New Smyrna

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

New Smyrna Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, United States. The population was 20,048 according to the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 21,464.


New Smyrna Beach is located at (29.030563, -80.925307). The city's motto is "cygnus inter anates", which is Latin for "among ducks, a swan"[Citation Needed]. The city is located at the northernmost tip of the Space Coast region of the state of Florida.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.7 km² (30.8 mi²). 71.7 km² (27.7 mi²) of it is land and 8.0 km² (3.1 mi²) of it (10.04%) is water. The city is bordered by the city of Port Orange to the northwest, unincorporated Volusia County the north, the census designated place of Samsula-Spruce Creek to the west, and the city of Edgewater, Bethune Beach, and the Canaveral National Seashore to the south.


Like the rest of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee, New Smyrna Beach enjoys a humid subtropical(Koppen, Cfa) climate characterized by hot, humid summers and mild, mostly dry winters. Although four seasons are thought to be present by some, this area is normally dominated by two distinct seasons: the rainy season, from April until November, and the shorter dry season, from November to March. Spring and autumn are normally too subtle to be noticed as the majority of trees here are not deciduous, and therefore do not lose their leaves. Although it can be chilly and damp during the winter, the temperatures very rarely drop below freezing, and temperatures usually remain comfortable during the winter. The city has only recorded snowfall three times in its 250 year history. The summers, on the other hand, are very long and hot, with ferocious thunderstorms in the afternoon, as central Florida is the lightning capital of the Americas. The growing season is twelve months, USDA hardiness zone is 9b. Dangers include hurricanes from June until November, and Nor'easters in the winter. New Smyrna Beach also has the reputation of having more shark bites, not attacks per year than the rest of the world combined, however no deaths have been recorded. An attack is where the shark bites more than twice. New Smyrna has had very few shark attacks. The city is also included in the habitat range of the vulnerable and endemic, Florida Scrub Jay.

The city has a comparable climate with other subtropical cities, such as Hong Kong and Macau.


As of the census of 2000, there were 20,048 people, 9,839 households, and 5,844 families residing in the city. The population density was 279.5/km² (724.1/mi²). There were 13,618 housing units at an average density of 189.9/km² (491.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.57% White, 6.27% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

There were 9,839 households, out of which 14.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.6% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.52.

In the city the population was spread out with 13.9% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 19.6% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 34.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 54 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,372, and the median income for a family was $43,409. Males had a median income of $29,544 versus $25,706 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,547. About 7.3% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.9% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.


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 Arts on Douglas. Frequent arts shows featuring visual and performing arts take place throughout the year. New Smyrna was also the hometown of television host Bob Ross. His television show The Joy of Painting, ran from 1983 to 1995 on PBS. His studio still teaches classes, and is located in New Smyrna.


All public Education is run by Volusia County Schools.

Elementary Schools

  • Chisholm Elementary
  • Coronado Beach Elementary
  • Read-Pattillo Elementary

Middle Schools

  • New Smyrna Beach Middle School

High Schools

NSB in popular culture

  • New Smyrna Beach is home to the world renowned Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA), a tranquil seminary for artists worldwide that plays host to wide variety of events.
  • The city was also home to famous artist Doris "Doc" Leeper, who lived and painted in seclusion in El Dora, an abandoned town within the Canaveral National Seashore.
  • New Smyrna has become a popular Spring Break location because of its cheaper accommodations and quick access to Daytona Beach.
  • The New Smyrna Beach is famous for its ability to have cars drive on the beach because of the hard-packed sand.
  • En route to Cuba for a filibustering mission, the SS Commodore wrecked off the coast of New Smyrna on January 2, 1897. This event is detailed in the short story "The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane, who was one of the survivors. The story describes the survival of Crane and three crew members who struggle to survive in a small dinghy.
  • The city also plays host to a number of important art-related events, including the Images Art Festival, Seaside Fiesta, Riverfest, Halifax Bill-Fish Fishing Tournament, and the Jazz Festival.
  • Once known as "The World's Safest Bathing Beach", New Smyrna Beach has recently become well known for its frequency of shark attacks on humans. There have never been any fatalities, and most bites are small and committed by confused, young sharks that immediately let go.
  • New Smyrna Beach has also been well known by surfers for the consistency of its Inlet surf break for more than sixty years. The area hosts the most consistent waves on the east coast of the United States.
  • The beaches around Ponce de Leon Inlet were rated as the 9th rated beaches in the United States in 2007.


The area was first settled in 1768, when Scottish physician Dr. Andrew Turnbull established the colony of "New Smyrna." The colony occupies a notable place in history by being the single largest attempt by a member of the British Crown at colonization in the New World. Turnbull transplanted around 1500 settlers (many of them Greek), from Smyrna, Crete, Mani Peninsula, Sicily, Majorca, Ibiza, and Minorca to grow hemp, sugarcane, indigo, and to produce rum. The colony suffered major losses due to insect-borne diseases and Native American raids; and tensions grew due to mis-treatment by Turnbull. Due to these complications, the remaining colonists marched north to St. Augustine along the Old King's Highway, to claim mistreatment by Turnbull to the Governor of Florida in St. Augustine in 1777; then a British protectorate. Soon after, St. Augustine was returned to the Spanish, and Turnbull abandoned his colony for life in Charleston, South Carolina.

The area then only maintained sparse populations due to Seminole raids until after the American Civil War in the 1860s, during which its still-standing "Stone Wharf" was shelled by Union gunboats. In 1887 the Town of New Smyrna was incorporated with a population of 150. In 1892, the arrival of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway lead to an increase in the area's economy, which was based on the tourism, citrus, and commercial fishing industries.

During prohibition in the 1920s, the city and its river islands were popular still sites and hideouts for rumrunners coming in 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 bustling resort town of over 20,000 permanent residents, with over 1,000,000 visitors annually.

Not unlike its Spanish partner to the north, St. Augustine, New Smyrna has stood under four flags. First the British, then the Spanish, and finally the American flag in 1845, followed by the Confederate Jack, and replaced again by the stars and stripes.


New Smyrna Beach retail businesses prosper from the area’s international tourism industry and many unique businesses. The community offers a diverse selection of quality shops and dining opportunities attracting customers from throughout Central Florida. New Smyrna Beach Airport/Industrial Park, within a foreign trade zone, is home to several successful businesses and manufacturers that play a role in the global marketplace.

Recent studies show the workforce to be educated, productive and competitive with 10 percent underemployed. Seven highly ranked colleges and universities and the acclaimed Advanced Technology Center support business needs with career advancement, work-force development and research. Education, health care and government are the area’s largest employers. Though sadly, perhaps due to the history of New Smyrna Beach being a winter refuge for northern retirees, a large segment of jobs in the area are low-paying service industry type positions which result in many locals leaving New Smyrna Beach to find opportunity elsewhere after completing their education.

Among the corporate partners that call New Smyrna Beach home are:

  • Bert Fish Medical Center
  • Brintech, Inc. (technology management)
  • General Electric Sealants and Adhesives
  • TimeMed Labeling Systems (prescription labels)
  • Contec Electronics and Assembly
  • Vintage Props and Jets (an international airline)

Elected officials

  • Sally Mackay – Mayor
  • Randy Richenberg – Vice Mayor – Zone 1 Commissioner
  • J.S. Grasty – Zone 2 Commissioner
  • James W. Hathaway – Zone 3 Commissioner
  • Lynne Plaskett – Zone 4 Commissioner

Notable people from or living in New Smyrna


Greg Arnette: Founder of Arnette Sunglasses.

External links

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