Diamond dream when the sun don't shine / I close my eyes to see / Twelve wild horses in silver chains / Calling out to me / Oh Daytona, shine your light on me." (- Chris Rea, "Daytona")
The sunny skies and dreamy wonderment of Daytona Beach shine upon nearby New Smyrna Beach. Just 14 miles separate these two Florida beach cities. New Smyrna Beach has a history longer than this country--back to the ancient times of feather pens! A great immigration experiment in 1768 occurred, and 1,400 settlers were transported together to the New World. The colony here failed, but the town’s history picked up again a little over a century later when it incorporated. Today, its quiet streets, boat-friendly waterways, and white-sand beaches swell many-fold during tourist season. This is one of those old Florida towns that has retained its Southern charm rather than selling out to the glitz and glamour of its neighbors to the South. New Smyrna is a lady and she minds her manners, thank you very much.
Sailors and Speed
There’s a wonderful, active, friendly, traditional yacht club. It blesses the boats at the beginning of the season, and there’s a lighted boat parade for the holidays. Children are out on weekends to perfect their sailing skills. There are regattas in the river, and everyone can chart a course, calculate knots, and catch a line. If you’re dining at the club, there’s a tattoo ceremony at twilight. It’s all very proper.
Oh, yes. There’s another attraction here. There’s the New Smyrna Motor Speedway. You got it. You can take your place behind the wheel and put the pedal to the metal for 10 to 70 laps in a Nascar racing vehicle. It’s a real course, with real cars. This is not a simulation. But then you have to remember, Daytona is just up the road. Speed, horsepower, and checkered flags are discussed here along with the weather forecast. And racing names garner more attention than pop stars. At least with some fans.
In New Smyrna, there are new neighborhoods as well as older developments, so prices of home and condo rentals can vary from extremely reasonable to higher and more in line with today’s building costs. Apartment rentals are available in small buildings or low-rise complexes, and although some have pools and recreational amenities, they are low-key developments. $$
A small colony of Snowbirds likes to call New Smyrna Beach home for the winter, and there are short-term condo rentals available for a month or a few months at a time to accommodate that crowd. You'll find some apartments with paid utilities, and a few buildings offer ocean-front, poolside or garden-exposure options. $$-$$$
A Wonderful Life
As in much of Florida, life here revolves around the water. With a location allowing easy access to the open water of the Atlantic for sailing and fishing, New Smyrna offers an opportunity for pleasure craft to escape for a day of fun and sport and then return easily to port for shelter and on-land entertainment. Situated north of Cape Canaveral and south of St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach is in a part of Florida that is relatively calm, quiet and sensible. It’s a place to enjoy life, spend leisure time, practice a profession and indulge your passion. It's also a place to simply to find an apartment and live a satisfying life. And that’s just what most of the residents do.
Not that there isn’t plenty to do here, but those things are mostly family activities or quiet pursuits, such as visiting the ruins of the old sugar mill or the historical museum, walking on the beach or driving on a portion of beach (one of the few where driving is still allowed). There is a bit of National Seashore where you can collect shells and walk the dunes. There’s golf, and there are kids’ sports teams. There are good restaurants, interesting drinking establishments, bait shops, charter boats and all the necessities of life, including shops and groceries, movies, banks, doctors and insurance agents. It’s a small town, so it’s easy to get around. And the state’s Coast Highway runs right through, with the wide world just beyond.