Travel from Atlanta: A weekend in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

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Travel from Atlanta: A weekend in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

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The Halifax River flows to the Atlantic, separating Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Museum and the Smyrna Dunes Park (note the park’s boardwalks). 

Weekend in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.

Trip tips: Laid-back New Smyrna Beach charms with its “old Florida” feel and one of the longest pristine shores in Florida. The 73-acre Smyrna Dunes Park, located at the northern tip of the New Smyrna Beach peninsula, features 2 miles of elevated walkways, picnic areas, an observation tower, rolling dunes and abundant wildlife, $10 per vehicle. http://floridahikes.com/smyrna-dunes-park.

Stroll the pedestrian-friendly historic Canal Street District with its specialty boutiques, galleries, restored historic buildings and the New Smyrna Beach Museum of History. The area hosts many events such as a Saturday morning Farmers Market, a Craft Beer Walk and Art Stroll, the Canal Street Cruise and a Wine Walk. The five blocks of Flagler Avenue has more family-run restaurants and souvenir beach shops.

The Marine Discovery Center offers island adventure, dolphin and guided kayak eco-tours: www.marinediscoverycenter.org.

Getting there: New Smyrna Beach is just an hour’s drive from Orlando, the Canaveral National Seashore and St. Augustine. One-way rates to Orlando from $40, Frontier, Spirit; $54, Southwest; and $68, Delta.

BUDGET

Stay: Oceania Beach Club offers two-bedroom/two-bath individually owned and decorated condos with fully equipped kitchens and private balconies. The property sits along a broad white sand beach with a pool and oceanfront sundeck. Quaint Flagler Avenue shops and restaurants are steps away. 421 S. Atlantic Ave., 386-423-8400, http://oceaniabeachclub.com.

Eat: The Dolphin View is a dockside Tiki bar eatery known for fresh seafood sandwiches, $6-$20. The restaurant offers a casual 90-minute river cruise with buffet dinner ($19.95) with $2 beer/wine, $1 sodas/water, and $6 mixed drinks. 107 N. Riverside Drive, 386-402-8859, www.dolphinviewseafood.com.

Experience: Every Saturday night through November, catch classic stock car racing at the New Smyrna Speedway. For more than 45 years, this half-mile asphalt track has been home to some of the finest stock car racing in the country. A full concession serves food and beverages (and adult beverages). $15 adults; $13 military/seniors; under age 11 free. 3939 Fla. 44, 386-427-4129, www.newsmyrnaspeedway.org.

MODERATE

Stay: The compound of the Night Swan includes two historic homes and a cottage located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway. Bring your paddle boards and kayaks and launch from the property. Each guest accommodation is unique, from $114-$184, including full breakfast. Both houses have guest kitchens with refrigerators, microwaves, and wineglasses and silverware for in-room dining. 512 S. Riverside Drive, 386-423-4940, www.nightswan.com.

Eat: Ice cold drinks, burgers and great Atlantic Ocean views have been drawing patrons to the Breakers since the 1900s. The iconic beach shack is a Flagler Avenue landmark, $11-$25. 518 Flagler Ave., 386-428-2019, www.breakersnsb.com.

Experience: Step aboard the 53-foot Schooner Ondine for a day sail, sunset sail or a full moon cruise. Coastal day cruises combine sailing offshore and on the beautiful Indian River. This unique two-masted, full keel schooner is rigged with Chinese junk sails and passengers can be a part of the crew to help hoist and trim the sails. A three-hour cruise for one to six passengers is $240; $350 for a 4.5-hour cruise and $600 for a full day. www.schoonerondine.com.

SPLURGE

Stay: Watch the dolphins cruise the Intracoastal from the private dock of the AAA Four-Diamond Black Dolphin Inn, located about a 12-minute walk to Canal Street. This upscale villa guesthouse includes soda and water 24/7 and full breakfast with rates from $229 a night. The Luxury Bay Front room features midcentury decor, red oak wood floors, a free-standing soaking tub centered under a sky-lit cupola and use of the second-floor community deck overlooking the Indian River and Atlantic Waterway. Arrive on a Sunday or Monday through Dec. 19 and receive a fourth consecutive night free. 916 S. Riverside Drive, 386-410-4868, www.blackdolphininn.com.

Eat: Head straight up to the Treehouse at Norwoods for daily specials, appetizers and drinks ($5-$15). The lower dining area features an expansive wine menu, fresh seafood, aged steaks, $6-$28. Live music every night. Serving New Smyrna Beach since 1946, Norwoods also has a retail wine shop. 400 E. Second Ave., 386-428-4621, www.norwoods.com.

Experience: National Geographic recently named New Smyrna Beach one of the top 20 surfing towns. All ages can learn to surf at a morning camp at North Beach Park (Mondays-Fridays). The $200 fee includes three hours of instruction, watermelon, a rest break, ocean safety and education. Take a two-hour surf lesson any Saturday at North Beach Park (corner of Sapphire Road and Atlantic Avenue) through September or Sunday by appointment, $60. Surfboard rentals, $45. Sapphire Road, 386-314-1356, www.surf-lane.com.

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.

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