Category Archives: Travel

Vacations on, or near, the beaches of Florida.

Eating at the Dolphin View

dolphin view restaurant
The Dolphin View in New Smyrna Beach

The Dolphin View seaside restaurant in New Smyrna used to be the Sea Harvest (which I miss).  (Update: this restaurant has gone out of business, and is soon to be a new one.)  As you can tell after reading this post, I was not highly impressed by this place.

I was out house-hunting and stopped to get some lunch to-go.  I stood in line outside to order, and it was HOT.  With only one group of customers in front of me, I still waited a while to order.  It was Saturday, and well before lunch time, so there were few patrons. As I stood there sweating, at least I could watch the weekend parade of boats head by.  Most were going north (to Disappearing Island?) up towards Ponce Inlet.

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Deck at The Dolphin View Seafood Restaurant

Even with big fans going out on the deck, it was too hot to wait for the food outdoors.  I still had a nice view of the Intracoastal Waterway inside where it was cool. As we watched the boats of all sizes go by, this one (below) caught my eye with the dog standing on the front, happy as can be.

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A family and their dog enjoy a day on the water

Taking the food all the way home was probably a mistake, as the oysters were soggy by the time I ate. The meal came with one hushpuppy, fries (many) and coleslaw – those were the two sides I chose. The single little hush puppy was included. Whoopee! I was unimpressed by the $20.00 meal.
When the place was the Sea Harvest they were known for their huge and delicious grouper sandwiches. I don’t think the Dolphin View even offers grouper. I chose the fried oysters because I honestly didn’t seen anything else that interested me. And the oysters were not all that flavorful. I would not get them again. I guess I am more of a clam lover.

Maybe when the weather cools off, and if we live closer, we can go eat on the deck sometime. I love to eat by the water. I hate to be too hard on a place after eating there just once.

*Update: I look forward to a new, and hopefully good, eatery going in here.  The river view is wonderful, and all it needs is some great food to go along with it.

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Pictures of Ponce Inlet For National Lighthouse Day

As I was finishing up this post, I discovered that today, August 6th, is National Lighthouse Day. And I just happen to have lighthouse photography to share from our recent trip to the beach.

Ponce Inlet lighthouse jetty
Lighthouse at Ponce Inlet

Ponce Inlet is a place that is well known to Florida residents who head over to the Atlantic beaches. The name is short for Ponce De Leon, and the lighthouse is an attraction.  These photos were taken from the south side of the inlet at New Smyrna beach.  To get to the lighthouse you must travel up to Port Orange and come in from the other side.

The lighthouse is one of the tallest in the U.S. and is the tallest in Florida.  Pay the price and you can climb to the top, which I have never done. It’s on my to-do list / bucket list.

Jetty at Ponce Inlet
Jetty at Ponce Inlet

The day I took these pictures we were spending time at New Smyrna Beach and decided to drive up to see the jetty area.   The long rocky trail juts out into the ocean and is a popular place to fish.  Often surfers like to catch waves near the jetty, and it’s known as a shark infested area.  On our visit a complete stranger began telling us that because of the full moon, the tide was extra high and was washing out the area. You can see that in my photo below.

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Beach Erosion at Ponce Inlet near the Jetty

This area is at the tip of Smyrna Dunes Park, which contains a long boardwalk that goes out to the beach area and jetty. The day we visited the stairway to the boardwalk was taped off because the sand had been washed away from the pilings.

Inlet from Atlantic ocean to ICW
This photo was taken on the inlet side of the jetty, looking out toward the ocean.

View the official page of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

deck view of intracaostal

Surprised By a Little Seafood Restaurant in Oak Hill

deck view of intracaostal
Looking north

Someone told us about Goodrich’s Seafood Restaurant while we were visiting the Oak Hill area a week or so ago, so we stopped in for lunch.

It’s a little, out-of-the way place that sits right on the Indian River / Mosquito Lagoon.  They have indoor or outdoor seating, and we chose to sit outside on a picnic table.  Even though the weather was very hot, the sea breeze kept it comfortable enough.

Unfortunately I was having stomach issues that day, so I had only the crab patty appetizer. I would have liked to order a real meal.  My two sons were with me and they each had fish and chips.  Everything was very good.

My younger son, who has grown up mostly in the northeast asked, “What are hushpuppies?” Poor thing, he’s led a sheltered life.  The condiments and extra napkins were kept inside a fishing tackle box on the table, which added to the seaside atmosphere.

