Looking for a great day at the beach during your vacation in New Smyrna Beach, FL? Why not visit the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park, a pedestrian-only beach with covered picnic areas, concession stands, restrooms, showers, and of course, great sunshine and salt air. This is a wonderful place just south of New Smyrna Beach for all beachgoers, from families to couples. It is also a particularly lovely spot to sit and watch the sunset. Look out for manatees in the lagoon or get sporty at the tennis court and volleyball area. With plenty of parking and few crowds, you will be able to truly enjoy yourself and your time at the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park.
History of Mary McLeod Bethune
The Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park was named after an educator and activist, who served as president of the National Association of Colored Women. Mary McLeod Bethune was born in 1875 in South Carolina as a child to former slaves. Believing in the empowerment of education, she graduated from the Scotia Seminary of Girls and went on to found Bethune-Cookman University after becoming an educator in Florida. This university was one of the few places at the time that African-American students could get a college degree.
She was also strongly involved in American government, speaking at conferences, serving on commissions, and becoming a special minority affairs advisor for Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. McLeod was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1973 and the US Postal Service issued a stamp with her image on it in 1985. To honor her life of service and her stance for equality, the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park was named after her in Florida.
Why Go To the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
Nestled on 600 acres between the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean, the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park is an amazing place to enjoy your morning or afternoon in New Smyrna Beach, FL. The inviting, sandy stretch provides plenty of space to spread out with your whole group along the shoreline. You won’t have to worry about crowded, crammed umbrellas battling for beach space at this off-the-beaten-path gem.
What To See at the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
At the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park, you will be able to see frollicking dolphins in the morning and surfers and fishermen on most days in and on the edge of the water or along the boardwalk and fishing pier. You can also spot manatees on the river side. Along with sand and sea, there are also barbecue grills, picnic tables, a playground, and sports facilities such as basketball and tennis courts for your entertainment. You can also walk to the Canaveral National Seashore from the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park for some more pristine oceanfront views. The best thing to see, however, is the incredible sunset scenes at nightfall!
After a Day at the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
After enjoying your beach adventures at the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park, wash off in the outdoor showers, grab a bite to eat at one of the many delicious seafood restaurants around town, and then head back to The Night Swan for a restful night’s sleep. Then, in the morning, you will wake up to a rejuvenating handmade breakfast to start off your next day on vacation the right way! For more information on what to do in New Smyrna Beach, FL, read more about the area.