Explore the Canaveral National Seashore on Your New Smyrna Beach Vacation

During your upcoming vacation to New Smyrna Beach, you will want to spend plenty of time in the sunshine, experiencing the incredible New Smyrna Beach weather and having a fun afternoon with the ones you love most. While you are exploring the town, be sure to spend some time at the Canaveral National Seashore in New Smyrna Beach. This is one of the best ways to spend your family vacation and is just moments away from all of our most popular New Smyrna Beach condo rentals

The History of the Canaveral National Seashore

The Canaveral National Seashore at night

Canaveral National Seashore is situated on a barrier island between New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, along Florida’s East Coast. It is comprised of 24 miles of undeveloped, pristine shoreline, dunes and lagoons offering sanctuary to an abundant blend of plants and animals. Long before European explorers ventured ashore in Florida, the Timucuan First Natives, attracted by the fertile estuaries and temperate climate, harvested oysters/clams and discarded the shells in heaps, which are studied by archeologists in the mounds today. The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513 and claimed the land for his country, until Florida became a United States Territory in 1821. In the 1830’s, Douglas Dummett planted an orange grove in the area that began the world-renowned Indian River citrus industry. During the next century, villages were established near the orange groves and water passageways on what is now known as Canaveral National Seashore. One such settlement, Eldora, was home to Native Americans and a few woodsmen and its history and culture have been preserved for future generations at The Eldora State House in New Smyrna. In 1975, the Canaveral National Seashore was created to preserve the land and creatures that inhabit it.

Things To Do

Once you arrive on the Canaveral National Seashore, you’ll find yourself with plenty to see and do. Perhaps the most obvious thing to do here is to spend time on the beach! You can simply jump into the water, bring a Frisbee to toss around, or relax on the sand to soak up the sunshine away from the busy city. You can visit one of the best restaurants in New Smyrna Beach, or guests can bring beach day essentials like food, drinks, hats, beach chairs, and sunscreen, to ensure the perfect afternoon.

An Aerial shot of National Canaveral Seashore in St. Augustine

If you don’t want to stay onshore, rent a boat and head out onto the water! Boating is an incredibly popular hobby in this area, and there are several boat launches conveniently located near the seashore. You’ll find boat launching locations at Apollo Beach and the Seminole Rest Historic Site, as well as outside of the seashore at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, River Breeze Park, and Menard-May Park. Any of these boat launches give you perfect access to Mosquito Lagoon, allowing you a relaxing experience on the water. 

Would you rather stay dry? You can still explore the area by trekking out onto one of the local hiking trails. For instance, the Seminole Rest Trail is just half a mile long, perfect for hikers both new and experienced. As you walk along the trail, you’ll find more than 2,000 years of history spanning from the Timucuan First Natives to the Reconstruction Era settlers and to the present. You can also make your way through Castle Windy Trail, located within Apollo Beach. Travel just half a mile along the trail to reach Mosquito Lagoon; as the name suggests, there are lots of mosquitoes on this trail throughout the majority of the year, so be sure to bring your bug spray!

One of the most interesting and unique things that you can do at the Canaveral National Seashore is to view a rocket launch! Since the shore is located half an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center, it gives a perfect view of any rocket launches. If you do decide to come out to watch a rocket launch, you’ll need to be flexible; the seashore staff is unable to predict when they will fill to capacity, so you’ll want to head over from your New Smyrna Beach vacation rental early to secure your spot. Keep in mind that Kennedy Space Center may also close sections of the beach for Space Center operations. 

St. Augustine Canaveral National Seashore

The Eldora State House

As we mentioned, there used to be a community called Eldora that was home to Native Americans and woodsmen during the early 1800s and before. Some of the buildings that were in this community still exist today, and to get an up-close look at the area’s history, be sure to spend some time at the Eldora State House. Originally constructed in 1913, it is the sole home that remains from the Eldora community and houses many fascinating exhibits and artifacts.

Guests are welcome to come through the house every Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon until 4 p.m. 

Hours, Pricing, and Directions

The Canaveral National Seashore is situated between the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Mosquito Lagoon on the west.  Guests can access the beach at Apollo Beach in New Smyrna Beach or Playalinda Beach in Titusville. Both areas are open daily from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. 

To reach the Apollo Beach access point on the northern side of the seashore, make your way to I-95 and use exit 249, then head east and follow the signs. If you want to come to the Playalinda Beach access point on the southern end, you’ll still take I-95 but will instead use exit 220. You’ll head east on Garden Street and follow the signs to the access point. 

The majority of those entering the Canaveral National Seashore do so in vehicles. The vehicle entrance fee is $20 per car or van and is valid for seven days. Those entering on a motorcycle pay $15, and pedestrians entering on foot or by bicycle pay $10 per person. These passes are available for purchase at both the Apollo Beach and the Playalinda Beach entrances. All of these passes are valid for seven days, meaning you can return as many times as you please within a week. If you plan to be in the area for longer, they also sell an annual pass for $40 per person. 

A family hiking along the Canaveral National Seashore

If you’re searching for things to do in New Smyrna Beach, be sure to carve out a day or two to explore all the fun to be had along the Canaveral National Seashore. Not only can you learn tons of fascinating history about the area, but you’ll also be able to spend plenty of time in the sunshine and make incredible memories with your family. After a long day of sightseeing, head back to one of our pet friendly New Smyrna Beach vacation rentals to relax, unwind, and get ready for another fun day ahead. There’s never been a better time to plan a Florida vacation with your family! Contact us today to learn more about all of our available 2 bedroom condos in New Smyrna Beach, FL!