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Your Ultimate Weekend Escape: Exploring the Charm of New Smyrna Beach, Florida


Away from the relentless pursuit of everyday demands, the seaside town of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, beckons with its picturesque charm, stunning landscapes, and delectable culinary scene. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or someone seeking a serene getaway, this quaint coastal town is a perfect retreat. Here, we’ve curated the ultimate weekend itinerary that embraces the town’s unique offerings and ensures you make the most of your visit to New Smyrna Beach.

Day 1: Kickstart Your Weekend with a Culinary Adventure

New Smyrna Beach is dappled with a range of dining destinations, each charming in its unique way and dedicated to serving standout dishes. So get ready to dine out at the town’s most celebrated eateries, where the ambiance is as captivating as the food itself.

For an upscale dining experience encompassing both simplicity and sophistication, the first must-visit is Merk’s Bar and Grill. This establishment has both laid-back charm and a polished vibe. Pair your delectable meal with their impressive selection of craft beers for an unforgettable dining experience.

Just around the corner, another notable mention in the swanky dining scene, is The Garlic. Offering an immersive dining experience with a rustic Italian twist, this blissfully romantic restaurant exhibits whimsical outdoor settings like twinkling lights and enchanting greenery. Their extensive menu items range from succulent meat dishes to vibrant salads and homemade pasta, all prepped with the freshest of ingredients. And let’s not forget their remarkable selection of wines, each flawlessly mirroring the profile of the dish it is served with.

For seafood aficionados, New Smyrna Beach is nothing short of a paradise. With an ocean’s worth of fresh seafood, the town is sprinkled with numerous restaurants offering some of the finest seafood fares. One such spot is Off The Hook. Masterfully balancing flavors, they dish out an assortment of fresh seafood enhanced with mouth-watering spices and expert culinary techniques. Known for its shrimp and oyster platters, this restaurant is sure to feed your seafood cravings and ensure you leave with a satisfied palate.

In addition, Outriggers Tiki Bar and Grille is another watering hole worth trying. Located on the waters of the Indian River, this tropical-themed establishment serves up a diverse menu that includes dishes like coconut shrimp, ahi tuna, and their renowned seafood platter. Combined with the stunning waterfront views and laid-back atmosphere, you’re sure to have a meal that’s beyond satisfactory.

These vibrant dining spaces are more than just a meal – they’re a whole sensory experience! From the moment you walk through the door, the ambiance invites relaxation and the dishes promise a delicious adventure. With a blend of classic favorites and innovative additions, these dining venues are primed to kickstart your weekend at New Smyrna Beach, Florida on a delightful note.

Day 2: New Smyrna Beach: Sun, Sand, and Adventure


New Smyrna Beach is truly an idyllic destination for all beach enthusiasts and adventure-seekers. With its picturesque coastline, crystal-clear waters, and tranquil surroundings, this 13-mile stretch of white sandy shoreline provides the perfect setting to start your day on a high note.

Begin your morning with an early walk or jog along the shoreline, as you marvel at the golden hues of a Floridian sunrise. Feel the warm sand between your toes and listen to the crashing waves and the gentle call of seabirds. Enjoy the refreshing morning breeze while witnessing the panoramic beauty that unfolds before your eyes.

Sun and surf await as you set up your beach gear to spend the day lounging by the ocean. Claim your spot on the seemingly endless stretch of sand, bring your favorite book, or work on that envy-inducing vacation tan. Take short breaks to explore the beach’s shoreline, collect seashells, and dip your toes in the cool, inviting waters.

New Smyrna Beach is also a renowned spot for surfing, with surfers traveling from all corners of the globe to experience its waves. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a rookie eager to conquer your first wave, local surf shop Red Dog Surf Shop provides rentals to satisfy your surfing desires. From November through April, you might even spot the occasional migrating Right Whale off the coast, adding a touch of magical wonder to your surfing experience.

For those who seek to explore the waters beyond surfing, paddleboarding is another popular activity at New Smyrna Beach. Paddle through gentle waves or tranquil lagoons with just your board and paddle, offering a whole new perspective of the coastline. Paddleboard New Smyrna Beach offers rentals and guided tours, giving you the chance to observe various marine life, spot rare birds, and explore hidden waterways.

