For the 4th stop, we move slightly south down the Atlantic coast, drifting back toward my homebase of Orlando. Port Orange, not far from stop #1 (DeLand), is just under an hour from metro Orlando.
The Port referred to in the name actually refers to the town’s location on the Halifax River- which is a piece of the Intracoastal Waterway. I was fortunate to stay on the river, which was stunningly beautiful in the stillness of morning and just before sunset.
In Port Orange, I took a walk through the free Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens. It is a lovely spot, full of history, plants and some weird Americana. Once a sugar mill, then briefly a failed amusement park called Bongoland in the 1950s (concrete dinosaurs and the like still can be found here), it is now bursting with beautiful plants.
If you’re a dog owner, you probably know that it can be difficult to find a beach or waterfront park that openly welcomes dogs. New Smyrna Beach’s Smyrna Dunes Park consists of of a nature preserve with boardwalks and beach access, bordered by the Halifax River on one side and the Atlantic on the other.
This little guy took his first swim and discovered that he liked it! He went back in for more.
There is plenty to do in the the area that encompasses Port Orange and Daytona to the West and Daytona Beach to Ormond Beach to the East, from museums to nature walks, historic sites to amusement parks, dog beaches to surfing. I highly recommend a trip!