Photogenic places: New Smyrna Beach a natural beauty – Daytona Beach News-Journal

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  • November 6, 2019
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From the preserved coastlines of Smyrna Dunes Park to the county’s southernmost beaches, and all the popular destinations in between, Southeast Volusia contains a variety of scenic areas.

Some of the county’s most natural and scenic coastlines can be found in Southeast Volusia.

Most of New Smyrna Beach’s oceanfront residences and condos are set back from the beach, leaving the dunes as a buffer between the ocean. These beaches south of Ponce Inlet have a much more natural look, overall, than those directly north.

[READ ALSO: Slow down and enjoy beauty of Ormond Beach, the ‘Birthplace of Speed’]

[PHOTOS: Photogenic Flagler Shores]

As for the beachside strip of Flagler Avenue: It rivals the beach as a major attraction in itself, lined with quaint mom-and-pop shops, bars and restaurants.

Further inland, along the Indian River, more natural coastline can be found. The shores become less and less developed the farther south you travel from the inlet, especially down toward Mosquito Lagoon in Oak Hill. The lagoon is a famous fishing destination and a place where visitors can feel immersed in wild Florida.

Here are some of the most photogenic places in Southeast Volusia:

Smyrna Dunes Park

2995 N. Peninsula Ave., New Smyrna Beach

Natural beachfront habitat remains mostly untouched at Smyrna Dunes Park, aptly named for a place with such expansive sand dunes. The 73-acre preserve is surrounded on three sides by the Indian River, Ponce Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can easily access all parts of the park on a 1 ½-mile boardwalk. Be sure to bring along comfortable shoes and sun protection, though, as there is little to no shade along most of the trail.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws to this park is that it’s dog-friendly. It’s a very popular spot to bring pups, with separate trails and long stretches of exclusive beaches for them to play in, although pets must be leashed at all times.

Another popular attraction is the New Smyrna Beach Jetty, frequented by surfers and fishermen.

PHOTO TIPS: With boardwalks, beaches, natural dunes, mangrove-lined shores and the rock jetty, this park has it all for photography (modeling, wedding, family or group photos). However, the observation tower is hard to beat for shooting landscapes. The high elevation provides panoramic views across the dunes from the riverfront to the ocean.

Flagler Avenue

Beachside New Smyrna Beach

All year round, and especially during the summer months, tourists and locals alike flock to Flagler Avenue. Visitors to the beach come here for the boardwalk and proximity to local shops, which include eateries, beach bars, art galleries and a host of other local businesses. The strip has a laid-back, casual and beachy vibe that stays true to New Smyrna Beach’s small-town atmosphere.

PHOTO TIPS: The archway leading to the beach is a long-standing symbol of Flagler Avenue and New Smyrna Beach.

Old Fort Park

115 Julia St., New Smyrna Beach

History dating back hundreds of years is preserved in Old Fort Park. The purpose of the coquina Turnbull Ruins remains unknown, although they have been named for the Scottish physician Andrew Turnbull, who colonized the area for England in 1768.

The park containing the Old Fort includes several paths and benches beneath old oak trees. It hosts the city’s annual Art Fiesta in February, special events and a weekly farmers market.

PHOTO TIPS: The rustic, coquina walls of the Old Fort make great backdrops for modeling portraits or wedding photos.

Canal Street

Downtown New Smyrna Beach

The relaxed, breezy, tree-lined Canal Street and surrounding downtown district is a cultural hub for New Smyrna Beach. Here you’ll find historic buildings, specialty shops, art galleries, multiple eateries and cultural attractions including the New Smyrna Beach Museum of History.

Riverside Park

299 S. Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach

PHOTO TIPS: The boardwalk along Indian River is a traditional place for prom photos. The scenic and easily accessible spot is also suitable for family photos and other group shots.

Mary McLeod Bethune Park

6656 S. Atlantic Ave., New Smyrna Beach

This park includes a playground, recreation area and beachfront parking in a historic area of New Smyrna Beach. The park is located in Bethune Beach, one of the only places where African Americans could visit the beach while Jim Crow laws were in effect. It is named after the educator and founder of Bethune-Cookman College, now Bethune-Cookman University, in nearby Daytona Beach.

PHOTO TIPS: The beaches here have many more shells than the white sandy beaches further north, giving the sand an orangish-brown appearance. It’s a great spot to find seashells.

Veterans Park

1811 S. Riverside Drive, Edgewater

As the name implies, this park is a memorial for veterans and includes military artifacts and monuments. The dock stretching out over the Indian River is a popular spot for fishermen. With its centralized location along Riverside Drive at the end of Indian River Boulevard, this park is a convenient place for locals to escape into nature.

PHOTO TIPS: The boardwalk offers views of natural coastlines along the Indian River.

River Breeze Park

250 H.H. Burch Road, Oak Hill

The 35-acre park in Oak Hill is a gathering place for local families. Young families can enjoy the playground and covered pavilions, while outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the fishing dock, free boat ramp and nature trails.

The park is also rich in history. It’s located along a part of the Indian River that Timucuan tribes used to find much of their food, especially oysters and clams. After the area was settled by white pioneers, it became the site of thriving citrus groves.

PHOTO TIPS: The boardwalk over Indian River is a beautiful spot to take portraits.

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