If you are looking for a kid friendly beach near Orlando, you would be hard pressed to find a better destination than New Smyrna Beach. There are just too many positives to this 17 mile stretch of white sand. Take a look at our New Smyrna Beach review and see for yourself why this may be the ultimate kid friendly beach in Florida.
Convenience Abounds At New Smyrna
If there is one thing that parents appreciate, it is convenience. Moving kids around is hard enough, so anything that can make our lives even a little easier is much appreciated. New Smyrna Beach will ease the burden of parenting in many ways for you.
Quick Access From Orlando
There is nothing that a parent dreads more than a long road trip with children. Long trips often boil down to periods of whining, sometimes broken by the age old phrase, “Are We There Yet.”
New Smyrna is a mere 55 miles from downtown Orlando. That means that you can be beach-side in just one hour. No need to pack a ton of activities and its a short enough drive that you do not even have to worry about potty breaks.
Considering that this is less than half the time that it takes to get to gulf coast beaches like Clearwater, you can see why Orlando parents love New Smyrna.
Easy Beach Entry
Like Daytona, you can simply drive on to the beach. The hard packed sand traffic lanes are suitable for any vehicle, no four wheel drive required. Driving on the beach has a number of advantages besides the kids just thinking it is cool. Make no mistake about it though, it is cool.
The real advantage is that you do not have to haul all of your gear across a hot parking lot and then search for a piece of beach real estate to drop it. Simply pull in to a parking spot and set yourself up right there. Just think about all of the beach toys, chairs, coolers and umbrellas that you can just leave in the trunk and pull out as needed.
Beach access is not free, but it is reasonable. It costs $20 for beach ramp access which is comparable to what many beaches charge for a paved parking spot. If you reside in Orlando, consider shelling out $100 for the annual pass.
New Smyrna Beach Tip: If you want to experience the beach for a day before you decide to shell out $100 for an annual pass, keep your day receipt. You can present the receipt for $20 off the cost of the annual pass should you decide that this is a beach you want to commit to.
No Need To Pack Lunch
The ability to drive on the beach has another great benefit. It allows for food truck access. If you do not want to pack a lunch or would just prefer something hot, you are all set. As a parent, you know that a hungry kid is an angry kid, so quick access to hot dogs, burgers and fries is oh so important.
You will find most of the food trucks parked at strategic stationary locations, but one will come to you. If you have a sweet tooth, you will be happy to know that there is typically an ice cream truck driving slowly back and forth on the beach. They won’t be blaring the typical ice cream truck music, but you should be able to easily spot them.
A Safe Beach For Kids
Safety is a big concern when choosing activities for kids. You want to know that you are not putting them at risk and this is another reason we like New Smyrna. Sure, people drive on the beach, but speed is limited to 10 MPH and most people comply. Here are some more reasons that we review New Smyrna Beach highly when it comes to safety.
Kid Friendly Beach Slope
The slope at New Smyrna Beach is surprisingly gradual. You can be 30 feet out in less than 2 feet of water. This makes it perfect for little ones to venture out, with parent supervision of course. This is the Atlantic Ocean however, so parents should be careful in letting their children venture too far out if they are not experienced swimmers.
Vigilant Lifeguard Supervision
The Volusia County Lifeguard Corp is well respected and one of the best in the area.
There are numerous lifeguard towers keeping watch over the beach and they are serious about their work. They are proactive and may react before any signs of distress. If a lifeguard feels that children are too far out in the water, for example, they very well might send someone out to pull them back in. We’ve seen them do it.
Lifeguards do not just sit in the towers soaking in the sun. You will also find them driving up and down the beach patrolling. You will feel safe in New Smyrna.
Shark Bite Capital Of The World
To finish this New Smyrna Beach review, it seems prudent to address the fact that New Smyrna Beach is known as the “Shark Bite Capital Of The World”.
Yes, this is true, but you have to put these things into perspective. In 2019, there were 9 shark attack in Volusia County, the home of New Smyrna Beach. Compare that to the millions of people who visit the beach and you will see that the chances are incredibly slim.
Keep in mind that most of these attacks involved surfers. In fact 53 percent of shark attacks in Volusia County involved surfers. If you are taking your family to the beach, it is unlikely that surfing is high on your mind.
Still, if you are concerned about shark attacks, there are things that you can do to reduce your exposure.
- Don’t splash.
Splashing mimics the sound of an injured fish and may attract sharks.
- Skip the jewelry.
You do not want anything sparkly like the scales of a fish on your body.
- Stay in groups.
Sharks are more likely to stay clear of a large group.
- Swim in clear water.
Blacktips, the predominant shark in New Smyrna prefer hunting in murky water.
- Swim in the middle of he day.
Avoid dusk and dawn, a time when sharks are more active.
Visiting New Smyrna Beach
If you decide to give New Smyrna a try, they are located just 55 miles from Orlando. You can find the main beach ramp located at 998-900 27th Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169.
As was stated earlier, beach access is $20 for non Volusia County residents,but an annual access pass is $100. If you are an Orlando area native, the annual pass is well worth the money. If you decide to just go with the daily pass for now, save your receipt. Should you decide to commit to the annual pass within 30 days, they will take $20 off of the price.
New Smyrna is a popular beach, so plan accordingly. Try to arrive before 11 AM to make it easier to find a spot.
Also, be aware of other local events in the area. If Daytona is having “Bike Week”, for example, it might be best to choose another weekend.