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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn About the Local Wildlife at the Marine Discovery Center
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.
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.
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.