Girls’ Day Out/Pups’ Day Out – Smyrna Dunes Park and New Smyrna Beach – Take Two!
Daughter and I were both off yesterday and decided to hit New Smyrna Beach again since we had so much fun last time. We brought Gizmo (our Pomeranian, who loves to swim) and The Princess (my Japanese Chin, who does not). The original plan was to only bring Gizmo, but The Princess looked so forlorn I brought her too.
This time we decided to try a cut through to the beach that was a little closer than the end-of-the-point walk the pups and I took last time (on a scorching day with no shade or breeze). That proved to be a disappointment. The beach wasn’t nearly as nice, was overcrowded, and had jellyfish, which I expected in the ocean, but not in the inlet. Lesson learned. I was surprised at the stark difference in beauty and atmosphere between the two locations (with less than a mile between them).
We swam and played until lunch time. The Princess was getting hot so I put her in the water with me to cool off. She took it in stride, appreciating the coolness if not the wetness of the water, swam perfectly to shore, and declared the outing done.
So we took a lunch break. There are several dog-friendly restaurants in New Smyrna Beach. We chose Dolphin View Restaurant which proved to be an excellent choice.
It can be tricky to find (over the bridge, down a side alley outside of the tourist area) but worth the hunt.
The food was good, the atmosphere relaxing enough to unwind a bit while the comings and goings of boats, egrets, pelicans, and seagulls kept us entertained.
The server brought individual bowls of water for each dog, which was a nice touch.
Our $5.00 admission to the park was good for all day, so after lunch we returned as I wanted Daughter to see the pretty end of the beach. Fortunately, there was a little more shade in the afternoon (not much) and a nice breeze so the walk down was much more enjoyable than the death march from a few weeks ago.
I was surprised to see how quickly we got there and even more surprised at how excited the dogs were to be back (I expected it from Gizmo, not expecting it from The Princess). They would have run down the path to the boardwalk if Daughter and I had been able to keep up.
That end of the beach was much less crowded, much wider, and even more beautiful than I remembered. The sight of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse brought back great memories of our lighthouse climb a few weeks ago.
Eventually we started home, only to discover more adventure awaited us.
On the way up the trail we encountered a tortoise. Yuki wanted to investigate while Gizmo hid behind me and barked at it.
A friendly and knowledgeable ranger in a golf cart filled us in on the particulars of that tortoise (a juvenile) and she alerted us to an older and bigger tortoise up the path. This one was not as friendly and open as Junior so we took a quick picture and left it to enjoy dinner on its own.
On the way out of town we stopped at our favorite ice cream parlor Treats on the Beach.
Not only do they have soft serve and hand dipped ice cream in many different flavors, but they have doggy ice cream as well.
At that point we really thought the adventure was over. Normally we fill up the car on the way out of Orlando, but we didn’t do that this time. Gas prices on the beach were ridiculous, so we decided to fill up a little farther up the road, at which point my car decided it was hot and thirsty too. It drank our remaining fuel so quickly I was afraid there was a hole in the gas tank (thankfully there was not). The hunt for less ridiculously priced gas was on, but we had only a few miles to find it (there is a very barren stretch from New Smyrna Beach to Orlando, just FYI). Thanks to Daughter’s GPS, we found a tiny gas station/convenience store with prices closer to what we were used to – and one final surprise.