Alright I’ve never done this, so bare with me as I brag on one of my favorite places in the world which just so happens to be my second home (literally) New Smyrna Beach, FL. New Smyrna Beach is a quaint little surf town about an hour northeast of Orlando, FL and about 30 minutes south of iconic Daytona Beach, FL, home of the Daytona 500.
What about this little surf town makes me love it so much, let a lone entices me to write an entire blog post about it? Strap on your seat belts and let me take you on a virtual tour of New Smyrna Beach, FL.
It’s a tiny town that feels “homie.” Littered with local restaurants, coffee shops, and retail shops you start to get to know a lot of people when you’ve been there for a while. Before you know it, you’ll be walking into places and waving at people you know. Everyone gathers at the same places, so just be ready to feel at home and welcome.
The lifestyle and vibe is something that you just can’t compete with. One summer when I was living at my parents beach condo and was working as a surf instructor, I decided that I wanted to go barefoot as much as I could. I just stopped wearing shoes and sandals all together. There I was, walking the streets barefoot, went to the grocery store barefoot, picked up some stuff at the local surf shops barefoot, and no one said a word or gave me any weird stares. The only places that I’d wear shoes was into restaurants because they had the typical “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs plastered everywhere. Other than that, it was barefoot all the time and it was awesome!
New Smyrna Beach is filled with different outdoor adventures. You can take a quick hike through the woods. Paddle a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board through the mangroves. Play a round of golf or hit the beach for some fun. My favorite thing to do outside is surf. I’ve called New Smyrna Beach my home surf break for just over 15 years and evidently I made a good choice since Surfer Magazine ranked it number nine in the “best surf towns” poll in July 2009. New Smyrna Beach was also recognized as “one of the world’s top 20 surf town” by National Geographic Magazine. If you do decide to go to the beach, just keep an eye out for some curious little sharks that frequent the shores. They’re not vicious monsters like the news makes them out to be, just a little curious and I’ve yet to be bitten (knock on wood). One new outdoor activity that I’ve been trying to introduce to New Smyrna Beach is the slackline game. People have seen me set up at a few places around town and have been very intrigued. I’m hoping it’ll start to catch on in a couple years.
Believe it or not, New Smyrna Beach is actually rich in history. If you’re looking for museums, forget about it. Pick up a couple local magazines and you’ll usually find some interesting facts. For instance, years ago my mom was reading through a local magazine and came across an article about an interesting aspect to a residential road. Centuries ago when the area was being discovered, the land was a dense forest and wild game roamed the land. The son of a a rich land owner went hunting and was accidentally shot. His dad came looking for him, found his deceased son and then buried him on the spot. Fast forward a few centuries when developers were coming through, paving roads, and found this old burial spot. Instead of disrespecting the grave site and moving it, they built a road around it. Now you can see the grave site that’s been maintained in a nice subdivision as you go by looking at million dollar homes.
Let me know if you’re ever visiting New Smyrna Beach and I’d be happy to take you by there.
What really puts New Smyrna Beach at the top of my charts are the people. Super nice and always high on life kind of people. One day I was getting my Slyde handboard set up with my GoPro and a local surfer saw me and took a profound interest in what I was doing. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Local: Dude! Is that one of those handboards!?
Local: Sweet man, can I come check it out?
Me: Sure. (I mean I had no choice. He was already walking over.)
Local: Oh man that thing looks so rad. I bet you get shacked so hard in the tube every time.
Me: I’ll have to get back with you on that one. I just got it yesterday and this is going to be my first time taking out.
Local: No way! Dude that’s so sick. Bro you must be stokin’ so hard right now.
Me: I’m pretty excited.
Local: I bet! Thanks for showing me this bro. Have fun out there dude!
For those of you who don’t speak surfer, you might be thinking that he was trying to sell me drugs or could’ve been cussing me out. Quite the contrary. He was excited for me that I was trying something new out in the water. I honestly don’t know where else you can get that kind of enthusiasm in that form.
When you get tired of freezing your toosh off this winter or are looking for a great summer vacation spot, keep New Smyrna Beach at the top of your list. We’d love to show you around when you come and stay for a while.
P.S. No joke. If you do decide to make a trip to New Smyrna Beach, give me a heads up and I’d love to show you around.