
Black Dolphin Inn – Riverside
Okay, I’ve never actually stayed at the Black Dolphin Inn, but I swear I daydream about playing “tourist” in my own town at this boutique hotel. Is it weird to book a night at an inn just 5 minutes away from your own bed?! I hope not because I’m craving those balcony views. It’s not on the beach, but if you’re looking for a unique, stylish, luxurious, one-of-a-kind place to stay in NSB, the Black Dolphin Inn has to be it.
SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Oceanfront
I have stayed here! For my 30th birthday, I booked an oceanview room and spent an evening bar-hopping on Flagler Avenue with a few of my girlfriends. I love this hotel because of its prime location right on the beach. Marriott’s are my go-to hotel chain, so the interior is as expected for Marriott. But again, those views. That’s what visiting NSB is all about.
Joy by the Sea Vacation Villas – Beachside/Oceanfront
If you’re looking for an exclusive spot to unpack your bags, then you’ll want to book a place at Joy by the Sea, one of the newest places to stay in New Smyrna Beach! You can rent a one-bedroom villa, all of the villas for up to 30 guests, or get the Joy by the Sea home! Again, I could walk to these villas. Let’s take a vote on whether or not I should stay a night or two?! Yes or yes?
Hampton Inn – Flagler Avenue
The Hampton Inn is in one of the best locations of New Smyrna Beach, just like the Marriott. If you’re looking to walk from the bar to your hotel room, this is a great option. The exterior is in pristine condition, but the interior rooms could use some updating. Don’t worry, you won’t be spending much time there anyway!
AirBnB’s – Condos
As always, a great AirBnB is a solid option in our little beachside town. I, personally, prefer a boutique hotel over an AirBnB, but some of the homeowners here have gone above and beyond to create a vacation rental worth writing home about.
The Best Things To Do in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Even though we’re a small town, there are a ton of things to do in New Smyrna Beach! It’s a popular town for all ages, families, couples, retirees, etc. Basically, if you love sunshine and a good time, NSB is a perfect place to be.
Outdoor Activities in NSB:
Spend Your Vacation at the Beach!
You won’t find a New Smyrna Beach travel guide that doesn’t mention our beaches. Our beaches are amazing! I’m partial because I grew up on the east coast, but they are truly some of the best I’ve ever been to in my life. The beach here is set up for a diverse amount of activities.
- Drive your car on the beach! Like the “World’s Most Famous Beach” (Daytona Beach), there are miles and miles of sand you can drive your vehicle on in NSB. There is a fee to drive on the beach so keep that in mind. Each non-resident vehicle is $20 per day or $100 for an annual pass.
TWF TIP: The two main beach approaches are located on Flagler Avenue and Third Avenue. To avoid long lines on the weekend, try one of the other beach approaches located at: Beachway Avenue, Crawford Avenue, or 27th Avenue. 27th Avenue has a wonderful shaded park for kids, too!
- Watch the sunrise. This wouldn’t be a proper guide to New Smyrna Beach if I didn’t insist on you catching the sunrise over the ocean one morning. The early wake up call will be worth it!
- Go for a walk or run. Our sand here is more compact than most beaches I’ve been to in my life. This makes it the perfect place to go for a sunrise walk or evening run.
- Ride beach cruiser bicycles.
- Sunbathe and swim in the ocean. Don’t be turned off that we’re the “Shark Bite Capital of the World“. The NSB waters have a lot of [mostly] smaller sharks. However, check out the Ultimate Packing List for Florida if you want to bring along a shark deterrant.
- Go surfing or boogie-boarding! In the summer, the average water temperature is in the low 80’s!
TWF TIP: Check the Kennedy Space Center Launch Schedule! If there’s a scheduled rocket launch while you’re visiting New Smyrna Beach, you won’t want to miss watching it from the beach.
Experience Flagler Avenue.
I consider Flagler Avenue the heart of NSB.
During the daytime, Flagler Avenue is filled with locals and tourists strolling along popping into boutiques, restaurants, galleries, surf shops, and more.
During the evenings, this is where you’ll see the nightlife in New Smyrna. You can bar-hop all up and down Flagler Avenue. My favorite spots include Tayton O’Brien’s and The Bounty (one of the coolest bars in town located at the top of Flagler Tavern).
Check out Canal Street.
If you’re adventuring over the causeway, Canal Street is like another version of Flagler Avenue. Also filled with some incredible restaurants, a brewery, beautiful art galleries, and wonderful shops, it’s the heart of “landside” NSB. It’s totally worth a visit.
If you’re looking to take home a special souvenir, head into Diamonds on Julia. I’m obsessed with her store and all of the gorgeous jewelry.
Get Out on the Water with a Paddleboard or Kayak.
Visit Smyrna Dunes Boardwalk & Dog Beach.
If you’re looking for a place to let your pup play in the sand, head to Smyrna Dunes Boardwalk on the north side of town. You’ll need to pay for parking ($10/day or $20/annual pass) but this area is surrounded by Florida beauty. There’s over 2 miles of the boardwalk (a little over one mile if you want to run/walk the loop for exercise), and overlooks the river, dunes, Ponce Inlet, and ocean.
TWF TIP: This is also the best place on beachside to see the sunset!
Head Down to the Canaveral National Seashore.
If you’re ready to get out into nature more, check out the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida. This National Park is south of New Smyrna Beach, near Bethune Beach. It has various trails, historical sites, and even a nude beach. Vehicle entrance is $20 and valid for 7 days!