The shallow, warm waters surrounding the beach are also home to a vibrant underwater world, making it a hotspot for snorkeling and scuba diving fans. Discover colorful coral reefs, encounter diverse marine life, and uncover shipwrecks nestled at the ocean’s floor with local scuba diving and snorkeling operators.

Indeed, a whole world of sun and adventure await at the beautiful New Smyrna Beach. With its pristine coastlines, a myriad of watersports, and captivating natural surroundings, it is the perfect place to embrace the quintessential beach getaway and kickstart your day with exhilarating activities that cater to every wanderlust spirit.

Lunch at Flagler Tavern: An Ocean of Flavors

Flagler Tavern - Shrimp Tacos

After a fun-filled morning of sun and surf, it would be time to head over to Flagler Tavern, a renowned eating spot that beautifully combines culinary sophistication with a relaxed coastal charm. Tucked away in New Smyrna Beach’s bustling historic district, this ocean-front gem is a local favorite and a must-visit food destination for every visitor.

As you approach Flagler Tavern, you will instantly notice its distinctive character. The building’s historical root dating back to 1920 sets the stage, bridging the gap between the old and the new. As you step inside, you are immediately greeted by a warm, inviting atmosphere filled with the hum of satisfied diners and friendly staff.

This resto-bar paints a perfect coastal picture with its tropical-themed decor, adorned with vintage memorabilia and surfboards that pay homage to the local beach culture. The panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from its breezy outdoor patio provide a delightful backdrop as you enjoy your meal, emphasizing that quintessential beach tavern experience.

Flagler Tavern’s menu is a haven for food lovers, offering a tantalizing array of dishes designed to cater to all palates and preferences. Their culinary philosophy centers around using only the finest, freshest locally-sourced ingredients to create a diverse menu that journeys through an exciting fusion of flavors.

For those who crave a big, juicy burger, they serve a variety of house-made burgers, ranging from the classic Tavern Burger to more adventurous options like the The Ridiculas Burger. Each burger is expertly cooked to your liking and served with a choice of freshly-cut fries or a tavern salad.

Seafood enthusiasts aren’t left out either. Their seafood dishes, all prepared from the day’s fresh catch, are a revelation of flavors. From tangy shrimp tacos, decadent crab mac n’ cheese, to the fresh Atlantic Salmon, every dish features a unique blend of spices and cooking techniques that celebrate the ocean’s bounty in the most flavorful way possible.

Beyond their outstanding food offerings, Flagler Tavern also boasts an extensive drink selection that pairs perfectly with their menu. Choose from their selection of fine wines, craft beers, and specialty cocktails, each expertly curated to complement your meal and enhance your dining experience.

After an active morning at the beach, taking a refreshing break to unwind and dine at the Flagler Tavern truly adds to the authentic coastal vibe of your New Smyrna Beach getaway. With its characterful ambiance, innovative culinary creations, and superb service, it promises to deliver a memorable, sensory tickling lunch experience unlike any other.

Afternoon Wonders: Canaveral National Seashore and Smyrna Dunes Park

New Smyrna Beach has more to offer than just sandy shores and water sports. When you’re ready for a change of scenery or a deeper connection with nature, the tranquil outdoors beckons. Two noteworthy sites, the Canaveral National Seashore and Smyrna Dunes Park, present a captivating range of natural beauty, flora, and fauna. These are sure to keep your adventurous spirit wanting more.

Canaveral National Seashore

Cape Canaveral National Seashore - Photo by NPS

Sprawled across a 57,000-acre stretch, the Canaveral National Seashore is a pristine, untouched sanctuary that is home to diverse ecosystems and captivating wildlife. This magnificent National Park is best explored through its many nature trails, each offering unique opportunities to experience the beauty of its coastal dunes, lagoons, and hardwood hammocks.

Spend your afternoon strolling along the relaxing, flat terrains and hiking trails that wind through mesmeric landscapes. Admire the stunning views of the Atlantic coast and relish the charm of the Indian River Lagoon estuary. An intriguing variety of birds call this haven their home, so be sure to have your binoculars handy and immerse yourself in bird watching. The park is home to over 300 species, such as the Roseate Spoonbill, Reddish Egret, and the Great Horned Owl.

