With a host of quirky and cool places to discover, there’s no place quite like this Florida beach town!
Only an hour’s drive from Orlando, yet a world away, New Smyrna Beach offers honeymooners a lush tropical landscape, white sand beach, land and water activities, unique and branded accommodation, colourful architecture, and a friendly welcome from the vibrant community. This charming beach town on Florida’s Atlantic coast, is also known for its thriving shopping, dining and creative arts scenes.
There’s much to discover for couples, including the two distinct downtown districts, Flagler Avenue and Canal Street, which are connected via the “Waterfront Loop” and welcome visitors with independent eateries, unique shops, artisanal coffee shops and art galleries.
In keeping with New Smyrna’s creative vibe, there are many unusual places and experiences for visitors to discover in New Smyrna Beach and the neighbouring communities of Port Orange, Edgewater, Oak Hill and Osteen. From dining delights to artistic endeavours and ways to follow in historic footsteps, these quirky experiences are uniquely “NSB”.
Paint Like Bob Ross
Bob Ross was an American painter, art instructor and television host, whose TV show The Joy of Painting was broadcast across the world. The Bob Ross Art Workshop & Gallery was opened by Bob in New Smyrna Beach in 1993 and has remained in its original location ever since. The workshop hosts a large collection of Bob’s original oil paintings, and locals and visitors can book classes to learn to paint landscapes, seascapes, floral designs and wildlife using the unique Bob Ross style.
Become a Sundial
When visiting Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens, visitors don’t need their watches. Instead, they can become a Human Sundial by standing next to the current month’s tablet with arms raised, and the shadow will point to the time. Dunlawton Plantation and Sugar Mill was a 19th-century cane sugar plantation, destroyed during the Second Seminole War. Visitors today can explore the beautiful gardens, that include a herb garden shaped like the state of Florida, and the ruins of the sugar factory. The gardens are also home to full-size stone dinosaurs which remain from its days as an amusement park, Bongoland, that closed in 1952.
Enjoy Tea for Two
All of the tea sold by the New Smyrna Beach based Yaupon Brothers American Tea Company is made from the only naturally caffeinated plant to grow in North America, the Yaupon Holly. Yaupon Brothers’ tea is grown in certified organic forest farms on the Central Atlantic Coast of Florida, where Yaupon consumption began 8,000 years ago. Yaupon has a rich history, it was at the centre of civilization for the Indigenous Tribes of the region for thousands of years. Today, the Yaupon Brothers sustainably harvest the leaves for a thriving business. In February 2022 the Yaupon Brothers American Tea Company moved into its new production facility and café, which sells Yaupon Brothers teas, local coffee, breads, pastries and snacks, and features patio seating, a retail shopping space, a Yaupon Garden and daily tours.
Spot Snow White’s Cottage
Included in the National Register of Historic Places, Gamble Place was once a rural retreat owned by James N. Gamble, Co-Founder of the Procter & Gamble Company. Guests can step back in time to experience the same pristine environment that he found so inviting during the late 1800s. The 175-acre nature reserve features a “Florida cracker-style” house named “Egwanulti” (a Native American word meaning “by the water”) and the Citrus Packing House, the only one currently in existence in its original location in Florida. Whimsically, a replica of the Seven Dwarfs Cottage, a Witch’s Hut and Dwarfs’ Mine Shaft can be found in the grounds. Visitors can also observe wildlife, ancient cypress trees and beautiful azalea blossoms, and educational tours of the grounds and buildings are offered.
Dine in a Treehouse
The iconic Norwood’s, often known as the Treehouse Restaurant, was originally a Pan Am Gas Station and then a general store in the 1920s, followed by serving as a mosquito control center, piggy bank factory, and then again as a general store. In 1946 it became Norwood’s Seafood Restaurant. Today the Simmons family owns and operates the popular restaurant, which has an extensive wine list, live music, and regular culinary events. The Treehouse Bar was added in 2015 and allows guests to dine and drink in the canopy of a beautiful tree.
Indulge in Retro Vibes & Sweet Treats
Since 1953, the Dairy Queen in New Smyrna Beach has been serving its famous soft serve treats, all beef hotdogs and smiles to locals and visitors alike. The owners of the franchised location in NSB, the McGuirk family, have taken great care to preserve the old-fashioned integrity and retro vibe of this historic “DQ”.
Get Creative at The Hub
Located on Canal Street, in the heart of the historic district of NSB, The Hub on Canal acts as an incubator for more than 70 artists, showcasing their work, offering impromptu artists talks and supporting the community and visitors through a plethora of classes and workshops at all levels. Guests can join workshops in art, yoga, music, creative writing, French or Italian lessons, and much more. There are classes for visiting kids too.
Listen for a Cock-A-Doodle-Doo
Early birds who visit NSB are in for a unique treat. Just before dawn, friendly fowl can be spotted wandering the beach-side shopping and dining district of Flagler Avenue, ready to greet guests and residents alike. No-one is certain how they arrived or how many there are, but the beloved Flagler Avenue Roosters have made the street their home. Residents even saved the roosters from being rehomed away from local businesses.
For more information on New Smyrna Beach, please go to www.visitnsbfl.com