Voted One of the Most Walkable Small Towns in Florida: New Smyrna Beach

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Yes, we know:  when you go on a beach vacation sometimes you just want to sit on the beach and never leave. Walking might not be anywhere near the top of the list. But if beaching is number one, what important activity comes second? EATING. If you choose a walkable town like New Smyrna Beach, after an afternoon in the sun you can walk to no fewer than 30 restaurants in half a mile along the main street, Flagler Avenue. Shops and bars also line the street under a cooling canopy of trees, and the view and vibe are whimsically low-key old Florida.

third-wave-front-porchThird Wave Cafe

 

You’ve heard us talk about Walk IQ.  This is a thing. Towns are rated by FindTheHome.com on the amount of places within walking distance. The study focuses on Millennials, but we all get tired of needing a car to get everywhere.  Experiencing a small town at a slower pace is far more pleasant than peering through a tinted car window as you glide past and possibly miss the titillating possibilities of unexplored boutiques, cuisines, and that 2 story bar with outdoor decks full of cheerful celebrants.

One caveat:  the downtown area of New Smyrna Beach overlooks the driving beach. There are stretches of beach that don’t allow vehicles. If you didn’t grow up near a driving beach, the idea of lounging in the sand with cars churning past probably sounds about as blissful as spreading your checkered picnic blanket in the center of Times Square. Surprisingly – at least for this northern beach girl – it was a blast!

 

 

THE BEACH

Flagler Avenue Beachside Park/Boardwalk

Flagler Ave. and Atlantic Ave.

New Smyrna Beach, FL  32169

 

car-chair-ocean

  • PARK/WALK:  Parking in the lot, or driving on the beach, each cost $10/day. There is a very short walk from the parking lot to the beach.
  • GO/RINSE:  Public restrooms and showers. A covered boardwalk lends an old-timey feel to this beach park.
  • CROWD FACTOR:  This beach can become crowded, due to the popularity of driving here and also the easy proximity to shops and restaurants.
  • GUARDS:  Yes.
  • IMBIBE:  No.
  • BEST FRIEND:  Dogs are not allowed on this beach. There is a dog park/beach at the northern end of New Smyrna Beach, Smyrna Dunes Park.
  • WE LOVE:  Being able to haul a lot of stuff onto the beach in our vehicle; surf boards, coolers, boogie boards, umbrellas, etc.  Driving onto the beach can be helpful when bringing family members or friends with disabilities.

 

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THE BAR

Toni and Joe’s Patio

309 Buenos Aires Ave.

New Smyrna Beach, FL  32169

386-427-6850

 

toni-and-joes

  • VIBE:  Super casual beach front cafe where you’ll find locals and visitors.
  • ARRIVE:  By car or by foot. The parking lot isn’t huge; walking is your best option.
  • SIT:  Outside on the deck, under cover outside or inside.
  • SIP:  Wine tastings every 4th Saturday.
  • NOSH:  Famous for their steak hoagies. The menu isn’t huge but offers a variety of sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, pizza, salads, a few appetizers and seafood entrees. Breakfast is served 8 – 11, hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
  • LISTEN:  Live music on the deck, weather permitting, Thursday through Sunday.
  • WE LOVE:  Walking up off of the beach and enjoying a meal and cold beverages.

 

THE BUNGALOW

Buena Vista Inn

500 North Causeway

New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169

386-428-5565

 

buena-vista-inn-courtyard

This cozy, family owned and operated Inn is a tiny bit off the beaten path, just across the drawbridge which is a fun walk high above the intracoastal.

  • VIBE:  Quiet and homey, super clean. Behind the Inn is a park, playground and two fishing piers. Sitting outside of your back door you will have views of the Intracoastal.
  • WALK:  An easy 8 minute walk across the bridge to the restaurants and shops, with beautiful views along the water.
  • DECOR:  Beachy and airy, sunny colors and lots of natural light. The units feel like separate bungalows.
  • SLEEP:  Comfortable king sized beds in all units, some with double futons in the living rooms.
  • EXTRAS:  Flatscreen t.v.’s, complimentary WiFi, BBQ grill, tables and chairs in courtyard, guest laundry, all rooms have a fridge, microwave, coffee maker and utensils, some have that plus galley sized kitchens. Friendly owners live on site. PET FRIENDLY!
  • RATES:  $80 – 125 depending on the season; check their site by clicking their name, above. Weekly rates are offered as well.
  • WE LOVE:   The peaceful, secluded feeling so close to the dynamic downtown.

 

buena-vista-inn-living-room

buena-vista-inn-kitchen

buena-vista-inn-bed

buena-vista-inn-view-to-front-door

 

And around town:

 

buena-vista-inn-fishing-oierOne of the fishing piers behind Buena Vista Inn

 

drawbridge-up-fishing-pier

sparkly-water

garden-fusion-sideAA Garden Fusion

 

salty-dunesSalty Dunes Coastal Kitchen

 

gnarly-frontGnarly Surf Bar and Grill, overlooking the drawbridge by the Intracoastal, offers drink specials each time the bridge goes up!

 

barracudas-new-smyrnaBarracudas Bar and Grill

 

tropical-furnitureIsland Collection

 

the-breakersThe Breakers, right on the beach, famous for their burgers

 

third-wave-verticalThird Wave Cafe’s gorgeous shady back patio: a must-visit!

 

norwoods-treehouse-lightsNot within walking distance of Flagler Ave., but worth the short drive: Norwood’s, with its Tree House Bar

 

New Smyrna Beach:  known as Daytona’s quieter neighbor, a “charmingly hip town” by Coastal Living, one of the 20 World’s Best Surf Towns by National Geographic, and one of the most walkable small towns in Florida by Beaches, Bars and Bungalows!

We’d love to hear how you feel regarding the driving and non-driving beach; which do you prefer?

 

 

New Smyrna Beach is on Florida’s Atlantic coast, 14 miles south of Daytona Beach and 63 miles north of Cocoa Beach.

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