New Smyrna Beach, Florida is probably best known for its wide, drivable beach. The beach is accessible year-round (with the exception of approaching hurricanes). Tourists and locals alike head to the beachside in droves particularly during the summer months. The beachside area at New Smyrna Beach is actually located on a barrier island, separated from the mainland by two bridges known locally as the North Bridge and the South Bridge.
The North Bridge is a drawbridge which means that it must open to let large boats through as they ply the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. This bridge opening creates some traffic jams, particularly on the weekends. Opening times vary but count on at least a 10 minute wait for the bridge to go up and down. Summer months limit the bridge opening to approximately once every forty five minutes if boats need through. The North Bridge leads to the main beachside shopping district along historic Flagler Avenue. Boutiques galore line this narrow roadway. There are taverns, restaurants, clothing shops, jewelry shops and galleries along this stretch. A free parking area is just north of Flagler Avenue along the south side of Florida Avenue. The North Bridge also provides access to North Peninsula Avenue which dead-ends at Smyrna Dunes Park. Smyrna Dunes Park is a very popular park that has a lengthy boardwalk, picnic facilities and pedestrian access to the beach.
The South Bridge is a high-rise bridge that provides relatively quick access to the beachside. Most out-of town people use this bridge due to its ease of access from SR 44 and the interstate system west of town. There are several restaurants, a shopping center, pharmacies, liquor stores, banks, real estate offices and surf shops located along this roadway on the beachside. The South Bridge is also the closest bridge that provides access to Canaveral National Seashore Park at the southern tip of the beachside barrier island.
Once on the beachside, the beach itself is accessed by means of numerous approaches. Tides and shifting sand dictate whether an approach is accessible for traffic. There is a fee to drive on the beach. Pedestrians and bicycles can access it for free. There are public parking places available on a first come-first serve basis at Flagler Avenue, Sapphire Road and 27th Street. Something to keep in mind while visiting the beach – do not park along the shoulder of the road, because you’re liable to get a parking ticket. Beyond (south of) the 27th Street Approach is a vehicle free zone. This is probably the best place on the beach for families with small children. Lifeguards are usually present during normal daytime hours plus you don’t have to worry so much about your child getting hit by a distracted driver. The 27th Street Approach area also offers visitors a playground, restroom facilities, racquetball courts and a basketball court.
For more information contact the New Smyrna Beach Visitors Bureau www.nsbfla.com/ or the City of New Smyrna Beach official site-Visitor Information http://www.cityofnsb.com