New Smyrna Beach - Orlando / Florida Guide
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We hadn’t planned to go to New Smyrna Beach, we’d planned to go and watch the Shuttle Launch at Cape Canaveral. The Shuttle Launch was cancelled at the last minute, so we decided, since we were in the area to head for the beach instead.
The town of New Smyrna Beach is just north of Cape Canaveral off the I-95. The area was settled in 1767 by Dr Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician and he named the town after his wife’s birthplace – Smyrna in Turkey. The inhabitants take pride in the fact that the town has a ‘laid-back’ feel and attitude to life.
The beach itself is just over thirteen miles long and when we were there, in September, it was very quiet. There were miles and miles of beautiful golden sands with just a few other people either sitting and admiring the beautiful view out over the crystal clear waters or walking along the shore.
The locals like to say it is “The World’s Safest Bathing Beach” and it offers something for everyone – sunbathing, swimming, surfing, jet skiing, wind surfing, fishing and shell collecting. As well as being protected to the north by an imposing rock jetty, and to the south by Canaveral National Seashore Park, it is protected by rock ledges some 25 to 40 miles offshore which eliminate dangerous undercurrents. Surfing is very popular because of the excellent wave breaks – the best in Florida some would say.
Where many Florida beaches have been tainted and spoiled by the influx of tourists, New Smyrna Beach remains almost untouched. It is also free of heavy traffic. It is possible to drive down on to the beach, but it is not crowded. There are many places in the roads that run alongside the beach where you can park, as we did, and then you walk over a sort of wooden bridge onto the beach itself.
There was a sign on the bridge we crossed warning us that rules are strictly enforced in order to protect the loggerhead turtles which lay their eggs on this beach.
If all the exercise (or lazing around) on the beach has made you feel hungry then head for the town, which offers plenty of places to find something to eat. There are of course plenty of seafood restaurants offering freshly caught fish and other seafood, but there are also Mexican, Chinese and Italian restaurants.
Having visited New Smyrna Beach by ‘accident’, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a return visit.
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