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Best Things To Do With Kids In New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach surfer at sunrise

Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

New Smyrna Beach remains an unspoiled gem where blue skies meet over 13 miles of white sand and it’s no wonder that it has consistently been voted one of the “Best Beaches” in Florida.  Well know for it’s great surfing New Smyrna boasts a range of activities and attractions suitable for the whole family, with lots to see and do in a safe environment for kids.

car on the beach with surfers in background at New Smyrna Beach

Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Drive On the Beach & Take Surf Lessons

Of coarse visiting the beach will be number one on your list of things to do with kids in New Smyrna beach and you will not be let dow!  Take a drive with the family on one of the few drive on beaches in Florida, a really unforgettable experience. You can park right on tight packed sand for a day of fun in the sun or you can look for one of the drive-free zones which are much safer for families with kids.  If you are looking for something more exciting that building castles in  the sand or splashing in the waves be sure to enroll the whole family in some surf lessons.  There are lots of options including Jimmy Lane’s Surf Academy which offers surf camps for kids 5 and up and New Smyrna Stadup which offers beginner surf lessons for children 5 through 12.

boardwalk at dunes park in New Smyrna beach

Dunes Park walkway to the inlet. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Visit Dunes Park

Located on the northern tip of the New Smyrna Beach peninsula, the 73 acres of pristine land are surrounded by water on three sides. Waters from the Indian River flow through Ponce Inlet and into the Atlantic Ocean providing a variety of fishing or swimming venues for park goers.

The park also provides a unique opportunity to experience the area’s wide variety of animals, birds, reptiles, marine life and vegetation in their natural habitat. We took a walk on the more than two miles of elevated boardwalks, built to protect the dune environment, and enjoyed watching birds, gopher tortoises and the views of the lighthouse in the distance.

wooden walkway at Dunes Park, view from watch tower

Wooden walkway at Dunes Park, view from watch tower. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

We watched the surfers ride the waves on the beach and then headed to the inlet, which has a great view of the lighthouse in Ponce Inlet and has not waves at all making it the perfect place to relax with the kids and if your lucky do some dolphin watching! Our family loves does so for us it was an added bonus that Dunes park is a dog friendly beach, my kids enjoyed watching pooches and their owners walk along the beach and play in the water as enjoyed a picnic lunch.

Dunes Park is open daily sunrise to sunset, admission is $5 per vehicle and there are restrooms, picnic areas, pavilions and an observation tower. For more information visit the Dunes Park website. 

girl at the beach with lighthouse in the background at dunes park in New Smyrna beach

My girl at the beach with lighthouse in the background at dunes park inlet beach. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Enjoy The Beach Town Ambiance At Flagler Park

The Flagler Ave. Park gives you the best of what New Smyrna has to offer: it’s right on the beach and  you can walk all along the wooden boardwalk right into the center of town.  You can rent everything from bikes and paddle boards to the Fun Cars that you can drive on the beach or around town.  Take a walk on Flagler Avenue and enjoy the quaint shops, colorful buildings, galleries and restaurants. For luncher dinner get sandwiches from the nearby eateries to enjoy in the picnic pavilions or stop for ice cream just steps from the water. There is a playground area, basketball and tennis courts, bathrooms, outdoor showers and a lifeguard station and off-beach parking.

photo credit: VISIT FLORIDA via photopin cc

photo credit: VISIT FLORIDA via photopin cc

Learn About the Local Wildlife at the Marine Discovery Center

dolphins at New Smyrna beach

Dolphins. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy learning a bit more about the area’s nature and wildlife. The Marine Discovery Center is a small marine center with nice interactive exhibits including a touch thank. They offer kayaking and boat tours. The Dolphin Discovery Boat Tour offers is the perfect family activity, giving kids the opportunity to see more than just dolphins, with over 4,000 plant and animal species abundant in the area’s diverse and unique estuary system, where fresh water meets the sea.

Visit the Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse

To top-off the list of things to do in New Smyrna Beach a visit to the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is a must. This is one of the best things to do with kids in this area, with the lighthouse featuring observation towers/decks that offer breathtaking panoramic views of the beach and ocean.

The Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida towering 175ft.  The building is more than 125 years old and one of only 12 lighthouses in the United States to have been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The grounds are lovely and well maintained and the museum is very interesting and informative, even for the younger crowd. If you are not able to climb the 203 stairs, there is still a lot to see and learn.

Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse

Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Our weekend visit to New Smyrna beach was too short and the kids could not get enough of this beautiful town. Check out more about our family adventure in New Smyrna beach on my article on 365 Things To Do In Southwest Florida.

How to get there: New Smyrna beach is only a one hour drive from Orlando and about 20 miles south of Daytona Beach along U.S. Highway 1

Where to stay: Just a 10 minute drive from the beach and located away from the boisterous beach town the Black Dolphin Inn bed and breakfast overlooks the Indian river and provides a home away from home experience.

great egret on the beach at New Smyrna beach

Great egret on the beach at New Smyrna beach. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula moved from her native Guatemala to SW Florida with her husband and two children and together they are discovering what it means to live life between two languages.

Paula studied architecture who now makes a living as a freelance writer, traveler and amateur photographer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on travel, food and bicultural and bilingual parenting .

When she is not on a plane or road trip she likes to create recipes inspired in the flavors of her native Guatemala.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2014/latino-parenting/5-things-kids-new-smyrna-beach/

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  1. 25 Favorite Beaches in the U S for a Family Vacation - Kids are a Trip

    […] Growing Up Bilingual discusses the best things to do with kids in New Smyrna Beach. […]

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