With 13 distinct rare, endangered, or threatened plant species found in Canaveral National Seashore, you’ll encounter fascinating flora, like the exotic-looking Coontie or the fragrant Pawpaw shrub. Keep an eye out for the numerous reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects that make up the thriving ecosystems here.

Smyrna Dunes Park

Smyrna Dunes Park, another picturesque site spanning across 250 acres, is situated at the northern tip of the New Smyrna Beach peninsula. Surrounded by both Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean, the park encompasses five distinctly diverse ecosystems, offering spectacular vistas and an array of flora and fauna that would leave every nature enthusiast in awe.

As you meander along a two-mile elevated boardwalk through the park, you’ll be treated with sights of coastal scrub, saltwater marsh, and sand dunes with panoramic views that are simply unforgettable. Be on the lookout for the protected species, the Gopher tortoise, as well as various lizards and snakes that scuttle across.

Bird watching is a particularly rewarding activity at Smyrna Dunes Park. The diverse ecosystems make it an attractive spot for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and an assortment of other bird species. You might catch sight of ospreys nesting on communications towers, magnificent frigatebirds scanning the shoreline or bald eagles soaring overhead.

Another perk of Smyrna Dunes Park is that it is dog-friendly, with a designated section that allows your furry friend to frolic in the water and run freely off-leash.

Whether you choose to explore the Canaveral National Seashore or Smyrna Dunes Park, your afternoon promises to be filled with breathtaking views, intriguing flora and fauna, and an even deeper admiration for the splendid nature that surrounds New Smyrna Beach. These nature wonders will invigorate you, leaving a lasting impression that extends beyond your vacation.

Evening Delights: Memorable Dining and Vibrant Nightlife

As the day turns into evening in New Smyrna Beach, the town continues to beckon with delightful dining experiences and an effervescent nightlife that guarantees an unforgettable close to your adventure-filled day.

Dinner at JB’s Fish Camp & Seafood Restaurant


As dusk settles, head toward the calming waters of the Indian River to experience an exquisite seafood feast at JB’s Fish Camp & Seafood Restaurant. This waterfront dining establishment is not just a restaurant, but a true embodiment of Florida’s laid-back coastal lifestyle.

The welcoming, unfussy atmosphere of JB’s Fish Camp, combined with the gorgeous, peaceful waterfront surroundings, creates a unique dining experience. Their outdoor seating area is perfect for soaking in the mesmerizing beauty of the Indian River, particularly at sunset.

JB’s Fish Camp is reputed for its delectable variety of seafood dishes, all prepared fresh and flavored to perfection. Treat yourself to their popular crab cakes, savor the richness of their seafood gumbo, or enjoy the simplicity of their classic fried shrimp. Their famous steamed blue crabs fished straight from the Indian River are a must-try for all seafood lovers.

While indulging in their savory dishes, be treated to the sight of playful dolphins swimming in the tranquil waters of the Indian River. Watching these graceful creatures frolic in their natural habitat is an experience that adds an extra touch of magic to your dining experience at JB’s Fish Camp.

The Vibrant Nightlife of New Smyrna Beach

Beachside Tavern

After the fulfilling meal, the night is still young and it’s time to dive into the spirited nightlife scene of New Smyrna Beach. From rocking live music to an infectious, lively atmosphere, the happening spots such as Beachside Tavern and Tayton O’Brians Irish Pub promise an incredible evening after sundown.

Beachside Tavern, locally known as an epicenter of entertainment, is famed for its live music scene. Their open-air setting under swaying palms creates the perfect beach vibe to appreciate good music spanning multiple genres, from rock and blues to country and reggae. This spot attracts both local and nationally touring bands making Beachside Tavern an essential destination for music lovers.

For a taste of authentic pub culture alongside some foot-stomping music, Tayton O’Brians Irish Pub is your destination. This lively pub exudes an invitingly rustic Irish charm and a vibrant atmosphere that encapsulates the definition of a great night out. Grab a pint of your favorite brew and lose yourself in the beats of rock ‘n roll and traditional Irish music that fill the venue.

