Five: New Smyrna Beach!
o wondrous tides!
After the I-95 overpass continue along the latest stretch of SR-44 improvement to creep its way to the beach. Here the posted limit slows to 55 mph but you’ll enjoy another 1.8 miles of broad, marked, smooth shoulders. After that it’s more crusty & congested shoulderless urban scudding of the sort you left back in Sanford. You may want to take to the sidewalks again for the short two-mile stretch to the causeway bridge.
The Saxon Intercoastal Waterway Bridge is nearly brand new as you must know. It has a separate bikelane on the west-bound side but the shoulders are ample in both directions. You’ll want to stop at the top overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway. Then, “on a clear day you can see . . . “ --well, out to those rollers is reward plenty!.
You did it!
If you’re going all the way out to the National Seashore I
suggest you bypass the section of A1A just ahead and take Saxon Drive south, a fine 2-lane road that parallels A1A along the eastern shore of the Intercoastal past some very attractive residences half-hidden in the coastal underbrush. With the Holiday Inn in view on the beach directly in front turn right off SR-44 at Eckerds onto Saxon Drive.
The first half of the Drive has an off-road bike path; for the remaining 1.8 miles you’ll be on the road but you should have no trouble; it’s very lightly travelled. And any time you want to change your mind the beach is just a stone’s throw across to the left by any of the many small connecting roads. Saxon Drive exits onto A1A
around Bethune Beach where there’s a fine public (free) beach with heads & showers. The National Park’s main entrance is another two miles south.
Some local color? JB’s Fishcamp is just down the road on the right, hugging a rustic section of Intercoastal. If you don’t mind sawdust on the floors, a sometimes meandering troubador, irrepressible rowdiness, motivated hep help, and one great seafood menu, you might make it here. For me there was that one time . . .
This A1A! --no matter where you are in New Smyrna Beach & its southern neighbors this side of the National Seashore-- it's all delight for a cyclist! Not only those whiffs and that faraway ocean promise everywhere you point your nose but the road both ways is made just for us: ample on-road shoulders or extra wide walks --take your pick!
If you’re planning to pedal back to Orlando an overnight stopover in New Smyrna Beach is advised. In addition to the Holiday Inn and a number of on-beach condo towers that welcome overnight guests you'll find several attractive B&B's around town and a few modest mom-&-pop motels on the west side of A1A. (See NSB Accomodations Directory) Plan to visit downtown NSB Beach, including the recently refurbished Flagler Avenue and the attractive gazebo-boardwalk they just built. This place continues to draw me to its very special brand of sand & surf, a true treasure in my book, surely one of Florida’s most unspoilt seaside towns.