During a recent day trip to New Smyrna, I got schooled on which beaches are dog friendly. When I say schooled, let’s just say I wasted money on parking, and was told to leave the beach. Lucky for you, if you’re here, I can save you time, and money by sharing where to find the only dog friendly beach in New Smyrna.
How We Found the Only Dog Friendly Beach in New Smyrna
First, a little backstory. My parents had lived in Florida for 10 years, but were getting ready to move back up to Michigan. My mom suffers from Alzheimer’s, so I wanted to take her to the beach one last time. She enjoys our pups, so I wanted to take them with us. But, I had never taken them to the beach before.
After arriving at 27th Avenue Beachfront Park, I parked, but didn’t pay my parking fee until checking signs to make sure dogs were allowed. There’s plenty of signage stating dogs are allowed, as long as they remain on a leash. Therefore I paid the $20 parking fee, and went back to get everyone out of the truck.
A boardwalk leads down to the beach, so we walked the dogs down, and headed for the water. Not sure what made me more happy, my mom’s reaction to the water, or Lucky’s. I do know I’m glad I got video, because I never want to forget that moment.
Anyways, after about 10 minutes playing on the beach, waiting for waves to reach us, a lifeguard came over to see us. She asked if anyone had said anything to us about the dogs. I told her no one talked to us. Well, apparently no dogs are allowed on the beach. Surprisingly there are no signs telling you dogs are not allowed. I double checked when we went back up. So, the park allows dogs, but not the beach. You would think there would be signs to warn you by the walkway down, but nope.
At least the lifeguard knew where to find a dog beach, and told us how to get there. Even though there was no way to get my $20 parking free back.
Getting to Smyrna Dunes Park
Next, we headed to Smyrna Dunes Park, and again had to pay parking. It’s either $10 for a day pass, or $20 for a yearly pass. Since we already knew the dogs were good with the water, we decided to do the yearly pass, and bring them back more. In addition, the pass is also good for Lighthouse Point Park, which is just across the waterway in Ponce Inlet. But this is not a dog friendly beach.
The entrance guard was super helpful in explaining how to get to the dog beach from the parking lot. Smyrna Dunes Park not only leads to a dog beach, but there are also trails, and a boardwalk to the main beach. The dog beach trail is on the north end of the parking lot.
It’s about a quarter mile walk on the trail, to the inlet dog beach. As we got down the trail a little, fiddler crabs were all over the walkway. Up before us, they would scatter into the brush. It looked pretty creepy.
Lucky was hilarious and kept chasing them. There were hundreds of them in the brush along the trail. You could hear them rustling around.
New Smyrna Dog Friendly Beach
Once we reached the beach, I was able to get my bearings where the beach is located. Across the Inlet is Disappearing Island. A couple years ago we Did a field trip with Marine Discovery Center. They boated us out to the island, so we could learn about the eco-system, and explore. Then, across to the northeast is Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, which is another great place to visit.
Although the beach area isn’t huge, I think it’s perfect. Not only can you stroll up and back, but there’s space away from the water to set up your blankets or chairs. This way you can have some privacy and keep dogs away from each other.
Tips for Your Dog Friendly Trip to New Smyrna Beach
- Scoop your Poop: If you don’t have bags, there’s a place to grab some. Therefore, no excuses!
- Be sure to bring your pups leash: If states all dogs must be on a leash.
- Bring towels for the car ride home: There is also a washing station right by the parking lot to clean off your dogs.
- Fresh water or bowl: You can also fill water to hydrate your dog by the washing station
- Beware of jellyfish: Josephine got stung by a butterfly jellyfish on our visit
- Make sure of current rules for dogs on the boardwalk: Since the boardwalk can get very hot, they don’t allow dogs on the boardwalk during certain hours of the day.
- Have fun
In the end, we were happy to find Smyrna Dunes Park, and the secluded dog beach. This is the only dog friendly beach in New Smyrna. But across the inlet, there is another dog beach by the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. We will definitely go back to Smyrna Dunes Park. Both with and without the dogs.
If you are looking for a dog friendly place to grab a bite to eat, check out Yellow Dog Eats. We’ve been to the one in Windermere, but they have a location right in New Smyrna too.
If you’re not traveling with a pet, and looking for somewhere nearby to stay, check out Max Beach Resort in Daytona.