Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach are both on the Atlantic coast with great hard-packed sand beaches and plenty of things to see and do. Daytona is about 50 miles northeast of Orlando, home to the Daytona International Speedway, and the headquarters for NASCAR, LPGA, IMSA, and the International Speedway Corporation of Florida. Daytona also prohibits thong bikinis ($500 penalty)!! New Smyrna Beach is directly south of Daytona and the two are separated by an inlet which leads into the Intracoastal Waterway. I was practically raised in New Smyrna Beach with our family visiting there every year during the summer and most spring breaks. It is like home to me. Plus I have family in the area so it was time to schedule some time there and visit everyone and enjoy the beaches.
Of course there is always time to make a quick stop at Buc-ee’s to pick up a few things. Buc-ees just recently opened up in Daytona as of March 2021. It is always packed!
Canaveral National Seashore is south of New Smyrna Beach and is a barrier island sitting between the Atlantic Ocean and Mosquito Lagoon and is known as the longest stretch of undeveloped Atlantic coastline in Florida. You can visit Eldora House which was built in the 1920’s and also visit several beaches on both the Atlantic side and the lagoon side. There is a nice visitor center and plenty of opportunity to see Horseshoe Crabs and Armadillos. Watch out for the nude sunbathers too!
New Smyrna Beach offers lots of great beaches, both driving and walking, along with restaurants and stores. The main beach drag is Flagler Ave which has definitely changed and grown over the years since my youth. There is a great museum in town called the New Smyrna Museum of History and nearby is the Old Fort Park. There is lots to see and do here. And yes they now have free roaming roosters and hens just like Key West. Traffic is stopped now and then to let them cross the road. Why you ask?
Both New Smyrna and Daytona offer lots of seafood/fish restaurants and there is just not enough time to sample them all. We continue to visit some of the same places I have visited most of my life. Some have changed names and/or changed management but they still offer some great food.
And then there is the wildlife. It seems you cannot cross a causeway or walk along the inlet without seeing dolphins and there are always lots of birds around going fishing! Along with the armadillos there’s sometimes Gopher turtles to see and then there is the ocean life, starfish, crabs, etc.
It was a great time, we got caught up with alot of people, ate too much, had some great walks on the beach, and encountered a few rain storms. It was fun!!