Pause the ocean documentary and allow New Smyrna Beach to introduce you to its vast array of wildlife! From sea turtles on the shore to dolphins gliding through the waves, our east coast beach town is so much more than a vacation destination. Wildlife abounds in NSB as the city is united in keeping its creatures safe in their habitats. Follow your curiosity and you’ll find it leads you on scuba diving adventures, kayak trips, and peaceful trails that offer a glimpse into the animal kingdom. We’ve created a NSB wildlife guide so you and yours can personally meet our salt-water friends. Help keep our locals wild by solely observing and taking pics.
Discover Where Dolphins Swim
The unanimously loved creature that everyone dreams of seeing is the dolphin. From boat tours to the balconies of oceanfront condos, dolphins are frequently sighted all around the island. Instead of relying on good fortune and timing, there are several spots in New Smyrna Beach that nearly guarantee an encounter. Mary McLeod Bethune Park is an easy place to see these animals in action. Stroll along the riverfront boardwalk and keep your camera handy; dolphins are most active between 10AM – noon and 2PM- dark. If your curiosity demands more than just a sighting, we recommend a 2-hour Dolphin Discovery Tour with the Marine Discovery Center. This boat tour guides you along the backwaters of the lagoon and fills you in on the fun facts you missed in science class. View tour pricing here.
While Florida’s springs are known for being the manatee’s habitat, there are quite a few who prefer beachside living. NSB’s intercoastal waters are home to many of these gentle giants, especially between November – April. These sea mammals don’t shy away from attention and are found near the popular restaurant, JB’s Fish Camp. JB’s has kayak rentals that allow you to paddle and behold these creatures up close. Just remember to keep your hands in the kayak; it’s illegal to feed or touch manatees. Mary McLeod Bethune Park’s river boardwalk also provides a great opportunity for a sighting.
Witness the Sea Turtle’s Trek
The sea turtle is heralded as one of the ocean’s most treasured beings- especially as they teeter on endangerment! New Smyrna Beach has the privilege of hosting the loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles’ nesting season between May and October. People are more than welcome to witness the phenomenon, but beware! Volusia County has strict rules with hefty fines backing them up. Should you venture to the shore at night, it’s imperative that you use no light as this confuses the turtles and hatchlings. The best place to watch the sea turtles nest is at New Smyrna Beach’s most southern point, the Canaveral National Seashore. The park has guided nighttime tours that allow travelers to witness the start of the sea turtle life cycle.
Explore the Underwater World
Zip up your wet suit and take a deep dive into the heart of New Smyrna Beach: the Atlantic Ocean. As 80% of the ocean is unexplored, there’s no telling what wonders are in store beneath the waves. New Smyrna and Daytona Beach have dozens of wrecks and reefs teeming with marine wildlife. Sea Dogs Dive Center offers in-depth scuba diving tours where you can experience NSB’s underwater world. Book ahead, rent their gear, and sail out of Ponce Inlet to take the plunge. No worries if you’re a diving novice – instructors are there to guide you! View their scuba diving tour information here.
If you’ve ever attempted eating chips on the beach, you’ve already become acquainted with the locals! New Smyrna Beach is a bird lover’s paradise as there are almost 100 different species in the area. You won’t have to venture past your beach chair to see seagulls, pelicans, and egrets. More unique birds can be found in New Smyrna Beach’s natural estuary; the Oceanwalk complex has an entire board walk winding through it. Those staying elsewhere can set off on the East Coast Regional Trail which is 52 miles long and home to bald eagles, owls, hawks, and more. Use Volusia County’s birding guide on your hike!
From the sea turtles nighttime journey to the manatees underwater play, New Smyrna Beach is proud of the wildlife in its care. As there is so much more to explore than a day-trip permits, plan a week-long NSB vacation for the full experience. Great Ocean Condos and Homes has over 300 vacation rentals that range from direct oceanfront getaways to beautiful beach houses. Browse our condos and homes online or call us at 386.478.7863 to book.