New Smyrna Florida Guide to the Perfect Family Vacation

new smyrna beach florida

New Smyrna Beach Florida is the perfect vacation destination. Just a short drive from Orlando, New Smyrna Beach has loads of things to do for travelers. This post is written in partnership with Visit New Smyrna Beach.

My family has always loved the beach. We visit New Smyrna Beach quite often since it’s so close to home. However we’ve never spent an entire weekend soaking up the sun and experiencing everything the small town has to offer. We finally had the opportunity to take a quick staycation there and it was well worth it. A few days indulging in the small town charm was exactly what we needed to kick off our year. If you’ve never been to New Smyrna Beach Florida, it’s definitely a place you need to add to your bucket list. You’ll truly enjoy everything it has to offer, hopefully as much as my family did.

4 Reasons to Visit New Smyrna Florida

I like to call New Smyrna Beach a gem in Central Florida. It’s a small town known for its 17 miles of sandy white beaches, amazing food, beach driving, surfing, fishing and the arts. One of my absolute favorite features of New Smyrna Beach is the beach driving. There’s nothing better to us than being able to drive up on the beach and have easy access to all of our things while playing in the sand and water. We love bringing snacks and drinks to have picnics right on the beach.

New Smyrna Beach Family Vacation

1. New Smyrna Beach Florida is only a short distance away from Orlando

New Smyrna Beach is only about an hour away from Orlando. It’s a great destination for a quick day trip or a weekend away. The drive is well worth it as the beach is filled with plenty of activities and restaurants. The Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum was a huge hit. We learned so much there.

mary s harrell black heritage museum
mary s harrell black heritage museum
mary s harrell black heritage museum

2. It is the perfect destination to create family memories

We love beach destinations. Florida has some of the best beaches to offer. There’s nothing better than building sand castles and finding seashells on the beach. Taking a surf lesson is definitely a bonus and it’s a super fun experience for the kids. I remember creating special memories at the beach as a kid and I think that’s one of the reasons I love vacationing beachside now.

What I love most about New Smyrna Beach is that there are multiple beaches to choose from while you’re visiting. Smyrna Dunes Park and Cape Canaveral National Seashore are our favorites.

Here’s a full list of beaches and parks you can visit during your trip:

  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Smyrna Dunes Park (dog friendly)
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Park
  • Riverside Park
  • Grayce K. Barck North Beach Community Park
  • Esther Street Beachfront Park
  • Marianne Clancy Park
new smyrna beach family vacation

3. The selection of restaurants are top tier

I wouldn’t consider myself a foodie by any means and my children definitely are far from that. Their choice of foods ranges from hamburgers to pizza and pasta. They have a very limited palette. However my husband and I enjoy trying new restaurants every time we travel to a destination. Honestly I was quite surprised at the dining options that New Smyrna Beach Florida had to offer.

Their options are far from the typical beach food of hot dogs and sandwiches. The restaurants have impressive menus. Everything from short rib to seafood. I can honestly say that we ate some of the best food while we were there. The restaurants we visited were Avanu on Flagler, Fysh Bar & Grill, and Third Wave Cafe. I highly recommend visiting each one the next time you’re in New Smyrna. Fysh Bar & Grill is located in Port Orange which is a short drive from the beach but is so worth the drive. Avanu and Fysh also offer live music so if you’re looking for an experience while you’re dining these restaurants are a must.

My Top 3 Restaurant Recommendations

Here’s what I’d recommend from each location:

Third Wave Cafe: Brunch is a must here. The earlier you arrive the better. We’ve heard that later brunch times tend to have a longer wait.

What to order: Southwestern Hash, Rock Shrimp Scramble, Shrimp & Grits, Steak & Eggs, any of the Neopolitan Pizzas

third wave cafe
third wave cafe
third wave cafe

Avanu on Flagler: We ate here for dinner on our first night. The rooftop seating is perfect for taking in the scenery on Flagler Avenue. I highly recommend sitting on the rooftop. They have indoor seating downstairs as well. Live music is played on the rooftop:

What to order: Shrimp & Scallop Spring Rolls, Calamari, Shrimp Bao Bun, Bulgogi Bao Bun, Sticky Short Ribs Gouda Risotto, Thai Chicken Noodles, Half Chicken, Fried Cheesecake

avanu on flagler
avanu on flagler

Fysh Bar & Grill: The menu here can be a bit overwhelming but don’t let it scare you. The food is amazing and you can’t go wrong with literally anything on the menu. They have rooftop seating here as well with a breathtaking water view.

What to order: Crab Rangoon, Crispy Calamari, Mozzarella Moons, Tennessee Whiskey Wings, New England Clam Chowder, Cape Cod Alfredo

New Smyrna Beach Florida Family Vacation
fysh bar & grill

4. You can park your car on the beach

Parking your car on the beach makes a beach trip even more special. Beach parking is only $20 and your car is easily accessible during your trip. You can fill your car with snacks and drinks, and not have to worry about spending a dime if you’re on a budget. If you’re a music loving family like we are, turning up the radio while you’re on the beach is always a good idea too.

If you’re wanting to drive up on the beach, there are a few different entrances where you can access the beach:

  • Flagler Avenue (521 Flagler Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169)
  • Beachway Avenue (1400 N Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169)
  • 3rd Avenue (1300 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169)
  • 27th Avenue (3701 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169)

Driving on the beach is $20 per day or you can buy an annual pass for $100. For an additional $20 you can add a pass to the Inlet parks.

Where to Stay in New Smyrna Beach Florida

We stayed at the Springhill Suites by Marriott right on Flagler Avenue during our staycation. It was the perfect location for us. If you have younger kids like we do and want quick access to the beach or maybe just don’t want to drive up on the beach then this is the perfect hotel for your family. It has direct access to the beach, a fire pit and seating area on the property, and the pool overlooks the beach.

If you want a beach view, they have rooms with a balcony looking right out at the beach. One of the features that are great for travelers at the Springhill Suites is the complimentary breakfast. It’s offered to all guests along with hot coffee and tea.

marriott springhill suites new smyrna
New Smyrna Beach Family Vacation

The Ideal Weekend Itinerary

Planning a trip can be a bit hectic. Even though New Smyrna Beach is a smaller town there are still lots of activities and restaurants to choose from. We had some help from the New Smyrna Beach Tourism Board in planning our itinerary and quite honestly I think it’s the perfect combination of relaxation and exploring. I’m sharing it with you here so you can save it or print it for your trip to make planning a little easier for you.

Have you ever made a visit to New Smyrna Beach Florida?

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