Discover the best things to do in New Smyrna Beach. From endless beach fun, wildlife galore and delicious eats, your adventure awaits.
Welcome to the sun-soaked shores of New Smyrna Beach, a hidden gem nestled along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. This charming seaside town boasts a unique blend of laid-back coastal vibes and vibrant cultural experiences, making it great for relaxation and adventure.
New Smyrna Beach is known for a few things. First and most noteworthy, it’s referred to as the Shark Bite Capital of the world. This is mainly due to the amount of surfers by the inlet, where the surf is good and where the river feeds into the ocean. Bait plus sharks plus surfers, a bite is bound to happen.
New Smyrna is also known to many as Orlando’s beach. Over the years, many condos and high rises have popped up, and with that, second homes and condos have been purchased by out-of-towners. Thankfully, locals can still enjoy New Smyrna during the week without the influx of visitors that appear on the weekend.
New Smyrna Beach is located just a quick drive south of Daytona Beach, approximately 30 minutes, depending on race or beach traffic. While you’re in the area, you might also want to stop by Blue Spring State Park and check out all of the manatees, especially if you’re visiting during winter.
“New Smyrna Beach has this gravitational pull we just cannot resist and keeps us coming back every winter. We love being able to drive on the beach, hang out with the dolphins and manatees, take our dog to the New Smyrna Dunes dog beach, visit all the local eateries — our favorite being Tin & Taco — and train at Prodigy Jiu Jitsu. New Smyrna Beach is a small town with a big heart. If you’re looking for the beach, the arts, the food and the people, look no further.”— Sam and Travis, Always Take the Detour
The best things to do in New Smyrna Beach
Whether you’re a beach bum, nature enthusiast or foodie, New Smyrna Beach, or NSB, has something special in store for you. Discover the best things to do in this small beach town, from exploring pristine beaches to savoring delicious local cuisine.
Explore Flagler Avenue
Being born and raised in New Smyrna Beach, Flagler Avenue is definitely known as more of a touristy spot. There are, however a few things that will get the locals out onto Flagler.
Wine Walk is one of them. It’s the fourth Saturday of every month when visitors and locals alike head on down to Flager Ave. There, they’ll receive a wristband and tickets to sip from over 100 different varieties of wine from various bars, restaurants and stores along Flagler.
Flagler Ave also hosts many annual events, such as the Seaside Fiesta, Flamingo Follies and many other food-centric festivals. There are also numerous running events, parades and things that the entire family can enjoy.
You can also grab a cup of coffee at one of the many local coffee joints and take a nice stroll down the beach. Or, wander through Garden Arts to admire all the blooming flowers and even pick up some to spruce up your home or garden.
Canal Street is considered more of a local hangout spot than Flagler Avenue’s touristy area. Here, you will find a variety of shops, businesses, boutiques and restaurants. NSB Brewery, City Market Bistro, The Spott, Corkscrew Bar and Grille, Panheads Pizzeria and Prima are some of the ones that are favorited by locals. Canal Street also hosts numerous events such as the Sip and Stroll, Classic Cars on Canal and Gallery Walk.
Fancy pool and darts? Check out the Surf Lounge, play a few rounds there and then you can walk over to the bowling alley and throw a few games. From there, you can head to a few of the most popular restaurants in town or walk a mile over the bridge, and you’ll land right on Flagler Avenue. In the mood for live music? Check out Casey’s and Beachside Tavern, where you’re likely to find live music any night of the week.
At JB’s Fish Camp, you can rent kayaks or stand-up paddle boards in the morning and then come back and relax with some delicious food and river views. Merks Bar & Grill is a local hangout known for the best wings in town — make sure you get them with the Frankenstein sauce. Outriggers is just across the street with waterfront views; pull your boat up to the dock and enjoy fresh seafood and delicious cocktails.
For those craving Italian cuisine, Via Canaletto is a must-visit, where authentic flavors transport you to the heart of Italy. If you ask anyone who has visited NSB, they’ll probably tell you to eat at The Garlic. The atmosphere is great, with pretty delicious food, but you’ll need to get here before they open. Even then, be prepared to wait in line because it’s the busiest place in town, and reservations are not accepted.
“If I ever find myself in New Smyrna Beach again, you can find me every night at The Garlic. This restaurant is in the heart of a lush, beautiful garden and serves delicious dishes from its wood-fired brick oven. The best is the appetizer of freshly baked bread and heavenly roasted garlic, a dish I think of often.”— Susannah Brinkley Henry, Feast + West
Right next door to The Garlic is Norwoods. They’ve recently upgraded their lower dining room, but what they’re known for now is their upstairs Treehouse Bar. It provides a one-of-a-kind dining experience in a treehouse setting surrounded by lush greenery. If you’re in the mood for a beachside dining experience, Third Wave offers a unique green and luscious patio atmosphere. Just a few blocks away, you can enjoy a juicy burger with beach views at Breakers.
Don’t skip breakfast while you’re in New Smyrna. Wake Up Cafe is a blend of Spanish, Argentinian and American cuisine and is the best in town. Don’t miss the new Paco Submarine for a taste of the town’s best sandwiches.
When you visit New Smyrna Beach, the first thing on your mind probably isn’t exercise. NSB can make exercise fun with stand-up paddleboard yoga. You can also take a cold plunge at Purefit NSB after doing one of their group workout classes.
For a lower impact option, walk the bridges or up and down the beach. Afterward, you can grab a cup of coffee from Island Roasters, get a healthy grab-and-go meal from After Body Meals or even a cocktail from one of the many restaurants or bars along the river.
As the name suggests, Turtle Mound is shaped like a turtle. This mound is composed of oysters and remnants from the prehistoric Timucuan people, stretching for over 600 feet along the Indian River shoreline and containing more than 35,000 cubic yards of shells. Archaeologists theorize that the Timucua may have utilized this location as a high-ground refuge during hurricanes. It’s open to the public and offers visitors the opportunity to explore and appreciate the historical significance of the area. Hiking to the top of Turtle Mound provides panoramic views of the Indian River.
New Smyrna Beach offers a mix of coastal relaxation and diverse activities. There are plenty of things to do in New Smyrna Beach, from relaxing on the beach to exploring local cuisines and its rich history. NSB is a laid-back beach town where you can escape the hustle of larger beaches like Miami and Panama City. It’s truly a coastal gem. Get ready to make some amazing memories.
Lara is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Personal Trainer. She is also a photographer and recipe developer and has a food and travel blog, Lara Clevenger. She shares easy recipes that are mostly low-carb, along with some bowling and travel adventures. Whether you’re cooking with an air fryer, Blackstone or Instant Pot, she has you covered with healthy recipes.