Tag Archives: Smyrna Dunes Park

various Florida seashells

Found Some Great Shells, But Not On the Beach

new fishing pier
New Fishing Pier

My son and I headed over to the beach today, which is an unusual thing for us to do on the weekend.   Weekends are too busy.  We did go early, and still hit traffic, but it was a lot of fun. I love living so close to the seashore.

I’ve been debating on whether or not to buy a year pass for Smyrna Dunes Park. It’s an awesome place to walk with nice boardwalks that lead out to the beach on all sides of the peninsula. The cost is $20 for county residents and it’s $10 for each visit. If I go twice I will have paid for the pass. But… the pass is only good from now until the end of the year… not a full year, really. Still, it seems worth it because it’s a wonderful place to visit.

At 9Am on a Saturday the place was packed with cars! The woman who put the sticker on my car (yup, I bought the pass) said it’s turtle season (and the beach doesn’t open until 8am) so the surfers come here to surf early in the morning.

It’s also a place where everyone goes to walk their dog! Almost everyone we saw had a dog…. or 2 or 3 with them!   We saw all kinds of dogs…. from Corgi’s and Shepherds, to big and small Poodles and mutts .  Even so, the place is clean as can be. Locals respect the area and dutifully clean up after themselves.

The boardwalk is being replaced, so the first part is torn down and you must walk in the sand. I assume they will do the second part after the first part is finished, but I don’t know.

construction
Construction on Dunes Walkway

No matter. It’s still a wonderful place to visit. They have a new long fishing pier (see it in my first photo above) and my son and I went there first. He has a new metal detector and is dying to find buried treasure. So while he searched for treasure I cooled off in the wonderful ocean water.  It was clear and refreshing.  Fabulous!

little coquina shells in beach sand
Little coquina shells in beach sand

Of course, I also kept my eyes open for seashells. I saw some of the usual arks and many tiny coquina in the sand. Found an orange jingle shell, a bit of coral, and a little crab climbing up one of the pier’s pylons.

little crab
Little crab climbing up the dock pylon

The best shells I found were not on the beach though, they were up near the construction site!  Look at this wonderful Lettered Olive!  It’s small, but so pretty once I rinsed the dirt off.

lettered olive shell
Lettered Olive Seashell – 1.25 inches

Yup… I found this Lettered Olive and Banded Tulip along the fence which blocks people from entering the construction area. All that digging moved the shells around I guess, and there was not a single hermit crab to be found!

Hallelujah..!

The tulip shell is not in great shape. It’s encrusted with something that is gradually flaking off. It may end up being sorta pretty.  The bands tell me it’s not the True Tulip like I’ve found before, but the Banded Tulip.
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I also got this little gem of a shell, even though it’s somewhat broken, I love it.  I think it might be a little Knobbed Whelk.
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On the way back to the mainland we had to wait for a boat to go by and the traffic was building while the north causeway bridge was lifted.

bridge up at north causeway
Bridge up for tall boat to pass

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Late in the Day Trip to Smyrna Dunes Park

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One of the long boardwalks that make up the park.

Recently I went to Smyrna Dunes State Park to walk, visit the beach, and take photos. My camera was full, so I had to keep deleting photos to take more, which was annoying.   I would have taken a lot more photos.

My son had his girlfriend visiting over the Christmas break. She lives in New Hampshire and had never been to Florida. Well, the Christmas break is NOT the time to visit as everyone in the world is visiting Florida then…. or they are waiting to come for the spring break, which is also a horrible (touristy) time to come here.

We went to Smyrna Dunes Park late in the day and had to leave by 6:00PM or be locked in, so I was constantly checking the time. I was the odd man (woman) out accompanying the young sweethearts on a romantic stroll among the dunes, but I did come in handy when it came to photo taking.

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We ended up on the west side by the Intracoastal (Indian River) where the sun was beginning to set and my son wanted pictures. So I used the girlfriend’s cell phone to take most of them, and got some very good photos (if I do say so myself). The sun was setting and they posed in silhouette… ah, young love!

The Park is a long boardwalk over the dunes that leads to the ocean and river  in several places, and Ponce Inlet. I had visited this place years ago – probably 15 or 16 – and it has changed. Now there are trails just for dog walkers, and there were many people taking advantage. The dogs are not allowed on the boardwalks except at certain places.

seashells

At one point we walked down to the beach by the rocky jetty. The tide was out, and lots of little shells were caught in seaweed along the beach. My picture here shows some of the seashells I found. Pieces of shells that were once quite big, and the regular finds of the incongruous arks and cross barred venus clam.

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We saw a gopher turtle (tortoise) snacking on some weeds in the dunes (no photo, camera issues), and I was reminded of the one that used to live in the corner of my yard. They are big turtles and slide down into their dens that are a maze of underground tunnels. My daughter volunteered at the Central Florida Zoo (named differently now) and learned all about them. They are quite amazing wild animals. With all the building going on constantly in this state, they are threatened. The gopher turtle, like much wildlife in this state, has lost a lot of it’s natural habitat.

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Ponce Inlet lighthouse and beach at the end of the boardwalk.

We had a lovely time walking the boardwalk, and I was sorry I didn’t just buy the $20 yearly pass. I may go back and use this place as my exercise area. But I do have a beach pass, so I can drive onto the beach and then use the boardwalk, or simply walk along the beach. I’m lucky to live so close to this beautiful area.