New Smyrna Beach is an hour drive from Orlando on Florida’s Atlantic coast. This laid-back coastal town is quieter and less crowded than nearby Daytona Beach. Flagler Avenue is the cities beachside historical and shopping district. It has an “old Florida” feel and is lined with a mix of locally owned restaurants, shops and galleries.
Flagler Avenue runs from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean, ending at the Breakers Restaurant. This pink beachside hangout has a fabulous view and makes a scrumptious fish sandwich.
The purpose of my visit was to enjoy the New Smyrna Beach Blues Festival, although you don’t need an excuse to spend a weekend. Jump in the car and go!
Where to stay
There are a variety of hotels, many beachfront, in New Smyrna Beach including the Oceana Beach Club, the Best Western New Smyrna Beach Hotel and Suites and the Coconut Palms Beach Resort ll. Book a room here.
The Inn on the Avenue is New Smyrna Beach’s only beachside bed and breakfast inn. This bright yellow two-story building, centrally located on Flagler Ave contains six “old French country-style rooms and boosts a delicious home made breakfast.
Of course, there is always an Airbnb available as an affordable and homey option. I highly recommend the House on Crawford Cottage.
This garage apartment has been fully remodeled in the New England style where modernism meets Shaby Chic. The cottage is one of three airbnbs available at the house on Crawford. The house is just blocks from the beach and includes bikes which make getting around easy. I never used my car and was pleasantly surprised by how bike friendly New Smyrna was. Follow this link to save $40 on your first Airbnb stay.
Singin the Blues
The Blues Festival ran from Thursday May 11th through Sunday May 14th. The event is free and included groups like Big Rick and The Trouble Makers, Acoustic Inferno, Gina and Mary Cuchetti and The Smokin Torpedos, just to name a few.
The groups performed in restaurants and bars along Flagler Ave ranging from outdoor courtyards to funky taverns. If you enjoy Blues, plan to attend next year!
New Smyrna Beach has plenty to do besides the Blues Festival.
Let’s start with food…
For breakfast I recommend the Beacon Restaurant. This family restaurant known as “The Beacon” is owned and operated by the Kotsonis family and is a local favorite. The service was fast and the prices were crazy cheap. I had 3 eggs, sausage, grits and tomatoes for under $6.
The Flagler Tavern is a hot spot for lunch and dinner. The menu includes everything from fresh seafood to burgers, pizza and salads. Enjoy a cocktail on Flagler’s only outdoor veranda and hit the dance floor and dance to live music every weekend.
If you’re in search of a sweet treat on a hot day, look no further than Treats on the Beach. Enjoy a hand scooped ice cream cone (the Coconut Almond Joy was amazing) as well as other treats like shakes, floats and smoothies.
Of course, no weekend getaway is complete without shopping.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Looked Charmed is a fashion jewelry and accessory boutique known for fabulous jewelry, accessories, handbags, hats, and clothing.
Friki Tiki is filled with tropical finds of all kinds, including home accessories, bath and body, footwear and jewelry.
Ta Da Gallery and Gift Shop is a colorful and cheery shop containing artwork, jewelry and pottery. It’s the perfect place to find a gift for that hard to shop for friend who has everything.
Ranked as one of National Geographic’s “World’s 20 Best Surf Towns” in 2017, New Smyrna Beach boasts a growing surf culture. Thanks to the Cape Canaveral coastline, which funnels ocean currents into the Ponce de León Inlet, surfers enjoy, what one local called, “remarkable waves”. Rent a board and give it a try.
The flat, wide beach is perfect for running or bike riding. Pay attention to your surroundings as vehicles are allowed on the beach from sunrise to sunset.
New Smyrna Beach is one of my favorite coastal towns. It is significantly less crowded than other east coast beach towns like Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or Daytona Beach. It is easily accessible by foot or bike and has plenty of activities, delicious food, cold drinks and shopping to keep everyone happy.