Head to Florida for sun­shine and fi­es­tas

Lonely Planet (UK) - - In This Issue... -

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

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