Growing up in Orlando, Florida, the most frequented beach for my family and friends was (and still is) New Smyrna Beach (NSB). Orlando has a few beaches that are within one hour of a drive, but this was always our favorite.
As a child and young adult, I mostly parked the car and walked down the beach. I never really explored more than the actual shoreline, mainly because there was nothing else for us to do other than eat at restaurants.
I have been to New Smyrna Beach Brewing a few times in recent years, but nowhere else nearby. I have never taken the time to walk around the little downtown area or even Flagler Avenue, and that is where most of the tourists go.
Old Fort Park
If you head East on Canal Street and turn the corner onto Sams Avenue, you’ll find a cozy pizzeria. Keep walking down and on your right you’ll find Old Fort Park.
The most famous fort in Florida is the Castillo de San Marcos (highly recommend you go check that out if you haven’t) and it is such an impressive thing to see. Old Fort Park was home to, well, an old fort. Check out the ruins of this smaller fort and it will make you wonder about all of the history that happened right where you’re standing. I didn’t even know that was in New Smyrna, so that shows you how much I still have left to explore in my own home state.
No one really knows the history of the fort, or if it actually even was a fort. According to Visit New Smyrna Beach, it is unknown whether or not this was a mansion, church, or the possible original location for the Castillo de San Marcos.
New Smyrna Marina
I walked down to the little marina to check out the boats and also came across this cool rock at the intersection of Riverside. I wanted to know how that hole got there.
If anyone knows the legend or story behind it, I’d love to know. It could also have something to do with science and rocks. What do I know? If you know about this mysterious hole, leave a comment!
Third Wave Café
There are also a handful of really amazing restaurants in New Smyrna Beach that are worth the hour-long trip from Orlando.
One of my absolute favorite places in Florida, The Garlic, is on the way to the beach. You can’t miss it because they have a giant head of garlic out front. I swear by this place. The ambiance is magical and the food is superb. You cannot visit NSB without eating here, I forbid it.
I also tried a new spot at the beginning of Flagler Avenue, Third Wave Café. Not only do they serve coffee in the mornings, they’re open up in the evening for a tropical hideaway for drinks and great food. I opted for the Fungi Fromage pizza and was not disappointed.
Mozzarella, wild mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, and a dash of white truffle oil atop a classic pizza crust will satisfy your hunger and cravings for big flavor. It was delicious.
It’s really amazing to me how little I know about one of the beaches I have frequented the majority of my life. I will be posting more segments on New Smyrna in the future, in addition to several other beloved towns here in Florida!
If there’s a town you think I should go explore and sniff out breweries or craft beer bars along the way, drop some recommendations below.