Closest beach to Orlando

 

Smyrna Dunes Park

 Smyrna Dunes Park and beach

 

GPS Coordinates: 29.065951, -80.914784

Location: 2995 North Peninsula Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Directions: From Orlando, take I-4 north to S.R. 44. Continue on S.R. 44 through New Smyrna, across the South Causeway bridge. Turn left on N. Peninsula and follow all the way to the park.

From A1A: Follow A1A north to Flagler Avenue. Turn left on Flagler. Turn right on N. Peninsula and drive north to the park.

Web site: http://volusia.org/parks/smyrnadunes.htm

Park manager phone: 386-424-2935

Cost: Generally, $5 per vehicle.

This is a huge (73 acres) beach park at the northern end of New Smyrna Beach on Ponce Inlet. There is a fee to enter the park, which has paved parking, restrooms, a covered picnic area and drink vending machines. It is a very long walk to the beach across a hot dry shade-less boardwalk. Alternatively, you can drive onto the beach at the Beachway Avenue ramp (GPS: 29.051705, -80.902945), south of the park, then drive north to the park to enjoy the beach and jetty.

The northern boundary of the park is Ponce Inlet, a picturesque inlet from the Atlantic Ocean with a huge rock jetty on the Daytona side and a much smaller pair of rock jetties on the New Smyrna side.

Smyrna Dunes Park beach
Above: Smyrna Dunes Park beach. The blue poles mark the edge of the driving lanes. Cars must stay seaward of the blue markers and away from the dunes.

The sand in this park is beautiful white quartz crystals which is remarkably pure for this part of the state.

Cars can drive on part of the beach in the park, but there is no beach ramp for cars within the park. The nearest beach ramp for cars is on Beachway Avenue, south of the park. The easiest way to reach the beach in the park is to drive out onto the beach from a beach ramp access like Beachway Avenue or Flagler Avenue and drive north on the beach until you reach the park.

This is a great park for fishing, relaxing on the beach, birding (you can often get a good view of some pelagic birds like Northern gannets in the inlet), and bike riding. There are some large Florida gopher tortoises to be seen near their burrows in the large dry dunes.

New Smyrna Beach jetty, just south of Ponce Inlet is one of the best surfing spots on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Vending machines
  • Covered picnic tables
  • More than a mile of wooden boardwalk nature trails
  • Fishing in all areas of the park
  • Driving on the beach

Lifeguards: Published information indicates there are NO lifeguards on duty. I have seen lifeguards here in years past, but don't expect them. Call the park for current status if lifeguard coverage is important to you.

Rules:

  • Dogs are allowed on the beach, but must be leashed at all times.
  • Boardwalks are closed to dogs after 10am. Dogs allowed on boardwalk 1 hour before sunset.
  • No skateboards, rollerblades or bicycles on boardwalks.

Alcohol: I’m unable to find any signage or published rules either permitting or prohibiting alcoholic beverages in the park or on the beach. The general rule in Volusia County is that no alcohol is allowed on the beaches. If drinking alcohol is important to you, call the park to learn the current rules.

Smyrna Dunes Park beach

 

Smyrna Dunes Park Jetty on Ponce Inlet


Above: The jetty on Ponce Inlet is popular with fishermen and surfers.

 

Smyrna Dunes Park pavilion, restrooms, and ranger station.


Above: Smyrna Dunes Park parking area, pavilion, restrooms, and ranger station.

 

Minorca condominiums just outside New Smyrna Dunes Park

Above: Smyrna Dunes Park is large enough that the huge condominiums just ouside the park do not impose too much. The boardwalks and covered picnic tables are inside the park.