Go north to learn the history of beautiful New Smyrna Beach


Just north of Brevard County, less than a one-hour drive, is the attractive city of New Smyrna Beach.

Take Interstate-95 north to exit 249, then go east on State Road 44. Your first stop should be the New Smyrna Visitors Center at 2238 State Road 44. It is open from Monday to Saturday, but the times vary. For information, call 800-541-9621. It is closed on Sunday.

Here, pick up all the information you’ll need to make your stay in the New Smyrna Beach area meaningful.

Right behind the Visitors Center is the New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins at 600 Old Mission Drive.

This abandoned sugar mill, once part of a large sugar plantation, was built in the early 19th century. On 17 historic acres, the site contains the ruins of the coquina sugar factory that was raided during a war between the Seminole Indians and the United States. It is a great educational stop for the entire family.

For information, call 386-427-2284. It is open daily from sunrise to sunset. There is no admission charge.

I suggest your next stop be the New Smyrna Museum of History at 120 Sams Avenue in the historic district of New Smyrna Beach. Take State Road 44 East for a short distance to Magnolia Street. Go left on Magnolia three short blocks to the museum on Sams Avenue.

This most interesting museum will give you an introduction to the early colonists that settled this area of Volusia County.

There is an informative New Smyrna settlement exhibit and an interior gallery, which gives an excellent overview of the area’s interesting history starting with pre-historic Florida and continuing through 11 distinct periods.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There is no admission charge, but donations are accepted.

Next on my list of interesting places to visit in the area are two stops within the Canaveral National Seashore Apollo Beach District. Go south about seven miles on State Road A1A in New Smyrna Beach to the park’s entrance/visitors center located at 7611 S. Atlantic Ave. on A1A. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call 386-428-3384. Your stop here will inform you about your visits to Turtle Mound and the Eldora State House.

Turtle Mound is the largest prehistoric Indian shell dumping ground on the mainland of the United States. It is a sight to see. With a height of more than 50 feet, the mound extends for more than 600 feet along the Indian River shoreline. There‘s a walkway where you can walk up to the top and view the surroundings. The turtle-shaped mound contains oyster shells and marine refuse from prehistoric people and times.

Your next nearby visit is to the Ghost Town of Eldora, which was a very small community of about 100 people in the late 19th century. Their occupation was mainly fishing and agriculture.

Deep winter freezes killed all the crops and by 1900 Eldora slowly melted away. One building remained, which is now called the Eldora State House. It has been rehabilitated and it contains many photos and numerous timely artifacts that tell the story of the town and the hardy families that lived there.

It is located at 7611 South Atlantic Ave. For information, call 386-428-3384. It is open from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For a southern-style seafood meal, try JB‘s Fish Camp located directly on the Indian River Lagoon. This rustic restaurant is located on A1A about a mile north of the entrance to Canaveral National Seashore.

This interesting tour of New Smyrna Beach is an outstanding day trip that meets all my requirements that it be educational, inexpensive and a positive experience for the family.