This place is really not so little… there are tables with thatched umbrellas, picnic tables,  and other tables under the extended porch roof, as well as a bunch of indoor seating.  The ladies room was super clean!  I look forward to going back when I can really enjoy a nice meal.

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Looking South

It appears that one could bring the boat right up and dock it to go inside and eat, but no one did that the day we were there.

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Indian River view from the deck of Goodrich’s restaurant

The historic site called “Seminole Rest” is just a bit farther south. In fact, if you look closely you can see the orange roofs of the two houses on the property among that background clump of trees in the picture above.

We did make a trip back and I got some food photos.

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IMG_0769You may be interested in reading this article written by travel writer Bob Rountree who got a photo of a rare white pelican from his visit to this area. He also goes into more detail about this restaurant and surrounding area.

Our Visit to Seminole Rest in Oak Hill

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Homestead at Seminole Rest – “Instone House”

We happened to be in the Oak Hill area a week or so ago and first ate lunch at Goodrich’s, then visited Seminole Rest. The location of ancient Indian shell mounds is a protected area which is now part of the National Park Service.

Florida has shell mounds in many places which were left by the Indians who inhabited the state and lived off shell fish, along with fish other types of food. Because of the high use of shellfish, big mounds of discarded shells have become protected areas. In Seminole Rest, two houses sit atop the mound site, which is actually two separate mounds.

The photos on this page are mine, and are not free to use.

Seminole Rest
The “Caretaker’s House” at Seminole Rest

This is not a large area.  It’s a quick walk along cement pathways that wind past twisted, gnarly trees.  It’s a quick walk along the shoreline and out to the new-looking dock on the property. The day we visited was very hot, so it was a quick visit. We didn’t even read the signs set up along the path or go into the house, which I believe serves as the Visitor Center. Someone was sitting on the porch, and the lights were on. The extreme heat made us just want to run back to the car’s AC.

In this photo you can see Goodrich’s restaurant where we ate a delicious seafood lunch sitting on the deck by the river. (It’s that flat building in my photo.)  Although it was HOT, the sea breeze made sitting outside for lunch bearable.

Oak hill Goodrich's
View to the north – Goodrich’s Restaurant

The house names and other information I am sharing here came from looking up the info online.  I’d like to go back when the weather is nicer and go into the house.

Obviously the two houses have been updated with bright yellow paint and red roofs.  It certainly is unusual to see a house built on a hill along the Florida coast.  Click on the link below to see pictures of these structures in more rundown condition.

Read more about Seminole Rest at the National Park Service website pdf, and get more info such as directions, hours and history.

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Instone house sits on the Indian River
View of Instone House From the Dock

Narrow the Search for Florida Beach Vacation Rental

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Beach Paradise

You want to take a trip to a warm place.  Florida is perfect.  No need to leave the US, just hop in the car or on a plane and in a few hours you are in the Sunshine State.  But it’s a big state.  And the variety of rentals can be overwhelming.  Which one is right for you?

Of course if you have a specific place in mind – near Disney, or close to relatives – that will narrow down the search.  But many people want a simple getaway to a beautiful beach.  That is my idea of a vacation.

So here are your choices:  1. Rent a condo or apartment on the ocean.  2. Rent a private home on the beach.  3. Rent something just off the beach, but close enough to walk there (this will of course be cheaper).  4. Or maybe you will be bringing your boat, and will need a dock / boat slip / boat ramp nearby.  Some places offer canal access to the open water.  5. The Florida Keys have many homes to rent with boat slips.

Will a pool at the property be a must?  Personally, I can’t do Florida without a pool.  I like a pool in the backyard.  One I don’t have to share with a bunch of screaming kids.  And remember, if you rent a condo and you are near the public pool, be prepared for the possible noise all hours of the day and into the night.

resort swimming pool empty
Condo pools can be noisy places

Are you okay with cars on the beach in front of your condo / apartment?   Drive on beaches allow traffic during the day.  New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach, on the east coast in central Florida, have beach traffic. It means any place you stay where that is allowed can mean very crowded beaches.  These are all things to take into consideration.

Some properties have ocean access, but no view of the water.  Views of the ocean mean paying more, but anyone on a budget can stay near the beach.  Even if the trek to the sand is just across the street, remember Continue reading Narrow the Search for Florida Beach Vacation Rental