Smyrna Dunes Park, in northern Florida, is a pretty seashore destination surrounded by water on three sides situated on the New Smyrna Beach peninsula. Not what you’d typically think of when you imagine a Florida beach, Smyrna Dunes Park offers a rich ecological system, lush foliage, and more wildlife and greenery than seashells and palm trees. However, you can still enjoy plenty of water activities, such as fishing and swimming.
Other activities available include wildlife viewing, birding, boating, hiking, picnicking, photography (many people love the lighthouse views), and more. You can spot reptiles, marine life, and other creatures across the park’s five ecosystems, of which most are sand dunes. In order to protect the dunes from beachgoers, the park system built an elevated walkway, so you can hike over the dunes with a great vantage point, for approximately two miles. Additional pavilions and observation towers are available, so you can see it all without harming nature.
Pets are invited to the park but must be on a leash at all times. Swimming is allowed for both humans and dogs, but there’s no lifeguard on duty, so swim at your own risk. Dogs have their own swimming section. Dogs are not allowed on every single boardwalk, so take note of signage (though you can generally take them on all boardwalks before 10 am). A wash-off station is available to rinse off both you and your dog before heading home.
Other general rules include no grilling unless at the main pavilion. Fishing is allowed throughout the park and there is a fishing pier. As this park is mostly in the full sun, take care to bring your sunscreen and water, and a portable water bowl for Fido.
Entry for one day is $10, but if you live in the area, you can buy a $20 annual parking pass.