Empty Beaches, Spectacular Wildlife, Friendly Towns
Oak Hill has a lot of things going for it. Nightlife is definitely not one of them. If we had any sidewalks, we'd roll them up at sundown. But if you're more interested in natural and human history, great local seafood, unspoiled beaches, world-class sunrises, incredible wildlife viewing, and a friendly, low-key feel, this your place. And, for a bit more "sophistication," New Smyrna Beach is just 20 minutes north.
Restaurants and Bars
The most popular option in Oak Hill is the excellent Goodrich Seafood and Oyster House, an easy walk (or drive) south from the camp along River Road. Goodrich's is also accessible by boat. Several family-run diners nearby on U.S. 1 also offer good breakfasts and lunches.
Also accessible by boat is JB's Fish Camp, on the east shore of the lagoon. Depending on your draft and how well you know the area, plan around a half hour to get there by boat.
Just to our north via U.S. 1, there are numerous restaurants in Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach, ranging from fast food to fine dining. Picturesque Flagler Avenue in New Smyrna is a great place to spend an afternoon strolling and shopping. Along the way, you'll pass plenty of eateries and watering holes like Clancy's Cantina and Cafe Verde.
Beaches and Sandbars
Directly across the lagoon from us is Canaveral National Seashore, with 24 miles of pristine beach, much of it roadless. A particularly beautiful section of it is accessible via a short boat trip across the lagoon from the camp. Just beach your boat on the inland side of the barrier island, and walk 100 yards across the dunes to the Atlantic Ocean.
Several historic sites, including Turtle Mound, Seminole Rest, and the Eldora House, are also part of the Seashore.
North of the Seashore, the beaches of New Smyrna offer a much different experience. Most are open for driving, allowing you to drive and park on the hard-packed sand for a small fee.
Within the lagoon system, there are a number of popular beaches and sandbars accessible only by water. The best known is Disappearing Island, just inside Ponce Inlet, a little over an hour north of us by water. There are several closer options, though, all of which are great places to cast net mullet, hunt shells, let your kids pester hermit crabs, or just put your feet up and watch the afternoon go by.
New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater
In addition to restaurants and bars, New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater are home to a wide variety of museums, galleries, parks, shopping, and historic sites.
Fish aren't the only wildlife inhabiting Mosquito Lagoon. In fact, the Indian River Lagoon, of which Mosquito Lagoon is the northernmost part, is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America.
Bird life is incredibly rich and varied, with ospreys, brown pelicans, white pelicans, great blue herons, egrets, and roseate spoonbills common. Dolphins are a constant presence, and large numbers of manatees inhabit the area during the warmer months. Terrestrial mammals, particularly raccoons, are frequently seen along the shorelines, along with wild hogs and the occasional deer or bobcat. Marine turtles are common much of the year.
A 10-minute drive to our south is Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where 1,500 species of plants and animals inhabit 140,000 protected acres. One of the highlights of the refuge is Black Point Wildlife Drive ($5/vehicle), a seven-mile loop through pine flatwoods and marsh impoundments, where alligators are common.
Wildlife photos by camp guest William Kellermeyer
Orlando, Kennedy Space Center, and Daytona Beach
If you have the time and inclination to venture out of our immediate area, the entertainment options are tremendous. Daytona International Speedway is 35 minutes to our north, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a very scenic 45 minutes to our south; and Orlando's world-famous theme parks are about an hour and fifteen minutes to our southwest.