To experience the beautiful waterways of New Smyrna Beach, I signed up to go paddleboarding. The quiet family beach is located an hour and a half outside Orlando and makes for an easy day trip. I drove myself from Cocoa Beach at 10 in the morning to JB’s Fish Camp, a waterfront restaurant where the East Coast Paddle tours left from.
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What to Expect from Paddleboarding New Smyrna Beach
Slathered in not quite enough sunscreen and donning a swimsuit, I introduced myself to owners Cheryl and Tim Baker. From the pontoon-style boat, we ventured out into the Indian River to Mosquito Island, a wildlife habitat known for birds.
The Indian River is an ideal place for first-time stand-up paddleboarding, as it doesn’t have a current like in the ocean. It’s also a great place to spot manatees in their natural habitat. But be careful, as you may find yourself swimming with them, known as a “manatee car wash.”
What to See While Paddleboarding in New Smyrna Beach
Stand-up paddleboarding requires some balance, but you rest on your knees before pushing yourself up. You’re given a long paddle to push your way through the water. The exercise works your legs, arms, and abs. It’s a great way to see the ecosystem of the Canaveral National Seashore for all ages and fitness levels.
Things to Know Before You Go
The eco-tour lasts two hours and costs $55 per person, including the boat ride, guides, gear rental, water and photos taken on their DSLR and GoPro. Be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen and drink as much water as possible. A swimsuit isn’t necessary, as you probably won’t get in the water, but recommended. It’s nice to put your feet in to cool off at least.
East Coast Paddle runs boat-assisted eco-tours, like the one I went on, as well as paddleboard yoga and rentals. You can also take lessons and go on fishing excursions. ECP sells paddleboards if you want to purchase your own to enjoy at home.
Where to Eat in New Smyrna Beach
JB’s Fish Camp, where the tour leaves from, has seafood platters including shrimp, grouper, and mahi-mahi. They also have their own kayaking rentals. The Baker’s Table has German pastries and internationally-inspired dishes. SoNapa Grille has a large selection of California wines, along with favorites like bacon-wrapped scallops and flatbreads.
Where to Stay in New Smyrna Beach
Looking for a place to stay in New Smyrna Beach before your tour? There are many rentals nearby that are convenient to the river and beach with great amenities. Oceanwalk by Teeming Vacation Rentals has cozy rooms and a resort pool.
I was a guest of East Coast Paddle. All photos were taken by them and provided to me to use. All opinions are my own.