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When you think of the central coastal town of New Smyrna Beach in Florida, what first comes to mind?

It might be the popular 13 miles of white sand beaches that attracts millions each year (according to latest statistics, 9.5 million visitors graced New Smyrna Beach in 2015, up from 9.1 million the year before).

Or maybe it’s the list of outdoor New Smyrna Beach activities: kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, scuba diving and kitesurfing.

But you might or might not know about the several exciting nature parks in and near New Smyrna Beach that are worth visiting on a family vacation.

Read on to find out more about some of these attractions and things to do near most New Smyrna Beach rentals and why they’re certainly worthy of your attention.

Smyrna Dunes Park

Located on North Peninsula Drive in New Smyrna Beach, Smyrna Dunes Park is 73 acres of nature trails, sand dunes and water-front land.

Enjoy the view of the sand dunes without destroying their natural state by traveling the 1.5-mile long elevated walkways through this park. You can also experience birds, reptiles and plants that live and thrive in this natural environment.

Being surrounded on three sides by water gives you the opportunity to enjoy fishing, boating and swimming.

Want to bring Fido along? This park is one of the few that allows your canine family member to come and enjoy what the park has to offer–just remember to keep him or her on a leash!

Lighthouse Point Park

Visiting the natural state of the land at Lighthouse Point Park, found at the southern tip of Ponce Inlet on South Atlantic Ave., is definitely worth a few hours of your time.

This 52-acre spread offers nature trails where you can observe various forms of wildlife, from armadillos to shore birds, and even watch the dolphins that frequently visit the shoreline of this beautiful park.

Survey the land from an observation deck and tower, eat lunch at one of the pavilions and go for a swim. For a reasonable fee, the lighthouse is available to climb if you’re up to all those steps!

This one loves to have Fido, too–leashed, of course! There’s a fun day waiting for you, the kids and the dog at Lighthouse Point Park!

Tomoka State Park

When you want a change of scenery from the sandy beaches, you’ll find plenty of great things to do and see at Tomoka State Park! Just 25 miles north of New Smyrna Beach, this whopping 900-acre scenic stretch is set between the Tomoka River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bird watchers: you’ll be in heaven when you visit Tomoka State Park. You can view over 160 species in the spring and fall! There’s also a half-mile nature trail where you can enjoy the wildlife and foliage.

Head to the water and enjoy kayaking and canoeing, as well as fishing and picnicking. What’s more, there’s a playground for the kids as well as a youth camping area complete with grills, picnic tables and showers.

De Leon Springs State Park

Drive just 33 miles northwest of New Smyrna Beach and you’ll find De Leon Springs State Park. 625 scenic acres here boasts 72-degree springs where swimming is allowed!

You’ll also enjoy the following:

  • A 4.5-mile hiking trail
  • Half-mile nature trail
  • Boat tours
  • Paddling trail through marshes, lakes and creeks
  • Fishing, bird watching and boating
  • Butterfly Garden with hundreds of plants, butterflies and hummingbirds

De Leon Springs State Park is certainly worth the drive and you can spend a full day there. Pack a lunch to eat at one of the pavilions and have a tasty dinner served at the park’s restaurant, The Old Spanish Sugar Mill.

And these are just a sampling of the several wonderful nature parks and New Smyrna Beach activities you can explore and that will certainly round out your visit or family vacation!

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