Edgewater is a small city that’s found on the eastern coast of Florida. It’s an understated destination located between Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral. Conveniently, it’s also just a short drive away from Orlando.
This is small-town Florida, so Edgewater is quiet and relaxing. But thanks to its prime position close to the state’s larger cities, you can easily head out to the action if you are looking for something more during the day, and return to a peaceful retreat in the evening.
Edgewater is located along the Indian River, which offers excellent opportunities for exploring the local natural attractions. Not far away, you can find the dramatic Smyrna Dunes Park and the beautiful beaches along the coast.
It’s an excellent place for a holiday, so to help you plan your trip, here are the 15 best things to do in Edgewater Florida.
1. Indian River
The city of Edgewater is found along the banks of the Indian River, a lagoon-like waterway that begins in the north at the Ponce de Leon Inlet, which is fed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Stretching for over 100 miles to the south of Edgewater, near to the city you can see some of the river’s most idyllic scenery.
This is quintessential Florida, and you can find walking trails and nature preserves all along the Indian River, which are perfect for exploring. Rent a kayak, go fishing for the day, or take a hike along the river bank.
2. Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
If you would like to see where the Indian River begins, then head north to the Ponce de Leon Inlet.
Here, you can find not only sweeping views over the Atlantic on one side and the river on the other, but also the wonderful Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.
This striking, red lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida, rising to 53 meters. There has been a lighthouse here since at least 1835, but the current tower dates to the late 19th century.
The lighthouse is now a National Historic Landmark. You can climb the hundreds of steps leading up the spiral staircase to the viewing platform at the top for incredible views over the surrounding coastline. The lighthouse is also home to a museum that details the impressive local history of the Ponce de Leon Inlet.
3. New Smyrna Beach
Just a 10-minute drive along the Indian River, the city of New Smyrna Beach makes for a great day trip from Edgewater.
This is a great place to hit the beach, as you can find some excellent stretches of sand across from downtown, along the coast, and on the many barrier islands in the Atlantic.
New Smyrna Beach is a famed surfing destination and has often been featured as one of the best locations in Florida to hit the waves. You’ll find surf shops and surf schools all along the coast.
As well as the outdoor activities, in downtown New Smyrna Beach, you can visit the art galleries and the local history museum to learn more about the culture and heritage.
4. Smyrna Dunes Park
On the southern side of the Ponce de Leon Inlet, you can visit the beautiful Smyrna Dunes Park, a nature preserve dedicated to the preservation of the impressive local sand dunes along the coast.
As well as excellent views over the Atlantic and over the nearby lagoons, you can hike the short two-mile boardwalk leading through the dunes.
It’s a lovely hike that will give you the chance to immerse yourself in the local nature, and perhaps even the opportunity to spot some of the local wildlife too.
5. Bethune Beach
Bethune Beach is another fantastic coastal area to visit when you are staying in Edgewater, Florida.
Found across the Indian River, Bethune Beach forms part of the extensive and beautiful Canaveral National Seashore. To get here, you need to go all the way around the river and the lagoons from Edgewater. Even though as the crow flies, the beach is just a few miles away, the journey will take much longer.
That does mean, however, that Bethune Beach is a quiet and relaxing spot, as it’s further to travel than the nearby shore at New Smyrna Beach.
6. Turtle Mound
Continue south along the coastal road from Bethune Beach and you’ll soon reach Turtle Mound.
This is one of the most intriguing historical sites in the area, as Turtle Mound is thought to be over 3000 years old. It’s unusual because this archaeological site was essentially used as a garbage dump by the early inhabitants of the Floridian coastline.
They dumped an enormous number of shells, conches, and other refuse in the area, forming a huge mound over time that has unearthed a wealth of information and artifacts – from spearheads to kitchen tools.
7. Cruger dePeyster Plantation Sugar Mill Ruins
The Cruger dePeyster Plantation Sugar Mill Ruins are another fascinating historical site to visit when you are in Edgewater.
Located just a short drive outside of the city, the ruins are the remains of an old mill that was used for the local sugar plantation.
The mill dates to the 1830s but was destroyed during the Seminole War just a few years later. Today, the remains are protected on the US National Register of Historic Places.
8. Peter Wolf Toth Art Gallery and Museum
Take a trip to the Peter Wolf Toth Art Gallery and Museum in Edgewater for a cultural experience like no other.
Peter Wolf Toth is a local artist who has spent years sculpting and mastering enormous Indian statues.
These unique sculptures are carved and patterned from wood and dedicated to the history and heritage of the local Indian tribes that called Florida home long before the Europeans arrived.
9. Lake Ashby Park
A half-hour drive inland from Edgewater will bring you to the scenic Lake Ashby Park.
This is a great place to get to know Florida’s nature, as you can enjoy the pleasant lakefront atmosphere and the crisp fresh air.
Walk along the boardwalks that lead around the water, or bring your kayak or canoe and take to the water.
10. Turnbull Hammock Conservation Area
If you are looking to experience more of the local natural bounties, then head out of Edgewater to visit the Turnbull Hammock Conservation Area.
This spectacular park is a beautifully preserved area of wilderness, where you can find creeks, swimming holes, waterways, and swamps.
11. Mosquito Lagoon
Edgewater is surrounded by epic natural sights, but one of the best in the area is the Mosquito Lagoon.
This protected area is found just south of the city and forms part of the extensive lagoons and waterways that are fed by the Indian River.
It’s a great place to spot wildlife; in Mosquito Lagoon, you can often find manatees frolicking in the water.
12. Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve
Follow the Canaveral National Seashore south, and you’ll reach Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve.
This wonderful area of wilderness has seen very little development over the years because it is actually under the control of the nearby NASA space facilities, who allow access when there are no launches.
You can find a wealth of wildlife within the reserve – in flourishing numbers too, given the area’s remote location and lack of people. There are hundreds of species of bird, large alligators, turtles, and even a few manatees.
There are hiking trails, or you can take to the waterways in kayaks, canoes, or boats to explore Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve.
13. Kennedy Space Center
At Cape Canaveral, just a short journey from Edgewater, you can find the iconic Kennedy Space Center.
This is perhaps the most important space center in the world; since the 1960s, this is where NASA has launched their shuttles and rockets from.
While you’re unlikely to see a launch, you can spend the day exploring the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Here, you can learn about the history of NASA, the history of flight and space travel, and see what it takes to be an astronaut.
It’s an enthralling day out from Edgewater; you can step inside old spacecraft and shuttles, try on space suits, and much, much more at the Kennedy Space Center.
14. Daytona Beach
Head north from Edgewater, and within a half-hour, you can be exploring Daytona Beach.
This classic Floridian destination is home to some of the best beaches on the east coast; you can hang out on the sand or hit the waves if you’re a surfer.
Daytona Beach is also home to the International Speedway, where you’ll find the NASCAR headquarters.
The city of Orlando is just a short journey away from Edgewater, and there are plenty of great things to do in one of Florida’s most classic destinations.
You can take the day to visit the theme parks found in the area if you are looking for a bit of excitement. Ride the rollercoasters at Universal Studios or delve into the world of Disney at the Walt Disney World Resorts.
In Orlando, you can dine out, enjoy a few drinks in downtown, shop at the retail outlets, or get cultural at the galleries and museums.