It’s that time of the year again! The jNeals are taking over the beach. This year we’re in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Joan and I have been doing the yearly beach trek before babies, after babies and we continue this yearly tradition with our baby’s babies. Yes, we are a crew. For an entire week, we spend every day in the sand and surf, play all the fun beach games, go for early morning power walks and try every seafood restaurant we can find. We are loud, we laugh a ton, live life wide open, and enjoy every second of our beach family life.
New Smyrna Beach, FL
This is our first time at New Smyrna Beach and it did not disappoint. We arrived at peak tourist season. We are beach people. Serious beach people. We start early in the morning setting up tents and chairs, Bluetooth boom box for our favorite tunes, set up the beach games, coolers of food and beverages and we don’t leave till late. It’s a mixture of play, chill time and catching up with a favorite book or two.
New Smyrna Beach is popular. The beach on the weekend was packed. Everyone was there to have fun. We found folks were respectful of space even though there were people as far as you could see. Week days were less crowded, but still the numbers were sizeable. Regardless of the crowds, it didn’t hinder us from having a great time.
New Smyrna Beach is one of the few beaches on the east coast that allows cars on the sand. But, it’s expensive at $25 a day for a non-resident parking pass. This year, we left the RV’s behind. We found a great deal on a 4 bedroom condo on the edge of the beach that was a couple minute walk from door to our tent spot every day. The crew would carry our beach things down and back in one trip. We could not have asked for a better spot.
Great beach restaurants
Another benefit of our condo was the location to the main downtown strip. We were able to either walk to a restaurant or take a 5 minute drive. Parking downtown could be a challenge and the very short walk was perfect. The food and experience was spot-on. Even with the crowds, we were able to find reasonable dining and wait times for seating. Our favorites were:
- Flagler Tavern – Minutes from the beach and condo. Great food, fun atmosphere. We ate at the top floor deck overlooking downtown. For June, we enjoyed a cool evening breeze and the fresh seafood was great.
- The Garlic – What an amazing place! A most interesting indoor dining experience that made more of an outdoor feel. Trees, vines and greenery throughout gave a garden feel. Our Italian influenced meal was fantastic and service was perfect. A great evening.
- Off the Hook Raw Bar & Grill – This was the most casual dinner we had during the week. The raw oysters were large and tasty. The seafood meals were very good.
- Mikey’s Pizza – We always have a take-out pizza night when we go to the beach. Mikey’s Pizza was great. Fast, good crust and sauce with ample toppings.
We look forward to our yearly family summer beach trip. Our kids grew up with the expectation that summer would not be summer without the beach. Now the third generation of the jNeal crew from 14 to 4 feels the same way. Put on your flip flops, grab a beverage and click the video below and join the jNeal’s for another week on the beach.
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