We frequently ride our triathlon bikes down in the National Park because it’s over 6 miles of road with very few vehicles on it. Grab your cruiser and see it that way!
Visit the Marine Discovery Center (Indoor & Outdoor Options).
Hop on an eco tour with the Marine Discovery Center where you can see dolphins, learn about the Indian River Lagoon, and see the sunset. If you want to explore indoors, check out the aquarium and exhibits. This is a great option for families with kids!
Indoor Activities in New Smyrna Beach:
At the end of the day, this is Florida. So a New Smyrna Beach travel guide needs to have indoor activity options for those unpredictable weather days.
Visit Local Art Galleries.
If you want to duck into some A/C or hide from the rain, the art galleries in New Smyrna are wonderful. If you’re strolling down Canal Street, head into The Hub on Canal.
Spend a Few Hours at The Spa at Riverview!
The Spa at Riverview is everyone’s favorite! It’s perfect for an indoor day, but they also have an incredible courtyard with heated spa pools and lounge chairs. Book a day at the spa for you and the girls, you and your partner, or if you need a morning away from the kids! The staff is wonderful, the services are divine, and you’ll feel spoiled rotten.
See a Show at The Little Theatre.
Interested in a live show?! The Little Theatre has a new show nearly every month.
Experience the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
ACA is a non-profit multidisciplinary artist residency facility founded by artist, Doris Leeper. They have various events exhibitions throughout the year. If you’re looking for something different to do on a rainy weekend, check out what they have going on!
Explore the New Smyrna Museum of History.
Did you know New Smyrna Beach was founded in 1768?! If you’re a history buff or just want to immerse yourself in NSB culture, head to the New Smyrna Museum of History. The Surfing Exhibit is my favorite!
The Best Places to Eat in New Smyrna Beach
I’m currently working on several blog posts highlighting some of the best places to eat in NSB, but this is a full New Smyrna Beach travel guide, so I can’t leave out some of my personal favorites! I added 3 of my favorite spots for coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
(This post will be updated with the link for future NSB foodie blog posts!)
Grab a Coffee at:
- Island Roasters – Located on the North Causeway, this is a very popular place to grab a coffee, breakfast sandwich, and catch up with friends.
- Third Wave Cafe – Right at the corner of Peninsula Ave. and Flagler Ave. is Third Wave Cafe. They have a wonderful menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner, but if you just want a coffee, pop into their coffee shop.
- Cool Beans Cafe – Tucked into a courtyard right off Flagler Ave., Cool Beans gives you great coffee and Insta-worthy atmosphere.
Dig into Breakfast/Brunch at
- Third Wave Cafe – If you’re looking for an outdoor brunch spot, I love Third Wave Cafe’s atmosphere, mimosas, and crepes!
- Wake Up Cafe – For a more traditional breakfast, pop into Wake Up Cafe. They have two locations with one being on the North Causeway near Island Roasters and the other being in the Publix Shopping Center off of Third Ave.
- Baker’s Table (Wednesday – Sunday) – Hands down, the best French Toast in town!
Munch on Lunch at:
- Da Kine Poke (Poke Bowls / Quick Lunch) – Build your own poke bowl with a ton of fresh and delicious ingredients. Da Kine Poke is on Flagler Ave. right next to The Hampton Inn.
- Outrigger’s Tiki Bar (American/Seafood) – This lunch or dinner spot is really popular for its gorgeous water views. Grab a cocktail and some gator tail.
- The Breakers (Casual American, Seafood, Burgers) – Located right at the end of Flagler Avenue, on the beach, is the best cheeseburger in town! Grab a mid-day beer, burger, and ocean view.
Dive into Some Dinner at:
- The Garlic & Blu Bar (Italian/American) – If you only have one dinner out during your time in New Smyrna, head to The Garlic and Blue Bar. Their atmosphere tops every other restaurant in town. The Garlic side is the original restaurant and the Blu Bar is a little more casual. Both usually have live music and a lively bar.
- Prima (Pizza) – Prima is the spot in town for delicious garlic knots, hand-tossed pizzas, and a bottle of wine. The atmosphere here is a total vibe, but the place is small so expect a little bit of a wait on most nights. Traveling solo? Their bar is perfect for a solo dinner date.
- AA Garden Fusion (Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese) – AA is family owned and operated, serving some of the best dishes in town. I’m a sucker for their Fried Rice, Pad Thai, and Bao Buns.
Top Tips for Visiting New Smyrna Beach
As always, I’m here to help! If you didn’t find what you’re looking for in this New Smyrna Beach travel guide, send me an email or DM! If you’re looking for a certain adventure in NSB, I’ll help you find it.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or instagram.com/theweekendfox. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about my hometown.
- Don’t miss this Ultimate Packing List for Florida!
- New Smyrna gets really busy during Spring Break and Summer. Try to visit during “shoulder” season, which includes late March – May, September, October, and December.
- Hurricane Season is June 1st – November 30th every year.
- We get frequent thunderstorms in the summertime. Don’t let that discourage you from planning a trip! Many of our thunderstorms will only last about an hour out of the day and then the sunshine comes right back out.
- It’s very humid in Florida. Being by the water is always a better option in the warmer months.
- Visit the town’s tourism website before you go to check out all of the local events! You can select the dates you’re visiting and see all of the upcoming fun like Wine Walks, Food Trucks, and Live Music. I absolutely love the ongoing entertainment we have in New Smyrna Beach.