What a fantastic park! 73 acres with water on three sides -- the Indian River, Ponce's Inlet and the Atlantic. You can approach the park from the beach or from Peninsula Ave. Either way, it will cost $5 per vehicle -- well worth it for all that you get to see and enjoy. Plus you can bring your best 4-legged friend as long as you keep him on a leash. This pristine park is home to many different birds, mammals and reptiles -- the most interesting to my mind are the Gopher Tortoises. These interesting creatures easily burrow 40 ft. under the ground providing themselves shelter from cold, wind, fire, heat, and other elements of nature. Their tunnels and burrows provide a habitat for dozens of other little creatures as well. Many people walk or jog the 1.5 mile boardwalk which provides great views of the Atalntic ocean, beaches on both the Daytona and New Smyrna side, and Poncet's inlet. The boardwalk has shaded areas and benches for resting along the way. There are even firepits! However, there are no water fountains except at the covered pavilion near the restrooms at the park's entrance. I was happy to see fresh news posters in the pavilion illustrating many varieties of birds, fish, and sea turtles. Apparently there are guided tours and educational tours as well. The doggie beach is beautiful...and unlike other doggie beaches in Florida (that limit the hours that your pet can go to the beach), this beach permits dogs from sunrise to sunsets. The doggie beach is located along Ponce's Inlet and your dog can swim in the ocean if he likes. Meanwhile, you can also enjoy the beach, ocean, watch the boats come and go through Poncet's Inlet, watch the fisherman fishing on both jetties, or watch the surfers ride the waves on the New Smyrna side of the Inlet. There is a lot of flora and fauna for nature lovers and bird watchers. If you are not an avid walker, I suggest approaching the park from the beach by car and taking a shorter walk. Be sure to look for tortoises that come out of their burrows in the warm weather. The other day, I saw a male wagging his head at a female in some sort of mating ritual, I think. I have to add that I am most impressed with New Smyrna Beach's efforts to recycle and to keep fishing lines safely out of the way of birds and other animals. I have been visiting Florida (from Canada) for almost 50 years, and New Smyrna Beach is the most environmentally friendly beach and town in all of Florida, in my opinion. There are recycling bins to be seen everywhere, on both land and beach. Well done New Smyrna Beach!
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