Dining at JB’s Fish Camp & Seafood Restaurant followed by nightlife experiences in New Smyrna Beach provides a fitting conclusion to a glorious day. It’s a blend of tantalizing cuisine, dynamic music, friendly crowds, and the captivating charm of coastal Florida – the perfect recipe for memorable oceanside nights.

Day 3: Bike Ride Along New Smyrna Beach & Enjoy Culinary Cuisines

Salty Rentals

On your final day, embrace the serene beauty of New Smyrna Beach in a different manner – by taking a morning bike ride along its extraordinary coastline. This beachside cycling adventure promises a unique and refreshing beginning to your day that will leave a lasting impression.

New Smyrna Beach’s hard-packed sand provides an excellent surface for cycling, allowing you to ride comfortably while experiencing the natural splendor close-up. The soothing sound of waves lapping the shores and the refreshing sea breeze accompany you on this ride, creating an ambiance of serenity that is hard to beat.


Bike Rentals in New Smyrna Beach

To embark on this venture, you’ll need a suitable bike, and New Smyrna Beach has several local rental shops more than equipped to provide you with the perfect ride. Places like Salty Rentals and Beach Bicycle & Kayak offer a fantastic range of bicycles tailored to suit your needs and preferences.

Salty Rentals enjoys a reputation for exceptional customer service and top-notch equipment. They carry a wide variety of bike styles, from cruisers to electric bikes, ensuring there is an ideal option for everyone. Besides, the friendly staff is more than ready to help you with bike selection, adjustments, and share valuable tips on exploring the area.

Conveniently located near the beach, Beach Bicycle & Kayak not only offers bike rentals but also paddleboards, kayaks, and other beach accessories that can enhance your remaining time at New Smyrna Beach. As with Salty Rentals, their staff is knowledgeable and attentive, ensuring that you find the perfect bike for your cycling adventure.


Exploring New Smyrna Beach on Two Wheels

With your chosen bike from one of these reputable shops, you’re all set to explore the gorgeous, sun-kissed shoreline of New Smyrna Beach. There are various paths to choose from, whether you want to stay along the shoreline or take a detour through the charming surrounding neighborhoods.

Hop on your bike and let your coastal journey unfold as you pass by picturesque landscapes, unspoiled dunes, and possibly a glimpse of frolicking dolphins in the distance. Observe the local beach culture, the bustling early morning energy of the surfers and beach-goers and the tranquility as you move further away from the crowds.

Stopping at points of interest, visiting local shops or cafes that may catch your eye, or pausing for a moment of reflection to soak in the stunning panoramas can undoubtedly make your bike ride even more memorable.

A morning bike ride along the incredible shores of New Smyrna Beach lets you start your final day with unmatched beauty and tranquility. The spectacular vistas and the invigorating activity blend seamlessly to create an experience that serves as a fitting tribute to your splendid time at New Smyrna Beach.

Brunch: Café Heavenly

After relishing the early morning’s panoramic views and engaging in some invigorating exercise, it’s only natural to be curious about what gastronomic delights New Smyrna Beach has to offer. One such place that has garnered much local fame for its delectable food is Café Heavenly.

Perfectly positioned in the heart of beautiful New Smyrna Beach, Café Heavenly has been serving its customers an eclectic mix of seafood-focused comfort food and innovative culinary creations for over 20 years. From outside, the eatery exudes a friendly, down-to-earth vibe, inviting you in for a relaxed late breakfast or brunch. The whimsical celestial décor inside lives up to the café’s heavenly name, creating a cosy and welcoming ambiance.

Indulge in an unforgettable brunch at this cherished institution where quality of ingredients, skilled preparation, and flavorful outcomes take centre stage. Café Heavenly offers an extensive and diverse array of dishes, ensuring there is something to satisfy every palate, but the real stars are their renowned seafood items: the Lobster Bisque and the Heavenly Crab Cakes.

