Not up for a long long trip? New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding area provide a little Florida history and sunshine without the St. Augustine crowds and its only an hour away from Orlando.
1. Sugar Mill Ruins- This stop is free. It is great for a picnic lunch or spending time sketching. This 17th century site is shaded by live oaks and is a quiet park that you will miss because it is truly off the beaten path. The walls left standing are coquina. Sugar has long been an industry in Florida. This archaeological site gives insight into the processing of sugar cane long before the modern age.
2. Ponce Inlet Light House At $6.95 a person, this site will provide a thorough overview of the history of Florida from the Paleoindians to modern times. This lighthouse is over 125 years old and the tallest in the Florida. The craftsmanship of the prisms to reflect and amplify light are amazing. It is science, math and art. You will get your cardio with the 227 steps up the light house, but there are 13 other buildings to explore including an area of rafts that Cubans fleeing their country used to come to Florida. Every time one washes to shore, they add it to their collection.
3. End your day at Lighthouse Point Park. You can enjoy a walk out onto the jetty. One side is ideal for people who like to fish while the oceanside is ideal for surfers and sunbathers.
Finish up your afternoon with amazing food from The Taco Shack or The Garlic. Next Friday, I will tell you more about The Taco Shack.