Head to Florida for sunshine and fiestas
Florida has few secrets, having long drawn visitors to its white-sand beaches, diverse wildlife and the kitsch world of Disney, but one place that has stealthily slipped under the radar is New Smyrna Beach, halfway up the state’s east coast. However, the laid-back surf town is about to make a little noise for itself in 2018, as it celebrates the 250th anniversary of its founding by Scotsman Andrew Turnbull. A season of events is planned to mark this milestone, culminating in a grand fiesta in June. Put yourself in the heart of the action with a room at Inn On The Avenue, a charming clapboard B&B on palmtree-lined Flagler Avenue, just a hop from the sea. Affable host Tami whips up stomach-expanding breakfasts, such as biscuits and gravy with bacon (a Southern US staple), and guests are free to flip their own pancakes on the in-table griddles. At 5pm, sangria is served on the veranda. Long sunny days are well spent cruising the beach on bikes, keeping watch for sea turtles, or paddleboarding on the Intracoastal Waterway, joined by dolphins. Be sure to head to Third Wave, a restaurant serving seafood so fresh it seems it’s jumped from the sea onto your plate, and Outriggers for cocktails and mac ’n’ cheese.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
For more info on New Smyrna Beach and its anniversary, see visitnsbfl.com. Rooms at Inn On The Avenue start at around £100 (innontheave.com). Paddleboard New Smyrna offers rental and lessons (from £25/hour; nsbsup.com). The Salty Mermaid Hotel rents fat bikes (£18 per day; saltymermaidnsb.com). Third Wave serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (mains from £9; thirdwavensb.com). Outriggers is by the marina (mains from £8; newsmyrnamarina.com/outriggers). Fly to Orlando with airlines including BA, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic (from £445; virginatlantic.com).
Fat-biking on New Smyrna’s beach. RIGHT A refreshing Key lime colada cocktail from Outriggers A lifeguard’s beach outpost at sunrise. LEFT The sign over historic Flagler Avenue