New Smyrna Beach is located northeast of Orlando on the eastern Florida coast. Although acclaimed as one of the best beaches in Florida, it manages to avoid the crowded feel of more popular locales. With its close proximity to some of the top tourist destinations in Florida, the area combines ideal havens for relaxing, swimming, and sunbathing with numerous opportunities for fun, excitement, and adventure. Here are some of the best locations for vacation rentals in and around New Smyrna Beach.

1. The City of New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Source: Flickr / Renée Johnson

Vacation rentals in New Smyrna Beach are close to over 13 miles of white sand beaches. There’s plenty of space for the whole family to swim, sunbathe, and go beachcombing. If you’re up for a more vigorous activity, you can try jet skiing, windsurfing, sailing, and surf fishing. Boating along the Indian River Lagoon provides excellent bird watching opportunities and strolling the boardwalks at Smyrna Dunes Park give you a close look at indigenous plants and wildlife. The Marine Discovery Center offers eco tours by boat, canoe, or kayak of the surrounding waterways.

2. Bethune Beach, Florida

Source: Flickr / Tracy Lee Carroll

The town of Bethune Beach lies along a pristine stretch of white sand just south of New Smyrna Beach. Adjacent to the community is Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park, which has a boardwalk, fishing pier, playground, and picnic areas. You can often spot manatees in the nearby water. Just to the south is Mosquito Lagoon, a popular place for fishing, bird watching, nature tours, and observing manatees and dolphins.

3. Titusville, Florida

Source: Flickr / Reinhard Link

The city of Titusville is south of New Smyrna Beach and east of Orlando. Nearby is Canaveral National Seashore, a nature reserve with 25 miles of undeveloped sand beaches. The reserve’s numerous trails allow you to observe wildlife, such as storks, peregrine falcons, sea turtles, manatees, and right whales. A few miles west of Titusville, the scenic trails in Seminole Ranch Wildlife Management Area offer looks at white-tailed deer, roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, white pelicans, and bald eagles. The area is ideal for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. East of Titusville, the visitor’s center at the Kennedy Space Center provides a fascinating look at the history of the space program.

4. Daytona Beach, Florida

Source: Flickr / Andrew Dawley

Daytona Beach is just north of New Smyrna Beach. The city is synonymous with Daytona International Speedway, the site of the world-famous Daytona 500 car race. You can tour the speedway complex by tram, and if you want a special thrill, you can sign up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, in which a professional driver takes you for a spin in a NASCAR stock car at racing speeds. Dayton Beach also hosts Daytona Lagoon, a large water park that has themed water activities, miniature golf, laser tag, go-karts, and a rock climbing wall. The Museum of Arts and Sciences has absorbing exhibits that will fascinate the entire family.

5. Ormond Beach, Florida

Source: Flickr / Jay Dodge

Ormond Beach adjoins Daytona Beach to the north. A beachfront park provides convenient access to its natural dunes and white sand beach. Other parks lie along the Halifax River and on the shores of several small lakes within the city. With so many bodies of water, Ormond Beach is a great place for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. The Ormond Beach Scenic Loop Drive takes you through 30 miles of natural scenery alongside beaches, marshes, rivers, and dunes where you can observe local wildlife. Nearby Tomoka State Park offers you further opportunities to spot animals, such as alligators, white-tailed deer, bobcats, tortoises, and many types of birds.

6. De Leon Springs, Florida

Source: Flickr / Paul Clark

Vacation rentals in the town of De Leon Springs provide convenient access to De Leon Springs State Park. Named after the famed Spanish explorer who sought the fountain of youth, the spring pumps out almost 20 million gallons of warm water every day. Water activities include swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking. You can scuba dive too, but only when a qualified instructor accompanies you. Nature trails allow you to hike through the surrounding hardwood forest and cypress swamp, and a butterfly garden hosts local plants that attract lovely butterflies and hummingbirds.

7. DeLand, Florida

Source: Flickr / Andrea Westmoreland

Known as the Athens of Florida, DeLand hosts the Downtown DeLand Historic District, which includes 68 historically significant buildings. Of particular interest is the Stetson Mansion, an enormous luxury home built during the Gilded Age by the hat maker John B. Stetson. Although it’s a private residence, you can still take the family for a fun, informative tour. Just to the northeast of DeLand, the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for hiking, boating, and viewing wildlife. For the adventurous, DeLand also has a reputation as a world-class center for skydiving.

8. Sanford, Florida

Source: Flickr / Daniel Piraino

Sanford is a historic lakefront city that lies southwest of New Smyrna Beach along the highway to Orlando. The city’s scenic downtown area has attractive galleries, shops, restaurants, and a marina. The miles-long RiverWalk trail is ideal for strolling and cycling. Show your kids exotic wildlife by visiting the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, featuring over 400 animals from all over the world.

9. Winter Park, Florida

Source: Flickr / Oscar de Lama

Originally founded as a winter resort due to its superb location and pleasant weather, Winter Park now provides year-round relaxation and recreational activities. Its numerous museums and galleries make it a center of arts and culture, and its many parks provide abundant greenery and opportunities for relaxing strolls. For a fun-filled day, bring the family to the Mead Botanical Garden, a multi-ecosystem complex with a discovery barn, butterfly garden, and recreational center. Winter Park’s annual festivals include the Bach Festival and the nationally-renowned Sidewalk Art Festival, so be sure to pack your camera.

10. International Drive, Orlando

Source: Flickr / Chad Sparkes

International Drive, or I-Drive for short, is an 11-mile stretch of road in the city of Orlando that’s full of shopping malls, restaurants, and many of the city’s top attractions. Vacation rentals in the area have access to unlimited entertainment possibilities. For instance, SeaWorld Orlando features animal exhibits, amusement park rides, and live animal shows, which are sure to put smiles on your kids’ faces. Fun Spot America in Orlando has roller coasters and go-kart tracks, which are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Universal Orlando is a theme park based on various film franchises, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, modeled after the popular Harry Potter novels and films.