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New Smyrna Beach, Florida
City of New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach from observation deck on top of Ponce de León Inlet Light
New Smyrna Beach from observation deck on top of Ponce de León Inlet Light
"Florida's Secret Pearl"
Cygnus Inter Anates
Location in Volusia County and the state of Florida
Location in Volusia County and the state of Florida
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Coordinates: 29°1′50″N 80°55′31″W / 29.03056°N 80.92528°W / 29.03056; -80.92528Coordinates: 29°1′50″N 80°55′31″W / 29.03056°N 80.92528°W / 29.03056; -80.92528
Country  United States
State  Florida
County Volusia
Settled 1768
Incorporated (town) 1887
Incorporated (city) 1947
 • Type Commission–manager
 • City 41.29 sq mi (106.93 km2)
 • Land 37.79 sq mi (97.88 km2)
 • Water 3.49 sq mi (9.05 km2)
7 ft (2 m)
 • City 30,142
 • Density 797.58/sq mi (307.95/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
32168, 32169, 32170
Area code(s) 386
FIPS code 12-48625
GNIS feature ID 0287692

New Smyrna Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, United States, located on the central east coast of the state, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Its population is 30,142 in 2020 by the United States Census Bureau. The downtown section of the city is located on the west side of the Indian River and the Indian River Lagoon system. The Coronado Beach Bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway just south of Ponce de Leon Inlet, connecting the mainland with the beach on the coastal barrier island.

The surrounding area offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation; these include fishing, sailing, motorboating, golfing, and hiking. Visitors participate in water sports of all kinds, including swimming, scuba diving, kitesurfing, and surfing. In July 2009, New Smyrna Beach was ranked number nine on the list of "best surf towns" in Surfer. It was recognized as "one of the world's top 20 surf towns" by National Geographic. in 2012. It has also been dubbed "The Shark Bite Capital of the World."


Dr. Andrew Turnbull

The area was first settled by Europeans in 1768, when Scottish physician Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a friend of James Grant, the governor of British East Florida, established the colony of New Smyrna, named after the home town of his father-in-law. No one had previously attempted to settle so many people at one time in a town in North America.

Turnbull recruited about 1300 settlers, intending for them to grow hemp, sugarcane, and indigo, as well as to produce rum, at his plantation on the northeastern Atlantic coast of Florida. The majority of the colonists came from Minorca, one of the Mediterranean Balearic Islands of Spain, and were of Catalan culture and language. Around 500 or so came from Greece.

Although the colony produced relatively large amounts of processed indigo in its first few years of operation, it eventually collapsed after suffering major losses due to insect-borne diseases and Indian raids, and growing tensions caused by mistreatment of the colonists on the part of Turnbull and his overseers. The survivors, about 600 in number, marched nearly 70 miles north on the King's Road and relocated to St. Augustine, where their descendants live to this day. In 1783, East and West Florida were returned to the Spanish, and Turnbull abandoned his colony to retire in Charleston, South Carolina.

The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine on St. George Street in St. Augustine honors the Greeks among the settlers of New Smyrna; they were the first Greek Orthodox followers in North America. The historical exhibit adjoining the chapel tells the story of their plight, with accompanying exhibits, and of their contributions to the city.

Central Florida remained sparsely populated by white settlers well into the 19th century, and it was frequently raided by Seminole Indians trying to protect their territory. United States troops fought against them in the Seminole Wars, but they were never completely dislodged. During the Civil War in the 1860s, the "Stone Wharf" of New Smyrna was shelled by Union gunboats.

In 1887, when New Smyrna was incorporated, it had a population of 150. In 1892, Henry Flagler provided service to the town via his Florida East Coast Railway. This led to a rapid increase in the area's population. Its economy grew as tourism was added to its citrus and commercial fishing industries.

During Prohibition in the 1920s, the city and its river islands were popular sites for moonshine stills and hideouts for rum-runners, who came from the Bahamas through Mosquito Inlet, now Ponce de León Inlet. "New Smyrna" became "New Smyrna Beach" in 1947, when the city annexed the seaside community of Coronado Beach. Today, it is a resort town of over 20,000 permanent residents.

Like St. Augustine, established by the Spanish, New Smyrna has been under the rule of four "flags": the British, Spanish, United States (from 1821, with ratification of the Adams–Onís Treaty), and the Confederate Jack. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, it returned with Florida to the United States.

See also: New Smyrna Beach Historic District


New Smyrna Beach's motto is cygnus inter anates, which is Latin for "a swan among ducks." The city is located in the so-called "Fun Coast" region of the state of Florida, a regional term created by the Daytona Beach/Halifax area Chamber of Commerce. This coincides with the local area code, 386, which spells FUN on touchtone phones. According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 37.8 square miles (98.0 km2). 34.6 square miles (89.7 km2) of it is land, and 0.31 square miles (0.8 km2) of it (8.46%) is covered by water. It is bordered by the city of Port Orange to the northwest, unincorporated Volusia County to the north, the census-designated place of Samsula-Spruce Creek to the west, and the cities of Edgewater and Bethune Beach and the Canaveral National Seashore to the south. Bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, New Smyrna Beach is on the Indian River. The city is connected to other parts of the state by Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, State Road 44, and State Road 442.