Their signature Lobster Bisque is a heavenly bowl of immense flavors. This soup combines fresh, tender lobster meat simmered with a rich, creamy base showcasing an impressive depth of flavor. The bisque is masterfully crafted to achieve a balanced harmony between the sweetness of the lobster and the delicate blend of spices. Each spoonful is a chance to savour the combination of robust, creamy soup and succulent lobster, a culinary encounter that raises the simple act of dining to an exquisite experience.

Next, try out the celebrated Heavenly Crab Cakes. Packed full of lump crab meat and just enough breadcrumbs to hold it all together, these crab cakes are the epitome of quality and simplicity. Each bite dives into a crisp outer layer to reveal a moist and flavorful interior that emphasizes the natural, subtle sweetness of the crab. Accompanied by a tangy and vibrant remoulade sauce, these heavenly crab cakes are a testament to the café’s commitment to delivering seafood dishes of outstanding quality and flavor.

Do not underestimate the accompanying beverages at Café Heavenly. Their well-curated selection of organic coffees and teas, unique smoothies, or even a glass of wine or craft beer pairs wonderfully with their seafood brunch and completes your meal on a flavorful note.

Having brunch at Café Heavenly is not just about the memorable food but also experiencing the friendly, relaxing atmosphere that locals have loved for years. It’s a delightful culinary break during your day of adventure and a gastronomic treat you do not want to miss out on when visiting New Smyrna Beach.

Exploring the Vibrant Arts Scene in New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is not only renowned for its vibrant natural majesty but is also a haven for artistic expression and appreciation. As your morning transitions into afternoon on your last day, venture into a colorful adventure of appreciating and engaging with the unique art scene in New Smyrna Beach.


Visit The Hub on Canal

Start your artistic journey at The Hub on Canal, an upbeat, creative center filled with diverse artistry and cultural experiences. Housed in a beautifully restored, historic building, The Hub is home to over 80 local artists, whose workspace studios are open for public viewing.

Walking through The Hub, you can witness the artists engrossed in their craft in various mediums such as painting, photography, sculpture, pottery, and textiles. This open-studio layout gives you a unique chance to interact with the artists, understanding their inspirations, processes, and stories.

There’s always something innovative on display in The Hub’s gallery exhibitions that are changed monthly, ensuring fresh and varied expressions of creativity to appreciate. The Hub also offers numerous workshops, classes, and special events that cater to both adults and children, fostering a love for the arts in every generation.


Historic Flagler Avenue: A Stroll Through Artistic Diversity

From The Hub, make your way to historic Flagler Avenue, an iconic part of New Smyrna Beach with its characteristically charming old Florida vibe. Nestled along Flagler Avenue are distinct galleries and craft shops showcasing both local and international talents.

These galleries exhibit a wide array of artwork styles and mediums, from traditional to contemporary, paintings to sculptures, jewelry to stained glass. Each establishment opens a door into a different artistic realm for you to step into and admire. Take your time strolling along Flagler Avenue, soaking in these expressions of artistry and creativity that embody the vibrant artistic heart of New Smyrna Beach.


Atlantic Center for the Arts: The Pinnacle of Artistic Experience

Lastly, don’t miss out on the unique experience offered by the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Built amidst acres of breathtaking Florida wilderness, this renowned facility seeks to promote innovation and experimentation in arts.

The center frequently hosts artist residencies, workshops, exhibitions, and performances, each marking a perfect blend of arts and nature. Its architecture, designed by the award-winning architect Charles Gwathmey, is itself an artistic marvel that elegantly complements the natural surrounding beauty.

Here, you can participate in hands-on workshops, each one offering a deeper understanding of various art forms under the guidance of skilled artists. Often, the center also hosts exhibitions showcasing the outstanding work of their resident artists, giving you an insight into the creative journey undertaken by these artists during their residency.

Spending your afternoon immersing yourself in the vibrant artistic landscape of New Smyrna Beach is more than just sight-seeing. It is about connecting with a community’s soul, understanding its richness, and experiencing the vibrant energy that fuels the city’s cultural life. Whether you’re an art lover or a casual observer, this colorful sojourn will leave you inspired and enriched, providing a delightful conclusion to your afternoon.

A Sunset Farewell: An Evening at Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum


As the day winds down, it’s time to bid adieu to the enchanting coastal town of New Smyrna Beach. There is no better place to experience the closing act of the day than at the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum – a mesmerizing locale boasting Florida’s tallest lighthouse, and an atmospheric backdrop for soul-stirring sunsets.


Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse: A Towering Beacon

Towering above the surrounding landscape at an impressive 175 feet, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in the United States. Constructed in 1887, the lighthouse’s historical significance is matched by its sheer aesthetic charm.

Walking up its 203 steps, each echoing with years of maritime legacy, you reach the observation deck. From here, the panoramic views are breath-taking, offering sprawling vistas of the Ponce Inlet, the coastline, and the vast ocean beyond. As day transitions into night, this vantage point becomes a hive for spectators – all eager to witness a stunning sunset spectacle.


Shifting Shades of Sunset: A Grand Performance

As the sun begins its descent, the sky becomes a grand canvas, unfolding an abstract painting in motion. Shades of soft pinks and golds blend together, gradually morphing into intense hues of reds, oranges, and purples. This unforgettable sight of the sun dipping beneath the horizon, casting a magical glow on the calm sea below, is a truly humbling experience.

Watch as the last rays of sunlight illuminate the historic lighthouse, highlighting its architectural finesse. The sight of the iconic tower silhouetted against the strikingly colorful skies is one to remember.


The Lighthouse Museum: Nautical Tales

While the sunset and the lighthouse, in themselves, are incredibly captivating, the adjoining museum enhances the overall visit. Housing artifacts and exhibits, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Museum recounts tales of the area’s nautical and civilian history.

Stroll through the original keepers’ dwellings, which retain their 19th-century authenticity. Observe the extensive collection of Fresnel Lenses and gain insights into the technology that powered the beacon of the lighthouse. Harnessing the twilight hours to explore the museum adds another layer of charm to your experience.

Saying farewell to New Smyrna Beach with a captivating sunset at the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is sure to be a poignant ending to your time in this coastal gem. As the lighthouse’s beam pierces the growing darkness, let the memory of the sunset, mirrored in the tranquility of water and etched against the silhouette of the historic tower, etch itself into your heart. This resonating closure encapsulates the spirit of New Smyrna Beach – mesmerizing, beautiful, and unforgettable.

Great Ocean Condos: New Smyrna Beach’s Premier Vacation Rental Company

Without a doubt, a weekend spent in New Smyrna Beach undoubtedly promises lasting memories to treasure. From picturesque landscapes to vibrant cultural scenes, and a treasure trove of outdoor activities to explore, there’s an abundance of experiences waiting to take you from your regular routine into the realm of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Yet, to truly unlock everything this charming beach town has to offer, your choice of accommodations makes a world of difference. That’s where Great Ocean Condos comes into play, painting your Floridian vacation with colors of comfort, convenience, and unbridled luxury.

With us, you don’t just book a condo or a house – you find a home away from home. We offer a wide array of privately owned condos and homes meticulously managed to create an unforgettable vacation experience. Our expansive portfolio includes everything from direct oceanfront escapades to luxury homes with private pools. And let’s not forget the pet-friendly options ensuring your furry friends can join the adventure.

Great Ocean Condos doesn’t just facilitate accommodations; we enhance the entire visit! Our distinctive local knowledge allows us to give you insider’s guidance on the best New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach have to offer. In fact, our team loves welcoming guests and assists in finding the perfect property for your dream vacation.

Our accolade from Business Insider as one of the Best Vacation Rental Professionals in the World speaks volumes about our commitment to quality. With over 15 years of experience in the vacation rental management industry, our expertise ensures the pinnacle of guest satisfaction where our services exceed expectations.

And for those looking for a long-term stay, we offer a selection of ‘snowbird’ monthly rentals specifically tailored for extended trips. Add to that the flexibility of check-in days and a choice of daily, weekly, or monthly rentals, and your itinerary gets as flexible as it can be.

So pack your bags, slather on the sunscreen, and get ready to bask in the gentle Floridian sun in the comfort of your rented haven. Whether you’re here for a quick weekend getaway, a summer beach vacation, or a winter retreat, the Great Ocean Condos team is ready to welcome you to the best New Smyrna Beach experience that will, definitely, make a lasting impression.

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