New smyrna beach
New Smyrna Beach

Like the rest of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee, New Smyrna Beach has a humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa) climate characterized by hot, humid summers and mild, mostly dry winters. The rainy season lasts from May until October, and the dry season, from November to April. New Smyrna averages only about four frosts per year, and many species of subtropical plants and palms are grown in the area. The city has recorded snowfall only three times in its 250-year history. The summers are long and hot, with frequent severe thunderstorms in the afternoon, as central Florida is the lightning capital of North America. Winters are pleasant with frequent sunny skies and dry weather.

Weather hazards include hurricanes from June until November, though direct hits are rare. Hurricane Charley exited over New Smyrna Beach on August 13, 2004, after crossing the state in a northeastern direction from its initial landfall in Punta Gorda. The storm caused extensive damage to the beachside portion of the city, and toppled many historic oak trees in the downtown area and along historic Flagler Avenue.

Climate data for New Smyrna Beach, Florida (Daytona Beach Area), 1981–2010 normal temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 92
Average high °F (°C) 68.7
Average low °F (°C) 47.2
Record low °F (°C) 15
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.74
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.5 7.3 8.2 5.8 6.8 13.3 12.8 14.0 13.5 10.6 7.7 7.5 115
Sunshine hours 217 224 279 270 279 270 279 279 240 217 210 217 2,981
Source #1: NOAA (extremes 1937–present)
Source #2: The Weather Channel


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 119
1890 287 141.2%
1900 543 89.2%
1910 1,121 106.4%
1920 2,007 79.0%
1930 4,149 106.7%
1940 4,402 6.1%
1950 5,775 31.2%
1960 8,781 52.1%
1970 10,580 20.5%
1980 13,557 28.1%
1990 16,543 22.0%
2000 20,048 21.2%
2010 22,464 12.1%
2020 30,142 34.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
New Smyrna Beach FL peninsula01
Oceanside view of New Smyrna Beach

As of the census of 2010, 22,464 people, 11,074 households, and 6,322 families resided in the city. The population density was 724.1 inhabitants per square mile (279.5/km2). The 16,647 housing units averaged 491.9 per square mile (189.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.8% White, 5.9% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.8% of the population.

Of the 11,074 households, 14.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.9% were not families. About 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.01 and the average family size was 2.54.

In the city, the population was distributed as 13.9% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 20 to 24, 17.9% from 25 to 44, 31.3% from 45 to 64, and 31.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 54.3 years. Females were 52.1% of the population, and males were 47.9%.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,625, and for a family was $62,267. Males had a median income of $38,132 versus $32,087 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,013. About 10.9% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.9% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those aged 65 or over.

The population continues to increase with new condominium development.


Atlantic Center for the Arts: Pabst Visitor Center and Gallery

Named one of "America's Top Small Cities for the Arts", New Smyrna Beach is home to the Atlantic Center for the Arts, an artists-in-residence community and educational facility, the Harris House, the Little Theatre, and a gallery of fine arts, Arts on Douglas. Arts shows featuring visual and performing arts occur throughout the year.

Shark attacks

According to the International Shark Attack File maintained by the University of Florida, in 2007, Volusia County had more confirmed shark bites than any other region in the world. Experts from the university have referred to the county as having the "dubious distinction as the world's shark-bite capital". The trend continued in 2008, during which time the town broke its own record, with 24 shark bites. An Orlando Sentinel photographer shot a picture of a four-foot spinner shark jumping over a surfer, a reversal of "jumping the shark". Sharks bit three different surfers on September 18, 2016, in the span of a few hours at the same beach.


  • Grange, Roger. "Saving Eighteenth-Century New Smyrnea: Public Archaeology in Action." Present Pasts vol 3 #1 (2011). online
  • Panagopoulos, Epaminondas P. "The Background of the Greek Settlers in the New Smyrna Colony." Florida Historical Quarterly 35.2 (1956): 95–115. in JSTOR
  • Panagopoulos, Epaminondas P. New Smyrna: An Eighteenth Century Greek Odyssey (University of Florida Press, 1966)


All public education is run by Volusia County Schools.

Elementary schools

  • Chisholm Elementary
  • Coronado Beach Elementary
  • Read-Pattillo Elementary
  • Sacred Heart School (private)

Middle schools

  • New Smyrna Beach Middle School
  • Sacred Heart School (private Catholic)

High schools

  • New Smyrna Beach High School

Higher education

  • Daytona State College (New Smyrna Beach Campus)

Notable people

  • Joseph Barbara – actor best known for the soap opera Another World
  • Emory L. Bennett – United States Army soldier in the Korean War, Medal of Honor winner
  • The Beu Sisters – music recording artists
  • Joyce Cusack – Florida politician and retired registered nurse
  • Suzanne Kosmas – Former U.S. Representative for Florida's 24th congressional district
  • Jimmy McMillan – political activist, perennial candidate, Vietnam War veteran, and founder of the Rent is Too Damn High political party
  • Walter M. Miller, Jr. – author of A Canticle for Liebowitz
  • Jack Mitchell – photographer and author of dance and iconic artist images
  • Jim Parsley – American stock car racing driver
  • Bob Ross – American painter, art instructor, and television host


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